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The great Flood: parallels


The Epic of Atrahasis on a tablet from the British Museum, London (Britain). (c) British Museum
The Epic of Atrahasis (British Museum; ©!!!)
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) can not be excluded.

Bible Sumer Babylonia Greece Archaeology
Full text Eridu Genesis Atrahasis Ovid
Reconstruction Gilgameš Hyginus
Quran Berossus Apollodorus

In the table below, you can find thirty-two parallels for the main flood stories. It shows that they are closely related.
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Eridu Genesis
Atrahasis
Gilgameš
Bible
Berossus
Step up to the wall to my left and listen! (94) Wall, listen to me! (i.c20) Wall, wall! (21)
the decision that mankind is to be destroyed, has been made. (98) the Great Gods moved to inflict the Flood (14) I have determined to make an end of all flesh (6.13)
build a boat! (i.c23) build a boat! (23) Make yourself an ark (6.14) he was to build a boat (54)
Flee the house ... forsake possessions, and save life. (i.c23) Tear down the house ... spurn possessions and keep alive living beings! (23)
the seed of mankind (183) Make the seed of all living beings go up into the boat. (27) to keep their seed alive (7.3)
Roof her over like the Apsu (i.c29) Roof it over like the Apsu. (31) Make a roof for the ark (6.16)
the coming of the seven-day deluge (i.c37) And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth (7.10)
said to the Elders (i.c.41) I answer the city, the populace, and the Elders (35)
I can not live in your city (i.c47) I cannot reside in your city (40)
a windfall of birds, a spate of fishes (ii.35 a profusion of fowl, myriad fishes (44)
The carpenter carried his axe, the reedworker carried his stone, the rich man carried the pitch, the poor man brought the materials needed. (ii.11) The carpenter carried his hatchet, the reedworker carried his stone, the child carried the pitch, the weak brought whatever else was needed. (50)

units of pitch [to cover] it (66) cover it inside and out with pitch (6.14) scrape off pieces of bitumen (55)
his family was brought on board" (ii.42) I had all my kin go up into the boat (85) Go into the ark, you and all your household (7.1) He boarded the finished ship ... with his wife, children, and closest friends. (54)
the creatures of the steppe, he brought on board (ii.37) all the beasts and animals of the field (86) Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground (7.8) to take on board wild animals and birds an all four-footed animals (54)
He brought pitch to seal his door. (ii.51) I went into the boat and sealed the entry. (93) And they that entered ... and YHWH shut him in (7.16)
He cut the mooring rope and released the boat (ii.55) Erragal pulled out the mooring poles (101)
The deluge belowed like a bull (iii.15) He shattered the land like a raging bull, (107)
broke its clamor like a pot (iii.10) broke it into pieces like a pot (107)
The flood came forth, its power came upon the peoples like a battle (iii.11) And the flood came, overwhelming the people like an attack (109)
one person did not see another, they could not recognize each other in the catastrophe. (iii.13) No one could see his fellow, they could not recognize each other in the torrent. (111)
for seven days and seven nights after the flood had swept over the country (134) Six days and seven nights came the wind and flood (127) And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (7.12)
all the human beings had turned to clay (134) And all flesh died that moved upon the earth (7.21)
Ziusudra then drilled an opening in the big boat (138) I opened a vent (136) Noah opened the window of the ark (8.6) He broke open a seam on a side of the ship (55)
On Mount Nimuš the boat lodged firm (141) the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat (8.4) the ship had come to rest on a mountain. (55)
When a seventh day arrived (146) He waited another seven days (8.10a)
I sent forth a dove and released it. The dove went off, but came back to me (147) he sent forth the dove out of the ark, and the dove came back to him (8.10b) Xisuthrus freed several birds (54)
I sent forth a raven (153) He sent forth a raven (8.7)
The king was butchering oxen, was being lavish with the sheep (142) I sacrificed ... I burned incense (156) Then Noah built an altar to YHWH, ... and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (8.20) He set up an altar and sacrificed to the gods (55)
The gods smelled the savor (160) YHWH smelled the pleasing odor. (8.21)
may I be mindful of these days, and never forget them (165) I will remember my covenant ... I will remember (9.15)
He blessed us (201) God blessed Noah and his sons (9.1)
making lasting breath of life, like a god's, descend into him (181) let Ut-napištim and his wife become like us, the gods (203) had gone to the dwelling place of the gods (55)

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Revision: 25 May 2007
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