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By Marcellus T. Mitsos

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19 For the sake of completeness two further, smaller groups should be mentioned, the oral epic poetry of the Bashkirs southwest of the Ural Mountains, which shows connections both to the Siberian and to the central traditions of Turkic epic; and that of the Turkic peoples of the northern Caucasus, in particular the Karachays and Balkars, which has many links to the Nart tales of the Ossetes and other Caucasian peoples. 20 As is to be expected, every tradition has its own physiognomy and peculiarities and would hence merit a fuller characterization than this sketch can pro17.

12 On the basis of a very rough taxonomy, six major groups ofTurkic oral epic traditions can be distinguished. 13 First there are the oral narratives of the Yakuts in northeastern Siberia, which are characterized by their archaic nature and their close connection with the world of the shaman. 14 Very similar to the epic poetry of the Yakuts are the epic traditions of the various Turkic-speaking peoples of the Altai (Altaians, Tuvinians, and others). 15 These two groups of traditions, which might be termed "Siberian," were excluded by C.

Manasci1ar mektebi" in Qari'pqulov eta!. , with genealogies on pp. 140 and 153. " 51 As to the performance of epics among the Turks of the central traditions, there is a clear dichotomy between singer and audience, reflected in the seating arrangement in the yurt, the traditional felt tent of the nomadic Turks, or in the room in which the performance takes place. The singer is placed on the tor, the seat of honor, which is customarily opposite the entrance to the yurt. This is the part of the yurt which is embellished by an ornamental wall carpet (Kazakh, Karakalpak tus kiyiz, Kirghiz tu!

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