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Ergenekon or Ergeneqon (Turkish: Ergenekon, Mongolian: Эргүнэ хун/Ergüne khun) is a founding myth.[1][2]


  • Origins 1
  • Turkic version 2
  • Mongolian version 3
  • In Turkish literature 4
    • Translations and poems 4.1
    • Turkish history thesis and the Ergenekon legend 4.2
  • Criticisms 5
  • References 6
  • External Sources 7


Some researchers claim the myth's Turkic origins, citing similarities between Göktürks and the Ergenekon epic;[3] the first to make the comparison was Joseph de Guignes.[4] However, the relationship is contested.[5]

Turkic version

In the Turkic mythology the myth aims to explain the foundation of the Turkic Khaganate. The Ergenekon legend tells about a great crisis of the ancient Turks. Following a military defeat, the Turks took refuge in the legendary Ergenekon valley where they were trapped for four centuries. They were finally released when a blacksmith created a passage by melting rock, allowing the gray wolf Asena to lead them out. The people led out of the valley found the Turkic Khaganate, in which the valley functions as its capital.[6][7][8][9][10][11] A New Year's ceremony commemorates the legendary ancestral escape from Ergenekon.[12] The capital referred to is assumed to be Ordu-Baliq.

Mongolian version

In the Mongolian version, Ergenekon was the refuge of the progenitors of the Mongols, Nekuz and Qiyan, as told in the 14th-century literary history Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh, written by Rashid-al-Din Hamadani.[1][13][14][3] It is a common epic in Mongol mythologies.

Abulghazi Bahadur, khan of the Khanate of Khiva (1643–63), told of the Ergenekon Mongolian creation myth in his work, 17th-century "Shajara-i turk" (Genealogy of the Turks).[14][3]

In Turkish literature

Translations and poems

In the late Ottoman era, the Ergenekon epic enjoyed use in Turkish literature (especially by the Turkish nationalist movement), describing a mythical Turkic place of origin located in the inaccessible valleys of the Altay Mountains.

In 1864 Ahmed Vefik Pasha translated Shajara-i turk into the Ottoman language under the title Şecere-i Evşâl-i Türkiyye,[15] published in Tasvir-i Efkâr newspaper.[16] Ziya Gökalp's poem put the Ergenekon epic in the context of Turkic history (Turkish text), published as "Türk An'anesi: Ergenekon" in Türk Duygusu magazine from May 8 to June 5, 1913,[17] Altın Armağan [18] in September 1913,[19] and under the title of "Ergenekon" in Kızılelma, 1914.[20] Ömer Seyfettin's poem on the topic was published in Halka Doğru magazine, April 9, 1914.[16][21] Rıza Nur translated Shajara-i turk into modern Turkish in 1925,[22] and mentioned Ergenekon in Oğuznâme, published in Alexandria, 1928.[23]

Turkish history thesis and the Ergenekon legend

During the early republican era of Turkey (especially in 1930s, when ethnic nationalism held its sway in Turkey), the tale of the Bozkurt, Asena and Ergenekon were promoted[24] along with Turkish ethnocentrism, and included in history textbooks as the Göktürk creation myth.[25][26]

In 1933, Şevket Süreyya Aydemir, a Turkish intellectual and a founder and key theorist of the Kadro movement, consubstantiated the Ergenekon epic with the Turkish revolution.[27] In the new Turkish version of the Egenekon Legend, the motif of the Gray Wolf (Turkish: Bozkurt) was added[28] (Turkish text, version of Ministry of National Education of Turkey).


According to Ergun Candan, there are some similarities between the mythologies of other cultures in their symbolism. The she-wolf Asena showed the Turks the way through the labyrinth of valleys and mountain passes. According to Ergun Candan, the she-wolf may be seen as a symbol of the "dog star" Sirius.[29]


  1. ^ a b Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh
  2. ^ Abulghazi Bahadur, "Genealogy of the Turk"
  3. ^ a b c Dursun Yıldırım, "Ergenekon Destanı", Türkler, Vol. 3, Yeni Türkiye, Ankara, 2002, ISBN 9756782366, pp. 527–43. (Turkish)
  4. ^ Bahaaddin Ögel, "Doğu Göktürkleri Hakkında Vesikalar ve Notlar", Belleten, XXI/81, Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1957, p. 105. (Turkish)
  5. ^ Ibid, p. 109.
  6. ^ Oriental Institute of Cultural and Social Research, Vol. 1-2, 2001, p.66
  7. ^ Murat Ocak, The Turks: Early ages, 2002, pp.76
  8. ^ Dursun Yıldırım, "Ergenekon Destanı", Türkler, Vol. 3, Yeni Türkiye, Ankara, 2002, ISBN 975-6782-36-6, pp. 527–43.
  9. ^ İbrahim Aksu: The story of Turkish surnames: an onomastic study of Turkish family names, their origins, and related matters, Volume 1, 2006 , p.87
  10. ^ H. B. Paksoy, Essays on Central Asia, 1999, p.49
  11. ^ Andrew Finkle, Turkish State, Turkish Society, Routledge, 1990, p.80
  12. ^ Michael Gervers, Wayne Schlepp: Religion, customary law, and nomadic technology, Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies, 2000, p.60
  13. ^ Jiexian Chen, Guoli Taiwan daxue, Proceedings of the Fifth East Asian Altaistic Conference, December 26, 1979 – January 2, 1980, Taipei, China, National Taiwan University, 1980. According to Reshideddin's record original Mongols, historically, were divided in two parts. They are: 1. Those branches descended from the Original Mongol Tribes, which had been in ارکننه قون Ergenekon… Those tribes are: The origin of Mongols were descendants from these two persons, Nekuz and Qiyan and their wifes who escaped to Ergenkon. (English)
  14. ^ a b Bahaeddin Ögel, Türk Mitolojisi Vol. I, Milli Eğitim basımevi, İstanbul, 1971., Türk Mitolojisi I: 'Kaynakları ve Açıklamaları İle Destanlar, Tütk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara, 1989, pp. 14–5. (Turkish)
  15. ^ Abu'l-Gâzî, Şecere-i Evşâl-i Türkiyye, [Ahmed Vefik Pasha neşri], Dersaadet, 1864.
  16. ^ a b İsa Özkan, "Ergenekon Destanı Hakkında", Türk Yurdu, Cilt: 29, Sayı: 265, Eylül 2009, pp. 43–7. (Turkish)
  17. ^ Mehmed Ziya, "Ergenekon", Türk Duygusu, no. 1, pp. 7-10.
  18. ^ "Ergenekon", Altın Armağan, no. 1 (Türk Yurdu, no. 24's supplement, Istanbul, 1328), p. 20.
  19. ^ Beşir Ayvazoğlu, "Ziya Gökalp'ın Ergenekon'u", Zaman, August 6, 2009, Retrieved July 24, 2010. (Turkish)
  20. ^ Ziya Gökalp, Ziya Gökalp Külliyatı I: Şiirler ve Halk Masalları, haz. Fevziye Abdullah Tansel, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara, 1989, s. xlii, 78-83. (Turkish)
  21. ^ cilt:12, sayı: 21, Haziran 2009, p. 415.Balıkesir Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü DergisiAli Duymaz, Ömer Seyfettin'in Kaleme Aldığı Destanlar Üzerine Bir Değerlendirme", (Turkish)
  22. ^ Abu'l Gâzî, Şecere-i Türk, [Rıza Nur neşri], İstanbul, 1925.
  23. ^ , Ankara, 1998, p. 426.Prof. Dr. Dursun Yıldırım ArmağanıMetin Özarslan, "Oğuz Kağan Destanı'nda Tarihî, Dinî, Beşerî ve Tabiatüstü Unsurlar", (Turkish)
  24. ^ Murat Arman, "The Sources of Banality In Transforming Turkish Nationalism", CEU Political Science Journal, issue: 2 (2007), p. 136.
  25. ^ Türk Tarihinin Ana Hatları, Kaynak Yayınları, 1999, ISBN 975-343-118-X; p. 380. (first edition: 1930) (Turkish)
  26. ^ Tarih II: Kemalist Eğitimin Tarih Dersleri (1931 - 1941), Kaynak Yayınları, 2001, ISBN 975-343-319-0, p. 44. (first edition: 1931) (Turkish)
  27. ^ İlhan Tekeli, Selim İlkin, Kadrocuları ve Kadro'yu anlamak, Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı, 2003, ISBN 9789753331708, p. 219. (Turkish)
  28. ^ Beşir Ayvazoğlu, "Ergenekon yurdun adı", Zaman, January 31, 2008, Retrieved July 24, 2010. (Turkish)
  29. ^ Candan, Ergun. (2002). Türklerin Kültür Kökenleri, Sınır Ötesi Yayınları, Istanbul, pp. ?113-4, ISBN 975-8312-11-1

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