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Social Sciences University of Ankara
“Tracking Climate Change to Ancient Times: Ancient Mesopotamia and Atra-hasis


Narrativizing flood prevails in most creation myths and stories, including Atra-hasis, an epic recorded on Babylonian clay tablets. The third tablet of Atra-hasis, entitled after the name of the protagonist of the story, includes the flood myth in which Enki warns Atrahasis against Enlil’s plans to create a flood that will last for seven days with the purpose of having a demographic control over the increasing human population. Based on the agentic and subjective triumph of Atrahasis over watery agency, this narrative reveals the fear of watery agency dominating human history. Hinting at the chaotic and harmonious enmeshments between human beings and water, this study will provide an elemental analysis of water as a feared and hated rhizomata of the universe. This study further enriches theorizing about climate change fiction based on an elemental agency, that is water, by means of offering a Mesopotamian example of a flood story. Moreover, this study aims to highlight the existence of environmental concerns before the modern world by tracking climate change back to the ancient times by recording an environmental history of human species from ancient Mesopotamia to the modern world.