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From New World Encyclopedia
Popular Article: Great Flood

The Deluge by Gustave Doré
The story of a Great Flood sent by God or the gods to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution is a widespread theme among many cultural myths. It is best known from the biblical story of Noah, but there are several other famous versions, such as stories of Matsya in the Hindu Puranas, Deucalion in Greek mythology, and Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Many of the world's cultures past and present have stories of a Great Flood that devastated earlier civilizations. A good deal of similarity exists between several of the flood myths, leading scholars to believe that these have evolved from or influenced each other. Others of these stories seem to be of a more local nature, although nearly all of them involve the survival of only a small number of humans who repopulate humankind.