beyond all others, violent, splendid,
a wild bull of a man, unvanquished leader,
hero in the front lines, beloved of his soldiers –
fortress they called him, protector of the people,
raging flood that destroys all defenses…” – the Epic of Gilgamesh
George Smith’s 1872 discovery of the Mesopotamian Flood tablet won him widespread acclaim. Four years later, his ill-timed expedition to Nineveh would end in tragedy.