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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a heroic folk epic existing in the form of distinct legends among several Turkic-speaking peoples (among the Uzbeks, Alpamysh; among the Kazakhs and Kara-kalpaks, Alpamys; among the Altai mountain people, Alyp-Manash; among the Bashkirs, Alpamys ha and Barsyn-khyluu; among the Kazan Tatars, the fairy tale Alpamsha) and also among the Tadzhiks. The cycle of Middle Asian epic tales about the hero Alpamysh and his exploits was apparently composed from the 14th through the 17th centuries, a time when the peoples of Middle Asia were struggling against the Dzungar rulers, the Khuntaidzhi. Although all the versions are similar in subject matter, each one is quite original and distinguished by its local color. The most extensive variant was recorded by the Uzbek fabulist Fazyl Iuldash-ogly (14,000 verses). The legend is divided into two parts: (1) Alpamysh’s journey to win a bride, his competition with rival suitors, and the marriage of the hero and heroine and (2) Alpamysh’s expedition against the Kalmyk tyrant Taicha Khan, the hero’s seven-year confinement in a dungeon, and his victorious return to his homeland. The Uzbek legend of Alpamysh underwent the usual transformation into a cycle of related epics: a special dastan (a Middle Eastern epic literary form) was composed on the adventures of Alpamysh’s son, Iadgar. The epic’s basic theme is the people’s struggle for independence and the affirmation of the just and peaceful life and of lofty humanitarian ideals.


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Alpam’s-batïr. Texts and translations edited by M. O. Auezov and N. S. Smirnova. Alma-Ata, 1961.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.