Yusuf Khass Hajib Balasaghuni

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Balasaghuni, Yusuf Khass Hajib


Born circa 1021, in Balasaghun; date of death unknown. Middle Eastern poet, scholar, and thinker; wrote in Turkic.

Balasaghuni had extensive knowledge in the humanities and natural sciences. His poem Kutadghu bilig (Knowledge Which Gives Happiness, which was written in 1069 in the Uighur language), is an ethical, didactic, political treatise in which Balasaghuni expresses in artistic form his views on questions of the politics, government, and military organization of a country. The characters in the poem are allegorical figures personifying justice, happiness, reason, and prosperity. The work is constructed in the form of dialogues between the main characters. Balasaghuni’s ethical views are closely related to the teachings of Avicenna (ibn Sina). Firdousi’s Shah-nama greatly influenced Balasaghuni’s work. The meter of the poem, mutaqarib, is in the form of the mathnawi. Aruz, a system of versification, was first introduced into Turkic poetry by Balasaghuni. His images and similes are close to the perceptions of a nomad of the steppes.


Valitova, A. A. “K voprosu o fol’klornykh motivakh v poeme Kutadgu bilig.” Sovetskoe vostokovedenie,1958, no. 5, pp. 88–102.
Valitova, A. A. O nekotorykh poeticheskikh osobennostiakh “Kutadgu bilig.” Moscow, 1960.
Radlow, W. Das Kudatku-Bilik des Yusuf Chass-Hadshib aus Bälasagun. parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1891–1910.


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