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Borommatrailokanat ( Thai : สมเด็จ พระบรม ไตร โลกนาถ - Somdet Phra Borommatrailokanat , shorter Trailokanat (also Trailokanāth) or Trailok ; * 1431 in Ayutthaya as Prince Ramesuan, †  1488 in Phitsanulok ) was the 9th king of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya between 1448 and 1488 .

With the laws on the civil, military and provincial hierarchy of 1454, he introduced the Sakdina system, which shaped the social and political order of Siam until the 19th century. In addition, Trailok led Ayutthaya in the war with Lan Na (1441-1474). He temporarily moved his residence to Phitsanulok to be closer to the front.


Wat Chulamani in Phitsanulok with the tombstone for Borommatrailokanat

Origin and youth

Prince Ramesuan (Rāmeśvara) was probably the firstborn son of King Borommaracha II and was designated heir to the throne by him. According to some authors, his mother was a princess of the Sukhothai Kingdom , daughter of King Sai Lue Thai . However, this cannot be proven in historical sources and could be due to the misinterpretation or incorrect reading of a chronicle.

In any case, he was born at a time when the areas that were formerly part of Sukhothai, which had become vassals of Ayutthaya in the early 15th century, were becoming increasingly tied to Ayutthaya and finally became part of the empire in 1438. They were now called Müang Nüa ("northern city-states"), the most important of these cities was - after the loss of importance in Sukhothai in the 1430s - Phitsanulok . Ramesuan's father sent his heir to the throne to Phitsanulok at the age of 15 to administer the northern cities and to strengthen the control of the ruling family over them.


After his father's death in 1448, he returned to Ayutthaya to ascend the throne and took the name Borommatrailokanat.

In 1454 he passed two laws: one on the civil and one on the military hierarchy. At the top of the two hierarchies, he set up the two ministries Kalahom (a kind of war ministry ) and Mahatthai (responsible for civil administration and work organization). Through these laws he also introduced the Sakdina system (literally “power over rice fields”), according to which every nobleman and subject was assigned a certain rank, measurable in a symbolic area of Rai (1,600 square meters). This right continued until the reforms of Chulalongkorn (Ramas V) at the end of the 19th century . The non-hereditary titles of nobility for higher civil servants and the military, which were awarded up to the 20th century, were also introduced during this period or, to a lesser extent, established. Through this formalized and institutionalized state organization, the (chronically scarce in Southeast Asia) work for war and construction projects was organized more efficiently in Ayutthaya than in other realms of the region. This gave Ayutthaya an advantage over its neighbors, who as a rule only built on personal relationships between the ruler and his subordinates and were therefore much more unstable.

The northern Müang , which emerged from the fallen kingdom of Sukhothai, were fought over in the middle of the 15th century between Ayutthaya and the neighboring kingdom of Lan Na , which was ruled by King Tilokarat at that time . Both Trailok and Tilokarat claimed to be the Chakravartin (universal ruler of the Buddhist world). Lan Na's troops besieged Phitsanulok unsuccessfully from 1459 to 1460, and a rebellion broke out in Sukhothai at the same time. Part of the local nobility wanted to join Lan Na.

In 1463, Trailok moved his court to Phitsanulok in order to be closer to the front and to have better control over the north of his empire. He left the administration of Ayutthaya to his son and viceroy ( Uparat ) , who later became King Borommaracha III. In 1463, Lan Nas was finally able to recapture Sukhothai. In 1474/75, Trailok defeated the Lan Nas troops at what was then Sawankhalok (today Si Satchanalai ). As a result, the claims of Lan Nas on the northern Müang were finally repulsed and Ayutthaya's rule over them was secured.

The events of this war were thematized in the epic poem Yuan Phai ("the defeat of the (Tai) Yuan "), one of the most complex and important surviving literary works from the Ayutthaya period. Borommatrailokanat is also credited with the authorship of the poem Thet Mahachat (Great Divine Rebirth), a Buddhist- inspired work based on Jataka No. 547.

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Vickery: A Guide through some Recent Sukhothai Historiography. In: Journal of the Siam Society , Vol. 66, No. 2, 1978, pp. 182-246, at pp. 189-190.
  2. Michael C. Howard: Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval Societies. The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel. McFarland, Jefferson NC 2012, p. 200.
  3. ^ Volker Grabowsky : Brief history of Thailand. CH Beck, Munich 2010, pp. 40-41.
  4. Sunait Chutintaranond: Cakravartin. Ideology, Reason and Manifestation of Siamese and Burmese Kings in Traditional Warfare (1548–1605). Dissertation, Cornell University, Ithaca NY 1990, pp. 154-157.
  5. ^ Grabowsky: Brief history of Thailand. 2010, pp. 42-43.
  6. ^ Klaus Wenk : Thai Literature - an introduction. White Lotus, Bangkok 1995. ISBN 974-8496-33-3 .