Çocuk Sağlığı ve Hastalıkları Dergisi 2014 , Vol 57 , Num 1
Neonatal medicine among ancient Turks
*Murat Yurdakök
Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Pediatri Profesörü Knowledge regarding the ancient Turks can be gleaned rarely from their mythology, epics, legends, and language. Although Central Asian Turks embraced Islam in the 10th century, some shamanistic beliefs are still held by the Anatolian Turkish people. One such belief is “redness”, or “albasması” in Turkish. “Albasması” is seen in newborn infants and their mothers, and is probably related to neonatal and puerperal sepsis. It is believed to be caused by a female spirit. In this article, some beliefs concerning “albasması” are summarized. Turkish epics are the joint products of the Turkish tribes that lived in Central Asia. The oldest known examples of Turkish epics date from the late 7th and early 8th centuries. In the Oghuz Khan epic, the importance of breastfeeding was emphasized for its nutritive and long-term effects. At birth, Oghuz Khan’s skin was blue, as was Krishna’s in Indian mythology, and his ox-like legs and hairy skin resembled features of Enkidu, the close friend of Gilgamesh in Sumerian mythology. The epic of Manas Kyrgyz Turks, comprising more than one million poetic verses, is the largest epic by volume in the world. All the unfolding events of the epoch are centered around the Great Warrior Manas, who was the spiritual and military leader of the nation. According to the epic, grandson of Manas, and Almambet, friend of Manas, are postterm, with more than 10 months of gestational age. Manas was born in amniotic membranes holding blood in his right hand, as with Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. He also had aposthia. The main character of the Koroglu epic was born in the grave (i.e. coffin birth). Koroglu means “son of grave” in Turkish, as do “Kher-okle” or “Kher-clan” in the Etruscan language, which is related to “Heracles” in Greco-Roman mythology. “The Book of Dede Korkut” is an epic of the Oghuz Turks, who were the ancestors of the Seljuks and Ottomans in Anatolia as were the Ak-Koyunlu and Kara- Koyunlu dynasties in Iran. “The Book of Dede Korkut” comprises a prologue and 12 legends. “The Story of Tepegöz and Başat” is based on birth, growth and abnormal behaviors of a child with cyclops (“tepegöz”). This malformed child was the son of a shepherd and a nymph. A similar story is also found in the “Odyssey” of Homer. At least 168 Turkish words are present in the Sumerian language. The origin of these words may be a neighboring people, the Subarians, who probably lived in the northern part of Sumer (Subar means “water man” or “river man” in ancient Turkish). In this article, some Turkish medical words in the Sumerian language are presented. There are also similarities between Turkish and the languages of the Athabascan Indians, a large group of indigenous peoples of North America, as well as Mayan and Inca languages. In this article, some words related to neonatal medicine are presented to call the readers’ attention to Proto-Turks. Anahtar Kelimeler : eski Türkler, destanlar, hikayeler, dil, yenidoğan hekimliği.
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