Middle Eastern Mythologies

Inanna’s Descent

Was there a flood in Sumerian mythology?

We know that there was a Sumerian flood myth on which the Babylonian flood story contained in the Gilgamesh epic was based. The Sumerian fragments tell us that the gods punished humans by sending a flood. Only the good king Ziusudra and, presumably, some followers, were spared. Having been told by Enki how to construct a ship to ride out the storm, Ziusudra survives the flood in his ark.

This cuneiform tablet, housed at the British Museum, is the eleventh in the Gilgamesh epic. It describes a flood much like the one Noah survives in the Bible.


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