Asena is the name of a she-wolf associated with the Oghuz Turkic foundation myth. The ancestress of the Göktürks is also a she-wolf, mentioned yet unnamed in two different "Wolf Tales" recorded by Chinese chroniclers.
The legend of Asena tells of a young boy who survived a battle; a female wolf finds the injured child and nurses him back to health. The she-wolf, impregnated by the boy, escapes her enemies by crossing the Western Sea to a cave near the Qocho mountains and a city of the Tocharians, giving birth to ten half-wolf, half-human boys. Of these, Yizhi Nishidu becomes their leader and establishes the Ashina clan, which ruled over the Göktürk and other Turkic nomadic empires.
With the rise of Turkish ethnic nationalism in the 1930s, the veneration of figures of Turkic Mythology, such as Bozkurt, Asena and Ergenekon was resurgent. The symbol of Asena is embossed on the stage of the personal theater of the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, at his residence in Ankara. He also referenced the motif in his speeches, such as that of 13 February 1931 in Malatya titled Türk Ocağı.
- André Wink. Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World. Brill Academic Publishers, 2002. ISBN 0-391-04173-8. Page 65.
- Ziya Gökalp, transcription: Şahin Filiz, "Türk devletinin tekâmülü 12: Hakanlık Teşkilatı",Küçük Mecmua -II-, Bu da Çinlilere göre (Asena=Kurt) manasındadır (in Turkish)
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- Roxburgh, D. J. (ed.) Turks, A Journey of a Thousand Years. Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2005. Page 20.
- Murat Arman, "The Sources of Banality In Transforming Turkish Nationalism", CEU Political Science Journal, issue: 2 (2007), p. 136.
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- Mehmet Önder, Atatürk'ün Yurt Gezileri, Türkiye İş Bankası, 1975, p. 268.