List of flood myths The Flood myths or deluge myths are, taken collectively, stories surviving from human prehistory, of a great flood which has generally been taken as mythical. These legends depict global flooding, usually sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution. Flood stories are common across a wide range of cultures, extending back into prehistory. Below is a list of some flood stories from around the world and is in no way exhaustive. West Asia and Europe Ancient Near East
Matsya The earliest accounts of the legend associate Matsya with the creator god Prajapati (identified with Brahma). However, Puranic scriptures incorporate Matsya as an avatar of Vishnu. Matsya forewarns Manu about an impending catastrophic flood and orders him to collect all the grains of the world in a boat; in some forms of the story, all living creatures are also to be preserved in the boat. When the flood destroys the world, Manu - in some versions accompanied by the seven great sages - survives by boarding the ark, which Matsya pulls to safety. In later versions of this story, the sacred texts Vedas are hidden by a demon, whom Matsya slays: Manu is rescued and the scriptures are recovered. The tale is in the tradition of the family of flood myths, common across cultures.
Nanabozho Manabozho in the flood. (Illustration by R.C. Armour, from his book North American Indian Fairy Tales, Folklore and Legends, 1905) In Anishinaabe mythology, particularly among the Ojibwa, Nanabozho [nɐˌnɐbʊˈʒʊ] also known as Nanabush is a spirit, and figures prominently in their storytelling, including the story of the world's creation. Nanabozho is the Ojibwe trickster figure and culture hero (these two archetypes are often combined into a single figure in First Nations mythologies).
Gilgamesh flood myth Utnapishtim (or Utanapishtim) is a character in the epic of Gilgamesh who is tasked by Enki (Ea) to abandon his worldly possessions and create a giant ship to be called The Preserver of Life. He was also tasked with bringing his wife, family, and relatives along with the craftsmen of his village, baby animals and grains. The oncoming flood would wipe out all animals and humans that were not on the ship, similar to that of the later Noah's Ark story. After twelve days on the water, Utanapishtim opened the hatch of his ship to look around and saw the slopes of Mount Nisir, where he rested his ship for seven days. On the seventh day, he sent a dove out to see if the water had receded, and the dove could find nothing but water, so it returned.
Deucalion from "Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum " Etymology Deucalion's name comes from δεῦκος, deucos, a variant of γλεῦκος, gleucos, i.e. "sweet new wine, must, sweetness" and ἁλιεύς, haliéus, i.e. "sailor, seaman, fisher". His wife Pyrrha's name is derived from the adjective πυρρός, -ά, -όν, pyrrhós, -á, -ón, i.e. Deucalion
Manu (Hinduism) Matsya protecting the Manu and the seven sages at the time of Deluge In some Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to a progenitor of humanity. According to these traditions, the current time period is ruled by the seventh Manu called the Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvân and his wife Sanjnâ. Vaivasvata Manu, whose original name was Satyavrata, is the 7th Manu and considered the first king to rule this earth, who saved humanity from the great flood — after being warned of it by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, who had also advised him to build a giant boat. The story is mentioned in early Hindu scriptures such as the Satapatha Brahmana, and it has often been compared with the popular traditions of a Great Deluge from other cultures around the world, particularly that of Noah's Ark. Because Manu was believed to be absolutely honest, he was initially known as Satyavrata ("One with the oath of truth"). Vaivasvata Manu ruled as King Manu. His wife was Sraddha.
Noah's Ark Noah's Ark (1846), a painting by the American folk painter Edward Hicks
"The Deluge", frontispiece to Gustave Doré's illustrated edition of the Bible. Based on the story of Noah's Ark, this shows humans and a tiger doomed by the flood futilely attempting to save their children and cubs. A flood myth or deluge myth is a symbolic narrative in which a great flood is sent by a deity, or deities, to destroy civilization in an act of divine retribution. Parallels are often drawn between the flood waters of these myths and the primeval waters found in certain creation myths, as the flood waters are described as a measure for the cleansing of humanity, in preparation for rebirth.