(Idigu, Idiku). Born 1352; died 1419. Emir of the White Horde; from the Mangyt tribe.
Edigei became the independent ruler of the land between the Volga and laik rivers in 1396 and began the formation of the Nogai Horde, completed under his son Nuradin (ruled 1426-40). With Timur-Kutluk, he began a war against Tokhtamysh. In 1397 he became the commander of the army of the Golden Horde, and in 1399 he defeated the combined forces of Grand Prince Vytautas of Lithuania and Tokhtamysh, who had fled to Lithuania, in a battle on the Vorskla River. With the death of Timur-Kutluk in 1399, he became the de facto head of the Golden Horde, uniting the lands of the Jochi Khanate for the last time. In 1406 he killed Tokhtamysh, who had established himself in Western Siberia, and in 1407, he organized a compaign against the Bulgars. Then, in 1408, he invaded Rus’, seeking to force it to renew the payment of tribute to the Golden Horde. In the course of the campaign, he destroyed a number of cities (including Serpukhov, Dmitrov, Rostov, Pereiaslavl’, and Nizhny Novgorod) and beseiged Moscow, although he failed to take it. During a period of unrest (1410-12), he lost his position in the horde and fled to Khwarizm, only to be driven out by Khan Shakhrukh of Herat in 1414. He was killed near Saraichik by one of the sons of Tokhtamysh.
REFERENCESGrekov, B. D., and A. lu. lakubovskii. Zolotaia Orda i ee padenie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950.
Safargaliev, M. G. Raspad Zolotoi Ordy. Saransk, 1960.
(also Idige), a heroic epic widespread among the Tatars, Kazakhs, Nogais, Bashkirs, Kara-Kalpaks, Crimean Tatars, Uzbeks, and the Turkic peoples of western Siberia. The historical basis of the Edigei are the events connected with the rise of the Mangyt emir Edigei and his struggle with the aid of Timur-Kutluk during the 1390’s against Khan Tokhtamysh of the Golden Horde. The political struggle is depicted solely in terms of military discord in the epic. Each national version is notable for its originality and expresses the specific character of the life and culture of its people. The legends about Edigei, his ancestors, and his descendents were consolidated into the genealogical cycles of the Kazakh epic code Forty Heroes.
PUBLICATIONAimbetov, K. Edige. Moscow, 1937.
REFERENCEVoprosy izucheniia eposa narodov SSSR. Moscow, 1958.
Zhirmunskii, V. M. Narodnyi geroicheskii epos, Moscow, 1962.