About Tuvan heroic epos
Affiliation: Tuvan Institute of Humanitarian Studies

Termtool(fairy tale) in Tuvan folk tradition identified as different species of fairy tales and heroic tales.  Epic researchers also distinguish tool folklore (fairy tale) and maadyrlyg tool (heroic tale) usually called by the name of the main character. The structure of the name may include the word Maadyr - hero ("Can-Pile-Maadyr"), Mergen - sharpshooter ("Kangyvay-Mergen"), Moge - athlete ("Moge Bayan Toolay") or title Khan ("Dalai Baybyn-Haan "). Some epics ("Alday-Buuchu", "Strong-ShagaanToolay") are called by the name of an ancestor of the hero (grandfather or father).

Tuvan heroic tales are archaic type of epic, the main contents of these heroic tales are the feats of heroes for the good of the tribal groups. Therefore, as a rule, contain the story of the fate of the three generations of heroes. They are characterized by an idealization of characters and events, the safety of fairy-tale fantasy, mythological, traces of magic and animism.

Traditional epic themes include such topics as the heroic warrior’smarriage proposal related to marriage competitions, with the difficult task of Khan-in-law (the events are depicted  in the biographical sense, with the relevant fund epic motifs), the fight with the enemies of the hero (with foreign khans, mythical monsters) plots built on antagonism of sister, wife or mother ofa warrior.

Heroic tales are characterized by elaboration of the plot and the system of the epic characters, the traditional fund motives the canonicity of poetics and style.the traditional fund motives the canonicity of poetics and style.

The epic expressive meanscontain: a) evaluative adjectives that indicate colors, metals, sizes of objects, the moral and ethical quality of characters; b) comparison of hyperbolic nature that depict the majestic image of the hero; c) typical passages and epic formulas that reflect the ethnic and geographic specifics living conditions of Tuva; d) hyperbolas that perform the functions the exaltation of actions and qualities of the hero. Epic art system is in harmony with the heroic pathos of its content, which is expressed in chanting love for his native land, the glorification of courage and heroism and a protest against the violence. Heroic legends are performed by narrators-toolchularwith melodious recitative without instrumental accompaniment or speaking.

Study of folklore Turkic peoples of Siberia suggests that the Tuvan heroic tales are similar to epic of Khakassia, Altai, Shor in the phasic, plot-compositional and artistic plans. Common in the epics of the Sayan-Altai peoples, besides the above-mentioned topics, is the presence of three lines of narrative plot and the number of generations: three (grandfather-son-grandson), two (father-son), and one - the hero. The heroes of the third generation in almost all epics of Siberian peoples commit heroic deeds more than the older generation.The very first fight of the hero as a child is to kill monster and to free people trapped in its womb. In the competition for his narrowing he defeats his opponents, then enlivens his father, who was killed by the enemy, and take revenge for him. Thus, each generation is stronger than the previous one.

Besides the common details in the theme, close matches are found in the individual motives: childless old man and woman, the miraculous birth of the hero, his first feat, finding and testing of horse, the news of the bride, located on the edge of the world, the hero of her trip, participating in three competitions, solving tasks of Khan-in-law, getting the bride a dowry, wedding feast, return to plunder the camp, a trip to country of the invaders and the victory of over his enemies, happy ending.

Besides the same motives, there is a general system of characters that havea fairy-mythological features in the heroic tales of Turko-Mongol peoples of Southern Siberia. There are wonderful assistants (hero’s high-speed horse, the old herdsmen, shepherds), mythical creatures - monsters mangys, shulbus with many heads and horns that embody evil and hostile forces),toponys (Mount Sumber, Altai, Kogey, milky lake Sut-Hol), the presence of the three worlds with the gods: the upper heaven (led Kurbustug),  the middle world (earth), the underground world (Erlic) and common names of the characters, hunting, herding, possession of many cattle herds, etc. In general, the comparison has allowed to reveal a common epic, traditional similarity. Epic of Sayan-Altai peoples retained a very large generality artistic, visual and stylistic means

The generality of the poetic traditions of the peoples of Siberia is explained not only with typological similarities, but it shows the historical roots of the ancient peoples of Siberia, it is the result of contact, direct communication and proximity of languages.

However, each epic characterize by certain differences are linked to ethnic and household characteristics, the specific geographical conditions, national originality psychology. Therefore epic tales of Tuva and the nearest its neighbors are independent and original.