"Jangar", A Mongol Hero Epic

The Mongol Hero Epic Jangar is one of the three major works of Mongol Classical Literature. Jangar can be compared to Homer's Iliad in its size but at the same time it is an epic well adapted to a migratory culture, in that each chapter is a separate story within a story, allowing for a fresh start with each storytelling.

The cradle of the Jangar Epic is in Xinjiang, northwestern present day China, home to the Oirat Mongols. However, the epic can also be found in areas of Mongolia and Russia, along the path of the Volga River, home to the Kalmyk Mongols. The first publishing of Jangar was during the late 1950's by the Inner Mongolia People's Publishing House, when a 13 chapter Oirat version of the over a hundred chapter Oirat Jangar Epic was published in the Oirat Mongol "clear" script. Later in the 1980's Boyinheshig, a mythologist from Inner Mongolia University, and T. Dolma, spent over one month in Xinjiang recording what would become a 15 chapter version transcribed and published in modern Mongol (Uigur-Mongol) script in the 1980's. Today, there are many different translated versions of the Jangar Epic in different languages all around the world.

The main story-line in the Jangar Epic is the battle between good, Jangar and his heros; and evil, the Mangus or evil monster, and the achievment of a life of bliss.

The Epic of Jangar is a masterpiece creation of the "Jangarchin", individual tellers of the Jangar Epic. The epic has been passed down orally for ages and it is unclear to this day who created it or when it was created.

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