The Question of Oghuz Kaghan's Name


MILLI FOLKLOR, vol.2022, no.133, pp.5-12, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 2022 Issue: 133
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Sociological abstracts, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.5-12
  • Keywords: Oghuz Kaghan, Oghuz, ox, bull, tribe


The name of The Turkish epic hero Oghuz Kaghan and the etymology of this name have been discussed in the scientific field for a very long time, but until now, no conclusions have been reached that everyone has allied with. In this article, after being reminded of the ideas put forward so far on the source of the Oghuz tribe name, the opinions on Oghuz Kaghan's name will be evaluated and our thoughts and evidence will be revealed that our own proposal, Oghuz Kaghan's name, is attached to the name of the Oghuz people. After the discovery of the Paris copy of the Oghuz Kaghan saga, many researches were carried out on this saga and its protagonist. In this context, the name of the epic hero Oghuz Kaghan has been one of the topics discussed until now. We want to put forward our own opinion by addressing the opinions put forward on this issue here. According to one of these opinions, Oghuz, the name of the legendary Turkish ruler, comes from the word ox > okuz (okuz, means ox in Turkish language and it seems close to the word of Oghuz). In our opinion, Oghuz Kaghan's name cannot come from ox. The reasons for this can be explained as follows: a. The name ox has never been used as a male name among Turks. Ox means "castrated bull" since the period of inscriptions and the texts of Old Uighur Turkish. Since oxen are castrated cattle, this name has a diminutive meaning and cannot be used as a name. b. In the Oghuz Kaghan saga, the name of the cattle breed is referred to as 'ud'. If Oghuz Kaghan had taken his name from this animal , his name would have been Ud Kagan , with the word ud , as in the saga. If Oghuz Kaghan's name came from ox, it would be Okuz Kagan , because this word hasn't changed until today. c. Although it seems possible that Oghuz Kaghan was represented by a bull , if he had taken his name from the bull , his name would have been Boga (Bull) Kaghan , similar t o The Boga Kaghan in the the Book of Dede Korkut. Bull was widely used as a male name in ancient Turks and Mongols. One of the heroes of the Book of Dede Korkut is Boga9 (Bullish). If Oghuz Kaghan was to be named an animal , it could have been a bull. 9. Even if the figure of the bull or ox is considered to represent Oghuz Kaghan or his father, we do not know whether it was drawn by the author of the saga or by his duplicator of manuscript in the 14th or 15th century. Whether the figure was drawn by the author or the duplicator added to the text, we may accept of this idea a kind of folk etymology. Where did Oghuz Kaghan's name come from? We can say that Oghuz Kaghan's name came from the name of the Oghuz people and means the ruler of the Oghuz. The epic text clearly shows us this. In the saga , people names such as Urus Kaghan and Saklab Kaghan are used as personal names. Country names are also used as personal names such as Urum Kaghan , Chinese Kaghan , Ma9in Kaghan. It is understood that the man who told the saga actually translated as Oghuz , the name of the people , into the name of his epic hero named Oghuz Kaghan. Oghuz Kaghan means the khan of Oghuz people , or all Turks , as understood from the text in Uighur script. It is understood that the title of Kaghan of the Oghuz has gradually become the name of the hero of an epic in the public's imagination.