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What is “Dede Korkut” ?

Dede Korkut (Korkut Ata) was glorified and sanctified in the ancient epics of the Oghuz Turks; He is a semi-legendary sage who knows the traditions and customs of steppe life very well, protects the tribal organization, and the narrator of the stories in the Dede Korkut Book, the oldest epic of the Turks, is the poet.

His name is sometimes referred to as “Korkut” or sometimes as “Korkut Ata” in historical sources and various Oghuz narrations; It is also known as “Dede Korkut” in Western Turkish. While the folk narratives identified in the Sirderya basin introduced him as a baksi (Shaman), he was introduced as a Muslim Turkish guardian who served as a vizier and advisor to the rulers in written sources. It is thought that he was a soothsayer (kam, baksı) before the Oghuzes accepted Islam and assumed the identity of a saint in parallel with the cultural change in the process of Islamization.

He is also known as the pir of the Kazakh and Kyrgyz bahshis. According to a legend, he taught Kyrgyz shamans to play kopuz and sing folk songs.

According to folk rumors, the information in the historical sources about the life of Dede Korkut, who was born from an enlightened, clear-eyed giant daughter, is different from each other. The oldest historical source mentioned about Korkut Ata is the Câmiü’t tavarih of the Ilkhanid vizier Reşidüddin. In this famous book, written by the physician Reşidüddin with a committee in 1305, Korkut is mentioned as a contemporary of four Oghuz rulers. According to this work, Korkut is from the Bayat clan and is the son of Kara Hoca. He lived 295 years. He emerged during the time of İnal Sır Yavkuy, the ninth ruler of the Oghuz dynasty, and was the consultant of the tenth ruler Kayı İnal Han and the three Oghuz rulers after him.

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