By Dr Dominique Collon
Last updated 2011-07-01
King Ashurbanipal was not only a hunter, but also a warrior who conquered Egypt. He took great pride in being able to read and write, at a time when usually only scribes mastered the intricacies of cuneiform writing. He also amassed a huge library of tablets such as this one, which his agents collected throughout the country, especially in Babylonia.
The Flood Tablet depicts the Babylonian version of a flood story, which is closely related to the story of Noah's flood as recounted in the biblical book of Genesis. When the King's palace was burnt down at the time of the fall of the empire in 612 BC, the library crashed into the room below, and this tablet was broken and burnt. However, whereas a parchment or paper archive would have been destroyed, the baked clay tablets survived and are now in the British Museum.
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