The Great Flood

"And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered."
Genesis 7:17-20, The Bible (King James Version)

What happens when God (or the gods) decides to Kill It with Water. All of it.

Older than the book itself, this is the one element nearly ubiquitous in mythology, and with good reason: it may have had a basis in reality note , but as a kind of cultural memory it forms the backbone of many origin mythologies, from the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime to the biblical Book of Genesis. Usually the moral of the story is "don't piss off the gods," but sometimes the flooding is part of the process of (re)creating a world.

Some scientists argue that the prevalence of the Great Flood in Eastern Mediterranean myth derives from a historical event, in which the Black Sea was suddenly flooded in about 5600 BCE. However this would only account for the Middle Eastern and possibly the European myths, not the ones from the rest of the world. Some of various religious persuasions believe that the prevalence of the Great Flood myth derives from an actual worldwide great flood caused by their deity of choice (although a global flood isn't seen as plausible by most scientists)

Expect a Giant Wall of Watery Doom.


Anime and Manga
  • Saint Seiya: the god Poseidon, wishing to wash away the filth of mankind, raises the oceans to destroy all of civilization. In the anime, this is compounded by the priestess Hilda praying to Odin to preserve the ice in the Grim Up North eternally frozen; her absence causes it to melt and contribute to the flooding.
  • Dragon Knights: the demon fish Varawoo sunk the world before it was sealed away.
  • Now and Then, Here and There: Don't piss off Lala Ru.

Comic Books
  • Suske en Wiske: Suske en Wiske search for Noah's arc in "De Adelijke Ark".

Comic Strips
  • Nero: In "De Ark van Nero" Nero builds an arc to survive a giant flood.

Fan Works
  • In AA Pessimal's Good Omens fic I Shall Endure..., the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley are ordered by their respective Managements to assist and advise a boat-builder called Noah and his family, ensuring the Ark is built on schedule and that Noah's energy and enthusiasm do not flag. What Happens Next more-or-less follows, but embellishes, the biblical account. It also establishes that this was the same flood experienced by Deucalion and Emperor Yao, and which destroyed Atlantis, Lemuria and Hy-Brasil.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. The Mad Scientist plans to use his Tesla doomsday device to erupt every volcano in Antarctica, inundating Earth's coastal cities, plus the additional benefit in destroying the Master Computer that controls Earth, buried under the South Pole.

  • The 1933 film Deluge, mainly known through Stock Footage of the destruction of New York until an Italian dubbed version was rediscovered in the 1980's.
  • This was the end result in 2012. The earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were merely a prelude.
  • The "Rite of Spring" segment of Fantasia actually ends with the entire Earth being flooded by a massive tidal wave caused by a solar eclipse.
    • Retold in Fantasia 2000 in the re-imagined "Noah's Ark" adaptation of Pomp and Circumstance.
  • In Atlantis The Lost Empire the Biblical flood was caused by the Atlantis' weapons research and the city was sunk to save it from destruction.
  • This happens in Noah, starring Russell Crowe, naturally enough.

  • Raptor Red: A flood of the sort that only comes every thousand years strikes Raptor Red and her family around the middle of the story.
  • In Shane Johnson's Ice an astronaut ends up traveling back in time where he experiences the biblical flood.
  • Flood is a hard sci-fi depiction of a global flood in modern times.
  • One of the two founding myths of Ankh-Morpork involves a boat that was built to withstand a great flood, containing two of every animal. The accumulated waste products of all the animals was tipped over the side, and they called it Ankh-Morpork.
    • In Carpe Jugulum, one of the things that worries the Slightly Reverend Mightily Oats about Omnian dogma is that every Discly culture has a flood myth, similar but different to the one in the Book of Om.
  • According to Word of God, the past of the Septimus Heap universe featured one, causing Syren Island to sink beneath the sea.
  • Referenced in Orson Scott Card's Past Watch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, in which the origin of the Myth was tracked back to the flooding of the Red Sea.
  • Kine, by AR Lloyd, plays with this. The flood in question is a perfectly ordinary localised inundation of low-lying flat land by heavy rainfall, but it is presented as a seemingly global event from the point of view of the protagonists - who are weasels, whose point of view is only half an inch above the water, so it makes sense.

Live-Action TV
  • Gaius Baltar mentions the story of the Flood as explained in the Book of Phytia to Roslin, comparing his role in the destruction of the Colonies to that of the Flood. While no actual Flood is seen, the story is clearly a reference to the biblical story and may even have been its origin.
  • On Dominion, Gabriel explains that the entire Flood story was metaphor for what really happened, since it was easier for humans to understand than the truth. Said truth being that the "flood" was Michael, who believed that humanity had to be punished for daring to worship angels instead of God. The "ark" in turn was actually a bunker Noah built to try and save some people from the slaughter.

  • Charlie Patton, a 1930s blues singer had a song named "High Water Everywhere" about the Mississippi floods.
  • "When The Levee Breaks" by Kansas Joe Mccoy and Memphis Minnie is another blues record about the local floods in the South and was famously covered by Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin IV.
  • The Clash describes how London drowns in London Calling.

Mythology and Religion
  • In Abrahamic religions:
    • The Torah, and by extension, The Bible. Noah lives.
    • Averted in The Qur'an, in which the flood is merely local and destroys only one civilization.
    • Gnosticism subverts this trope, as it does so many. Noah constructed the ark according to the instruction of the malevolent Demiurge, but it was burned down with magical fire by Eve's daughter Norea in a fit of supernatural rage. He built a second ark, which turned out to be useless because they were just transferred temporarily into Heaven for the length of the flood.
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh: The earliest recorded example.
  • Various Native American Mythologies
    • The Aztecs believed that the Earth had been created and destroyed four times before the present age, and the end of the last age was a watery one.
  • Various Asia-Pacific and Polynesian Mythologies
  • Classical Mythology has three, most notably Deucalion's.
  • This list could go on forever. Just check Wikipedia here.
  • According to Plato, Atlantis was destroyed by earthquakes and floods.
  • Norse Mythology. Ýmir is killed and his blood flooded the earth and drowned all but two of the frost giants.
    • Eventually after Ragnarök the world will sink.
  • Hindu Mythology: The earth sank into the sea for some reason and Vishnu, as the Boar Avatar, went down and brought it back to the surface.
  • Chinese Mythology, but instead of the flood wiping out humanity, Yu the Engineer directed the construction of great canals and redirected rivers to control the flood and provide better irrigation for farming. Yu learned his lesson after Emperor Yao executed his father, Gun, whose attempt to control the flood by damming the rivers and seas with gargantuan dykes only made the floods worse when the dykes inevitably broke. Instead of being a story about the sin of man, the Chinese flood myth is a Taoist parable about cooperating with nature instead of futilely fighting against it.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Gargamel ends up creating such a flood that covers the entire Smurf Forest by using magic beans in The Smurfs episode "Blue Eyes Returns". It took Smurfette and her pegasus friend Blue Eyes to fix the problem and restore the forest to normal.
  • Rugrats: in the episode Two by two, Grandpa Boris tells the babies the story of Noah's Ark. They naturally re-enact their own ship and collect small critters in their backyard before it starts to rain (which they're believed to be a flood like in Noah's Ark). They question why Noah originally collected two of each animal, but quickly deduced it's for having a friend along for the ride. Not that babies in a G-rated show would get the real reason though.
  • The Simpsons: In "Mom & Pop Art" Homer floods Springfield to make it into a modern artwork.

Web Original

Real Life
  • The Netherlands have been victim of floods for centuries, due to the country being below sea level. The flood of 1953 was so disastrous that a unique project was created to built strong dykes and level the land higher: The Delta Works. It has to be read to be believed, but it actually worked!
    • It is said that "God may have created the Heavens and the Earth, but it was the Dutch that built the Netherlands."
  • The Boxing Day Tsunami.
  • The 2011 Australia floods.
  • A number of record-breaking floods throughout recorded history could be considered as these, at least in terms of regional and economic effects.
    • Rising waters due to global warming and the end of the Ice Age. Could have been The Flood. note 
  • There has been some evidence found of a massive flooding when the Black Sea originally formed, which possibly inspired the writings on such great Floods in the Bible and the Epic of Gilgamesh in the first place.
  • The prevalence of flood myths is beginning to be considered to be the result of most early human settlements being situated on or very close to a large river for fresh water, and large rivers tend to flood every ten to twenty years or so, occasionally catastrophically.
  • The Missoula Floods. About 15,000 years ago, Glacial Lake Missoula (located over — surprise! — Missoula, Montana), melted through a glacier arm that was damming it, and poured out over much of eastern Washington (whose torn-up landscape now has the distilled-awesome name of the Scablands), tore the Columbia Gorge a new one, and backflooded up the Willamette Valley eight hundred feet deep in places before draining into the Pacific. It created dry falls that briefly had ten times the water flow of all the present-day rivers of Earth combined. Better yet, this is known to have happened — though not to the same scale as the first time — at least thirty-five times. Many other glacial lakes — notably Lake Agassiz in central North America and Lake Altai in central Asia — are believed to have produced similar megafloods.

Alternative Title(s):

Great Flood