This is the 11th tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The cuneiform text on this tablet is startlingly similar to the Biblical story of Noah and his ark in the Book of Genesis. When George Smith, an assistant in the British Museum first read this inscription, he jumped and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself.
The tablet describes how the god sent a flood to destroy the mankind. Ut-napishtim was warned in secret by the God Ea to build a boat to ensure the survival of humans and animals. Birds were released before the boat landed safely on mountain Nitsir northern Assyria. Versions of this story are known from at least 1000 years before.
From the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal II at Kouyunjik (Nineveh), Mesopotamia, Iraq. 7th century BCE. The British Museum, London.
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