1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Ask me about Indonesian Ancient History/Folklore

Discussion in 'Research' started by Wanara009, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

    161
    41
    28
    I spent a lot of my life in Indonesia and I study a lot about Indonesian kingdoms (mainly Javanese ones) as well as listen to a lot of its folklore. I'm also rather familiar to Kakawin Bharatayudha, the Javanese version of Mahabharata. So if anyone want to use aspect from this sadly under-utilized culture, feel free to ask and I shall do my very best to answer it.
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    4,352
    1,542
    163
    Wanara009
    Thank you for the offer.
    Some years ago I tried watching [and later on reading] the India version of the Mahabharata when it was serialised on TV on Saturday afternoons. It was interesting to say the least.
    And yes I agree that the culture is sadly under used. Too often our inspirations and sources stop once we get outside Europe or North America.
     
  3. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    1,072
    295
    83
    Could you give a brief run down, just some notes, about the ancient Indonesian kingdoms and religious history? I feel I know far to little about this area of the world and would love to learn more.
     
  4. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

    161
    41
    28
    Indonesian Kingdom Pt. 1

    Alright, I'll do the best to answer this. I don't know much about the religious history aside from the fact that Ancient Indonesia's religious timeline can be divided into Hindu and Islamic Era. I'll try to give a give a brief rundown on major kingdoms of Hindu Era first then I'll continue on the Islamic Era on a later post (still digging up my old text book).

    While connection to India has been on going since the ~2nd Century, the first (arguably, if you didn't count the reference to Salakanagara and Indian records that reference the little known Jawa Dwipa kingdom. As far as I know, the existence of Jawa Dwipa is only referenced at in these record and a later record made by the Tarumanagara.) Indonesian kingdom to leave record is the kingdom of Kutai Martadipura that exist ~4th century AD, not to be confused by the later Kutai Kertanegara that didn't exist until ~13th century. What is for certain however, Kutai is the first kingdom to leave physical evidence instead of just being referenced in manuscript.

    The significance of Kutai is the fact that the founder is named Kudungga, a Cambodian name but his title is Dewawarman, which is a Hindu title name. It is thought that Kudungga didn't take up Hinduism until he founded Kutai, which probably kickstart the Hindu Era. Most of what historian knew about Kutai came from the seven Yupa (commemorative stone tablet). One of the chronicle a mass sacrifice of cattle by the King Aswawarman.

    The second significant Kingdom of the Hindu Era is Tarumanegara (or Tarumanagara, though I prefer the former). This kingdom is notable because the Chinese made reference to them (specifically, the Sui and Tang Dynasty), signifying that Tarumanegara has a strong diplomatic policy unlike Kutai. Another thing make this kingdom remarkable in my mind is that its King Punawarman is the first one to introduce the word "Sunda". He is also the first West Javanese kingdom that has territory on both side of Kali Brebes (which is the ancient border between the present West and Central Java).

    The third significant Kingdom is Sriwijaya, the earliest known Buddhist kingdom founded around the 7th century and last until the 13th. Sriwijaya is a thallasocracythat has strong diplomatic ties to China, a Javanese Kingdom known as Wangsa Sailendra, the Khmer kingdom (which used to be under Sriwijaya), and the Pala Kingdom in Benggala. Their connection to Sailendra is referenced in the carving on Borobudur Temple (which the Sailendra might have built).

    Going back to Java, we have the Kediri/Panjalu kingdom. I find this kingdom important since Kakawin Bharatayudha is written by a denizen of this kingdom in 1157 AD. It is also remarkable because the King Airlangga split Kediri into two to prevent a civil war between his sons.

    The next kingdom is Singhasari, famous for the legend of Ken Arok. Of course, there's another source called Kakawin Nagarakretagama that firmly state that Ken Arok don't exist and the actual founder of Singhasari is a man named Rangga Rajasa Sang Girinathaputra.

    Singhasari is a militaristic nation by all account and often send its army outside Java. Of course, this make them vulnerable from the inside. A bupati (equal to a Duke) of a region named Gelanggelang named Jayakatwang initiated a hostile take over, successfully killing the king Kertanegara (who is incidentally is Jayakatwang cousin and brother-in-law).

    In the rebellion, a Singhasari defender named Raden Wijaya is spared and went into exile. This man founded the Majapahit village, which will become the powerful Majapahit kingdom. To do this however, he need Jayakatwang out of the way.

    His chance come in the form of the the expeditionary force of Kublai Khan. According to some source, this invasion force is over 20,000 to 30,000 strong, more than enough to topple Jayakatwang. Raden Wijaya promised that he will submit to Kublai Khan if they could defeat Jayakatwang. This is Mongol troops we're talking about, so of course Jayakatwang lost in the ensuing battle.

    Raden Wijaya pretended to prepare his tribute and a feast for the returning army, taking care to ask the army to enter his border without weapon as a sign of good will. However, Raden Wijaya ambushed them, forcing them to retreat and putting a threat of being trapped in Java for the next six month until the right seasonal wind come. This ambush mark the last attempt of Kublai Khan military expansion and the start of Majapahit.

    Majapahit is the first kingdom to unite the Indonesian archipelago (sans. Papua) and some of the Philippines thanks to a man named "Gajah Mada" (lit. "Elephant General"). He is famous for his Sumpah Palapa which goes like this (according to Serat Parararton):

    “Sira Gajah Mada pepatih amungkubumi tan ayun amukita palapa, sira Gajah Mada : Lamun huwus kalah nusantara Ingsun amukti palapa, lamun kalah ring Gurun, ring Seram, Tanjungpura, ring Haru, ring Pahang, Dompo, ring Bali, Sunda, Palembang, Tumasik, samana ingsun amukti palapa “​


    which roughly translate into this:

    "Gajah Mada, the prime minister, said he will not taste any spice. Said Gajah Mada : If Nusantara (Nusantara= Nusa antara= external territories) are lost, I will not taste "palapa" ("fruits and or spices"). I will not if the domain of Gurun, domain of Seram, domain of Tanjungpura, domain of Haru, Pahang, Dompo, domain of Bali, Sunda, Palembang, Tumasik, in which case I will never taste any spice."​


    Majapahit is the largest Empire in South-East Asia, although its authority beyond the core area is rather diffuse (mostly through Suzerainty rather a direct occupation).

    When Majapahit fall, a fallen Muslim prince by the name of Raden Patah (some source say he is the son of Kerthabumi, who reigned as king Bramawijaya V of Majapahit. Personally however, I like the theory that he is a direct descendant of Kerthabumi rather than a son). The Demak kingdom is probably the most remembered of all Islamic kingdom since it spawned the countless folklore associated with "Wali Songo" (translated as either "Nine Guardians" or "Nine Saints", depending on context). The Wali Songo is crucial for the spreading Islam in Indonesia.

    I'll continue this on the next post, once I'm done reading my history book and finish my physiology exam. Take care, for I'll see you then ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
    CupofJoe likes this.
  5. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    1,072
    295
    83
    Awesome! I'm gonna try and check it over tomorrow tell you if something else comes to mind. :)
     
  6. Wanara009

    Wanara009 Troubadour

    161
    41
    28
    Indonesian Kingdoms Pt 2

    Demak Sultanate is responsible for starting the spread of Islam in Java. Unfortunately, this particular kingdom only last for three kings before its authority is shifted to Pajang Kingdom (founded by Jaka Tingkir AKA Hadiwijaya, Lord of Boyolali). The reason for its decline was the conflict of succession after the death of Raden Trenggana between Trenggana's brother (Prince Sekar Seda Lepen) and Prince Pratowo. Sekar Seda Lepen was killed during a failed rebellion, but his son (Arya Penangsang) got his revenge by killing Prince Pratowo and his entire family.

    However, Arya Penangsang is not popular with his adipati (vassals) and was soon killed by Sutawijaya, the adopted son of Jaka Tingkir. Jaka Tingkir moved the capital city from Demak to Pajang, thus founding the Pajang Kingdom.

    One of Demak Wali Songo, specifically, Sunan Gunung Jati (lit. Guardian/Saint of Teak Mountain), went on to found the Banten sultanate. Banten used to be an important trade centre for south East Asia until western colonist found Batavia (Jakarta). However, it didn't actualy die until 1813 where it is annexed by the Dutch.

    Aside from Banten, there is another kingdom in Java around this time called the Mataram Sultanate. While weak in maritime matter, it is able to annext most of Java, including the Island of Madura. The Mataram sultanate ended due to the continuing instability in its government that started with the reign of Amangkurat I and contuned until Pakubuwana III divided the kingdom into Ngayogyakarta Sultanate and Kasunanan of Surakarta.

    Kasunanan of Surakarta and Ngayogyakarta Sultanate lasted until around the time of Indonesia's Independece, where it declared Indonesia as 'mother nation'. As such, they are given special autonomy previllege as Special Regions of Yogyakarta. Special Region is like kingdoms, complete with regencies and Sultan but sit at a level equal to a province. However, they are have a special autonomy that other province didn't have.

    From here on out, its fall under Modern History, which is not my field.

    Before I end this ramble however however, I should mention something aboutkingdom called Larantuka. Larantuka existed around the 1600s to 1904 and occupy the Island of Flores. Why do I bring this kingdom up? Because it is the first and only Christian kingdom Indonesia with a man named Lorenzo I as its first king. Larantuka is bought by the Dutch in 1859 and dismissed by them in July 1 1813.

    EDIT: Right, I forgot to mention the Sultanate of Ternate (or Gapi Kingdom), the major producer of cloves and a major power in the Islands of Maluku (Spice Islands). It is founded in 1257 and still exist today though only as a symbol. They have the dubious honur of being the first Indonesian to meet European (specifically, Portugese). The Portugese indirectly start a civil war, killed a king, and exiled another. The exiled King (Sultan Tabariji) was forced to sign a treaty that declare Ternate as a Christian kingdom, but this treaty was thrown out by Sulthan Khairun (1534-1570)

    Finally having enough of Portugese, Sultan Khairun created an alliance with the Sultanate of Malaka and and Aceh and declared war on Portugal. Despite the fall of Malaka in 1511, Khairun stayed firm. The Portugese Governor, Lopez de Mesquita, lured Khairun into the negotiation table and killed the unarmed Sultan. This action unite and mobilize the whole Maluku Island under Khairun successor, Sultan Baabullah. After Five year of war, Portugal hauled out of Maluku forever.

    Under Baabullah, Ternate reached a golden age. Its territory stretched from North and Central Sulawesi to the Marshall Island to the east. It also reached South Phillipine to the north and Nusa Tengara archipelago to the south. It was the one of the three most powerful kingdom in the region along with Aceh and Demak Sultanate. For whatever reason, history often forget this period of Ternate.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  7. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    1,072
    295
    83
    A very interesting read, thanks for sharing. Its a real thought provocer since I've didn't know much about this part of the world prior to reading this.
     
Loading...

Share This Page