In 1872 a man named George Smith who was an authority on Assyria was looking through a collection of Assyrian tablets which belonged to King Ashurbanipal in the 7th Century B.C. when he found a tablet which told a story of a flood that was strikingly similar to the Noah’s Ark story in the Bible. This tablet was written in Akkadian and is now known as Tablet 11 of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The most remarkable point the two stories share in common is that of the three birds which were released to see if the flooding was over. In both stories a deity had decided to destroy man with a flood because of his evil deeds and in both stories a man was found who was deserving of being saved. The man was warned and instructed to build a craft to save him, his family and a certain number of animals.
The exact details of the stories vary but the basic story line is the same. In the Gilgamesh epic the flooding is much shorter and there is more than one god. In fact, the god who warned Utnapishtim (this versions equivalent to Noah) was not the same one who was going to destroy humanity with a flood.
The boats were of different dimensions and although they both eventually landed a mountain it was not on the same one. The numbers of people and animals were also different in each story and the Akkadian version included a lot of narrative that was not included in the biblical version.
More Research On Flood Mytholgies
Once Smith discovered the alternate flood story and informed his peers intensive study and research into the questions brought up by the similarities began.
Over the years several other versions of the flood story were discovered in ancient Mesopotamian texts as well as in the myths and legends of cultures all around the world. Some of these stories were around much longer than the one found in the Bible.
Even the Hopi have a legend about a handful of people who were saved by a deity when the rest of the world was destroyed by a flood.
Sumerian King List
A Sumerian King List from the 4th Century B.C. listed a global flood that occurred during the reign of the 10th King to rule humanity. Very interesting to note here is that the biblical flood took place during the 10th generation of man from creation.
Hindu Flood Myth
In an ancient Hindu story, Vishnu appeared to a man as a fish and warned him that a great flood was going to come and destroy all of mankind. The fish instructed the man to build a boat. When the flood waters came the fish helped the man by towing the boat with a cable that was attached to its horn. This story is very different from those previously discussed, but we do see a lot of similarities as well.
Inca Flood Myth
In Inca mythology, Viracocha sent a flood to destroy giants who had come to the land. Only two people were saved from the flood and it was they who replenished the earth. Here we see an interesting reference to giants in relation to the flood story. It appears, from the bible, that “Noah’s” flood was also aimed at destroying a race of giants.
Think About It!
Did a world-wide flood or at least a series of catastrophic floods really happen in our remote past? My own belief is that there were many great floods in different parts of the world and “someone out there” warned a select few people and instructed them on how to be saved. The stories were passed down by word of mouth for a very long time before people started writing them down. Perhaps the stories were embellished and exaggerated through the generations, but the kernel of truth is in there.
Written by David Slone Copyright 2009 all rights reserved and may not be copied or republished in any way without express permission.