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?
- 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.