Books that Changed Humanity: The Epic of Gilgamesh

Image: Sina Hayati

Books that Changed Humanity is an initiative of the Humanities Research Centre, based at the Australian National University. The HRC invites experts to introduce and lead discussion of major texts from a variety of cultural traditions, all of which have informed the way we understand ourselves both individually and collectively as human beings.

Join us as Dr Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller (Centre for Digital Humanities Research, ANU) introduces and discusses the ancient Mesopotamian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Although recognised by the initiated as one of the great masterpieces of world literature, few compositions as significant in the history of artistic expression have so undeservedly been denied their moment in the public lime-light as one of the oldest recorded pieces of narrative literature known anywhere in the world: the Epic of Gilgamesh. Based on earlier versions of oral traditions, versions of the Epic are known to have existed for at least five millennia. The themes and topics of the Epic are intrinsically, inarguably Universal: the fear of death; the path to self-improvement through failure; the very nature of the human condition itself. The Epic of Gilgamesh is not only one the first examples of a book in all of history of Humanity - it is also a testament that across gaps of time and space, language and culture, across all of Humanity, those things that unite us are far more fundamental and intrinsic than any superficial differences between us.

All members of the public are welcome to come, listen, and share their thoughts about this great work of literature.



Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller is a lecturer in Digital Humanities at the Centre for Digital Humanities Research at the Australian National University. Her research interests are in the interdisciplinary field of the Digital Humanities, including the use of the Linked Data paradigm to publish information regarding the ephemera of jazz performance, library metadata, and ancient Mesopotamian literary compositions online in a machine-navigable format (RDF). She has also researched the role of gamification and informal online environments play in the learning process, and most recently, has used photogrammetry to create 3D digital models of cuneiform tables, carved boab nuts, and animal skulls. She has published on the effect the migration of government services to the Web has had on elderly users, and on the phenomena of the public outpour of grief on social media at the event of the passing of a celebrity figure. Terhi was elected as a Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute in 2016, and she is a current member of the Australian Government Linked Data Working Group.

Date & time

Fri 07 Sep 2018, 5.30–7pm


Theatrette, Sir Roland Wilson Building


Dr Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller (Centre for Digital Humanities Research, ANU)


Penny Brew
+61 2 6125 4357


Updated:  30 August 2018/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications