Ural-batyr

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Ural-batyr or Ural-batır (Bashkir: Урал батыр, pronounced [uˈrɑɫ.bɑˌtɯ̞r], from Ural + Turkic batır - "hero, brave man") is the most famous kubair (epic poem) of the Bashkirs which – like many similar epics (the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf, the Germanic Nibelungenlied, the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh, or the Finnish/Karelian Kalevala) – tells of heroic deeds and legendary creatures, the formation of natural phenomena, and so on. The epic poem propagates the idea of the nation's eternal life and the ability of man to vanquish evil.

Plot[edit]

Based on the Turkic and, to some extent, Semitic folk song traditions, the poem narrates about the heroic deeds of Ural-batyr. The name of father is Yanbirde and mother is Yanbike. (Yan is ancient Bashkort word, means "soul". Yanbirde means "Given Soul". Yanbike means "Woman of Soul".) Born to an elderly couple Yanbike and Yanbirðe,[1] Ural evinces from his very infancy all the features of a legendary hero, such as unflinching courage, honesty, kindheartedness, empathy, and great physical strength. Unlike his cunning and treacherous brother Shulgan (see Sulgan-tash), Ural is an eager enemy of the evil and of Death which personifies it. Having matured, Ural sets out on the quest for Death, with the desire to find and destroy Him. On his way, he meets with various people and legendary creatures and is often deferred by long adventures; in all cases, his actions serve to save lives or quell the evil. Riding his winged stallion Akbuthat (or Akbuz At; White-Grey Horse),[2] he saves young men and women prepared for sacrifice by the tyrannical Shah Katil from imminent death, tames a wild bull, destroys an immense number of devs, marries the legendary Humai, a swan-maid, and finally smites the chief dev Azraka, whose dead body is said to have formed Mount Yaman-tau in the South Urals. Ural-batyr perishes in his final grapple with the devs, as he is forced to drink up a whole lake where they had hidden from him, but he leaves his sons to continue his initiative.

History[edit]

The poem, originally existing solely in the oral form of a song, was set in the written form by the Bashkir folk poet Mukhamedsha Burangulov in 1910. This story is very ancient, and reminds of some of stories from Babylon and Sumer. The epos reproduces some pre-Biblical story about Kain and Abel.There are traces of ancient Sumerian civilization in Bashkort and Tatar cultures, as some words and names of cities and people.

English translation[edit]

The first full translation of Ural-batyr into the English language was made in 1999 by Sagit Shafikov, Professor of the Foreign Languages Department at Bashkir State University, Ufa, Russia. It appeared in the local journal called Vestnik Akademii Nauk ("Herald of Science Academy") and was followed by an improved version which appeared in 2001 in the Watandash ("Compatriot"). The final version was published alongside the original Bashkir text and the Russian translation in a glossy gift book Ural-batyr in 2003. In 2013 a new English language translation and retelling were done by David and Anastasia Andresen and published in the United States under the title "Ural the Brave." [3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Türk Söylence Sözlüğü (Turkish Mythological Dictionary), Deniz Karakurt, (OTRS: CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. ^ Kafkas Nart Destanlarında At Motifi, Ufuk Tavkul(Turkish)
  3. ^ http://www.folktaleworld.com/

External links[edit]