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Chaldean Account of Genesis by George Smith

George Smith [1840-1876], The Chaldean Account of Genesis
“The Flood Tablet”, the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic describes how the gods sent a flood to destroy the world. Like Noah, Utnapishtim was forewarned and built an ark to house and preserve living things. After the flood he sent out birds to look for dry land (British Museum). Source: Wikipedia.

Today’s free book is one of the classics of Biblical archaeology, The Chaldean Account of Genesis. Wikipedia notes of the author:

In 1872, Smith achieved worldwide fame by his translation of the Chaldaean account of the Great Flood, which he read before the Society of Biblical Archaeology on 3 December and whose audience included the Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.

This work is better known today as the eleventh tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest known works of literature, discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in 1853 on an archeological mission for the British Museum on behalf of his colleague and mentor Austen Henry Layard. The following January, Edwin Arnold, the editor of The Daily Telegraph, arranged for Smith to go to Nineveh at the expense of that newspaper and carry out excavations with a view to finding the missing fragments of the Flood story. This journey resulted not only in the discovery of some missing tablets, but also of fragments that recorded the succession and duration of the Babylonian dynasties.

In November 1873 Smith again left England for Nineveh for a second expedition, this time at the expense of the Museum, and continued his excavations at the tell of Kouyunjik (Nineveh). An account of his work is given in Assyrian Discoveries, published early in 1875. The rest of the year was spent in fixing together and translating the fragments relating to the creation, the results of which were published in The Chaldaean Account of Genesis (1880, co-written with Archibald Sayce).


My thanks to Book Aid for making a copy of this rare public domain work available for digitisation.

George Smith [1840-1876], The Chaldean Account of Genesis containing the description of creation, the fall of man, the deluge, the tower of babel, the times of the patriarchs, and Nimrod; Babylonian fables, and legends of the gods; from the Cuneiform inscriptions. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searl, and Rivington, 1876. Hbk. pp.319. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  1. The Discovery of the Genesis Legends
  2. Babylonian and Assytian Literature
  3. Chladean Legends Transmitted Through Berosus and Other Ancient Authors
  4. Babylonian Mythology
  5. Babylonian Legend of the Creation
  6. Other Babylonian Accoumts of the Creation
  7. The Sin of the God Zu
  8. The Exploits of Lubrara
  9. Babylonian Fables
  10. Fragments of Miscellaneous Texts
  11. The Izdubar Legends
  12. Meeting of Heabani and Izdubar
  13. Destruction of the Tyrant Humbara
  14. The Adventures of Ishtar
  15. Illness and Wanderings of Izdubar
  16. The Story of the Flood and Conclusion
  17. Conclusion

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