This Assyrian tablet tells the story of a plan by the gods to destroy the world by means of a great flood. Ut-napishti, like the biblical Noah, builds a huge boat to rescue his family and every type of animal. When this tablet was first translated in 1872 it caused a sensation. How could the similarity between the Mesopotamian myth and the biblical Flood story be explained?
A piece of the world’s oldest literature
Mesopotamian poets had told versions of the story of the flood for 2,000 years before this tablet was written for King Ashurbanipal’s Library. This version is part of the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh - the first great epic of world literature. Gilgamesh is a hero who sets off on a quest for immortality. He battles with monsters and ultimately must confront his own nature and mortality.