domenica 11 febbraio 2007

Medieval sources: Turkey

The Legends and poetry of the Turks Turkish literature is of a less advanced character than that of most of the Semitic literatures from which it is sprung. An epigrammatic summary of the Turkish character has said that every fourth word of Turkish is Arabic, every third idea Persian, and every second impulse Mohammedan. This, while not seeming to leave much of the original Turk, is perhaps not an unfair estimate of the extent of the Turks' indebtedness to the earlier races and religion upon which their civilization is built. The Ottoman Turks, that is, the Turks who founded the present Turkish Empire, were a Tartar or Turanian tribe from Central Asia who adopted the Mohammedan faith and began their conquest of the Mohammedan world about the year 1300. They then possessed legends or childish tales of their own which still survive; and these are still told among the mass of the people with simple faith. One or two of these are given here, to show the natural human character of the race. The Turks next turned, in literature, to poetry. Persian Mohammedan poetry was then at its best; and the Turks imitated, but scarcely improved upon, its forms. So great, indeed, became the Turkish admiration for poetry that almost every Turkish Sultan, from the year fourteen hundred down to the present, has written poetry.
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