Flood myths are common across a wide range of cultures, extending back into Bronze Age and Neolithic prehistory. These accounts depict a flood, sometimes global in scale, usually sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution.


Although the continent has relatively few flood legends,[1][2][3][4] African cultures preserving an oral tradition of a flood include the Kwaya, Mbuti, Maasai, Mandin, and Yoruba peoples.[5]


Floods were seen as beneficial in Ancient Egypt, and similar to the case with Japan, Ancient Egypt did not have any cataclysmic flood myths picturing it as destructive rather than fertile force. One "flood myth" in Egyptian mythology involves the god Ra and his daughter Sekhmet. Ra sent Sekhmet to destroy part of humanity for their disrespect and unfaithfulness which resulted in the gods overturning wine jugs to simulate a great flood of blood, so that by getting her drunk on the wine and causing her to pass out her slaughter would cease. This is commemorated in a wine drinking festival during the annual Nile flood.[6]


North America

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South America







Ancient Near East


Abrahamic religions

The Deluge, c. 1896–1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot




The Matsya avatar comes to the rescue of Manu



Japan lacks a major flood myth. The namazu is considered a creature that brings earthquakes, which in turn bring tsunamis, but they do not count as floods in a strict mythological sense. Japanese scholars in the 19th century such as Hirata Atsutane and Motoori Norinaga have used the global flood myths of other cultures to argue for the supremacy of Shinto and promote Japanese nationalism.[23] They claimed that the fact that Japan has no flood myth showed that it was both the centre and highest point on Earth, making it the closest place on Earth to the heavens. As such, to them this demonstrates the veracity of the Japanese creation myth, where Japan comes first and foremost.





The Origin of Humans from A Massive Magical Gourd, by Suradej Kaewthamai

There are many folktales among Tai peoples, included Zhuang, Thai, Shan and Lao, talking about the origin of them and the deluge from their Thean (แถน), supreme being object of faith.





Classical Antiquity

Medieval Europe

Baltic area







Modern era folklore






  1. ^ Witzel, E.J. Michael (2012). The Origins of the World's Mythologies. Oxford University Press. p. 345. ISBN 978-0-19971-015-7.
  2. ^ Witzel, E.J. Michael (2012). The Origins of the World's Mythologies. Oxford University Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-19971-015-7.
  3. ^ Martinez, Susan B. (2016). The Lost Continent of Pan: The Oceanic Civilization at the Origin of World Culture. Simon and Schuster. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-59143-268-5.
  4. ^ Gerland, Georg (1912). Der Mythus von der Sintflut. Bonn: A. Marcus und E. Webers Verlag. p. 209. ISBN 978-3-95913-784-3.
  5. ^ Lynch, Patricia (2010). African Mythology, A to Z. Chelsea House. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-60413-415-5.
  6. ^ McDonald, Logan (2018). "Worldwide Waters: Laurasian Flood Myths and Their Connections". georgiasouthern.edu. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Native American Indian Flood Myths". www.native-languages.org. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  8. ^ "The Creation Story – Turtle Island" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2015-11-06., Grand Council Treaty #3, The Government of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3
  9. ^ "Choctaw Legends". Retrieved 2020-07-18.
  10. ^ "Flood Stories from Around the World". www.talkorigins.org.
  11. ^ In The Beginning of the Nisqually World
  12. ^ Orowignarak flood myth at talkorigins.org
  13. ^ "First Nations". District of Central Saanich. Archived from the original on December 28, 2023. Retrieved December 28, 2023.
  14. ^ "Jipohan é gente como você". Povos Indígenas no Brasil (in Portuguese). 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  15. ^ Crépeau, Robert R. (October 1997). "Mito e ritual entre os índios Kaingang do Brasil meridional". Horizontes Antropológicos. 3 (6): 173–186. doi:10.1590/s0104-71831997000200009.
  16. ^ The Flood Narrative was written during the Old Babylonian Period and added into existing texts such as the Sumerian King List
  17. ^ Chen, Yi Samuel. The Primeval Flood Catastrophe: Origins and Early Development in Mesopotamian Traditions. Oxford University Press, 2013.[ISBN missing][page needed]
  18. ^ Marvin Meyer; Willis Barnstone (2009). "The Secret Book of John and The Reality of the Rulers (The Hypostasis of the Archons)". The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala. ISBN 9781590306314. Retrieved 2022-02-07.
  19. ^ Skjærvø, Prods Oktor. An Introduction to Zoroastrianism. 2006.
  20. ^ Quotations in the following section are from James Darmesteter's translation [1] of the Vendidad , as published in the 1898 American edition of Max Müller's Sacred Books of the East
  21. ^ a b N. Oettinger, "Before Noah: Possible Relics of the Flood myth in Proto-Indo-Iranian and Earlier", [in:] Proceedings of the 24th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, ed. S.W. Jamison, H.C. Melchert, B. Vine, Bremen 2013, pp. 169–183
  22. ^ Gaster, Theodor Herzl. The oldest stories in the world: Originally translated and retold, with comments. New York: Viking Press, 1958 [1952][ISBN missing][page needed]
  23. ^ Through Japanese Eyes by Richard H. Minear & Leon E. Clark (1994). A Cite Book, 3rd ed. ISBN 0938960369. page 61.
  24. ^ "Tree Bachelor and the Great Flood".
  25. ^ Beyer, Henry Otley (1913). Origin Myths among the Mountain Peoples of the Philippines. Philippine journal of science – Vol. 8, sec. D Manila: Science and Technology Information Institute. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-31808-686-3.
  26. ^ "Philippine Folk Tales: Igorot: The Flood Story". www.sacred-texts.com.
  27. ^ Na Thalang, Siriporn (1996). การวิเคราะห์ตำนานสร้างโลกของคนไท : รายงานการวิจัย. Chulalongkorn University.
  28. ^ a b Van, Dang Nghiem (1993). "The Flood Myth and the Origin of Ethnic Groups in Southeast Asia". The Journal of American Folklore. 106 (421): 304–337. doi:10.2307/541423. JSTOR 541423.
  29. ^ Vajda, Edward (2011). Jordan, Peter (ed.). "Siberian Landscapes in Ket Traditional Culture" (PDF). Landscape and Culture in Northern Eurasia.
  30. ^ Are there Australian flood myths? Oceanic Mythologies: Australian Aborigine and Polynesian Australian Creations and Floods
  31. ^ Australian Aborigines and the Dreamtime When the World was Created By The Handy Mythology Answer Book (Visible Ink Press), adapted by Newsela staff