Flood Myths: Ancient Mythology

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In ancient mythology, it seems as though God or a number of gods and human beings have ever changing relationships. In the creation myths, humans were the last part of creation and were created as servants to the gods. With creation completed, each subsequent myth seems to offer a different relationship between humans and the gods they worship. A prime example of the evolving nature of this relationship would be the flood myths in which the gods aim to end human life on earth. While the take on the flood is different in each respective culture, each myth allows us a clear look into the relationship that humans and their gods share. In Mesopotamian mythology the flood myth of Atrahasis shows the relationship that the gods and humans held at the time of the flood. While the poem gives a scattered account of the actual flood, it does reflect the relationship in question. In the beginning of the poem, the gods are working on earth digging what is now the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The work was tedious and back breaking so the gods decided that they must confront the warrior god Ellil. Shortly after the confrontation, Ea proclaims, “let the womb-goddess create, and let man bear the load of the gods (Dalley: Atrahasis 15)!” Enki provides clay to the womb-goddess Mami and she mixes the clay with the blood of a sacrificed god. After reciting an encantation she pinches off fourteen pieces of clay, seven men, seven women. The humans were created to relieve the gods of their work and duties on earth. This clearly shows that humans were created originally only as servants to the gods and help little more importance. Six hundred years forward, the humans are becoming much too loud and restless. This restlessness becomes far too much for Ellil and he decides that he must end human life on earth. While Ellil attempts many other remedies, they do not accomplish his goal and he decides that he must send a flood to kill off the humans. This willingness to destroy life shows...
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