The Great Flood: Hyginus

The Great Flood: mythological story about a great destruction that once befell the earth. There are several variants; the Biblical version is the most famous. The possibility that there is a historical event behind the story (a local flood in southern Babylonia in the twenty-eighth century BCE) cannot be excluded.

One of the Graeco-Roman versions is the summary by Gaius Julius Hyginus, a first-century CE author from Roman Spain who collected ancient myths in a book called Fabulae, "stories". Although brief and poorly written, it is interesting because (a) it contains no reference to a boat and (b) it refers to an uncommon site where they survived.

Fabula 153 was translated by Mary Grant.


Hyginus, Fabula 153

When the cataclysm which we call the Flood or Deluge occurred, all the human race perished except Deucalion and Pyrrha, who fled to Mount Etna, which is said to be the highest mountain in Sicily. When they could not live on account of loneliness, they begged Jupiter either to give men, or to afflict them with a similar disaster. Then Jupiter bade them cast stones behind them; those Deucalion threw he ordered to become men, and those Pyrrha threw, to be women. Because of this they are called laos, "people", for stone in Greek is called las.