Atrahasis – Creation and Destruction of Humankind

Atra-Hasis was a central figure in the ‘creation’ and ‘deluge’ accounts chronicled by the Sumerians hundreds of years before the first book of the Bible was ever written…

Atra-Hasis (“exceedingly wise”) is the protagonist and namesake of an 18th century BCE Akkadian epic. The Atra-Hasis tablets include both a creation myth and a flood account, which is one of three surviving Babylonian deluge stories. The oldest known copy of the epic tradition concerning Atrahasis can be dated to the reign of Hammurabi’s great-grandson, Ammi-Saduqa (1646–1626 BCE), but various Old Babylonian fragments exist.

According to one version of the Sumerian king list, in the years just before the Flood swept over the earth, Ubara-Tutu (who is named as the father of Atrahasis in Gilgamesh) was king of Shuruppak, where some of the earliest writings known to the entire world have been discovered. According to a different version of the Sumerian king list, Atrahasis, called there by his Sumerian name Zuisudra, himself ruled the city Shuruppak, preceded by his father who was named like the city. A wisdom composition known as The Instructions of Shuruppak is now attested on clay tablets from the Early Dynastic period in the early third millennium BC, and contains sage advice given by Shuruppak to his son Zuisudra. Thus, Atrahasis was a notable figure even at the dawn of history.