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The literature of the Crimean Tatar middle ages, conventionally dated to the beginning of the XIII—mid-XIX century, attracts increasing interest from both specialists and ordinary readers. Let's look at some questions about its history and characteristics.

The point of reference in the history of Crimean Turkic literature is considered to be the first third of the XIII century, when in the Crimea the poet Mahmud Kyrymly (Crimean) created a very significant — both in volume and content — poetic work on the plot of the Koranic legend about the prophet Yusuf (the biblical Saint Joseph) — "the Legend of Yusuf and Zeliha" ("Hical and Yusuf ve Zeliha"). Unfortunately, the text of this poem, which is considered to be the most ancient monument of Crimean Tatar written literature, has not been preserved, but two lists of its translation are known, most likely carried out in the first third of the XIII century by the contemporary of Mahmud Kyrymly, the Anatolian (Turkish) poet Khalil-oglu Ali. It is interesting that the Crimean author's unrecorded poem was probably the earliest experience of poetic processing of a famous Quranic legend in the history of all Turkic literature. After Mahmud Kyrymly, this story was often referred to by very well-known authors (in total, more than seventy-five poems were written in the Turkic languages for the story of Yusuf and Zelikha (Zuleikha)).

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The period of origin of the Crimean Tatar written literature (until the middle of the XIII century) was followed by a two — century period, which was named "zolotoordynsky" — after the state of the Golden Horde, which included the Crimean Peninsula as a separate administrative entity — ulus—in the XIII-XV centuries. The "Golden Horde" period was replaced by the almost 350-year period of the Crimean khanate (mid-XV century-1783), which was marked by a fairly significant rise in the literary and, in General, cultural life of the Crimea. The hundred years that followed (1783-1883) are called the "black century" in Crimean Tatar historiography and are characterized by features of the deepest General cultural crisis. Since 1883, namely from the first issue of the newspaper "Terjiman" ("Translator") under the editorship of the outstanding Crimean Tatar educator I. Gasprinsky, a new era has begun in the history of Crimean Tatar literature, as well as the entire culture in General.

A brief description of the literature of the Crimean Tatar middle ages will be preceded by some General remarks. First: as a result of numerous socio-political, economic and natural disasters that took place in the history of the Crimea and the Crimean Tatars until recently, a huge number of literary monuments were irrevocably lost. We know about their existence, as well as about their authors, from contemporary historical and literary sources, as well as from the testimonies of later authors. Second: a large number of preserved literary monuments - hundreds and hundreds of works in the form of manuscripts stored in numerous book collections of the former Soviet Union, as well as Turkey, Germany, England, France, Holland, etc. States-practically not studied and often not even qualitatively attributed. Third: in addition to Turkic-language literature, Crimean medieval authors created a significant number of religious and scientific treatises, as well as artistic and historical works in Arabic and Persian. Naturally, this literature is an integral part of the cultural heritage of the Crimean Tatars and should be the object of close attention. And yet: when you get acquainted with the Crimean Tatar literature of the XIII—XIX centuries, you should pay attention to the very extensive geography of residence and activity of Crimean authors outside their historical homeland. Among the cities and localities that have become the place of their life, service, scientific and literary creativity are the largest religious, cultural and scientific centers of the Muslim world: Cairo, Damascus, Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Bursa, Edirne, Sinop, Konya, Sivas, Amasya, Kastamonu, Sofia, etc. It also draws attention to the fact that the vast legacy of authors who for various reasons left the Crimea or lived outside it for a long time, has been preserved much more fully in comparison with the legacy of those authors who lived and worked exclusively in the Crimea, a legacy that, unfortunately, has largely fallen victim to numerous Crimean tragedies.

Based on the above, it is currently quite difficult to give any exhaustive description of this literature, to assess in detail its ideological and aesthetic potential, to determine its place and significance in history. In General, the Crimean Tatar literature of the XIII-XIX centuries should be considered as an integral and organic part of the entire medieval Turkic literature (the most extensive geographical area of its distribution), which successfully adopted the traditions of previous epochs (in particular, the literature of the Turkic (VI—VIII centuries) and Uyghur (VIII-IX centuries).) khaganats, as well as the Karakhanid state (IX-early XIII century)) and actively participated in the literary processes of subsequent epochs: in the context of the literature of the Golden Horde (XIII—XV centuries), Chagatai (XV—XVI centuries), Seljuk and Ottoman (XIII—XIX centuries). This, in turn, gives reason to consider the medieval Crimean Tatar classical literature as one of the components — and very bright components-of the entire fascinating world of literature of the Muslim East, represented, in addition to the Turkic-speaking, Persian and Arabic literatures, and has long been known for its unique greatness. Samples of Crimean Tatar literature of the XIII-XIX centuries, known to us at present, can be divided into three main groups of monuments. The first group should include works of scientific and scientific-religious content: treatises on various branches of religious (so-called Muslim) Sciences (commentaries on the Koran, hadith studies, theology, Muslim law) and Islamic mysticism (Sufism), as well as works in the fields of philological, social, natural, exact, etc., including-in grammar, medicine, astrology, military art, mathematics, geometry, etc.

Samples of Crimean Tatar literature of the XIII-XIX centuries, known to us at present, can be divided into three main groups of monuments. The first group should include works of scientific and scientific-religious content: treatises on various branches of religious (so-called Muslim) Sciences (commentaries on the Koran, hadith studies, theology, Muslim law) and Islamic mysticism (Sufism), as well as works in the fields of philological, social, natural, exact, etc., including-in grammar, medicine, astrology, military art, mathematics, geometry, etc.

Unfortunately, this area of the Crimean Tatar literary, or rather — scientific heritage is currently the least studied, and the names of such Crimean Tatar theologians, mystics and scientists as rukneddin Ahmed bin Mohammed (XIV century), sherefeddin bin Kemal Kyrym, Seyid Ahmed bin Abdullah kyrym (XV century), Mahmud bin Suleiman kefevi, Huseyin kefevi, "Tatar Sheikh" Ibrahim (XVI century), Ebulbeka Muhibuddin Eyub kefevi (XVII century), fakri Mehmed bin Seyid Hamid kyrym, Tatar Ahmed, Selim Baba, hijabi abdulbaki (XVIII century), Huseyin ryfki, feruh Ismail, Aziz Idris Kyrym, Mehmed nuzet (XIX century) and many others, do not Say anything Today not only to Ordinary Readers, but even for specialists.

In the second group, you can combine numerous works of historical content, due to the peculiarities of the development of genres of medieval Crimean Tatar historical prose, which, in addition, have significant literary and artistic advantages. Such works include extensive descriptions of Muslim history in General, works on the history of the Ottoman Empire, numerous Chronicles from the history of the Crimean khanate, descriptions of individual historical events and Embassy missions, etc. At present, we have information about almost thirty such works, which came from the pen of more than twenty Crimean authors. Of these, about fifteen treatises, mainly Crimean Chronicles, have already been discovered and partially become the subject of study of Crimean Tatar, Turkish, European, Russian and Ukrainian scientists ("History of Khan Islam Geray III" by Mehmed Senaya (XVII century)," history of Sayd Geray "(XVIII century)," Rose Bush of khans " by Halim Geray (early XIX century), etc.).

Finally, the third group-samples of directly fiction, and above all-the poetic creativity of Crimean Tatar authors of the XIX-XIX centuries. Next, we will talk about poetry, since it is difficult to say anything about the development of what could be considered artistic prose in the Crimea during the described period.

The group of poetic monuments is the most extensive and representative, attracting attention, including a fairly significant number of names: already today we know the names of more than 150 poets — a fact that may indicate, in particular, quite favorable conditions for the development of poetic creativity among the Crimean Tatars in the period described, and even a certain attraction to this creativity on the part of the latter (this is also said by many medieval authors, as well as subsequent researchers). It is interesting that the tone in this "hobby" was set, it seems, by the members of the ruling Khan's family at that time: about thirty representatives of the Khan's dynasty of Gerai, among whom — a number of quite famous khans, became known as outstanding poets, writers and historians. Unfortunately, only a very small part of the creative heritage of both the Gerai themselves and the vast majority of other authors has been identified, has become the subject of research, and also the property of the readership.

Even a preliminary acquaintance with medieval Crimean Tatar poetry testifies to the considerable richness of its ideological and aesthetic content, extreme genre and thematic diversity, the brightness of artistic means, as well as a very high level of technical performance. The proof of this, in particular, is the work of poets such as Ashik Omer and Gazayi (Crimean Khan Gazi II Geray), whose names have long been called among the most striking in the history of all Turkic-language poetry.

From the point of view of the content and features of poetics in the Crimean Tatar medieval poetry, there are usually three directions. The first is the so — called Divan poetry (from the Arabic "Divan" meaning: "collection of poetic works by one author") - poetry of the Khan's court and educated circles, mainly secular content, classical poetry in the narrow sense of the word. The latter definition refers to the fact that at the time of its formation, this poetry focused largely on samples of "classical" Persian poetry. This poetry is characterized by the most extensive genre range, very strict limits of poetic etiquette, as well as exceptional richness and refinement of artistic language. The bulk of Crimean Tatar medieval poets are representatives of the poetry of the Divan. Among them, we note the names of such poets as abdulmejid (late XIV—early XV century.), Huseyin kefevi, gazayi (XVI century.), rezmi (Crimean Khan Bahadir I Gerai), Kelimi Seyid Musa kefevi, janmuhammed, Hasan Vejhihi, Ali Kyrym, Lutfullah (XVII century.), Mengli II Gerai, Lyayyhhafyz Mehmed Kyrym, Mustafa Rahmi, hurremi Celebi (XVIII century), Abdullah Ramiz, Halim Geray, Ferrukh Ismail (late XVIII—early XIX century), ebubekir Rifat, Mehmed nuzet, Fazil Mohammed (XIX century), etc.

The second direction is poetry of religious and mystical content, or Sufi (Sufism is a mystical and ascetic trend in Islam). The artistic language, images and motives of this poetry had a huge influence on the formation and development of not only religious poetry itself, but also largely determined the character and evolution of many genres of secular poetry (first of all, Palace poetry (Divan poetry)). Among the poets of this direction, we will highlight such authors as Mustafa Myudami, Bakayi Abdulbaki Kefevi, "Tatar Sheikh" Ibrahim (XVI century), Afifi Afifeddin Abdullah, Izzy Abdulaziz, Sofu Mehmed IV Geray (XVII century), Selim Diwan (XVIII century), and others.

Finally, the third direction is ashiq poetry (from the Arabic "ashiq" — a poet in love). Representatives of this direction accompanied their performances by playing the musical stringed instrument saze (which is why the other name of this poetry — saza poetry) and, combining in one person the numerous talents of a poet, composer, singer, musician-performer, enjoyed great popularity among the people. This poetry is characterized primarily as folk poetry, but in the course of its development it has assimilated many elements of Divan poetry. Ashiq poetry gave Crimea, as well as all Turkic literature in General, the famous poet Ashiq Omer, as well as many other bright names.

If we talk about the theme of the work of medieval Crimean Tatar authors, it is primarily dominated by love and religious and philosophical lyrics. The place of topics of Sufi content (mystical love of God, spiritual purification, moral improvement, etc.) is very significant. at The same time, social themes are quite diverse (you can point, in particular, to satirical works of the same Gazayi and Ashiq Omer), military-campaign lyrics, topics related to the description of various historical events, nature, etc.

The rich heritage of medieval Crimean Tatar literature, reflecting the unique experience of spiritual search in the medieval Crimean Tatar culture, a heritage with significant humanistic potential, is waiting for deep and serious research.