History Files


Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Mesopotamia




MapFeatures for Ancient MesopotamiaCity State of Kish / Kic

The founders of Kish (modern Tall al-Uhaymir, 80km south of Baghdad) were Sumerians: non-Semitic black-haired people of an unknown origin. Their occupation of the site at Kish began in the Jemdet Nasr Period (3200-2900 BC), but this was ended by the archaeologically-attested flood of between 2900-2800BC in Sumer, which left deposits in Kish. However, it is possible that the city was less badly affected than Shuruppak, as Kish quickly assumed the kingship. It flourished in the full blooming of Sumerian civilization in the Early Dynastic Period. The city was of major importance in the early third millennium BC (the Early Dynastic II Period of the twenty-sixth century BC), but it declined in importance later, remaining in occupation until the Sassanian period.

Certainly in later times, and quite possible from the very earliest times, whichever king controlled the city of Kish was recognised as ar kiati (king of Kish), and was considered pre-eminent in Sumer, possibly because this was where the two rivers approached, and whoever controlled Kish ultimately controlled the irrigation systems of the other cities downstream. Many rulers from other cities who achieved dominance in Sumer also claimed the title for themselves.

FeatureThe First Dynasty kings of Kish are also known as the First Kingship (of Sumer, after the flood). According to the Sumerian king list, a total of 39 kings ruled for 14,409 + X years, three months and three and-a-half days, four times (dynasties) in Kish. Here, List 1 is primarily used, backed up by List 2 and List 3 (see Sumer for details).

First Dynasty
c.2900? - 2650? BC

This is the first set of entries on the Sumerian list comprising kings 1-23. Twenty-three kings ruled for 24,510 years, three months, and 3.5 days. The earliest names are semi-legendary, but were probably based on real ante-diluvian rulers. About half of them have Semitic names, meaning that Semites were at least established in the northern part of Mesopotamia by this ancient date and that not all interaction between the two groups was hostile.

fl c.2900 BC

Gaur / Jucur / (Jushur)

Ruled for 1,200 years. (From the WB-62 list.)

Gulla-Nidaba-annapad / Kullassina-bel

Ruled for 960/900 years.

Palakinatim / Nanjiclicma

Ruled for 900/670? years.

Nangishlishma / En-tarah-ana

Ruled for ?/420 years, 3 mths, 3.5 days.

Bahina / Babum

Ruled for ?/300 years.

Buanum / Puannum

Ruled for 840/240 years.


Ruled for 960/900 years.

Galumum / Kalumum

Ruled for 840/900 years.

Zukakip / Zuqaqip

Ruled for 900/600 years.

Atab / Aba

Ruled for 600 years.

Mashda / Macda

Son. Ruled for 840/720 years.

fl c.2750 BC

Arurim / Arwium / Arpu-Rim

Son. Ruled for 720 years.

c.2750 BC

The Sumerian king list and excavations in Iraq show evidence of a flood at Shuruppak somewhere between 2900-2750 BC, which extends as far as Kish, whose king, Etana, supposedly founds the first Sumerian dynasty after the flood: 'after the Flood, the kingship was handed down from Heaven a second time, this time to the city of Kish which became the seat of kingship.'

fl c.2750 BC


Ruled for 1,560/1,500/635 years. 'The Herdsman'.

The king list names Etana as 'the shepherd who ascended to Heaven and made firm all the lands'. In other words, he stabilises the lands, bringing some semblance of peace and control to them after the Flood phase. He is also the first king of Sumer to be known from any other source but the list. Trade with cities in Northern Mesopotamia includes the purchase of specially-moulded mud bricks from Alakhtum. Shortly after Etana's reign ends, King Meskiaggasher founds a rival dynasty at Erech (Uruk), far to the south of Kish, which dominates Sumer.


Son. Ruled for 400/410 years.

Enmenunna / En-me-nuna

Ruled for 660/621 years.

Melam-Kish / Melem-Kic

Son. Ruled for 900 years.

Barsalnunna / Barsal-nuna

Brother. Ruled for 1,200 years.

Meszamug / Zamug

Son. Ruled for 140 years.

Tizkar / Tizqar

Son. Ruled for 305 years.


Ruled for 900 years.

? - c.2615 BC


Ruled for 1,200 years.

c.2615 - 2585 BC

Enmebaraggesi / En-men-barage-si

Ruled for 900 years.

According to the king list, Kish subdues the Elamites ('Enmebaraggesi, the king who smote the Land of Elam'), although it is not an historically provable event. Enmebaraggesi also becomes the dominant ruler in Sumer, in place of Uruk, and constructs the Temple of Enlil at Nippur. He is the earliest king whose existence has been archaeologically confirmed.

fl c.2585 BC

Agga / Aga

Son. Ruled for 625 years. Last ruler of the Etana dynasty.

Again, according to the king list, Kish is defeated in battle and its kingship is carried off to Eanna, which later becomes part of the city of Uruk (which had already happened in c.2750, with the possibility that there had been something of a rivalry for supremacy between these two cities). Agga is tied in with Gilgamesh, so it is possible that the date for him here is too late by about sixty years.

Second Dynasty
c.2550/2500 - 2430 BC

According to the king list, Kish defeated the Elamite kings of Awan to regain the kingship. The first king of this dynasty, Mesilim, is strangely absent from the king list, despite clearly having been a figure of authority in the region. There is a theory that he and Mesannepadda of Ur might be one and the same person, which would explain the omission, but not the subsequent division of Ur and Kish following his reign.

This is the fifth set of entries on the Sumerian list comprising kings 43-50. Eight kings ruled for 3,195 / 3,792 years (Lists 1 & 2).

c.2550 BC


Not on the king lists.

Mesilim of Kish does not appear on the king list, but his existence is confirmed from predynastic Lagash and from Adab. He is famous for drawing the border between Umma and Lagash, a contentious point between these two cities. His decision, accepted by both parties, appears to favour Lagash over Umma.

c.2500 BC

(Name unknown) / Susuda

Ruled for 201 years.


Ruled for ?/81/1,1310 years.

Mamagal / Magalgal / Mamagalla

Ruled for 420/360 years.

Kalbum / Kaalbum / Galbum

Son. Ruled for 132/195 years.

Tuge / Tuge-E

Ruled for 360/300 years.

Mennumna / Men-nuna

Ruled for 180 years.

fl c.2450 BC


Not on Lists 1-4.

Lugalmu / (Name unknown) / Ibbiea

Ruled for 420/290 years. Different lists swap the last two kings.

Ibbi-Ea / Lugalju / Lugalmu

Ruled for 290/360/420 years.

c.2430 BC

Then Kish is defeated, perhaps by Enshakushanna of Uruk or Eannatum of Lagash, and the kingship taken to Hamazi.

Third Dynasty
c.2400 BC

Kish defeated the kings of Mari to claim supremacy. An inn keeper before claiming the throne, Ku-Bau was, 'she who made firm the foundations of Kish [and] ruled for a hundred years as "king"'. She was the only known female king to rule in Sumerian history.

This is the eleventh entry on the Sumerian list comprising king 66. One king ruled for 100 years.

fl c.2400 BC

Ku-Bau / Kug-Bau / Ku-Baba

Ruled for 100 years. The 'Innkeeper'/'woman tavern-keeper'.

Kug-Bau is later worshipped as a minor god, and is given the name Kybele (more readily known as Cybele). The king list states, 'Then Kish is defeated and the kingship is carried to Akshak'.

Fourth Dynasty
c.2360 - 2340 BC

Following a brief period at the north-eastern city state of Akshak, Kish reclaimed the kingship.

This is the thirteenth set of entries on the Sumerian list comprising kings 73-80. Seven kings ruled for 491 / 485 years (Lists 1 & 2), or eight kings ruled for 586 years (List 2).

c.2360 - 2340 BC

Puzur-Sin / Puzur-Suen / Puzursin

Son of Ku-Bau. Ruled for 25 years.

c.2340 BC

Ur-Zababa / Urilbaba

Son. Ruled for 400/6/4+x years.

Ur-Zababa has an Akkadian cupbearer and gardener in his service who bears the name Sargon. Sargon displaces the king and enters upon a career of conquest from Akkad. All of the remaining kings of this dynasty appear to be vassals of Sargon.

Simudarra / Zimudar / Ziju-iake

Ruled for 30 years.

Usiwater / U߳i-watar

Son. Ruled for 7/6 years.

Ishtar-muti / Ectar-muti

Ruled for 11/17? years.

Ishme-Shamash / Icme-Camac

Ruled for 11 years.

(No data) / Cu-ilicu / (No data)

Ruled for 15 years.

Nannia / Nanniya / Zimudar

Ruled for 7/3 years. The 'Stoneworker'.

c.2340 BC

Kish is defeated for the last time and the kingship passes to Unug (Uruk).

fl c.2254? BC


Vassal of Agade. Not on the king list.

c.2254? BC

Kish leads a revolt against the Akkadian empire, rallying the northern Sumerian cities of Kutha, Tiwa, Sippar, Kazallu, Kiritab, Apiak, Eresh, Dilbat, and Borsippa, placing a well-organised army in the field which is then defeated.

c.2004 BC

With the fall of Sumer, Kish becomes an Amorite city state.

MapAmorite Rulers of Kish

The Amorites had been inhabitants of Sumer for some centuries, and rose to fill the gap left by the end of Sumerian civilisation. Kish itself enjoyed mixed fortunes, falling under the control of regional powers, and only briefly enjoyed true independence.

c.2004 BC

Much of Sumer is under the control of the Elamites, until they are pushed out six years later by Isin. Kish in the north then falls under the control of Kazallu.

c.1897 BC

Upon the death of the king of Kazallu, Kish frees itself.

c.1897 - 1888 BC

Iawium / Yawium

Freed Kish from the rule of Kazallu.

c.1888 - 1883? BC


A foreign conqueror who seized Kish.

c.1883 - 1847 BC

After Manana had driven off the first king of the newly founded Babylonian kingdom to Der, Kish is sacked by Sabium, Babylon's second king.

c.1732 - 1460 BC

Kish is taken by the Sealand kings.

c.1460 BC

With the fall of the Sealand kings, Kish becomes the property of Babylonia. The region undergoes often turbulent times during Babylonia's ascendancy, and also during the height of power of the late Assyrian empire, when it is conquered by the Cimmerians.