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The Coveted Title of King of Kish in Ancient Sumer

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The Coveted Title of King of Kish in Ancient Sumer

The Coveted Title of King of Kish in Ancient Sumer

According to ancient Mesopotamian tradition, Etana, founder of the first dynasty of Kish, was the very first ruler ever to have ruled as king. Not only did the kings of Kish stand tall in the history of ancient Sumer, the title ‘King of Kish’ was coveted by all great rulers in and of that land.

Angles of the Sumerian King list. Left: Ashmolean Museum. (Public Domain) and right: The Weld-Blundell Prism, (Gts-tg /  CC BY-SA 4.0)Angles of the Sumerian King list. Left: Ashmolean Museum. (Public Domain) and right: The Weld-Blundell Prism, (Gts-tg /  CC BY-SA 4.0)

Angles of the Sumerian King list. Left: Ashmolean Museum. (Public Domain) and right: The Weld-Blundell Prism, (Gts-tg /  CC BY-SA 4.0)

The House of Kish

In ancient Mesopotamian tradition, the first House of Kish stands out as one of the most important dynasties ever to have ruled in that ancient land. What is especially significant about this dynasty is the title ‘lugal’ or ‘king’ that was first used by their kings. In contrast to the title of king, which refers to a warrior-leader, the Sumerians called their rulers ‘en’, which refers to a priestly ruler. Throughout the long history of the land of Sumer and Uri (later Akkad), the title ‘King of Kish’ was one of the most coveted titles among the rulers of the various city states.


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