Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/196

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
184
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

AN ETHNOLOGIC STUDY OF THE YURUKS.
By ALCIDE T. M. D'ANDRIA.

THE Yuruks are nomadic tribes whose existence is a phenomenon difficult to understand and to explain. Ethnologists consider them as direct descendants of the Turkomans, whose distinctive features they have preserved; while those properly called Turks, though descendants of the Turkomans, have mingled with Aryan and Semitic races, and lost their original characteristics. Mr. Riegler states that the Turks, owing to numerous crossings with various foreign races for several centuries, present nowadays important modifications in their type; while the ungovernable Yuruks are proud of their savage origin, and value themselves as superior to the Turks among whom they live.

The Yuruk has generally a large head, round face, high forehead, projecting chin, and long though not oblique eyes. His skin is brown, his hair dark or auburn; he has a very strong osseous frame, and is of medium height. Such is the physical description of the Yuruks.

As for the etymology of their name, it is entirely Persian, and is derived from the verb yurumek, which means to walk. In some provinces of Asia Minor they are called Gueutchebe. This word has the same meaning as yurumek, and is derived from the verb gueutchmek, which may be rendered in English by to change lodging. The literal meanings of their names show sufficiently the most striking side of their nature—they are nomadic. Their tribes are scattered over the Asiatic peninsula. Some ethnologists place their number at three hundred thousand, and M. Elisée Reclus reckons as many as a hundred different tribes. Each tribe appoints a chief called a sheik. His authority is absolute, and he fills the office of a judge to settle their quarrels.

The chief occupation of the Yuruks is the breeding of cattle. In winter they set their tents near their barns; but when spring approaches they fold them and remove to lands more favorable for the welfare of their animals. Through the warm months of the summer they live in the open air. If they happen to be in the vicinity of a forest, they apply themselves to wood-felling, and they dispose of the product of their labor in the neighboring cities or villages.

Their wives and daughters are very skillful in weaving carpets, particularly one kind known as kilim. Each tribe manufactures carpets having the same design and size; each family transmits to the children the design it possesses, and the young girls learn easily the art of weaving without the help of a pattern.

It is unnecessary to say that nomadic life is dear to them, as