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The Oldest Story in the World

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What IS the oldest story in the world?
Boy meets girl (etc)
40%
 40%  [ 2 ]
The search for immortality.
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
The search for the meaning of life.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Droid meets droid, droid becomes chameleon, droid loses chameleon, chameleon turns into blob, droid gets blob back again, blob meets blob, blob goes off with blob and droid loses blob, chameleon and droid.
40%
 40%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 5

Celebaelin
952228.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:56 am Reply with quote

On balance it's the legend of Etana, an Akkadian king who, in brief, attempts to fly with an eagle to the heavens to meet the sky-god Anu who can show him where to find the plant of birth, allowing Etana to father a son.

That's the short version anyway, plus I won't tell you what the result is in case you want to read it for yourself.

Cuneiform had been around for 600 years or so before this legend was first recorded (in about 2600 BC) which I find slightly odd but then again stories are quite easy to remember (and not as profitable to 'adjust') compared to records of the harvest etc. Religious instructions and a hymn constitute the only known older literature but these are not stories as such I would suggest.

http://www.codex99.com/typography/1.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_Etana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_literature#List_of_ancient_texts

 
djgordy
952232.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:35 am Reply with quote

How about "man hunts mammoth" as seen told on the wall of your nearest cave?

 
'yorz
952233.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:42 am Reply with quote

Doesn't that fall under (eternal) life? Sustenance?
And has there ever been a true visual of the caveman-drags-cavewoman kind?

I found an answer to my query how the hell does one start to decipher script that is completely unknown.
Cuneiform.
You have to take your hat off to these people.


Last edited by 'yorz on Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:15 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Celebaelin
952240.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:57 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
How about "man hunts mammoth" as seen told on the wall of your nearest cave?

Non-fiction.

Admittedly boy meets girl is not the least likely scenario in the normal passage of events but the stories are usually told with an extra fictional dimension like "theirs was a forbidden love; she was a princess, he was a frog/monster/thief/shower of gold*" or "he was a prince, she had narcolepsy/localised hypertrichosis/a thing for short men/family issues/the lower half of a fish@*".


* delete where applicable
@ but not all the time


Last edited by Celebaelin on Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:11 am; edited 1 time in total

 
djgordy
952242.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:01 am Reply with quote

The thread title doesn't specify that the story has to be fictional. A true story is still a story. Also, we have no way of knowing whether any cave paintings depicting a hunting scene represents a hunt that actually happened or one that was imagined.

 
Celebaelin
952244.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:20 am Reply with quote

Anything that happens on a regular, day to day, basis is not so much a story as it is a monologue entered into by some tedious windbag in the mistaken belief that they have something to tell you that you need or want to know.

 
NinOfEden
952261.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:52 am Reply with quote

I s'pose there could be even older stories that weren't put down in writing until later - but with stories passed on my word of mouth, you'd never know if bits had been added or forgotten, so would it really be the same story? :-/

 
'yorz
952265.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:01 am Reply with quote

Stories tend to change anyway, even nowadays.
Grimm - Disney.

 
Celebaelin
952296.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:13 am Reply with quote

NinOfEden wrote:
I s'pose there could be even older stories that weren't put down in writing until later - but with stories passed on my word of mouth, you'd never know if bits had been added or forgotten, so would it really be the same story? :-/

One can never be certain but I'd say so, yes. If we take the example of the Arthurian legend of the British isles, and I'm referring to the legend as it is told rather than the historical basis of it, then we know that a lot of elements were added after the Norman conquest. Why that is so is debatable but it seems likely that the tale of Arthur became a focus of opposition to Norman rule so the Normans added and/or adapted bits to make it less defiantly British. At any rate they Normanised parts of the story and added new bits in their re-telling. That doesn't stop it being the tale of Arthur but it does show that stories have a life of their own and if a new plotline adds to the narrative power of the tale then it tends to stick irrespective of any political meaning or relevance that the tale might previously have held.

The essential character of Lancelot (Lugh/Lleu) and Arthur are maintained but the legends of Llew are incorporated into Arthurian legend in a slightly modified form with Lancelot 'du Lac' aquiring French connotations. At this distance it is difficult to say whether the native Britons were conflating the tales already* or whether the Normans were responsible for this but the tale remains primarily that of Arthur (with Norman bits referencing courtly love and some adaptation and swapping of roles between Arthurian characters and characters from the tale of Lleu) in the public consciousness and the power of the story as a story has only increased.

* The Mabinogion shows no trace of this but the monks who recorded it may have avoided refering to identifiably pagan tales.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lleu_Llaw_Gyffes


Last edited by Celebaelin on Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Posital
952343.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:38 pm Reply with quote

Didn't Disaster Area perform at the Big Bang Burger Bar?
h2g2 wrote:
Their songs are on the whole very simple and mostly follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath a silvery moon, which then explodes for no adequately explored reason.

 
Posital
952344.  Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:40 pm Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
The Mabinogion shows no trace of this but the monks who recorded it may have avoided referring to identifiably pagan tales.
If so they didn't do a very good job...

 
Celebaelin
952487.  Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:47 am Reply with quote

The translation I've read is liberally sprinkled with Christian references which show the interpretation the monks were placing on the tales. From a modern perspective this seems oddly token but in a 14th century context was not unusual I think.

 
mckeonj
952500.  Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:00 pm Reply with quote

Boy meets girl in Tanzania.......the rest is history.

 
Celebaelin
952502.  Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:08 pm Reply with quote

Nice one!

 

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