The Pararaton or Book of Kings is a manuscript of 32 pages folio (1,126 lines), in the kawi language , or “Old Javanese ” and “Middle Javanese”, which tells the story of the kings of Singasari and Majapahit of Java oriental .

Nearly half of the text tells the life of Ken Arok , the founder of Singasari, before his accession to the throne in 1222 1 . It is believed that this part is rather mythological . A number of shorter narratives, in chronological order, of often dated events follow. In the end, these stories are mingled with elements on the genealogy of members of the Majapahit royal family.

The Pararaton also speaks of Gajah Mada , mahapatih (prime minister) of Majapahit. The text says in particular about it:

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

“Gajah Mada, the prime minister, says he will not taste any spice. Gajah Mada says: As long as I have not unified the islands from the outside, I will not taste any spice ( palapa ). Before I conquer Gurun, Seram, Tanjungpura, Haru, Pahang, Dompo, Bali, Sunda, Palembang, Tumasik, I will never taste any spice. ”

This passage is today called “palapa oath”. He mentions the name of Nusantara , “the islands of the outside” (implied in relation to Java), which Indonesians have adopted to designate the Indonesian archipelago. He also quotes toponyms many of which are still used: Seram (an island of the Moluccas ), Tanjungpura (in Kalimantan ), the Aru Islands , Pahang (a state of Malaysia ), Dompu (in Sumbawa ), Bali , Sunda ( West Java ), Palembang (in theSouth Sumatra ). As for Tumasik or Temasek, it is the old name of Singapore .

The oldest of the colophons of the manuscript bears the date of 1522 of the Saka era , ie 1600 AD. AD The last part of the text has had to be written between 1481 and 1600, perhaps closer to the first date of the last.

CC Berg believes that the story of the Pararaton is supernatural in nature 2 . However, the majority of researchers admit a certain historicity to the text, noting many similarities with Javanese inscriptions and Chinese sources 1 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ a and b in ) AH Johns , ” The Role of Structural Organization and Myth in Javanese Historiography ” , The Journal of Asian Studies , Vol.  24, o 1,p.  91-99 ( read online  [ archive ] )
  2. ↑ CC Berg. Het rijk van de vijfvoudige Buddha (Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Letterkunde, No. 69, No. 1) Amsterdam: NV Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij, 1962; cited in MC Ricklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia c. 1300, 2nd ed. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993, page 18 and 311


  • Brandes, JLA, Pararaton (Ken Arok) of van König van Tumapěl in van Majapahit. Uitgegeven in toegelicht , Batavia, Nijhoff, 1897
  • Ras, JJ, “Hikayat Banjar and Pararaton, A structural comparison of two chronicles” in Hellwig, CMS and SO Robson (eds.), A man of Indonesian letters , Dordrecht, Cinnaminson: Foris VKI 121, p.  184-203, ( ISBN  90-6765-206-7) , 1986