Kish civilization

The Kish civilization or Kish tradition is a time period corresponding to the early East Semitic era in Mesopotamia and the Levant. Coined by Ignace Gelb, the epoch began in the early 4th millennium BC. The tradition encompasses the sites of Ebla and Mari in the Levant, Nagar in the north,[1] and the proto-Akkadian sites of Abu Salabikh and Kish in central Mesopotamia which constituted the Uri region as it was known to the Sumerians.[2][3]


The East-Semitic population migrated from what is now the Levant and spread into Mesopotamia,[4] and the new population could have contributed to the collapse of the Uruk period c. 3100 BC.[3] This early East Semitic culture is characterized by linguistic, literary and orthographic similarities extending from Ebla in the west to Abu Salabikh in the East.[5] The personal names from the Sumerian city of Kish show an East Semitic nature and reveals that the city population had a strong Semitic component from the dawn of recorded history,[6] Gelb consider Kish to be the center of this civilization hence the naming.[5]

The similarities included the using of a writing system that utilized non-Sumerian Logograms, the use of the same system in naming the months of the year, dating by regnal years and a similar measuring system among many other similarities.[5] However Gelb doesn't assume the existence of a single authority ruling those lands as each city had its own monarchical system, in addition to some linguistic differences for while the languages of Mari and Ebla were closely related, Kish represented an independent East-Semitic linguistic entity that spoke a dialect (Kishite),[7] different from both pre-Sargonic Akkadian and the Ebla-Mari language.[5] The Kish civlisation is considered to end with the rise of the Akkadian empire in the 24th century BC.[8]


  1. Lauren Ristvet (2014). Ritual, Performance, and Politics in the Ancient Near East. p. 217. ISBN 9781107065215.
  2. Donald P. Hansen; Erica Ehrenberg (2002). Leaving No Stones Unturned: Essays on the Ancient Near East and Egypt in Honor of Donald P. Hansen. p. 133. ISBN 9781575060552.
  3. 1 2 Lucy Wyatt (2010-01-16). Approaching Chaos: Could an Ancient Archetype Save C21st Civilization?. p. 120. ISBN 9781846942556.
  4. Kitchen, A; Ehret, C; Assefa, S; Mulligan, CJ. (2009). "Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of Semitic languages identifies an Early Bronze Age origin of Semitic in the Near East". Proc Biol Sci. 276 (1668): 2703–10. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0408. PMC 2839953Freely accessible. PMID 19403539.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Rebecca Hasselbach (2005). Sargonic Akkadian: A Historical and Comparative Study of the Syllabic Texts. p. 3. ISBN 9783447051729.
  6. I. E. S. Edwards; C. J. Gadd; N. G. L. Hammond (1971-10-31). The Cambridge Ancient History. p. 100. ISBN 9780521077910.
  7. Benjamin Read Foster; Karen Polinger Foster (2009). Civilizations of Ancient Iraq. p. 40. ISBN 0691137226.
  8. Rebecca Hasselbach (2005). Sargonic Akkadian: A Historical and Comparative Study of the Syllabic Texts. p. 4. ISBN 9783447051729.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 8/30/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.