Courtesy of the Schøyen Collection

The Gilgamesh epic also incorporates the oldest account of a world-destroying deluge—the flood later retold in Genesis. The Bible describes the cause of the flood as God’s anger with mankind’s wickedness, but the ancient Mesopotamian version attributes it to human noisiness, which prevented the chief Babylonian god, Enlil, from sleeping. This tablet, from 19th–18th century B.C. Babylonia, records a version of the flood story in which Ziusudra (the counterpart of Noah) is described as being a priest of the god Enki.