It appears, therefore, that in all the cultures that developed in the region which has been called "The Cradle of Civilization," there was a tradition of a flood which inundated all the earth and that this flood served as a boundary between the earlier stage of existence and the present period in human history. And since "History Begins at Sumer," it is all but certain that this tradition arose in Sumer and was inherited by the heirs of the world's first literate culture; the Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites, Hebrews, Hellenes and their neighbors.
When we get to the question of the ages of the figures who lived from Adam to Noah in Genesis 5, we have to turn to that fascinating document mentioned above; the Sumerian King List. This list, dating from about 2500 B.C.E., is, as its name indicates, a list of the earliest kings who reigned in Sumer, the cradle of history and the place where world's oldest literature arose. As we read the list, an interesting pattern emerges.
The first king in the list, Alulim, is lowered from heaven, assumes the throne and reigns for 28,800 years.
The second, Alalgar, reigns for 36,000 years, followed by
En-men-lu-anna, 43,200 years, then
En-men-gal-anna, for 28,800 years.
The Divine *Dumuzi reigned for 36,000 years.
En-sipa-zi-anna reigned for 28,800 years.
En-men-dur-anna reigned for 21,000 years.
Ubar-Tutu reigned for 18,600 years.
Then came the Universal Flood
After the Flood, the gods restored royal rule to earth, enthroning
Ga[------] as king of Kish, who reigned for 1200 years.7
Notice the radical reduction in the number of years from the last king who reigned before the flood to the first who sat on the throne after the deluge. Instead of reigns in multiples of 10,000 years, the post-diluvian kings, with but five exceptions, which are not excessive, reign for less than 1,000 years. Several of the kings in the Sumerian King List are designated as gods; among these are Dumuzi, the fifth in the pre-diluvian period, and of the kings who reigned after the flood, Lugal-Banda is called a god, as is Dumuzi, once again, and Gilgamesh.