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25 THE GILGAMESH EPI C AND THE ILIAD The Akkadian Ci laga mesh Epic is the earl iest in teg ra t ed ep ic in any literature. Fragments in Old Babylon ian dating f r om abou t 1800 BC, more t han 1000 y ears befo r e the Iliad, alr ead y suggest a poem that combines the topics of seve ra l ind iv id ual Sumerian lay s, themselves probably orig in at ing to war d s t he end of the third millenium BC. Bu t the most comp lete version of t he Gilgamesh Epic is th e late or Standard Babylonian v er sion, which was probably composed toward s th e end of th e first millenium BC and which we know primarily from th e copy in t he l ibrar y of the A ssyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC ) at Nineveh . It ap pear s to d iffer from the Old Babylonian version mainly through unimag inative padding and a systematic process of ho moge n ization whereby formul ar r epetition re p laces individual di f fer ence . T he re ar e als o some in te r med iat e , Middle Babylonian f ra g ments t hat ap p r ox imate to the lat e version. I t is from t his middle per l od t hat we da te ada ptat ions in t o Hurrian an d Hittite (1 350 -1 300 BC ) . 1For