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Dating the Gilgamesh Epic[edit]

Though some may estimate dates with C-14 of plant and bacteria in the clay, the epic can also be dated by the Damuzi poem which says Venus rose from the dead the day Mars turned around into Scorpio. A search of the sky results in a rare event that comes closest as the two dates 2040bc April 26 (G.Apr 9) and 1645bc March 10 (G.Feb 25). According to Genesis Hebrew short chronology, this Noah would be alive for the first epic and dead for the rewritten copy of it. The 2040bc date does not match the long chronology such as Egypt which places the three men (biblical Peleg, and 5th dynasty Unas Sakkara, and Gilgamesh at 2321bc), nor other timelines that place these men as year 740 after the Flood such as 2217bc and 2207bc.

Merge w/Atrahasis Epic[edit]

As suggested by The Dogandpony

Looks like a good idea to me. John (Jwy) 14:46, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Without a doubt. --JFK 16:30, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


The second half of the first para, and all of the third, are cut and paste from the Wiki article on Noah's Ark. First, this shows a touching but possibly misplaced faith in the acuracy of the Ark article. Second, the pasted material simply doesn't fit into the flow of the rest of this article. It really needs to be redrafted from more reliable, external, sources. PiCo 02:56, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I rewrote and expanded the paragraphs you objected to. Greensburger 18:32, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. I have a few further suggestions if you'd care to follow up on them.

  • Divide the article into sections and sub-sections. The sections could be Discovery (a brief overview of the discovery of the Atrahasis tablets, dating including how these dates are arrived at, perhaps identifying leading scholars engaged in the translation and the problems and discussions on this score); Narrative (containing a general suymmary of the story followed by three subsections, one for each tablet, and each summarising the storyline of that tablet); Analysis (giving comments by leading scholars in the field - referenced of course), and anything else you can think of.
  • The narrative summary should be in historic present tense, not simple past - e.g., "Enlil assigns...", not Enlil assigned. This tends to read better, tho Marduk knows why - probably just a personal prejudice on my part. But at the moment, the article contains little bits of each.
  • Avoid personal intrusions, such as "...perhaps because priests of Enki were writing and copying the myth." (If you can give a reference from a recognised scholar, that's different).
  • Try to integrate the last [para better - I can't understand why it's there, but I'm sure you could explain this.

Enjoy :). PiCo 05:01, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Universal or local flood[edit]

These two passages from epic seem at odds

Tablet III of Atrahasis tells how the god Enki warns the hero Atrahasis ("Extremely Wise") of Shuruppak, speaking through a reed wall (suggestive of an oracle) to dismantle his house (perhaps to provide a construction site) and build a boat to escape the flood planned by the god Enlil to destroy mankind.
Atrahasis tablet III iv, lines 6-9 clearly identify the flood as a local river flood: "Like dragonflies they [dead bodies] have filled the river. Like a raft they have moved in to the edge [of the boat]. Like a raft they have moved in to the riverbank."

The first suggest a universal flood, the latter a local flood. It sounds to me like the writer intended a universal flood based on the fact that the flood was to destroy mankind and that it was neccassary to build a boat to escape it, but that he still invisioned that flood in terms of the sort of flooding he was familiar with. In any event I don't think its "clear" that the poem desctibes a local river flood since even the writer seems confused on that point.

Furthermore, on what basis is the flood passage in the Epic of Gilgamash said to be based on this poem? How is it known it isn't the other way around?

We cannot answer this call for original research, but a brief report on the published interpretations would certainly enrich this article. --Wetman 04:07, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I am not asking anyone to do any original research. Please do not mischaracterize my comments again.
River floods routinely cover flood plains. We must not insert a modern global interpretation into a story written by people who lived on a flood plain and knew nothing of mankind at distant parts of the earth. There is no conflict between a river flood and a flood to destroy mankind. The question of which version (Atrahasis or Gilgamesh) came first is addresed by the scholarly book by Prof. Tigay. Greensburger 06:32, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
You make a good point. But the flood as it is described is universal in that it will destroy mankind. A river flood which kills everyone is universal (from the point of view of the writer) so the contadiction is not in the original tale as I have mistakenly said. The problem is in the article itself since it refers to the flood as "a local river flood". A riverflood which destoys mankind would be a universal river flood (not universal in the since that it covers the entire world as we know it today, but universal in that it kills all mankind).
Also, thank you for the reference, but does anyone know WHY Tigay beleives that this epic came first. It's good to provide references, but the article would be greatly improved if it actually gave some explination of how the conclusion was drawn. 18:09, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Further to the above comment (which I wish the author would sign on for), I'd like to see something in the article about how and when the tablets were discovered and deciphered. I'm not able to do this myself, but perhaps someone else...? PiCo 04:35, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm also puzzled as to why the flood is described as local in this article. Clearly it's purpose was to destroy mankind. At the very least the phrase "local river flood" should be changes to "river flood".Heathcliff (talk) 17:48, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
Local means on the flood plain near the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and not in the Zagros and Armenian mountains hundreds of miles away. The river flood of 2900 BCE did destroy mankind who lived in low areas of the flood plain in that local area. There was a 1981 study by Robert McCormick Adams Heartland of Cities, which surveyed settlements in the T-E valley. He discovered more than 40 settlements that existed during the JN period, i.e. at the time of the river flood of 2900 BCE, but were never repopulated after the flood. The ancient story writer wrote about an event that happened on the flood plain in Sumer. He had no knowledge of events in distant countries. When a modern news reporter writes about an airplane crash that killed everybody on board, we are expected to understand without being told that "everybody" means the passengers on that one flight and not everybody on the planet earth. If the ancient writer wrote that every person died in the flood, we are expected to understand, without being told, that "every person" means every person who was in the low areas of the flood plain affected by that one local river flood that deposited about 3 feet of yellow silt in Shuruppak. People who lived in the surrounding foothills and mountains and distant countries were not affected and therefore were not mentioned in the story. Greensburger (talk) 21:52, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

I think the real issue here, and one that I have tried to address with recent edits, is that Tigay places too much weight on the use of the word "river". The immediately preceeding line implies that the gods have used the "sea" to accomplish their purposes. The pitiful images of dead dragonflies or "mayflies" (according to George) floating on a swollen river (apparently a common phenomenon in Mesopotamia), and overturned rafts washing up on the land seem to be used more for poetic effect than a literal description of the deluge. --Sineaste (talk) 08:07, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

I would point out that Mesopotamian sources suggest that even early Mesopotamians were aware that the flood was not universal. 'Erra and Ishum' suggests that Sippar survived for instance. I think we need to read this article with early perceptions of 'local' and 'universal' in mind as others have suggested. I read somewhere, I think in a preface, that the universality of The Flood could have been posited later as many early civilisations could have imagined a flood as an explanation for above sea level marine fossils. This would be of course before there was any conception of geological time scales. Curzmg (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 13:04, 19 November 2010 (UTC).

Is Atra-Hasis same as Ahura-Mazda???[edit]

Ahura Mazda is the Iranian name of Semitic Atra-Hasis???

North Arabian Atargatis And south Arabian Atarsamain

Humanbyrace (talk) 11:18, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

"A roof like the Apsu"[edit]

Surely common sense dictates that when Atrahasis is told to give his vessel a "roof like Apsu" the reference is not to an open marsh. Apsu here is clearly used in its most common sense of the primeval freshwater ocean beneath the earth. The roof of Apsu is obviously the earth's crust or surface that makes the subterranean sea invisible to the Sun god as he passes overhead, hence the next line of the story. The emphasis in the surrounding verses is on sealing the boat thoroughly, in the same way that the Apsu is sealed off by the surface of the earth. It is difficult to make sense of these lines if we are talking about an open marsh beside a temple. --Sineaste (talk) 08:19, 25 June 2010 (UTC) Incidentally, I propose editing the existing text shortly unless anyone has serious objections or compelling arguments to the contrary. --Sineaste (talk) 08:21, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Original Research. An interesting interpretation though. The translation is limited and open to interpretation so I'm not sure common sense is the right word. My own personal interpretation is that the roof is made out of water. How that would be possible I couldn't tell you. Common sense most certainly shows that Atrahasis and Atlantis are the same thing given the context being a deluge and the similar spelling. L and R are linguistically interchangeable in many cases. Athrasis=Athlasis=Atlantis=biblical Antediluvian (pre-deluge). Common sense is still original research unless a consensus is established. (although scholars have made the correlation with Antediluvian) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

This is hardly original research. I refer you to the book Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography by Horowitz (preview available on Google books). Horowitz, commenting on the use of the expression 'roof it over like the Apsu' in Atrahasis and Gilgamesh states: If the roof's Apsu refers to the cosmic Apsu, then the earth's crust can be identified as Apsu's roof. He finds a similar meaning in another Akkadian text that reads: Ea, by your spell mankind was created. You continued, pinched their clay from the hard surface of the Apsu. The context in Atrahasis suggests that this roof over the boat makes it impenetrable to the sun: Roof it over like the Apsu, Do not let the Sun [the god Shamash] look inside it. This would hardly make sense if the roof was 'made out of water'. --Sineaste (talk) 06:33, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


I am going to suggest a radical expansion of this page. This article is of supreme importance and significance, the efforts of contributors so far have been admirable but I suggest that we seriously rework this page. I hope this will be alright with earlier contributors, particularly Greensburger who has done some incredible work here. I am going to avoid editing the earlier material at all for now as this can be complex and it is of a high standard already. Instead I am going to attempt to add a few new sections to elaborate on some general points already made. This is not my area of expertise, rather a hobby, so I will do the best job I can but I will need other users' help to ensure something truly worthwhile. For instance I will have to rely on secondary citations in some cases as I am not extensively well read on this topic. I hope essentially to flesh out this article with some more summarised (but decent) sections and I hope others with greater knowledge in this area will find it easier to perfect these sections than to create entirely new ones. Curzmg 13:17 GMT 19/11/2010 —Preceding undated comment added 13:18, 19 November 2010 (UTC).

Linguistic connection between Prometheus and Atrahasis[edit]

Or more accurately, the lack thereof. I checked two different versions of "Myths from Mesopotamia" by Stephanie Dalley and that information is never mentioned. This threw a wrench into writing my paper and not being able to find the reference screw stuff up. If someone can find evidence this connection exists or is even hinted at anywhere you can add it back. Ninja337 (talk) 22:47, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Look again[edit]

AFAICT from the Sumerian kings list article, this statement is not true. "An "Atra-Hasis" appears on one of the Sumerian king lists as king of Shuruppak in the times before the flood." Please look again and see if you have copied text and changed it without doing the research. (talk) 10:57, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

if not a conflict[edit]

then explain how Old Babylonian of the most complete version is also "the most complete version ... in Akkadian." I know the answer but it's not clear from the article that you do. (talk) 20:10, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

link rot[edit]

The link to the British Museum has a 404 error on it. (talk) 13:06, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

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