Weld-Blundell Prism: The Sumerian King-List

(Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; number: AN1923.444)

Weld-Blundell Prism: The Sumerian King-List
(Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; number: AN1923.444)

What does the prism say about "the Flood"?

Flood Passage on Face a of the Weld-Blundell Prism (a000146)
The "Flood Passage" on Face a
Interpretation of image a000144 (a000147)
Interpretation of the above cuneiform symbols
  • The section on the Flood does not appear in all versions of the Sumerian King-List and probably had a different origin from the rest of the standard list.
  • The best known passage from the prism is shown here along with the translation by S N Kramer.
  • The idea of a universal flood in remote antiquity is widespread around the world in oral and written sources.
  • This might be accounted for by several independent origins or ultimately from a single source in the prehistory of Iraq.
  • This list gives the names of eight or more kings of the cities before "the Flood".

Translation:

"The Flood swept over [the land]. After the Flood had swept over [the land] and kingship had descended from heaven [for a second time], Kish became the seat of Kingship..."

  • The last of these was the father of Ziusura, the man chosen by the Sumerian god Enki to survive the Flood with his family.
  • This is the subject of other major works in Sumerian and Akkadian literature.