Weld-Blundell Prism: The Sumerian King-List: The Flood in Babylonian literature

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; number: AN1923.444
Why should "the Flood" theme be so central to Babylonian literature?

Map of the Tigris-Euphrates valley (a000150)
The Tigris and Euphrates Valley
  • The rivers Tigris and Euphrates run southwards from the mountains of Turkey through Iraq into the Gulf.
  • They are prone to flooding between February and May.
  • This is capable of overwhelming the flat alluvial plain of southern Iraq (ancient Sumer) at harvest time.
  • It is not surprising therefore that from an early date catastrophic flooding was a powerful image for the destructive power of supernatural beings in Sumerian literature.