So... Here's what will be the first of several posts on The Modern Major-General's song from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance!
The Modern Major-General brags that he "can write a washing bill in Babylonic cuneiform...". Gilbert's inspiration for this particular boast almost certainly derives from the following:
Above: photograph of The Flood Tablet, relating part of the Epic of Gilgamesh.Now you know.
“This Assyrian version of the Old Testament flood story was identified in 1872 by George Smith, an assistant in The British Museum. On reading the text he ... jumped up and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself.'”