The ancient city of Kish—the first city of the ‘Gods’ after the great flood

“After the flood had swept over, and the kingship had descended from heaven, the kingship was in Kish.” A total of twenty-two kings ruled for a period of 16, 480 years, which make up the first dynasty of Kish.

One of the most important ancient cities to have existed in ancient Mesopotamia is Kish.

Considered to have been located somewhere near modern-day Tell al-Uhaymir in the Babil Governorate of Iraq, east of Babylon and 80 km south of Baghdad, this ancient city was the place where the kingship had descended from heaven after the Great Deluge swept over Earth.

It is there, in Kish, where the Gods came down from the heavens and restored their reign after the total destruction caused by the great Flood, according to the Sumerian King List.

The first ruler of Kish, after the flood, is Jushur, who ruled for a period of 1,200 years. Experts not that his rule is historically uncertain, despite the fact its mentioned in the Sumerian King List.

In fact, according to modern scholars, all rulers mentioned in the Sumerian King List before Etana do not appear in any other known source, and their existence is archaeologically unverified.

Ruins of the ancient city of Kish. Image via

Following the rule of Jashur, twenty-two rulers are mentioned as kings of Kish. In total, they ruled for a period of 16, 480 years, which make up the first dynasty of Kish.

Nearly all of the rulers that reigned after the Great Flood, mentioned in the Sumerian King list lived through incredibly lengthy reigns.

Starting off with Jashur, the Sumerian King List mentions how he ruled for 1,200 years. After him, Kullassina-bel ruled for 960 years, Nangishlishma ruled over Kish for 670 years, his reign was followed by En-tarah-ana who ruled for 420 years, Babum ruled for 300 years, Puannum for 840 years, Kalibum ruled for 960 years, he was succeeded by Kalumum who reigned for 840 years, then Zuqaqip ruled for 900 years, Atab ruled for 600 years, Mashda, who was the son of Atab ruled for 840 years, Arwium, the son of Mashda reigned for 720 years and then came Etana, who is referred to as the “the shepherd, who ascended to heaven and consolidated all the foreign countries,” he ruled for 1,500 years. The son of Etana Balih ruled for 400 years, En-me-nuna ruled after Balih for 660 years, his son Melem-Kish ruled for 900 years after which his brother Barsal-nuna ruled for 1,200 years. Zamzug ruled over Kish for 140 years, Tizqar who was the sun of Zamug ruled for 305 years, Ilku ruled for 900 years, and he was succeeded by Iltasadum who ruled for 1,200 years. En-me-barage-si—he “who made the land of Elam submit” ruled for 900 years, and his sun Aga of Kish ruled for 625 years, and then Kish was defeated and the kingship was taken to E-ana.”

Etana, also known as the shepherd is regarded by some as the first king and founder of the ancient city of Kish.

The first archaeologically confirmed ruler of Kish was En-me-barage-si. He is believed to have captured the weapons of Elam, and in different literary references, he and his son Aga of Kish are portrayed as contemporary rivals of Dumuzid, the Fisherman, and Gilgamesh, early rulers of Uruk.

Today, the archeological site of Kish spans over an oval area of approximately 8 by 3 km, transacted by the dry former bed of the Euphrates River, encompassing around 40 mounds, the largest being Uhaimir and Ingharra.

Featured image credit Jubran

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