The Gilgamesh Epic is an ancient Mesopotamian story about life and the suffering one must endure while alive. Included in the story, is a tale of a great flood that covered the earth, killing all but a select few of it’s inhabitants. This story of a great flood is common to most people, and has affected history in several ways. It’s presence in the Gilgamesh Epic has caused many people to search for evidence that a great flood actually happened. It has also caused several other religions and cultures to take the same basic story, claiming it for their own.
Whether in Christianity in the form of Noah’s Ark, or through Mesopotamian history in the form of an immortal, the idea of a great flood has proven to be a common story throughout the world. Though Noah’s Ark may be the most popular form of the story, it is not the oldest. Many people believe Noah’s Ark was based on Utnapishnem’s flood story. The two stories are obviously based on the same thing, but one must wonder which one is true or which came first.
The story of Utnapishnem in the Gilgamesh Epic starts with a dream that warns Utnapishnem of the coming flood. The gods are angry and want to rid the world of mankind. Utnapishnem built a boat large enough to carry his family, personal belongings, and “the seed of all other living creatures.” After Utnapishnem finished, the rain fell for six days and six nights, and it was so bad that the gods climbed into heaven for safety. After the rain stopped, the boat came to rest on Mount Nisir, and Utnapishnem released a dove and a swallow. Both birds returned because they could not find land. Then a raven was released and it did not come back, proving that there was land for it to rest on. Utnapishnem then came out of the ship and offered a sacrifice to the gods. When the gods smelled the sweet odor of the sacrifice, they blessed Utnapishnem and his wife to be like the gods and live forever.
The story of Noah’s Ark begins with God being upset at mankind's wickedness. He decides to destroy it with a flood. God new Noah was righteous and told him to build an ark so he would be safe from the rain. Noah did so and took aboard his family and pairs of every kind of animal. It rained for forty days and nights, until the highest mountains were covered. Then God sent a wind and the waters receded, and the...
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...tioned. What caused the tidal wave is still a mystery, although many people believe it was caused by volcanic eruption, or a large meteorite crashing into the Earth’s surface.
The other theory is of universal flooding. The idea of a great flood has been found to be conclusive with geological findings all over the globe. A flood this large would have deposited sediment throughout the world. It has been scientifically estimate that more than seventy-five percent of the Earth is covered with sediment. Fossils have also been found in the Rockie Mountains that contain shells and fish. Many other petrified “fish beds” have been found all over the world, including Mt. Everest, suggesting that a global flood did indeed happen.
Though scientists cannot agree on whether or not a global flood occurred, the effect of these stories on science has been monumental, as well as the effect of the stories on cultures and religions throughout the world. If this great flood did , in fact, occur, it’s effect on history would have been great because of the huge numbers of people lost to it. Though they may be fables, one must keep asking themselves if they may have been based on fact.
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