Sumaria is an area, which today we call the Middle East. It is in the region of modern day Iraq.
The people who lived in Sumaria in about 2000BC had their own ideas on how the world was created.
One of the stories is known as the Atrahasis Epic. This story deals mainly with creation of mankind and a flood disaster. We are told that the reason there was a great flood was because the gods were angry at all the noise humans made.
Read the Atrahasis Epic
As a newspaper reporter for the Global Times in Sumaria you have just been told the story of the creation of humans.
Your people back in Europe have always wondered about how this came about. This is your opportunity for a scoop. BUT you have also heard directly from King Atrahasis about the possibility of a major flood, which the gods intend to send.
Try to identify the main points of the story, then using pictures and your own words write an account of the creation and flood for your newspaper. Tell the editor about the gods, how they came to create humans, the problem of noise and the great flood.
Use headlines and set out your report in the correct news format.
A typical headline could be:
"Gods plan to kill humans"
"Great flood coming"
"Gods can't sleep and vow revenge"
Your news report must be about one page in length.
<<< THE ATRAHASIS EPIC >>>
The world was once only populated by gods. Eventually the younger and less important gods revolt and refused to carry out the daily chores on earth.
Enki one of the gods, negotiated a settlement between the younger and older gods in which they decided to create humans to take care of the earth. One of the main responsibilities of the humans would be to dredge the canals.
The divine assembly of the older gods agreed to this proposal but insisted that Nintu - Mami their own senior god would make the humans.
Nintu - Mami took some blood from one of the younger gods and mixed it with clay from the earth and so produced a human.
Nintu - Mami made seven pairs of humans, that is, seven men and seven women.
But things did not go as planned, the humans began to overpopulate the world instead of doing their work. Eventually there were so many people and so much noise that the gods could not rest or sleep. One of the main gods, Enlil, decided that in order to cut down the noise he would send plagues to the earth to kill off some of the humans.
King Atrahasis, the ruler of the world and head of all humans, prayed to his god Enki to intervene on behalf of humans to bring an end to the plagues.
Over a period of six years, Enki advised King Atrahasis on how to survive the plagues.
The gods, realizing that their plans to de populate the world was not working, finally approved a plan to flood the whole world to kill off all people. However Enki learn of the plan to flood the world and tell the King to build a boat to save all the animals and his family.
The floods came down for seven days and seven nights. All life on earth was destroyed except the animals that King Atrahasis had saved as well as the Kings family.
The gods had by now realized that they had made a great mistake. The flood had destroyed all their temples and since all the humans were now dead they could no longer receive food or sacrifices.
But, King Atrahasis, who was grateful to survive the great flood, made a sacrifice to the gods. The gods were delighted that once again they had food to eat and humans to take care of them.
The gods promise never to flood the world again, but they decided that in future they would limit human numbers by creating three different kinds of women.
Some of the women were able to have children, some were made infertile and the third kind of woman was to be a group of holy priestess that promised not to have children.
The gods now had the world under control. The humans worked well and continued to tend to the canals, feed the gods and sacrifice to them.