Origin/Historian/Author: Sumer, Temple Library of Nippur, ca 2300 BCE
Source: The Sacred Books and Literature of the East, By Prof. Charles F. Horne, Ph.D.
The Sacred Books and Literature of the East Translations conducted by:
Morris Jastrow, Jr., LL.D., Rev. A.H. Sayce, LL.D., Robert W. Rogers, LL.D., George A. Barton, LL.D., Leonard W. King, F.S.A., Stephen Langdon, PH.D., Arno Poebel, PH.D., and other scholars.

The Eridu Genesis Tablet was discovered in the Temple Library of Nippur. Dated to ca 2300 BCE, it’s currently considered the oldest written account of both the great deluge and creation of Man. It likely influenced the later myth of Enki and Ninmah, which also describes events that occurred surrounding the Rebellion of the Igigi.

As was the case with the Atrahasis Epic and the Myth of Enki and Ninmah, the Gods created Mankind, and for a while the new society was satisfactory. However, eventually the Gods became overwhelmed with the people, which caused discontent between social classes. This account is so damaged that no actual transgression is described, only the decision to destroy the seed of man by causing a flood.

In this text, Anu, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursag are described as establishing or creating the Blackheaded people, aka Man. Use of the term “blackheaded” is an interesting descriptor which seems to imply the ruling class were not “blackheaded” themselves. It is unclear whether this is refers to hair or skin, however, if the ruling and lower classes shared similar physical features, why would the ruling class differentiate themselves using physical characteristics? This leads us to believe that the ruling class of Sumer, who are known by some as the Gods, had either lighter hair or lighter skin.

Although this version is quite fragmented and perhaps outdated, a more modern translation is available on the ETCSL Corpus website created by The University of Oxford. Click here to view the newer translation: ETCSL The Flood Story t.1.7.4.

Full Text Below


” My human-kind on its destruction I will . . . (2)
My, Nintu’s, creations . . .
I will . . .
5 The people in their settlements I will . . .
Cities … he may build,
their shade (protection) I will . . .
The brick of our houses may he cast in a clean spot,
Our . . . places may he establish in a clean spot.”
10 … of the temennu she made straight for it,
The sublime commandments and precepts she made perfect for it,
After Anu, Enlil, Enki, and Nin-harsagga
Had created the blackheaded,
The … of the ground the ground . . .
15 The animals, the four-legged, of the field artfully they
called into existence.


“… I will . . . upon him
… I will look upon him.”
After the maker of the … of the land, the establisher
of the foundation of the . . .
Had created the … of royalty,
10 Created the sublime . . . the … of royalty,
The sublime commandments and precepts he made perfect
for it.
In clean places five cities he founded,
And after their names he had called, and they had been
allotted to kabdugas
The first of the cities, Eridu, to the leader Nudimmut
15 he gave,
Secondly, to … Bad-NAGAR + DIS he gave,
Thirdly, Larak to Pabilharsag he gave,
Fourthly, Sippar to the hero Shamash he gave,
Fifthly, Suruppak to … he gave;
20 After the names of these cities he had called, and to
kabdugas they had been allotted,
The … he … he …
. . . small rivers and suluhs … he established . . .


10 The . . . place . . .
The people . . , A rainstorm . . .
Their . . . they made, . . .
15 At that time Nintu screamed like a woman in travail.
The holy Ishtar wailed on account of her people.
Enki in his own heart held counsel.
Anu, Enlil, Enki, and Nin-harsagga . . .
The gods of Heaven and Earth invoked the name of Anu
and Enlil.
20 At that time Ziugiddu was King, the priest-king of …
A huge … he made, . . .
In humility prostrating himself, in reverence . . .
Daily and perseveringly standing in attendance . . .
. . . -ing by dreams which had not been before, . . .
25 Conjuring by the name of Heaven and Earth . . .


For . . . the gods a wall . . .
Ziugiddu standing at its side heard . . .
“At the wall at my left side stand and . . . ,
At the wall I will speak a word to thee.
5 “O my holy one, thy ear open to me
By our hand a rainstorm . . .
will be sent;
To destroy the seed of mankind, to …
Is the decision, the saying of the assembly of the gods,
10 ” The commands of Anu and Enlil . . . ,
Their kingdom, their rule . . . ,
To him . . .


All the windstorms which possess immense power, they all
and together came,
The rainstorm . . . raged with them.
When for seven days, for seven nights
The rainstorm in the land had raged,
5 The huge boat on the great waters by the windstorms had
been carried away,
Shamash came forth again, shedding light over Heaven
and Earth.
Ziugiddu opened a … of the huge boat,
The light of the hero Shamash he lets enter into the
interior of the huge boat.
Ziugiddu, the King,
10 Before Shamash he prostrates himself,
The King, an ox he sacrifices, a sheep he slaughters.
While . . . great horn . . . ,
. . . he . , for him
15 … he filled
. . . two . .
After . . .


” By the soul of Heaven, by the soul of the earth, ye shall
conjure him,
that he may . . . with you.
Anu and Enlil by the soul of Heaven and by the soul of
the earth ye shall conjure,
and he will . . . with you.”
5 The … of the ground with the earth, rising it rises.
[VOL. I.-5.]
Ziugiddu, the King,
Before Anu and Enlil he prostrates himself.
Life like that of a god he gives to him,
An eternal soul like that of a god he creates for him.
10 At that time Ziugiddu, the King,
The name of the …” Preserver of the seed of mankind ” . . .
On a … mountain, the mountain of Dilmun . . . they
caused him to dwell
After . . . they had caused him to dwell,


. . . Ziugiddu . . .

(2) Possibly ” I will ” should be read in the plural, ” Let us.”