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Vis and Ramin – Iran – West Asian stories

By |2018-04-25T23:57:31-07:00September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

A Parthian noblewoman This is a story from the Parthian Empire, but the earliest written version that we still have is by the Islamic poet Gorgani, about 1050 AD: King Mobad of Marv saw the beautiful Queen Shahru, and asked her to marry him, but she was already married. Instead, Queen Shahru promised to send King Mobad her daughter to marry, [...]

Native American creation myths

By |2018-04-12T08:53:19-07:00August 10th, 2017|Literature, Native American, Religion|

A cross-legged man from Spiro Mound (modern Oklahoma), 900-1450 AD Each group of people in North America had their own story about where the world came from and where they came from. Here are some examples: Pueblo creation myth Navajo creation myth Chinook creation myth Cherokee creation myth Inuit creation myth Nobody really knows whether [...]

Early Cherokee language and stories

By |2018-04-07T17:05:42-07:00August 10th, 2017|Literature, Native American|

Cherokee statues from Etowah (now northern Georgia) Cherokee is part of a group of Iroquois languages. Before the Spanish conquered the Cherokee, the Cherokee people didn't use writing. But they told many stories about themselves and their gods. During the evenings, or at religious ceremonies, people sat around the fire together. Cherokee story-tellers told stories that entertained people. [...]

Kriemhild’s Revenge – More Niebelungenleid

By |2017-06-27T17:01:48-07:00June 27th, 2017|Literature, Northern Europe|

Kriemhild goes to marry Etzel of the Huns (1400s AD) Part II: Kriemhild's Revenge Well, naturally that wasn't the end of the story. A woman like Kriemhild wasn't just going to sit there, after Hagen killed her husband. After some time, King Etzel of the Huns (Attila the Hun) came and proposed marriage [...]

Niebelungen – A German story

By |2017-06-27T16:51:57-07:00June 27th, 2017|Literature, Northern Europe|

Prince Siegfried kills the dragon Fafnir -Door of the Christian church of Hylestad in Norway (1200s AD) The Niebelungenlied, or the Story of the Niebelungs, was written about 1200 AD in the Holy Roman Empire. Nobody knows the name of the author, but he or she was probably writing down a story that [...]

Medieval German stories

By |2018-04-21T13:19:57-07:00June 27th, 2017|Literature, Northern Europe|

Monk writing a book, seated on a wyvern (North Germany, ca. 1150 AD now in Metropolitan Museum, NYC) The earliest stories of German and Scandinavian literature probably come from even earlier Indo-European stories. Some of these stories seem to be related to stories told by other Indo-European people like the Persians or the [...]

Secret History of the Mongols – Central Asian Literature

By |2017-05-31T22:47:37-07:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Literature, Medieval|

Genghis Khan The oldest book written in Mongolian is a biography of Genghis Khan, who created the Mongol Empire. Nobody knows who wrote the Secret History, but whoever it was, they wrote it not long after Genghis Khan's death in 1227 AD. Most of what we know about Genghis Khan and the early [...]

Epic of Manas – Central Asian stories

By |2017-05-31T22:33:53-07:00May 31st, 2017|History|

Uighur princesses (Bezelik Cave) Possibly some time in the Middle Ages, Kyrgyz people began telling the story of Manas, his son Semetei, and his grandson Seitek. In the first part of the Epic of Manas, Manas grows up and becomes Khan. He gets married to the Uighur princess Kanikei, and leads his people [...]

Epic of Koroglu – Central Asian stories

By |2017-05-31T22:25:56-07:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Literature|

In this story, Koca Yusuf was a poor man who worked in the horse stables of the powerful Bey of Bolu. One day, Koca Yusuf saw a young filly (a girl horse). This horse had not had enough food and was very skinny and didn't look like anything special. But Koca Yusef knew horses, and [...]