Elements of the orally-transmitted Manas legend began to assume written form by the 16th century.
The hero of the first part of the Kyrgyz epic poem "Manas", a three-part tale preserved over many centuries by wandering bards called "manaschi". The legendary warrior Manas, son of Jakyp, led Kyrgyz troops in battles against foreign invaders and is credited with helping to preserve the independence of the Turkic Kyrgyz people in the past. Manas was the husband of Sanrabiga, who was renamed Kanikey because her name was hard to pronounce. Manas had a son named Semetey and a grandson named Seytek, and their eventful lives are portrayed in parts two and three of the trilogy.