Even the gods were afraid: a flood of truly “Biblical” proportions

The “Flood Tablet”, Epic of Gilgamesh

Queensland Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, has called the floods devastating the state “biblical”:

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser warned yesterday there would be serious economic consequences from the flood crisis, with costs running beyond $1 billion

”In many ways, it is a disaster of biblical proportions,” he said from the flood-hit city of Bundaberg.

When ordinary language fails to convey the enormity of a tragedy, we reach for metaphors, symbols and poetry.

So it has always been…

More than 4000 years ago, the Epic of Gilgamesh described a universal flood that shattered the world.

Even the gods were afraid and fled the world:

The… land shattered like a… pot.

All day long the South Wind blew …,
blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water,
overwhelming the people like an attack.

No one could see his fellow,
they could not recognize each other in the torrent.

The gods were frightened by the Flood,
and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu.

The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall.
Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth,
the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed:

‘The olden days have alas turned to clay,
because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods!

How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods,
ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!!

No sooner have I given birth to my dear people
than they fill the sea like so many fish!’

The gods–those of the Anunnaki–were weeping with her,
the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief(?),
their lips burning, parched with thirst.

Six days and seven nights
came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land.

When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding,
the flood was a war–struggling with itself like a woman
writhing (in labor).

Empires rise.

Empires fall.

Who will read our poetry in four thousand years?

2 thoughts on “Even the gods were afraid: a flood of truly “Biblical” proportions

  1. Joel says:

    And what deep metaphors will they extract from “our lovely lady humps”?

  2. […] Even the gods were afraid: a flood of truly “Biblical” proportions […]

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