Archery Terms in the Book of Dede Korkut

Sultan Tulu

Archery Terms in the Book of Dede Korkut

(63rd Annual Meeting Ulaanbaatar, 2021)

Archery terms hold a prominent place in the vocabulary of the Book of Dede Korkut. These terms refer to different types of arrows, and their specific parts and forms. Consequently, they also contain information about Turkish archery in the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods, for which the “Book of Dede Korkut” is an important source.

The Dresden and Vatican manuscripts of the Book of Dede Korkut contain various errors and spelling mistakes by scribes or copyists, which caused researchers to misread and, consequently, misinterpret numerous words.

Some of these critical terms and phrases relate to archery. Their translation into present day Turkish is problematic and has not been fully resolved. This article will re-evaluate certain archery terms that have been read differently, and present suggestions for their interpretion, namely: 1) Gün.9b.3-4: Üç yelekli suhār oklar; 2) Drs. 56b.4: boğma kirişüm/ Vat.70b.3: burma kirişüm; 3) Drs. 67a.5-6: Ol kāfirüŋ üçin atup birin yarmaz okçısı olur.

The word under 1) is part of the Gunbed manuscript and 2) is part of Bamsı Beyrek, the third story of the Book of Dede Korkut. The phrase under 3) appears in the fourth story, Kazan Bég oġlı Uruz Bégüŋ ṭutsaḳ olduġı boy.

Keywords: Oğuznāme, The Book of Dede Korkut, archery terms, problems of translation and interpretation.