The Chaldean Account of the Deluge, or Great Flood
from “The Religions of the Ancient World” by George Rawlinson, 1883
“He spake to me and said:— ‘ Son of Ubaratutu, make a ship after this fashion …. for I destroy the sinners and life …. and cause to enter in all the seed of life, that thou mayest preserve them. The ship which thou shalt make, …. cubits shall be the measure of the length thereof, and …. cubits the measure of the breadth and height thereof; and into the deep thou shalt launch it.’ I understood, and said to He, my Lord :
‘ Hea, my Lord, this which Thou commandest me, I will perform: [though I be derided] both by young and old, it shall be done / Hea opened his mouth, and spake —
‘This shalt thou say to them …. (hiatus of six lines) …. and enter thou into the ship, and shut to the door; and bring into the midst of it thy grain, and thy furniture, and thy goods, thy wealth, thy servants, thy female slaves and thy young men. And I will gather to thee the beasts of the field, and the animals, and I will bring them to thee; and they shall be enclosed within thy door.’ Hasisadra his mouth opened and spake, and said to Hea, his Lord —
‘There was not upon the earth a man who could make the ship …. strong [planks] I brought …. on the fifth day …. in its circuit fourteen measures [it measured] ; in its sides fourteen measures it measured …. and upon it I placed its roof and closed [the door]. On the sixth day I embarked in it : on the seventh I examined it without : on the eighth I examined it within ; planks against the influx of the waters I placed : where I saw rents and holes, I added what was required. Three measures of bitumen I poured over the outside: three measures of bitumen I poured over the inside …. (five lines obscure and mutilated) Wine in receptacles I collected, like the waters of a river; also [food], like the dust of the earth, I collected in boxes [and stored up.] And Shamas the material of the ship completed [and made it] strong. And the reed oars of the ship I caused them to bring [and place] above and below All I possessed of silver, all I possessed of gold, all I possessed of the seed of life, I caused to ascend into the ship. All my male servants, all my female servants, all the beasts of the field, all the animals, all the sons of the people, I caused to go up. A flood Shamas made, and thus he spake in the night : ‘I will cause it to rain from heaven heavily. Enter into the midst of the ship, and shut thy door”
The command of Shamas is obeyed, and then “The raging of a storm in the morning arose, from the horizon of heaven extending far and wide. Vul in the midst of it thundered : Nebo and Saru went in front: the throne-bearers sped over mountains and plains : the destroyer, Nergal, overturned : Ninip went in front and cast down: the spirits spread abroad destruction: in their fury they swept the earth: the flood of Vul reached to heaven. The bright earth to a waste was turned : the storm o’er its surface swept : from the face of the earth was life
destroyed : the strong flood that had whelmed mankind reached to heaven : brother saw not brother ; the flood did not spare the people. Even in heaven the gods feared the tempest, and sought refuge in the abode of Ami. Like dogs the gods crouched down, and cowered together. Spake Ishtar, like a child—uttered the great goddess her speech :
‘When the world to corruption turned, then I in the presence of the gods prophesied evil. When I in the presence of the gods prophesied evil, then to evil were devoted all my children. I, the mother, have given birth to my people, and lo! now like the young of fishes they fill the sea.’ The gods were weeping for the spirits with her; the gods in their seats were sitting in lamentation; covered were their lips on account of the corning evil. Six days and nights passed; the wind, the flood, the storm overwhelmed. On the seventh day, in its course was calmed the storm; and all the tempest, which had destroyed like an earthquake, was quieted. The flood He caused to dry; the wind and the deluge ended. I beheld the tossing of the sea, and mankind all turned to corruption; like reeds the corpses floated. I opened the window, and the light broke over my face. It passed. I sat down and wept; over my face flowed my tears. I saw the shore at the edge of the sea; for twelve measures the land rose. To the country of Nizir went the ship : the mountain of Nizir stopped the ship : to pass over it was not able.
The first day and the second day the mountain of Nizir, the same ; the third day and the fourth day the mountain of Nizir, the same; the fifth and sixth the mountain of Nizir, the same ; in the course of the seventh day I sent out a dove, and it left. The dove went to and fro, and a resting place it did not find, and it returned. I sent forth a swallow, and it left ; the swallow went to and fro, and a resting-place it did not find, and it returned. I sent forth a raven, and it left ; the raven went, and the corpses on the waters it saw, and it did eat : it swam, and wandered away, and returned not. I sent the animals forth to the four winds : I poured out a libation : I built an altar on the peak of the mountain : seven jugs of wine I took ; at the bottom I placed reeds, pines, and spices. The gods collected to the burning : the gods collected to the good burning. Like sumpe (?) over the sacrifice they gathered”.
There are a few versions and interpretations of this Chaldean myth, but you can see the great similarities to the Great Flood story in the Old Testament of the Bible and others. One of the more popular is The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian classic.