The fact that numerous human civilizations possess stories of a great flood provide evidence that some type of flood played a key role in the development of our modern existence. Along with the evidence of floods, many early civilizations have stories which share many similar qualities. I chose to compare the creation flood epic stories of the Hebrew, Assyrian, and Greco-Roman cultures. All three of these stories share many close comparisons along with very distinct differences.
The first point all of the stories share is the use of water to destroy mankind. The Roman story is the only one which states a reason why water was the method chosen. Jupiter, the god who decided to punish humanity was about to destroy the earth with thunderbolts "when he felt a sudden dread lest he should set light to the pure upper air by so many fiery bolts, and send the whole vault of heaven up in flames" (Leeming, 56). This statement shows that the Romans believed the gods to be not only all powerful, but also able to feel physical pain and discomfort. It also gives a hint of the believed locations the gods to no be extremely high in the sky or space.
Another line in the Roman story which points to why water was used is "Jupiter remembered, too, one of fate's decrees, that a time would come when sea and earth and the dome of the sky would blaze up, and the massive structure of the universe collapse in ruins" (Leeming, 56). The story does not indicate who made the decree. The use of the words, Jupiter remembered, in the story raises many questions about the Roman gods. Jupiter's decisions must have been somewhat sudden and not consulted among the other gods when choosing water. If the destruction by a flood would have followed careful planning or prophecy, the method should have also been known. In the Roman story it appears that the use of water was simply a harsh decision made by Jupiter as the method for destroying mankind.