List of flood myths

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The flood myths or deluge myths are, taken collectively, stories surviving from human prehistory, of a great flood which has generally been taken as mythical. These legends depict global flooding, usually sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution. Flood stories are common across a wide range of cultures, extending back into prehistory. Below is a list of some flood stories from around the world and is in no way exhaustive.

West Asia and Europe[edit]

Ancient Near East[edit]


Babylonian (Epic of Gilgamesh)[edit]

Abrahamic religions (Noah's flood)[edit]

The Deluge, c. 1896–1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

Classical Antiquity[edit]

Medieval Europe[edit]


Modern era folklore[edit]



Many African cultures have an oral tradition of a flood myth including the Kwaya, Mbuti, Maasai, Mandin, and Yoruba peoples. The Maasai myth is as follows:

Once upon a time the rivers began to flood. Then god told two people to get into a ship. He told them to take lots of seed and to take lots of animals. The water of the flood eventually covered the mountains. Finally the flood stopped. Then one of the men, wanting to know if the water had dried up let a dove loose. The dove returned. Later he let loose a hawk which did not return. Then the men left the boat and took the animals and the seeds with them.




The Matsya avatar comes to the rescue of Manu
  • Manu and Matsya: The legend first appears in Shatapatha Brahmana (700–300 BCE), and is further detailed in Matsya Purana (250–500 CE). Matsya (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a fish) forewarns Manu (a human) about an impending catastrophic flood and orders him to collect all the grains of the world in a boat; in some forms of the story, all living creatures are also to be preserved in the boat. When the flood destroys the world, Manu – in some versions accompanied by the seven great sages – survives by boarding the ark, which Matsya pulls to safety.
  • Puluga, the creator god in the religion of the indigenous inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, sends a devastating flood to punish people who have forgotten his commands. Only four people survive this flood: two men and two women.

Central Asia/Turkestan[edit]



  • Mokdoryung


Tai-Kadai people[edit]

There are stories spoken by Tai-Kadai people, included Zhuang, Thai, Shan and Lao, talking about the origin of them and the deluge from their Thean (แถน), supreme being object of faith.

  • Khun Borom
  • Poo-Sankhasa Ya-Sangkhasi or Grandfather Sangkhasa and Grandmother Sangkhasi, who make the human beings and the deluge.





North America[edit]


South America[edit]







  1. ^ Patricia, Lynch (2010). African Mythology, A to Z. Chelsea House. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-60413-415-5.