Grey Wolf

What is the role of a wolf in Turkic mythology?

A wolf is quite often a figure or a symbol in various mythologies. Be it the motherly Lupa that nursed the twins Romulus and Remus or the dreaded Fenrir from the Norse mythology, wolves are common.

Grey wolf is a sacred animal and national symbol in Turkic and Mongol mythology, representing bravery, strength, pride and agility.

The most prominent legend, undoubtedly, is the Grey wolf legend, quite similar to the Romulus and Remus myth.

The legend of Asena expands on the origins of Turkic people. In Northern China, Chinese soldiers raided a small Turkic village. No one was left alive, except a small boy. An old she-wolf found him and nursed, eventually the boy impregnated her and she gave birth to half-wolf, half-human cubs, from whom the Turkic people were born. One of the cubs, Ashina, became a ruler of the Turkic empires.

There is also the Ergenekon legend, where the Turkic people were released from a four-century-long “prison” that became the Ergenekon valley. The grey wolf leads them to safety.

Another legend provides that a great Turkish emperor had two daughters of exceptional beauty that was so unearthly that the emperor fearing for their safety, ordered to build a tall and strong tower in a faraway place, where he locked his daughters.
The emperor loved his daughters so he begged the deities to find a solution. Hearing his prayers, a deity descended to Earth, taking a form of a grey wolf. He married one of the daughters and had with her nine children. These children, with time, went to marry and have their own children, thus, the spirit of the grey wolf was spread among the many descendants. That is why Turkish people are considered as descendants of wolves, thus, honourable, courageous and strong.

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