1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Eabani

EABANI, the name of the friend of Gilgamesh, the hero in the Babylonian epic (see Gilgamesh, Epic of). Eabani, whose name signifies “Ea creates,” pointing to the tradition which made the god Ea (q.v.) the creator of mankind, is represented in the epic as the type of the primeval man. He is a wild man who lives with the animals of the field until lured away from his surroundings by the charms of a woman. Created to become a rival to Gilgamesh, he strikes up a friendship with the hero, and together they proceed to a cedar forest guarded by Khumbaba, whom they kill. The goddess Irnina (a form of Ishtar, q.v.) in revenge kills Eabani, and the balance of the epic is taken up with Gilgamesh’s lament for his friend, his wanderings in quest of a remote ancestor, Ut-Napishtim, from whom he hopes to learn how he may escape the fate of Eabani, and his finally learning from his friend of the sad fate in store for all mortals except the favourites of the god, like Ut-Napishtim, to whom immortal life is vouchsafed as a special boon.  (M. Ja.)