The mystery of the Grey Wolf symbol in the Vatican


Lerato Khumalo

While the discussions on the grey wolf sign made by National Team football player Merih Demiral after scoring a goal in the Austria match continue, History Researcher Dr. Mehmet Tütüncü brought a striking document to the agenda. While Dr. Tütüncü found the document regarding the grey wolf symbol in the Vatican Library, in the manuscript document titled “The Secret History of the Believers in the Holy Cross or the History of the Reconquest of Jerusalem” written by the Venetian Marino Sanudo de Torsello in 1307; Turks living in Anatolia are depicted as “Grey Wolves”.

In the section titled “A Call for Help to the Christian Countries and Kingdoms Beyond the Seas”, the Turks are referred to as Grey Wolves.


Dr. Tütüncü, the history researcher who discovered the manuscript in the Vatican Library, gave the following information after the discussions that started after the national match: “The Grey Wolf is mythologically the symbol of the Turks. We know that this symbol emerged in the 20th century with the efforts of Atatürk and is mythologically connected to the Ergenekon Epic. The Buğut Inscription, found in Mongolia and dated to 572-580, is the oldest depiction of a gray wolf, depicting two Turkish children suckling milk from a wolf mother. There is a gap between the Buğut Inscription and the Republican Era. In a manuscript that will fill this gap and show the Grey Wolf as a symbol of the Turks in history, the Turks are depicted as a Grey Wolf in the Vatican Library and in two other places.”


“The first person to use the ‘Grey Wolf’ as a Turkish symbol in the West was a Venetian named Marino Sanudo de Torsello. A member of the wealthy and noble Venetian Sanudo family, Marino visited Cyprus, Alexandria, Cilicia and Rhodes 5 times throughout his life; Torsello wrote the work ‘The Secret History of the Believers in the Holy Cross, or the History of the Reconquest of Jerusalem’ in 1307 in order to renew the Crusades against the attacks of the Karamanids and other Turkish lords. “The book was written in 1307 and two more chapters were added in 1312 and 1321. Torsello presented his work to Pope John XXII, who resides in Avignon, France.”


Dr. Tütüncü, who added that the work presented to the Pope was registered under number 2972 ​​in the Latin manuscripts section of the Vatican Library, continued as follows: “While some pages of this manuscript, which consists of 106 leaves, or 212 pages, are decorated with miniatures and pictures, it preserves the most advanced and up-to-date geography information of its time with the Mediterranean, Black Sea and World maps added at the end. Two pictures stand out on pages 7 and 14 of the Vatican copy. These pictures, placed at the bottom of the page as a very beautiful and magnificent work of art, feature two grey wolves. The image bears the caption, “A Call for Help to Christian Countries and Kingdoms Beyond the Seas.”

The mystery of the Grey Wolf symbol in the Vatican - Picture : 2
Document registered at number 2972 ​​in the Latin manuscripts section of the Vatican Library.


On the other hand, Historian Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elvin Yıldırım, who sheds light on the origins of the Turks with his work titled “The Birth of the Turkish Steppe Culture: Andronovo Culture”, says that the grey wolf legends are metaphors, and adds, “The grey wolf legends are metaphors. Epics such as being breastfed by a wolf or being descended from a wolf are metaphors of finding new life under the leadership of a strong guide.”


Archaeologist Giray Fidan, in his research titled “The Grey Wolf Symbol in Tibetan and Turkish Traditions”, stated that the Grey Wolf symbol was used by Tibetans and Mongolians as well as Turks, and added, “The Grey Wolf symbol is also extremely important for the Mongols. The Mongols, one of the important nomadic nations of Central Asia, also share the Grey Wolf symbol with the Turks and Tibetans. The reason why wolves are important to the Mongols is that the name of the first Mongol ruler was Borte-Chinua, which means grey wolf.

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