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ALİ ŞİR NEVÂÎ

Chagatai poet (b. 9 February 1441, Heart / Afghanistan – d. 3 January 1501). His father was Gıyaseddin Kiçkine who was called Kiçkine Bahadır or Kiçkin Bahşi. Nevai lived in Iraq with his father for a time. Upon his father’s death, he was supported by Ebu’l Gazi Babür for whom his father had previously served. He completed his education at the science centers of the period such as Meshed and Samarqand. When his childhood friend and foster brother Hüseyin Baykara became the sultan of Horasan, he served and lived with him until his death.

Nevai who was appointed as private secretary at Herat Palace, became the second man of power, the first being the sultan. Although being an intimate friend to the Sultan, Nevai never forgot his ministerial affairs and he not only served the country in its development of science and art and architecture and techniques, but also in the progression in the areas of society and economics.

Thanks to his efforts, Herat became an important scientific center. In cooperation with Hüseyin Baykara, he started an impressive period of literature during his lifetime.

Nevai, both as a poet and a philosopher, was a religious scholar who strived for the development of Turkish and the presentation of the language. He was a knowledgeable poet of Arabian and Persian literature so he was able to elaborate on their deeper meanings. He attempted to glorify Turkish literature and the Turkish language. In Muhakemetü’l Lugateyn (The Trial of the Two Languages) (1498) he asserted that Turkish was equal to Arabic and Persian in respect to meaning and pronunciation and ascertained that it was easier to read poems in Turkish. One of his most important works, Mecalisü’n-Nefais (Council of the Exquisites, 1491) is his first poetry anthology.

WORKS:

DIVAN*: Hazâinü'l-Maânî (Treasure of Meanings, Four Turkish Divans*: Garaibü's Sigar (Garib of the Young), Nevâdirü'ş Şebâb (Value of Youth), Bedâyiü'l Vasât (Average Beauty), Fevaidü'l-Kiber (Advantages of Maturity) and a Persian Divan* as well.

MESNEVI*: Hayretü'l Ebrâr (Surprises of the Good), Ferhâd-ü Şirin (Ferhad and Şirin), Leylî vü Mecnun (Leyla and Mecnun), Seb'âi Seyyâre (Seven Planets), Sedd-i İskenderî (Great Wall of Alexandria).

SCIENTIFIC-LITERARY WORKS: Muhakemetü'l Lugateyn (The Trial of the Two Languages), Mecâlisü'n-Nefâis (Council of the Exquisites), Mizânü'l Evzân (The Measure of Meters), Nesâimü'l Mehabbe (Breezes of the Place from Which Wind Originated, translation of Nefahatü'l-üns-Breath of Confidence by Molla Jami), Hamsetü'l Mütehayyirin (5 Mesnevi’s* of Confused Ones), Hayat-ı Pehlevan Muhammed (The Life of Pehlevan Muhammed), Hâlât -ı Hasan Ardeşir (The Incidents of Hasan Ardeşir), Risale-i Muamma (The Mysterious Book), Münşeât (Letters, in Turkish), Münşeât (Letters, in Persian), Nazmü'l-Cevahir (Gems of Poetry), Tarih-i Enbiyâ (History of the Prophets), Hukemâ (Scholars), Tarih-i Mülûk-i Acem (History of Persian Sultans), Vakfiyye (About Foundations), Çihil Hadis (Forty Hadis*), Mahbubu'l Kulub (Lovers of the Hearts, about the life of the people in Herat and its surrounding), Lisanü't-Tayr (The Language of the Birds, a poem resembling Mantıku't Tayr-The Conference of the Birds by Farid od-Din Attar).