Greatest epic of world literature: 'Kalevala' or 'Epic of Gilgamesh'? | The Tylt

Greatest epic of world literature: 'Kalevala' or 'Epic of Gilgamesh'?

The word epic refers to both a story of adventure and danger and also a story full of grandeur and meaning. In this series, we’re looking at some of the greatest epics of world literature. Some you’ll know and some you might not, but they’re all crucial works. In the first round, we’re facing off magic from Finland in "Kalevala" and the world's oldest work of fiction—"Epic of Gilgamesh." Which is the greatest epic?

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Greatest epic of world literature: 'Kalevala' or 'Epic of Gilgamesh'?
#ReadKalevala
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadGilgamesh
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Greatest epic of world literature: 'Kalevala' or 'Epic of Gilgamesh'?
#ReadKalevala
#ReadGilgamesh

Don't forget to click the image map and cast your vote in our other "greatest epic of world literature" matchups below.

#ReadKalevala

J.R.R. Tolkien would never have written his masterwork, "The Lord of the Rings," without the "The Kalevala." And Tolkien influenced just about every work of fantasy that followed him. "The Kalevala" is a collection of oral tradition folktales from what is now Finland and Estonia, passed down through generations of blind performers until it was compiled in the 19th century. This rich, immersive fantasy tells the story of the wizard Väinämöinen (equal parts Gandalf and Tom Bombadil), the egotistical hero Lemminkäinen, and the quest for a powerfully magical object called the Sampo. Here's a sample of the epic in its traditional sung form, below. 

#ReadKalevala
#ReadGilgamesh

Dating back to around 4000 years ago, the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh” is the oldest known work of fiction. The modern version derives from one found in the library of King Ashurbanipal, and tells the story of the heroism and battle prowess of King Gilgamesh of Uruk—two-thirds god and one-third human—and his rival turned best friend, the beast-man Enkidu. Elements of the story may have later influenced scenes in the "Odyssey" and, depending on who you ask, the Old Testament. And the influence of those books is pretty massive, safe to say. Hear a Sumerian recital below. 

#ReadGilgamesh

Twitter has everything, even "Gilgamesh."

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Greatest epic of world literature: 'Kalevala' or 'Epic of Gilgamesh'?
#ReadKalevala
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadGilgamesh