Deluge of Legends: The Great Flood and Noah’s Ark in Diverse Mythologies

aamir iqbal
13 min readApr 7, 2023

As one of the most enduring and captivating stories in human history, the tale of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood has been retold and adapted across a variety of cultures and traditions. From the epic of Gilgamesh to the story of Manu, each version offers its unique insights into the universal themes of destruction, survival, and renewal. In this article, we will explore the diverse mythologies and legends that feature the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark, and delve into the cultural significance and symbolism that has made this story a timeless classic.

The Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, there is a story about a man named Bergelmir who built a boat to survive a great flood sent by the gods to wipe out all life on Earth. The flood was caused by the death of the giant Ymir, whose body released a torrent of water that threatened to drown everything.

Bergelmir was one of the few survivors of the flood, along with his wife and a small group of other humans. They sailed in their boat for many days and nights, enduring the stormy seas and the howling winds. Finally, the floodwaters receded, and they could land on a new, unspoiled world.

Bergelmir and his companions then became the ancestors of a new race of humans who would populate this new world and carry on the legacy of their forebears. The story of Bergelmir and his boat is a powerful symbol of human resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity and a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope for a new beginning.

The Hindu Mythology

In Hindu mythology, a story about a great flood is similar to the story of Noah’s Ark in Abrahamic religions. The story is about a man named Manu who was warned by Lord Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, about an impending deluge that would destroy all life on Earth.

According to the myth, Manu built a massive boat or ark and collected pairs of all living creatures, including humans, animals, and plants, to save them from the flood. After the floodwaters subsided, Manu’s boat landed atop a mountain, where he and the other survivors could repopulate the Earth.

The flood story in Hindu mythology is often seen as a symbolic representation of the cycle of creation and destructioncentral to Hindu cosmology. The universe is believed to go through a series of cycles, each consisting of creation, preservation, and destruction. The great flood, therefore, represents a cataclysmic event that marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new one.

The story of Manu and the great flood has been retold and interpreted in various ways throughout history and across different regions of the Indian subcontinent. It remains a significant and enduring myth in Hindu culture and has inspired numerous works of art, literature, and religious philosophy.

The Irish Mythology

The story of Bith is an ancient Irish myth involving a great flood. In this myth, four pairs of humans — two males and two females — were known as the “Four Biths”. They lived in a land called Bithynia, which was located somewhere in the East. The four pairs of humans were said to have been created by the god of the sun, Lugh. One day, the sea began to rise and a great flood swept over the land, destroying everything in its path. The Four Biths built a boat called a coracle and set sail with their animals and provisions, hoping to find a new home. After drifting for many days, they eventually landed on the top of a mountain, where they made a fire and began to rebuild their lives.

The myth of Bith and the great flood is believed to have originated as an explanation for the origin of the Irish people and their survival in the face of adversity. It is similar to flood myths found in many other cultures and religions worldwide, which often symbolize rebirth or renewal after a cataclysmic event.

Chinese Version

In Chinese mythology, there is a concept known as Gunyoh or Gun-Yu, associated with a great flood that lasted for many years. According to the myth, the flood was caused by the gods’ displeasure and was so severe that it covered the entire Earth, leaving only a few mountaintops above the water. To save humanity, the legendary emperor Yao appointed his minister Gunyoh to lead a massive engineering project to control the floodwaters. Gunyoh and his team worked tirelessly for years, digging channels and building dams to redirect the floodwaters and prevent them from inundating the entire world.

After many years of hard work, Gunyoh and his team were finally able to control the floodwaters and save humanity from extinction. The myth of Gunyoh and the great flood is a testament to the power of human ingenuity and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. The myth of Gunyoh and the great flood is also believed to have been inspired by historical floods in ancient China. The Yellow River, in particular, is known for its frequent and devastating floods, which have caused enormous loss of life and property over the centuries.

The Sumerian King’s List

The Sumerian King List is an ancient Babylonian text that includes a list of kings and their reigns from the earliest times to the time of the Babylonian empire. The text also includes a reference to a great flood that is similar to the story of Noah’s Ark in Abrahamic religions.

In the Sumerian King List, there is a reference to a king named Ziusudra who is said to have ruled for many years before the flood. According to the myth, the gods decided to send a great flood to destroy all life on Earth, but they warned Ziusudra about the impending disaster and instructed him to build a boat to save himself, his family, and a few select animals.

Ziusudra followed the instructions of the gods and built a large boat, which he loaded with provisions and animals. When the floodwaters came, Ziusudra and his boat floated above the waters for many days until the flood subsided. Finally, the boat came to rest on the top of a mountain, where Ziusudra and his family and animals could repopulate the Earth.

The Babylonian Account

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Mesopotamian epic poem that tells the story of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, and his quest for immortality. One of the most famous parts of the epic is the story of the Great Flood, which is similar to the story of Noah’s Ark in Abrahamic religions.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story of the Great Flood is told through the character of Utnapishtim, a wise and virtuous man whom the gods granted eternal life. According to the myth, the gods decided to send a great flood to destroy all life on Earth because they were displeased with humanity’s behavior. However, the god Ea took pity on Utnapishtim and warned him about the impending disaster, instructing him to build a boat and save himself, his family, and all the animals.

Utnapishtim followed the instructions of Ea and built a large boat, which he loaded with provisions and animals. When the floodwaters came, Utnapishtim and his boat floated above the waters for many days until the flood subsided. Finally, the boat came to rest on the top of a mountain, where Utnapishtim and his family and animals were able to repopulate the Earth.

The story of Utnapishtim and the Great Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh is believed to be one of the earliest accounts of a flood myth and has been an important influence on the flood stories found in other cultures and religions. The myth is often seen as a symbol of the power of the gods and the need for humanity to live in harmony with the natural world.

The Plato’s Version:

In Plato’s dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias,” there is a reference to a great flood that destroyed Atlantis, a mythical island civilization. According to the myth, Zeus was angered by the wickedness of the Atlanteans and decided to punish them by causing a great flood that destroyed their civilization. In “Critias,” the character of Critias tells the story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, two humans who survived the flood by following the instructions of Prometheus. Prometheus told Deucalion to build a boat and load it with provisions and Pyrrha to gather stones and throw them over their shoulders to create new humans after the flood.

Deucalion and Pyrrha followed the instructions of Prometheus and were able to survive the flood. After the floodwaters receded, they were able to repopulate the Earth by throwing stones over their shoulders, which turned into new humans. The story of Deucalion and the flood is believed to be an early example of the idea of a “heroic survivor,” a person who can overcome a catastrophic event and rebuild civilization. It is also seen as a symbol of the cyclical nature of history, in which civilizations rise and fall over time.

Zoroastrianism

In the Zoroastrian religion, which is also known as Parsi or Mazdaism, there is a story of a great flood, which is similar to other flood myths. In this story, the hero is Yima, also known as Jamshid or Mithra.

According to the myth, Yima was a great king who ruled over a prosperous kingdom. However, he became greedy and selfish and began to oppress his people. This angered the gods, who punished him by sending a great flood to destroy the world. To save himself and his people, Yima was instructed by the god Ahura Mazda to build a great underground structure known as a Vara. The Vara was a vast, enclosed space where Yima could store all the animals, plants, and other living things needed to repopulate the Earth after the flood. Yima built the Vara with the help of the god Mithra, a god of light and truth.

When the flood came, Yima and his people took refuge in the Vara, protected from the floodwaters by divine power. After the floodwaters receded, Yima and his people emerged from the Vara and began repopulating the Earth.

Exploring the Causes

Jude 1:14–15

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones

15 to judge everyone and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

The Ungodly acts?- Mount Hermon and the 200

The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious text that is believed to date back to the Second Temple period. It contains various accounts of celestial beings, including angels and fallen angels, and their interactions with humans.

One of the most well-known stories in the Book of Enoch is the tale of the 200 Watchers, also known as the Grigori. According to the story, the Watchers were a group of angels sent to Earth to watch over humanity. However, they became enamored with human women and began to have children with them, creating a race of giants known as the Nephilim.

The Watchers were punished for their actions and were bound to Earth as fallen angels. They were said to have descended on Mount Hermon, a mountain range in modern-day Lebanon, and made a pact to continue their forbidden relationships with humans. They taught humans various forms of forbidden knowledge, including astrology, enchantments, and the use of weapons.

The story of the Watchers and the Nephilim is seen as a cautionary tale about the dangers of pride and disobedience to God. It has been influential in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions and has been the subject of much speculation and interpretation over the centuries. The Book of Enoch itself has been a source of controversy and was not included in the canon of the Hebrew Bible or most Christian Bibles, but is considered to be a valuable source of information about early Jewish beliefs and traditions.

Ungodly Acts

The Book of Enoch lists the names of the ten leaders of the Watchers who were responsible for teaching forbidden knowledge to humanity. These leaders were:

Semjaza — Semjaza is identified as the leader of the Watchers and is said to have taught humans enchantments, root-cuttings, and the knowledge of the stars.

Artaqifa — Artaqifa is described as a rebellious Watcher who defied God’s plan for humanity. He is said to have taught humans the art of making weapons of war.

Kokabel — Kokabel is said to have taught humans the art of constellations and astrology, which is believed to be a form of divination.

Tamiel — Tamiel is described as a Watcher who taught humans the knowledge of writing and reading. He is also said to have revealed to humans the sun’s mysteries.

Ramiel — Ramiel is identified as the Watcher who taught humans the art of spirits, including the knowledge of the names of the holy angels and the demons.

Danel — Danel is described as a Watcher who taught humans the knowledge of herbs and roots. He is also said to have taught humans the art of casting spells and incantations.

Ezeqeel — Ezeqeel is said to have taught humans the art of meteorology and weather prediction.

Baraqel — Baraqel is described as a Watcher who taught humans the knowledge of the signs of the earth, including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Asael — Asael is identified as the Watcher who taught humans the art of making weapons and warfare.

Armers — Armers is said to have taught humans the knowledge of metals and how to work with them.

It is important to note that the knowledge taught by the Watchers is considered to be forbidden because it is said to be in direct opposition to God’s plan for humanity. The Watchers are believed to have been punished for their actions, ultimately leading to the Great Flood sent to cleanse the Earth of their corrupt influence.

“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all coloring tinctures. And the world was changed. 8:2 And there was great impiety and much fornication, and they went astray, and all their ways became corrupt.

The Offspring resulting from Human-Watcher’s relation

And they (sc. the Watchers) conceived from them and bore to them great giants. And the giants bore Nephilim, and to the Nephilim were born (Elioud?). And they were growing in accordance with their greatness. They were devouring the labor of all of the sons of human beings, and human beings were not able to supply them. And the giants began to kill human beings and to devour them (1 Enoch 7:2–4).

The Paintings

The artist’s starting point for the painting The Descent of the Watchers (1 Enoch 6:1–7:1) is the memorable account of this event in 1 Enoch 6:1–7:1. His focus is specifically upon the Watchers’ descent to the women. In this painting, he does not concern himself with the fact that the Watchers taught them magic and sorcery or with the grievous consequences of this action for humanity and the earth.

As a link to this, there are many Venus figurines from prehistoric times that have been discovered in various parts of the world. These figurines depict nude or semi-nude female figures with exaggerated physical features such as breasts, buttocks, and genitalia.

The Sorcerer Series

The Sorcerers of Grotte de Gabillou (also known as the Grotte de Gabillou Sorcerers) are a set of prehistoric cave paintings found in the Dordogne region of France. The paintings are estimated to be over 15,000 years old and are believed to have been created by early humans during the Upper Paleolithic period.

The Sorcerers of Grotte de Gabillou are so named because they depict human-like figures with animalistic features, such as antlers or beaks. These figures are often shown in groups engaged in mysterious activities, such as dancing or hunting. The paintings were created using natural pigments, such as red and black ochre, and were applied to the cave walls using fingers or crude brushes.

The meaning and purpose of the Sorcerers of Grotte de Gabillou paintings are not fully understood, and scholars have put forward various interpretations. Some have suggested that the figures represent shamanic or spiritual practices, while others see them as depictions of mythological or supernatural beings.

The end of 200

According to the Book of Enoch, the Watchers were punished by God for teaching humans forbidden knowledge and mating with mortal women. This punishment involved being bound and imprisoned in the earth until the end of days. The Book of Enoch also describes the Great Flood, which was brought on by the wickedness of humanity and was meant to cleanse the earth of sin.

The story of Noah (A.S) and the Great Flood is also found in the Abrahamic religions, including Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. In these religions, the Great Flood is seen as a punishment from God for the wickedness of humanity, and Noah (A.S) is chosen to build an ark to save his family and a pair of every animal species from the flood. After the flood, Noah (A.S) and his family repopulate the earth.

While there are similarities between the story of the Watchers and the Great Flood in the Book of Enoch and the story of Noah (A.S) and the Great Flood in the Abrahamic religions, there are also significant differences. In the Book of Enoch, the Watchers are punished for their transgressions, but in the Abrahamic religions, it is humanity as a whole that is punished for their wickedness. Additionally, in the Abrahamic religions, Noah (A.S) is seen as a righteous man who is chosen by God to save humanity, while the Watchers are seen as fallen angels who have corrupted humanity.

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aamir iqbal

let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.