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About Old Mataram Kingdom

Oktober 10, 2015 | History

About Old Mataram Kingdom – Old Mataram Kingdom (Mataram) was located in Central Java. This area was known as Bhumi Mataram. Mataram was surrounded by mountains and mountain ranges, such as Serayu Mountain Range, Prau Mountain, Sindoro Mountain, Mount Sumbing, Ungaran Mountain, Mount Merbabu, Mount Merapi, Kendeng Mountain Range, Lawu Mopountain, Sewu Mountain, and Kidul Mountain. This region also had some rivers such as Bogowonto, Progo, Elo and largest was Bengawan Solo.

Historical Sources of Old Mataram Kingdom

The existence of Old Mataram Kingdom of the Sanjaya Dynasty was found out from several inscriptions. Some of them were : Canggal inscription, Balitung inscription, and Parahyangan story book.

1. Canggal inscription (732 AD) was made during the reign of King Sanjaya in relation with the building of a commemorative post (lingga). The lingga was a symbol of Deva Shiva. Therefore, it could be found out that the religion in Old Mataram was Hinduism of the Shiva sect.

2. Balitung inscription and Mantyasih inscription (907 AD)  were bronze inscription made by KIng Dyah Balitung. Diah Balitung made the inscription concerning the gift of pieces of land to his five ministers in Mantyasih. The five senior ministers had been meritorious to the kingdom.

3. Parahyangan story book. In this book, it was told that Sanna had to give away his throne after he was defeated by Rahyang Prubasora at Galuh. He and his men fled to the foot of Mount Merapi. Before long his son – Sanjaya – succeeded in taking a revenge for the defeat of King Sanna.

He took over Galuh and conquered some small kingdoms in the east part of West Java and in Central Java. After that, Sanjaya built Mataram Kingdom in 717 AD, with Medangri Poh Pitu as the capital town.

The Kings who ruled Old Mataram Kingdom

Old Mataram was ruled by kings of the Sanjaya Dynasty and Syailendra Dynasty. Sanjaya Dynasty consisted of kings of the descendants of Sanjaya who professed Hinduism, while Syailendra Dynasty consisted of kings who were assumed to have come from South India or Cambodia and professed Mahayana Buddhism.

According to some historians, the two dynasties competed with each other. As a result they ruled Mataram in turns. The names of Mataram kings were written in Mantyasih inscription (907 AD) and Wanua Tengah III inscription (908 AD) as follows.

  1. Rakai Mataram Sang Ratu Sanjaya
  2. Sri Maharaja Rakai Panangkaran
  3. Sri Maharaja Rakai Panunggalan
  4. Sri Maharaja Rakai Warak
  5. Sri Maharaja Rakai Garung
  6. Sri Maharaja Rakai Pikatan
  7. Sri Maharaja Rakai Kayuwangi
  8. Sri Maharaja Rakai Watuhumalang
  9. Sri Maharaja Rakai Watukura Dyah Balitung

Of allthe kings listed above Rakai Panunggulan, Rakai Warak, and Rakai Garung did not become emperors or sovereign kings, they were only subordinate kings. Some scientists assume that Rakai Panunggalan was Jayawarman II from Cambodia who was taken to Mataram when Sanjaya conquered Cambodia.

Dyah Balitung who reigned between 899 and 911 AD was known as founder of Lara Jonggrang Temple in Prambanan, near Yogyakarta. On the temple there are reliefs of the biography of the crown prince of Ayodya as written in the Ramayana epoch.

It seemed that Dyah Balitung was intersted in the story because it was like his own experience. If so, Dyah Balitung was probably a crown prince who was expelled from Mataram and then wandered in East Java, maybe to Kanjuruhan because in Kanjuruhan there is an archeological remain indicating that worships were held in that place to praise Agastya, Shiva in the form of Mahaguru. At Prambanan Temple, there is also a statue of Shiva as Mahaguru.

During the reign of Kayuwangi and Watuhumalang, a coup was raised by some princes. The chaos could be overcome by Dyah Balitung.

Like in the Ramayana epoch, actually Rama was a crown prince who was entitled for the throne. So balitung considered himself like Rama and he admitted he was entitled to receive the throne of Mataram when he became a king. The capital of Mataram was named ayodyapura, which then changed to Yogyakarta. King Dyah Balitung ruled Mataram which included Central Java and East Java.

In and inscription, there was this sentence : ‘Ri Medang ri Bhumi Mataram’, this means ‘Medang in Mataram’. So the name of the kingdom was still Mataram and the capital was Medang. Medang was located around Prambanan (Yogyakarta). This assumption was based on Dr. Stutterheim’s idea that compared the map of Kedu with the map of Ganges – Yamuna area in India. He stated that Ayodyapura, the place of Rama, became Yogyakarta in Java.

Next article : Some of the actions taken by King Dyah Balitung

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