Kish (kĭsh) [key], ancient city of Mesopotamia, in the Euphrates valley, 8 mi (12.9 km) E of Babylon and 12 mi (19 km) east of the modern city of Hillah, Iraq. It was occupied from very ancient times, and its remains go back as far as the protoliterate period in Mesopotamia. In the early 3d millennium B.C., Kish was a Semitic city. Although it was one of the provincial outposts of Sumerian civilization, it had a cultural style of its own. There is an excavated palace of Sargon I of Agade, a native of Kish, and a great temple built by Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus in the later Babylonian period. The site also yielded a complete sequence of pottery from the Sumerian period to that of Nebuchadnezzar.
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