The Three Major Heroic Epics of China and Nomadic Civilization
Affiliation: Peking University

Mongol, Tibet and Kyrgyz, the creator, claimer and owner of the three major heroic epics of China, has traditionally been practicing nomadism. Thus, analyzing essence and cultural meaning of the three major heroic epics from perspectives of nomadism has great epistemological importance. The prominent characters of the three major heroic epics could be concluded as following two: tribal wars are the core subjects; became ethnic groups’s epics along historical accumulation of tribal epics.

Firstly, the three major heroic epics all narrates hero’s life history: grotesque birth of hero-- uncommon childhood of hero-- success of juvenile hero-- hero’s marriage through all kinds of hardships-- hero’s expedition, returned in triumph or died bitterly. From the perspective of Nomadism, the three major heroic epics are extemporizing coming-of-age ritual and heroic memoirist of nomadic people. In this extent, we could say heroic epics as life textbook and folkways that standardize tribal members, rather than literature story; Jangar, Geser and Manas as heroic images of nomadic tribal member, rather than historical figures.

Secondly, the three major heroic epics all have developed from tribal epics to epic convergencies, and present exoteric characters on the premise of reserving original story frame. Whenever hero conquers a tribe or enemy, one chapter would be added, and the historical accumulation result in epics’ longness. The fundamental motivation for the incessant enhancement of epic chapters is the tribal wars among nomads. If only there is tribal wars and tribal alliances, there would be possibilities of epic production. And those epics concerning tribal wars was not achievement of only one person, instead, intonated by epic singers of different tribes. Diverse tribal singers all intonating their own Jangar, Geser and Manas, and ultimately, those Jagar, Geser and Manas sung by different tribes became the whole ethnic group’s Jangar, Geser and Manas. This is the reason for why the three major heroic epics have been maintaining the vitality of alive epics till present.

The article analyzes the tribal war contents and structural characters of the three major heroic epics from perspectives of nomadic civilization.

     Keywords:Heroic Epic; Nomadic Civilization;