Altaic mythology

Altaic mythology

The mythologies and religions of the Turco-Mongol peoples (Turkic and Mongolian peoples, both groups speakers of Altaic languages) are related and have exerted strong influence on one another. Both groups of peoples qualify as Eurasian nomads and have been in close contact historically, as the Huns conquering much of Central Asia in the early centuries AD, and during the medieval Mongol Empire.

The oldest mythological concept that can be reconstructed with any certainty is the sky god Tengri, attested from the Xiong Nu in the 2nd century BC.

Geser (Ges'r, Kesar) is a Mongolian religious epic about "Geser" (also known as "Bukhe Beligte"), prophet of Tengriism.


Bai-Ulgan and Esege Malan are creator deities. Ot is the goddess of marriage. Tung-ak is the patron god of tribal chiefs.

Traditional epic tales are known as Uliger. The Epic of King Gesar is shared with much of Central Asia and Tibet.


The Wolf symbolizes honour and is also considered the father of most Turkic peoples. Asena (Ashina Tuwu) is the wolf mother of Bumen, the first Khan of the Göktürks.

The Horse is also one of the main figures of Turkic mythology; Turks considered the horse an extension of the individual -though generally dedicated to the male- and see that one is complete with it. This might have led to or sourced from the term "At-Beyi" (Horse-Lord).

The Dragon, also expressed as a Snake or Lizard, is the symbol of might and power. It is believed, especially in mountainous Central Asia, that dragons still live in the mountains of Tian Shan/Tengri Tagh and Altay. Dragons also symbolize the god Tengri (Tanrı) in ancient Turkic tradition, although dragons themselves are not worshipped as gods. The legend of Timur (Temir) is the most ancient and well-known. Timur found a strange stone that fell from the sky (an iron ore meteorite), making the first iron sword from it. Today, the word "temir" or "timur" means "iron".

Turkic mythology was influenced by other local mythologies. For example, in Tatar mythology elements of Finnic and Indo-European myth co-exist. Subjects from Tatar mythology include Äbädä, Şüräle, Şekä, Pitsen, Tulpar, and Zilant.

ee also

*Finno-Ugric mythology
*Tibetan mythology
*Scythian mythology
*Shamanism in Siberia
*Epic of Manas
*Tomb of Genghis Khan
*"The Secret History of the Mongols"
*Burkhan Khaldun
*Turkish folklore
*Mongolian Death Worm
*Korean mythology
*"The Cave of the Yellow Dog"
*"The Story of the Weeping Camel


*Walter Heissig, "The Religions of Mongolia", Kegan Paul (2000).
*Gerald Hausman , Loretta Hausman, "The Mythology of Horses: Horse Legend and Lore Throughout the Ages" (2003), 37-46.
*Yves Bonnefoy, Wendy Doniger, "Asian Mythologies", University Of Chicago Press (1993), 315-339.
*满都呼, "中国阿尔泰语系诸民族神话故事"(folklores of Chinese Altaic races), 民族出版社 (1997)

External links

* [ Shamanism in Mongolia and Tibet]
* [ World History Study Guide": "Dastan Turkic" at]
* [ The "Altaic Epic"]

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