Historical Flood Myths

1698 Words7 Pages
Ancient man created many different narratives that involved a deluge that covered the whole world, or significant parts of it. From the accounts in Greek mythology of Deucalion, the Hindu story of Manu, to the stories of the Aztecs and the Hopis in the Americas, these accounts are widespread throughout the ancient world. There is no real evidence to suggest that these narratives are anything more than just stories, however it is interesting that these accounts are so widespread and yet so similar. This paper will focus on three of the flood narratives: the story of Atrahasis, the epic of Gilgamesh, and the Biblical flood story of Noah. Although there are differences in the reasons for these floods, there are also numerous similarities between these stories. Could it be possible that these stories are similar because they are all adapted from a single ancient oral tradition? The oldest flood story is the story of Atrahasis, which is an Old Babylonian origins. Atrahasis was an allegedly historical king of Shurrupak, in Mesopotamia around 1700 BCE. Atrahasis is also known as Ziusudra, and is the Ut-napishtim of the Gilgamesh epic. He was warned by a god named Enki to take apart his house and build a boat, because a flood was coming which would completely destroy mankind. The flood was due to the fact that the god Enlil has trouble sleeping because humans make too much noise. Enlil has already caused a plague, drought and famine, which were unsuccessful. Atrahasis was instructed to fill the boat with animals. When the storm destroyed all mankind except Atrahasis and his family, it was very upsetting to the goddess Nintu. The bodies of the dead, Nintu said, “clog the river like dragonflies.” (Dalley 33) The flood lasts 7 days and 7 nights. When the flood is over Atrahasis exits the boat and offers a sacrifice to the gods, which they devoured eagerly,
Open Document