68 / 100
This is a portrait of Izdubar
69041 izdubar

The Red Book

This is a portrait of Izdubar. Izdubar was an early name given the figure now known as Gilgamesh, based on a mistranscription. It resembles an illustration of him in Wilhelm Roscher’s Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie. Jung discussed the Gilgamesh epic in 1912 in Transformations and Symbols of the Libido, using the corrected form. His use of the older form here indicates that the figure is related to, but not identical to the figure in the epic. Jung encounters Izdubar in a fantasy. Jung says that he comes from the West, and tells Izdubar about the setting of the sun, the roundness of the earth, and the emptiness of space. Izdubar wants to know where he gets his knowledge from, and whether there is an immortal land where the sun goes for rebirth. Jung says he comes from a world where this is science. Izdubar is aghast to learn that we can never reach the sun and that he can never attain immortality, and collapses, poisoned by this science. Izdubar wonders if there are two kinds of truth. Jung says that their truth comes from outer things, whilst the truth of Izdubar’s priests comes from inner things. Jung makes a fire with a match and shows him his clock. Izdubar is astonished. However, Jung tells him that Western science has not found a means against death. Izdubar wonders how Jung lives with this poisonous science. Jung says that they have got used to it, and have had to swallow the poison of science. Izdubar asks if they have Gods. Jung says, no, just the words. Izdubar says that they also do not see the Gods. Jung says that science has taken faith from them. Jung says he can’t bare this well, which is why he has gone to the East, to seek the light that they lack. Jung longs for Izdubar’s truth. Izdubar tells him to be careful, as he could be blinded.

On this way, no one walks behind me, and I cross no one’s path. I am alone, but I fill my solitariness with my life. I am man enough, I am noise, conversation, comfort, and help enough unto myself And so I wander to the far East. Not that I know anything about what my distant goal might be. I see blue horizons before me: they suffice as a goal. I hurry toward the East and my rising-I will my rising. ~Carl Jung; Red Book.

Image legend: “This image was printed on Christmas 1915.” The depiction of Izdubar strongly resembles an illustration of him in Wilhelm Roscher’s Auifuhrliches

Lexikon der Griechischen und Romischen Mythologie, of which Jung possessed a copy ([Leipzig: Teubner, 1884-1937], vol. 2, p. 775). Izdubar was an early name given the figure now known as Gilgamesh. This was based on a mistranscription. In 1906 Peter Jensen noted: “It has now been established that Gilgamesch is the chief protagonist of the epic, and not Gistchubar or Izdubar as assumed previously” (Das Gilgamesch-Epos in der weltliteratur [Strassburg: Karl Triibner, I906], p. 2). Jung had discussed the Gilgamesh epic in 19I2 in Traniformations and Symbols of the Libido, using the corrected form, and cited Jensen’s work several times. ~Carl Jung; Red Book; Footnote 96.