Long Lives in History

Long Lives in History

There are several accounts of persons that lived very lengthy lives prior to the “great flood”.

The earliest is the Sumerian King List. The first fragment of this rare and unique text, a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet, was found in the early 1900s by German-American scholar Hermann Hilprecht at the site of ancient Nippur and published in 1906.  Since Hilprecht’s discovery, at least 18 other exemplars of the king’s list have been found, most of them dating from the second half of the Isin dynasty (c. 2017-1794 BCE.).  No two of these documents are identical. However, there is enough common material in all versions of the list to make it clear that they are derived from a single, “ideal” account of Sumerian history.

The Sumerian King List , records that eight kings reigned before a great flood. After the Flood, various city-states and their dynasties of kings temporarily gained power over the others. 

Some of the rulers mentioned in the early list, such as Etana, Lugal-banda and Gilgamesh, are mythical or legendary figures whose heroic feats are subjects of a series of Sumerian and Babylonian narrative compositions.

The early list names eight kings with a total of 241,200 years from the time when kingship “descended from heaven” to the time when “the Flood” swept over the land and once more “the kingship was lowered from heaven” after the Flood.

Over a thousand years later it is interesting that the bible also contains a “king list” that indicates significant longevity (a bit puny compared to the Sumerian’s) but still send the same message. Folks lived a long time prior to the flood, but lost that ability afterward.