Chronicle of the Kings of Pasai Chronicle of the Kings of Pasai

Chronicle of the Kings of Pasai

Translator: Liubov Goriaeva

Vostochnaya literatura, Nauka

Moskva, 2015

ISBN: 978-5-02-136610-7

The Story of the Kings of Pasai (Hikayat Raja Pasai) is the earliest Malay chronicle and perhaps the earliest work written in Malay. It speaks of the first Malay kingdom that embraced Islam (Samudera Pasai, North Sumatra), and covers the period from the mid-13th to the mid-14th century. In her research article, L.V. Goriaeva compares various historical sources on North Sumatra of that period and estimates the degree of their reliability. The authenticity of the events described in the chronicle is confirmed by European and Asian travelers’ testimonies and by the dated gravestones of the main characters of the chronicle remaining in North Sumatra. The role of Pasai in the spread of Islam in the Indonesian Archipelago is also emphasized in other Malay historical works. The mythological motives of the story have much in common with similar episodes of some other Malay chronicles and legends (the so-called “origin myth”). An important feature of the chronicle is that it belongs both to the historical and the literary tradition, being closely connected with mythology and oral epics of the Malay world. The book may be useful not only for specialists, but also for all those interested in the history and culture of the medieval East.