Childlessness In Turkish Epics

Yildiz N.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.82, pp.76-88, 2009 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.76-88
  • Gazi University Affiliated: No


In Turkish epics the "hero" has got stereotyped features. Even before the birth of the hero, the supernatural aspects of the hero are mentioned in the epic. The birth of the hero also occurs in extraordinary way, And one of the traditional and main aspects of this stereotyped feature is "childlessness". The prospective hero can be from a noble or a poor family. However, the parents should be suffering from the childlessness until the middle ages. There should be no one to inherit the throne or the wealth. Thus the father tries to marry with other women for the ancestry. But at last the hero came to those parents with an enchanted way. Prayers and rituals help the birth of the hero. Some of them are given to the parents as a conditional gift. Thus, before the birth of the hero, listeners are ensured directly to the hero. This motif is widely used in Turkish epos and also at the parable of Abraham in religious texts. The enchanted aura of the legend also continues after the birth of the hero. Thus, by doing this the narrator prepares the listener to idea that the hero-child is different from others. This feature shows that there are both similarities and differences with epics of other nations. While determining the characteristics of the Turkish epic hero, we also need to determine the characteristics of other nation's epic heroes. All the reviewed epics of the Turkish tradition show that, "the status of the parents / childlessness" theme, is very rich in tradition.