Jangar: The Heroic Epic of the Kalmyk Nomads
Univ of California Press, Jan 10, 2023 - History - 264 pages
The first English translation of a Kalmyk epic nearly lost to history.
This is the first English translation of Jangar, the heroic epic of the Kalmyk nomads, who are the Western Mongols of Genghis Khan’s medieval empire in Europe. Today, Kalmykia is situated in the territory that was once the Golden Horde, founded by the son of Genghis Khan, Juchi. Although their famed khanates and cities have long since disappeared under the sands of the Great Eurasian Steppe, the Kalmyks have witnessed, memorized, and orally transmitted some of the most transformative developments, both victorious and tragic, in the history of civilizations. A tribute to the protectors of the mythical country Bumba, Jangar reflects the hopes and aspirations of the Kalmyk people as well as their centuries-long struggle for their cultural existence.
This new English translation is more than a tribute to the artistic creativity and imagination of the Kalmyk people—it is also an important step in their struggle for cultural survival. It was only after centuries of oral transmission that the songs and stories surrounding Jangar were written down. When the first translation, into Russian, finally appeared, Stalin had the entire Kalmyk population deported to Siberia and ordered that their national literature be eliminated from the published world. This Soviet repression has had enormous consequences for world literature, silencing nomadic voices and keeping hidden their distinctive contributions. Making Jangar available in English is a landmark event, bringing a lost classic to the world’s attention and restoring the voices of an almost-erased tradition at the heart of the history of Eurasia.
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Aranzal armor army arrow asked battle beautiful body bowl bright-yellow Bumba Burul called chest circles court covered dear doors drinking epic equal eyes families feast fell fight fire five followed four front galloped Galzan gates Golden Heart Golden Sharga ground hands Handsome head herd heroes Honorable horse horse’s hundred iron Jangar Khan Jilgan jumped Kalmyk Khan’s Khanate Khoshun knights land Lazy Galzan leather legs looked lost Mangna Mingian mountain mounted moved noble nomadic Oirad palace passed Princess pulled raced raise reached reins released rivers saddle Sanal Savar Savar Heavy Arm Scarlet Lion Khongor seven seventy shoulder side silk silver six thousand spears stallion steppe strong thousand and twelve threw Throwing touch Tower turned twelve heroes Ulan whip wide wild wind Wing Wishing yellow