2003 three-volume reprint of Hmannan
|Author||Royal Historical Commission|
|Original title||မှန်နန်း မဟာ ရာဇဝင်တော်ကြီး|
Hmannan Maha Yazawindawgyi
|Country||Kingdom of Burma|
Published in English
|1923 (to Pagan Dynasty)|
|Preceded by||Yazawin Thit|
|Followed by||Dutiya Yazawin|
Hmannan Maha Yazawindawgyi (Burmese : မှန်နန်း မဟာ ရာဇဝင်တော်ကြီး, pronounced [m̥àɴnáɴ məhà jàzəwɪ̀ɴdɔ̀dʑí] ; commonly, Hmannan Yazawin; known in English as the Glass Palace Chronicle ) is the first official chronicle of Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). It was compiled by the Royal Historical Commission between 1829 and 1832. The compilation was based on several existing chronicles and local histories, and the inscriptions collected on the orders of King Bodawpaya, as well as several types of poetry describing epics of kings. Although the compilers disputed some of the earlier accounts, they by and large retained the accounts given Maha Yazawin , the standard chronicle of Toungoo Dynasty.
The chronicle, which covers events right up to 1821, right before the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826), was not written purely from a secular history perspective but rather to provide "legitimation according to religious criteria" of the monarchy.The "most important development" in Hmannan was the replacement of the hitherto prevalent pre-Buddhist origin story of Burmese monarchy with one that links the origins of the monarchy to the clan of the Buddha and the first king of Buddhist mythology, Maha Sammata.
Hmannan was the main chronicle referenced by early European scholars to write the earliest versions of Burmese history, and it still is the main standard chronicle in the study of Burmese history.
The name of the chronicle comes from Hmannan or the Palace of Mirrors, the building of the Inwa Palace complex where the chronicle was compiled, ရာဇဝင်) from Pali raja-vamsa meaning "chronicle of kings". It is conventionally translated as the "Glass Palace Chronicle" although a more accurate translation should be the "Chronicle of the Palace of Mirrors".and yazawin (
In early 1829, King Bagyidaw ordered the Royal Historical Commission to update the royal chronicles.The kingdom had just come off the disastrous First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826) after which Konbaung Burma was forced to cede all of its western empire (Arakan, Manipur and Assam) plus the entire Tenasserim coast south of the Salween. Moreover, the royal treasury was severely being depleted to pay the British one million pounds sterling (about $2 billion in 2006 US dollars) as war reparations in four installations. Updating the chronicles was perhaps a fitting task "when the future seemed unclear, the present had become so painful, and the lessons of the past needed a more proper accounting."
The standard official chronicle at the time was Maha Yazawin (The Great Chronicle), the standard chronicle of Toungoo Dynasty that covers up to 1711. Konbaung Dynasty's first chronicle Yazawin Thit (The New Chronicle of Myanmar), commissioned by Bagyidaw's predecessor and grandfather Bodawpaya and covers up to 1785, had not been accepted as an official chronicle because the new chronicle contained severely harsh criticisms of earlier chronicles. Although it was Bodawpaya himself who ordered the author of Yazawin Thit to verify the accuracy of Maha Yazawin by consulting a variety of sources including hundreds of inscriptions, the king did not accept the new chronicle when it was presented to him.
The 13-member Royal Historical Commission consisted of learned monks, court historians and court Brahmins.When the commission convened the first time on 11 May 1829 (1st waxing of Nayon 1191 ME), they had ready access to a number of historical sources: over 600 inscriptions (some originals and some recast copies of the originals) collected between 1783 and 1793, several prior Burmese chronicles (yazawins and ayedawbons), local pagoda histories (thamaings), Pali religious chronicles and Burmese poetical literature (eigyins, mawguns and yazawin thanbauks).
The commission was led by Monywe Zetawun Sayadaw, one of the "most learned monks" of the day. The monk had already compiled an abridged chronicle in 1810, and had been writing a more comprehensive chronicle when he was appointed to write the next official chronicle. He was assisted by another learned monk, Thawkabin Sayadaw. The two monks were given the task of scrutinizing the earlier chronicles in prose, especially the two main ones: Maha Yazawin and Yazawin Thit. Moreover, they also acted as "consulting editors". The two monks were assisted by an ex-monk and a senior minister at the court, Maha Dhamma Thingyan, who also checked the two main chronicles for historical sources, and decided what to accept and what to reject. U Yauk and U Chein scrutinized twelve volumes of old eigyin poems, and nine minor chronicles (yazawins) and five biographic chronicles (ayedawbons). The other officials were scribes like U Hpyaw and court Brahmins who checked Indian sources for records of court ceremonies like royal coronations, ceremonies for building new palaces, etc.
It took three years and four months for the commission to complete the new chronicle. The commission had organized the chronicle was into two parts: The first part covers from time immemorial to the last dynasty (to 1752); the second part (also called Konbaung-Zet Yazawin) covers then ruling Konbaung Dynasty to 1821.Not all of the authors agreed with the conclusions reached in the new chronicle. The head of the commission, Monywe Sayadaw, felt the portrayal of the last Toungoo kings in earlier Konbaung accounts was too harsh, and decided to publish his own chronicle called Maha Yazawin Kyaw ("Great Celebrated Chronicle") in 1831.
Though the main tasks of the commission ostensibly were to verify the accuracy of the prior chronicles, and update the history to their day (1829–1832), the chroniclers had at least another equally important task, which was to provide "legitimation according to religious criteria" of the Burmese monarchy.The new chronicle did bring up Burmese history to 1821, right before the First Anglo-Burmese War. However, despite having consulted the inscriptions and a variety of sources, the commission left much of the accounts of Maha Yazawin largely unchanged.
The authors did try to verify Maha Yazawin's dates which did not agree with those given in Zatadawbon Yazawin . Maha Yazawin's dates for Pagan Dynasty were off by as much as 42 years from Zata (for the accession date of Anawrahta). Earlier historians had already tried to reconcile the glaring differences between the two prior chronicles. In 1798, Yazawin Thit tried to bridge the gap; its dates are about 15 more years closer to Zata's dates but still 27 years off.(Zata's dates later turned out to be the most accurate based on inscriptional evidence.) The authors of Hmannan chose to stay with Yazawin Thit's dates for the most part with just a few minor tweaks as seen in the table below. It shows a comparison of the regnal dates of the early Pagan kings (from Pyinbya, the fortifier of Pagan, according to the chronicles) as reported in the three chronicles.
|Name||Reign per Zatadawbon Yazawin||Reign per Maha Yazawin||Reign per Yazawin Thit||Reign per Hmannan Yazawin||Reign per scholarship|
| Kyawswa |
Vassal of Mongols (1297)
| Saw Hnit |
Vassal of Myingsaing/Pinya
| Uzana II |
Vassal of Pinya and Ava
The authors of Hmannan also inserted a number of commentaries at several points of Maha Yazawin's text. Still, even when the commission disputed earlier accounts, their commentaries are mostly of an "extremely esoteric nature", and contain "little substantive critical analysis" from a secular history perspective.The few changes the commission brought in are strictly from a religious standpoint. Of those, the most important development was Hmannan's assertion that the Burmese monarchy had descended from the Sakya clan of the Buddha. The new narrative superseded the hitherto prevalent pre-Buddhist origin story of the monarchy which until then was supposed to have descended from one Pyusawhti, son of a solar spirit and a dragon princess. The authors asserted that Pyusawhti was actually a scion of the Sakyian Tagaung royalty, founded by Abhiyaza of the Sakya clan from Kapilavastu, the very region the Buddha was born. Pyusawhti's parents were now human beings—Thado Adeissa Yaza (lit. the "Sun King" in Pali) of Tagaung royalty, and his wife who had wished for a son at a local shrine honoring the dragon princess. This claim was to have a devastating impact on the reputation of the chronicle as a whole in the eyes of British colonial era scholars who dismissed much of the early history reported in the chronicles as "copies of Indian legends taken from Sanskrit or Pali originals". It was the prevalent mainstream scholarship view at least to the 1960s although prominent Burma historians of Burmese origin disagreed with the outright dismissal of the chronicles' early history. Latest research does show that when stripped of the legendary elements, which are now viewed as allegories, the chronicle narratives largely conform to the evidence. Archaeological evidence shows that many of the places mentioned in the royal records have been inhabited continuously for over three millennia, and the chronicle narratives of the pre-11th century history are considered "social memory" of the times.
Hmannan becomes increasingly more factual where "after the 11th century, the chronology of Burmese chronicles is reliable." One major reason is that Burmese chroniclers could read the inscriptions of the previous eras.Likewise, a 1986 study of Maha Yazawin, which Hmannan closely follows, finds much of the history for the 16th century, which was also witnessed by many Europeans, largely factual.
Hmannan Yazawin is the standard Burmese chronicle, and the primary historical source material of Burmese history to the early 19th century.Almost all books on Burmese history down to the imperial period in English are chiefly based on Hmannan. It was also used by Thai historians to correct the pre-1767 chronology of the reconstructed post-1767 Siamese chronicles, which was off by a few decades.
Although all major Burmese history books are based on Hmannan, the entire chronicle has not yet been translated into a Western language. To date, only a portion—up to the end of Pagan Dynasty—has been translated into English as the Glass Palace Chronicle by Pe Maung Tin and Gordon Luce. In 1987, the Glass Palace Chronicle was translated into French as Pagan, l'univers bouddhique: Chronique du Palais de Cristal by P. H. Cerre and F. Thomas.The chronicle was, however, translated into Chinese in three volumes by the Commercial Press Link
Narathihapate was the last king of the Pagan Empire who reigned from 1256 to 1287. The king is known in Burmese history as the "Taruk-Pyay Min" for his flight from Pagan (Bagan) to Lower Burma in 1285 during the first Mongol invasion (1277–87) of the kingdom. He eventually submitted to Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty in January 1287 in exchange for a Mongol withdrawal from northern Burma. But when the king was assassinated six months later by his son Thihathu, the Viceroy of Prome, the 250-year-old Pagan Empire broke apart into multiple petty states. The political fragmentation of the Irrawaddy valley and its periphery would last for another 250 years until the mid-16th century.
Arimaddana Pura is a classical name of the city of Bagan (Pagan), Myanmar. It means the "City that Tramples on Enemies."
Sokkate was king of Pagan dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1038 to 1044. The king lost his life in a single combat with Anawrahta, who succeeded him and went on to found the Pagan Empire.
Kyiso was king of Pagan dynasty from 1021 to 1038. According to the Burmese chronicles, Kyiso was a son of King Nyaung-u Sawrahan but raised by King Kunhsaw Kyaunghpyu. Kunhsaw married Nyuang-u's three chief queens, two of whom were pregnant and subsequently gave birth to Kyiso and Sokkate. Sokkate and Kyiso were raised by Kunhsaw as his own sons. When the two sons reached manhood, they forced Kunhsaw to abdicate the throne and become a monk.
The Myinsaing Kingdom was the kingdom that ruled central Burma (Myanmar) from 1297 to 1313. Co-founded by three brothers from Myinsaing, it was one of many small kingdoms that emerged following the collapse of Pagan Empire in 1287. Myinsaing successfully fended off the second Mongol invasion in 1300–01, and went on to unify central Burma from Tagaung in the north to Prome (Pyay) in the south. The brothers' co-rule ended between 1310 and 1313, with the death of the two elder brothers. In 1315, the central Burmese state split into two rival states of Pinya and Sagaing. Central Burma would not be reunified until the rise of Ava five decades later.
Thihathu was a co-founder of the Myinsaing Kingdom, and the founder of the Pinya Kingdom in today's central Burma (Myanmar). Thihathu was the youngest and most ambitious of the three brothers that successfully defended central Burma from Mongol invasions in 1287 and in 1300–01. He and his brothers toppled the regime at Pagan in 1297, and co-ruled central Burma. After his eldest brother Athinkhaya's death in 1310, Thihathu pushed aside the middle brother Yazathingyan, and took over as the sole ruler of central Burma. His decision to designate his adopted son Uzana I heir-apparent caused his eldest biological son, Saw Yun to set up a rival power center in Sagaing in 1315. Although Saw Yun nominally remained loyal to his father, after Thihathu's death in 1325, the two houses of Myinsaing officially became rival kingdoms in central Burma.
Athinkhaya was a co-founder of Myinsaing Kingdom in present-day Central Burma (Myanmar). As a senior commander in the Royal Army of the Pagan Empire, he, along with his two younger brothers Yazathingyan and Thihathu, led Pagan's successful defense of central Burma against the Mongol invasions in 1287. Following the collapse of the Pagan Empire, the brothers became rivals of King Kyawswa of Pagan in central Burma, and overthrew him in December 1297, nine months after Kyawswa became a Mongol vassal. They successfully defended the second Mongol invasion (1300–01), and emerged the sole rulers of central Burma.
Yazathingyan was a co-founder of Myinsaing Kingdom in present-day Central Burma (Myanmar). As a senior commander in the Royal Army of the Pagan Empire, he, along with his two brothers Athinkhaya and Thihathu, led Pagan's successful defense of central Burma against the Mongol invasions in 1287. Following the collapse of the Pagan Empire, the brothers became rivals of King Kyawswa of Pagan in central Burma, and overthrew him in December 1297, nine months after Kyawswa became a Mongol vassal. They successfully defended the second Mongol invasion (1300–01), and emerged the sole rulers of central Burma.
The Sagaing Kingdom was a small kingdom ruled by a junior branch of the Myinsaing dynasty from 1315 to 1365. Originally the northern province of Sagaing of the Pinya Kingdom, it became de facto independent after Prince Saw Yun successfully fought for autonomy from his father King Thihathu in 1315–17. Sagaing formally seceded from Pinya in 1325 after Thihathu's death.
Thado Minbya was the founder of the Kingdom of Ava. In his three plus years of reign (1364–67), the king laid the foundation for the reunification of Central Burma, which had been split into Pinya and Sagaing kingdoms since 1315. He also founded the capital city of Ava (Inwa) in 1365, which would remain the country's capital for most of the following five centuries. The young king restored order in central Burma, and tried to stamp out corrupt Buddhist clergy. He died of smallpox while on a southern military expedition in September 1367.
Abhiyaza was the legendary founder of the Kingdom of Tagaung, and that of Burmese monarchy, according to the 19th century chronicle Hmannan Yazawin. He reportedly belonged to the same Sakya clan of the Buddha. However, prior Burmese chronicles down to the 18th century trace the origin of the monarchy to another legendary figure Pyusawhti, a descendant of a solar spirit and a dragon princess. Scholars view the Abhiyaza story as an attempt by the chroniclers of Hmannan to move away from then prevailing pre-Buddhist origin narrative of the monarchy.
Tagaung Kingdom was a Pyu city-state that existed in the first millennium CE. In 1832, the hitherto semi-legendary state was officially proclaimed the first kingdom of Burmese monarchy by Hmannan Yazawin, the Royal Chronicle of the Konbaung Dynasty. Hmannan adds that the "kingdom" was founded by Abhiyaza of the Sakya clan of the Buddha in 850 BCE, and that through Abiyaza, Burmese monarchs traced their lineage to the Buddha and the first Buddhist (mythical) king of the world Maha Sammata. Hmannan also introduces another Sakya prince Dazayaza who founded the second Tagaung dynasty c. 600 BCE. The narrative superseded then prevailing pre-Buddhist origin story in which the monarchy was founded by a descendant of a solar spirit and a dragon princess.
The royal chronicles of Myanmar are detailed and continuous chronicles of the monarchy of Myanmar (Burma). The chronicles were written on different media such as parabaik paper, palm leaf, and stone; they were composed in different literary styles such as prose, verse, and chronograms. Palm-leaf manuscripts written in prose are those that are commonly referred to as the chronicles. Other royal records include administrative treatises and precedents, legal treatises and precedents, and censuses.
The Royal Historical Commission of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) produced the standard court chronicles of Konbaung era, Hmannan Yazawin (1832) and Dutiya Yazawin (1869).
Zatadawbon Yazawin is the earliest extant chronicle of Burma. The chronicle mainly covers the regnal dates of kings as well as horoscopes of select kings from Pagan to Konbaung periods. In terms of regnal years, the chronicle is considered "the most accurate of all Burmese chronicles, particularly with regard to the best-known Pagan and Ava kings, many of whose dates have been corroborated by epigraphy."
Maha Yazawin Thit is a national chronicle of Burma (Myanmar). Completed in 1798, the chronicle was the first attempt by the Konbaung court to update and check the accuracy of Maha Yazawin, the standard chronicle of the previous Toungoo Dynasty. Its author Twinthin Taikwun Maha Sithu consulted several existing written sources, and over 600 stone inscriptions collected from around the kingdom between 1783 and 1793. It is the first historical document in Southeast Asia compiled in consultation with epigraphic evidence.
The Maha Yazawin, fully the Maha Yazawindawgyi and formerly romanized as the Maha-Radza Weng, is the first national chronicle of Burma/Myanmar. Completed in 1724 by U Kala, a historian at the Toungoo court, it was the first chronicle to synthesize all the ancient, regional, foreign and biographic histories related to Burmese history. Prior to the chronicle, the only known Burmese histories were biographies and comparatively brief local chronicles. The chronicle has formed the basis for all subsequent histories of the country, including the earliest English language histories of Burma written in the late 19th century.