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date: 02 March 2021


  • Gregory S. Aldrete


In classical history and mythology, floods frequently appear in both negative and positive contexts, serving as a force for destruction and retribution, but also for growth and renewal. Floods are inextricably linked with foundational aspects of civilization and urbanization, most notably in connection with irrigation and agriculture, but they also constitute a leading form of natural disaster that can result in widespread devastation and loss of life.The role of cataclysmic floods in the mythologies, legends, and religions of numerous ancient civilizations is well known, as are the many similarities among these narratives, such as floods being sent as divine punishment, an inundation being used to delineate the end of an era, a chosen figure who receives warning of the impending disaster and constructs a watercraft, and the subsequent repopulation of the world by a small group of survivors. Prominent examples include Mesopotamian versions such as the flood narrative in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the biblical account of Noah, and, in the Classical era, the legends of Deucalion, Ogyges, and Dardanus.

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