The history of the ancient Southeast Asia written in the 20th century was full of mistakes and misunderstandings. Many of western historians have no knowledge of the Chinese script and did not read the Chinese text, for instance “The official history of the Chinese Dynasties”. Of course, there are some translations of the Chinese text, but the translators did not fully understand the historical situations. The main sources of these Chinese texts are reports of the foreign envoys. There are some exaggeration and lies, but generally their reports were correct and reliable compared with other sources.
After G.Cœdès established ‘Palembang hypothesis’, all the historians had gone to the wrong way, and the histories of Southeast Asia were misguided to the unrealistic direction. The existing history of Srivijaya has been totally wrong. Wrong history has been lectured to students for 100 years. Even today, many people believe that the capital of Srivijaya was located at Palembang in the Sumatra Island. However, I have discovered that Palembang theory is completely wrong. The location of Srivijaya （Shi-li-fo-shi） was in the Malay Peninsula and its capital was Chaiya, Surat Thani province of Thailand. In the Xin Tang Shu （New History of the Tang Dynasty, 新唐書） clearly states that “the west of Shi-li-fo-shi is the Nicobar Islands”. So, Shi-li-fo-shi was in the Malay Peninsula, not Palembang.
室利佛逝， 一曰尸利佛誓。 過軍徒弄山二千里， 地東西千里， 南北四千里而遠。有城十四， 以二國分總。 西曰郎婆露斯
郎婆露斯（Lang Po Lu Si）=Lang-Barus is the key word here. In the past, few modern historians could understand this word. I almost gave up reading this word. It sounds like Barus, so I understood this is ‘Barus’ of the west Sumatra., but someday a Malaysian Facebook friend asked me the meaning of this word. So, I checked again, and found out what was ‘Lang-Barus’. In the 9th century, Arab merchants used this word frequently. In this case, Lang Barus is the name of island between Sri Lank and Kedah, ‘the Nicobar Islands’. Ibn Khordadbeh says that from Serendib （Sri Lanka） to ‘Langabalus’, it takes 10-15 days to cover its distance; from ‘Langbalus’ to Kalah （Kedah）, it is 6 days”. Chinese monk. Fa Xin （法顕） wrote similar itinerary from Ceylon to Yabadvipa （Malay Peninsula） in the early 5th century. Yabadvipa means the Malay Peninsula, not the Jawa Island. In the 9th-10th century, Persia and Arab sailors （traders） generally called the Nicobar Islands as ‘Langabalus’.
I wrote “The History of Srivijaya” （Mekong Publishing Co., Tokyo） in 2012. In my story, I have presented many views which are different from the preceding theories. But I am convinced without the knowledge of ‘Lang Barus’, I could have proved Chaiya is the capital of Srivijaya, by using other Chinese text, for instance Yi-Jing’s “Nan-hui Chi-kuei Nei-fa Chuan （南海寄帰内法伝）”, “The Standard Histories of China Dynasties （正史）” ,especially the Xin Tang Shu （新唐書） and classical Chinese ‘Encyclopedia’ such as “Tong Dian （通典）” and so on. Of course, I can use the translations of the inscriptions. I cannot read Sanskrit, Khmer language, Cham language, but I can read the Chinese characters. Japanese historians had made great works in the past. Dr. Toyohati Fujita, Dr. Rokuro Kuwata, Dr, Naojirou Sugimoto, Dr. Junjiro Takakusu and some others, however they could not break through the theories of G.Cœdès. Japanese historians have tendency to respect the western historians, for instance, the history course of University of Tokyo, had demanded post graduate students to have knowledge of French. That means UOT would use the text of French scholars such as G.Cœdès. However, I think, Japanese students should read the Chinese classical text first. Fortunately, I was a student of the Faculty of Economics, so I could have started my study by reading the Chinese Chronicles. When I read G.Cœdès. I was confused.
G.Cœdès says Palembang was the intermediary port of East-West trade. Considering geology, I thought it was impossible, Indian or Persian merchants should have used the Riau Islands, just in front of Singapore. After, I finished UOT, I worked at a Japanese steel making company. I continued reading many books. But my basic question had never been answered.
G.Cœdès had made two fatal mistakes at the starting point of ‘the history of Srivijaya’.The first he thought Funan rulers fled to the Jawa Island after kicked out from the Mekong Delta by Chenla. However, they actually fled to Chaiya （Ban-Ban or Pan-Pan） which used to be a subordinate state of Funan, since the 3rd century. The most European historians had not noticed the importance of the Malay Peninsula. They had no knowledge of geological importance of the Malay Peninsula and influence of the monsoon. In the 4th century, the western merchants began to utilize the monsoon and directly crossed the Bay of Bengal from Ceylon （Sri Lanka） and South India, and they could arrive at the ports of the Malay Peninsula, for instance Kedah and Takua Pa. However, in the summer time they could not go down the Malacca Straits directly to the south, due to the southern head wind. So, they had to wait for the north-eastern wind until the winter time for nearly 5 to 6 months. So, some of them developed the trans-peninsula route to the East coast of the Peninsula. From the east coast ports, they used other ships and went to China in the same year. G. Cœdès did not understand the importance of the Malay Peninsula, and he thought the middle point of East-West trade was at the Sunda Straits. He overestimated the importance of the Jawa Islands in the ancient times.
The second misunderstanding of G. Cœdès is the meaning of the Kedukan Bukit Inscription dated 683. He understood the inscription was the memory of the ‘establishment of Srivijaya’. So, he thought Srivijaya was founded in 683 at Palembang. However, Srivijaya force came from the Malay Peninsula with fleet of rowing boats and occupied the Palembang kingdom in 683, and the inscription was the ‘monument of victory’ for Srivijaya. Actually, Srivijaya had sent the first mission to the Tang Dynasty between 670-673, according to the Xin Tang Shu. Yi-Jing left Canton for India for pilgrim in 671, at that time he already had known about Srivijaya, where he studied the Sanskrit grammar for 6 months as scheduled.
When we study the history of Southeast Asia, local inscriptions and the Chinese Chronicles are major sources. But Chinese text is very difficult for western historians to read directly. Fortunately, we Japanese have knowledge of the Chinese script, and are comparatively easy for reading the Chinese text. But in this case, the word ‘Lang Barus’ have been very difficult and overlooked occasionally. Perhaps, G.Cœdès decided ‘Srivijaya is Palembang’, so Japanese historians might have easily followed him, and had not doubted his theory. In the Sui Shu （『隋書』＝History of Sui）, the word Barus （婆羅娑） is used for the Chi-tu （赤土國、Red-Earth） country. In this case, Barus is same as’Lang Barus （郎婆露斯）’ in the case of Shi-li-fo-shi （Srivijaya）, so Chi-tu was located at the Malay Peninsula. So, I can suppose Chi-tu was merged with Srivijaya in the 7th century. Thereafter, Shi-li-fo-shi had unified the middle of the Malay Peninsula before 670.
After 741, Srivijaya suddenly stopped sending missions to Tang, but no record explained the reason. Srivijaya was located at Chaiya area in the Malay Peninsula, which was probably attacked by Khmer （Water Chenla） around 745. That is the only conceivable reason why Shi-li-fo-shi disappeared from the Tang Chronicle. However, Srivijaya had 14 vassal states and the Sailendra kingdom （central Jawa Island） organized big fleet of navy and counter attacked Chenla and recovered Chaiya and Nakhon Si Thammarat area around 760. After the victory, The Srivijaya group set up the victory monument at Chaiya. That was the ‘Ligor inscription’ dated 775. After the victory Srivijaya group proceeded Cambodia and Lin-yi （Champa） and occupied major ports of the Mekong River. Srivijaya sent army to Chenla to occupy the inland of Cambodia and the commander was Jayavarman II, who possibly came from the royal family of old Funan （Srivijaya）. Jayavarman II is the founder of the ‘Angkor Dynasty’ and he is said to have declared independence from ‘Java’, according to the Sdok Kok Thom inscription dated 1053. In this case ‘Java’ means the Malay Peninsula, namely Srivijaya. Quaritch Wales has the similar opinion, but Michael Vickery and Claude Jacques strongly oppose the influence of Srivijaya over Angkor.
Jayavarman II told a lie to the local chiefs of Khmer. He had no intention to oppose, but to obey the instruction of Srivijaya. Because, Angkor had not sent the tributary mission for 300 years （814-1116） to China, which was probably prohibited by Srivijaya. Furthermore, Jayavarman II, propagated Mahayana Buddhism in Cambodia. Former Chenla kings had prohibited to worship Buddhism, according to Yi-Jing’s description.
The Angkor Dynasty had been under control of Srivijaya until Suryavarman I’ reign （1002-1050）. He was a prince of Nakhon Si Thammarat. However, after Jayavarman VI （1080~）, the throne of Angkor was taken over by the Phimai group, which had no direct relation with San-fo-chi （Srivijaya group）. Srivijaya group had lost strong military power after the invasion of Chola （1025）.
About Lin-yi, a strong rival of Funan and Srivijaya, suddenly stopped sending mission to Tang after 749. No record was left about this matter, and no historian discussed the reason. But I suppose, Lin-yi had been also attacked by Srivijaya navy, around 760. Probably Srivijaya might have destroyed shipping facility （merchant ships） of Lin-yi. Lin-yi could not have recovered from the damage. But few historians believe Srivijaya had destroyed the trade facilities of Lin-yi. On the contrary they believe Srivijaya （Sailendra） was expelled by King Satyavarman, who left inscription dated 774. Srivijaya’s attack was much earlier than that. Sailendra （new Kha-ling） sent the first mission in 768, so before that they might have destroyed trade facility and navy of Lin-yi.
Very few historians had criticized G.Cœdès’ theory. However, M. Vickery has correctly criticized G.Cœdès about his historical theory on Khmer, but M. Vickery has probably embraced Palembang theory. There have been so many followers of G.Cœdès. Q. Wales had opposed G.Cœdès in many points but admitted that Yi Jing had been to Palembang. Yi Jing had never been to Sumatra, he just stopped over the Mulayu （末羅瑜）kingdom in his itinerary. Mulayu was located at the Riau Islands, just in front of Singapore in the 7th century, and which was an intermediary state of ‘East-West’ trade.
Dr. Junjiro Takakusu put a sheet of map, in his translation of Yi-Jing's （義浄） Nan-hui Chi-kuei Nei-fa Chuan （南海寄帰内法伝）. His map contains serious mistakes. Yi-Jing had never been to Palembang and he stopped over Kedah not Aceh. Yi-Jing's real itinerary course was Chaiya （室利仏逝）⇒Mulayu （末羅瑜＝in front of Singapore）⇒Kedah （羯茶）⇒Nicobar Islands （裸人國＝Naked people islands）⇒Tamralipti （Bengal port）⇒on-land route to Nalanda （India）. However, Dr. Takakusu had been misguided by Chinese historian, Ma Huan （馬歓）. He believed what Ma-Huan （馬歓） wrote, the“Ying-Yai Sheng-Lan （瀛涯勝覧）”, in 1416, in which Ma dictated that Ku-kang （旧港=Old Port） is the same country as was formerly called San-fo-chi （三佛斉） , and Ku-kang was also called Palembang （浡淋邦）, under suzerainty of ‘Jawa （Indonesia）’.
旧港、 即古名三佛斉是也。 番名曰浡淋邦、 属爪哇国所轄。
It goes without saying that the ancient Southeast Asian history has many ‘missing links’. It is historians’ duty to compensate for ‘missing links’, but as far as I know very few of them have been successful. On the contrary, many mistakes have been propageted around the world. That is because historians are lack of imagination and ability to make the scenario of the ancient history of Southeast Asia. So, there is no integrated theory to explain starting Funan to establishing the Angkor Dynasty. G. Cœdès tried to make such story, but miserably he failed at the starting point.
I want to point out here is that ‘economic geographical’ perspective must be incorporated more in the Southeast Asian ancient history research. Of course, past historians also introduced geographical elements, but so many historians have been dragged to the wrong directions. It is because they have accepted uncritically the theory of G. Cœdès.
So, we should not forget nor neglect to study the approximate economic development and evolution. However, they made too many misunderstandings and mistakes. The western historians contributed very much to read inscriptions, but their theories are often incomplete and derailed. They have been regarded as authorities, so few of them would change their historical view. Now is the time when the ancient history of Southeast Asia should be revised and rewritten.
I have no intention to accuse the mistakes of preceding historians. I have lot of things to study from them. I have no teacher nor friend who taught me history, I only attended the class of Prof. Koji Iizuka at UOT more than 55 years ago. He taught me the splendors of the oriental culture. I have continued my study for more than a half of century, I have still many problems to solve by myself. Our history is deep and heavy.
I must thank for the effort and sacrifice of Mr. Shin Kuwahara, president of Mekong Publishing Co., Ltd. and prominent editor Ms. Yuka Omokawa. Without their dedicated support, my theories could not be published and perished in the dark.
List of Maps
1-1 Early History of Funan （扶南）
1-1-1 On-land trade route from the Lower Burma to Oc Eo
1-1-2 Trans-peninsula route after Fan Man’s conquest
1-1-3 The Meaning of Indianization
1-3 Funan regime
1-3-1 East-West Trade
1-3-2 Si Thep
2. Shi-li-fo-shi （Srivijaya）
2-1 Shi-li-fo-shi was located in the Malay Peninsula
2-2 Marine-route of Jia Dan （賈耽）
2-3 Java（ 闍婆） often meant the Malay Peninsula before the Song times
2-4 A Short History of Srivijaya
2-5 Disappearnce of Funan and the establishment of Shi-li-fo-shi
2-6 Tributary states to China, around the Malay Peninsula
2-6-1 Langkasuka（ 狼牙須國）
2-6-2 Dvaravati（ 堕和羅鉢底）
2-6-3 Kan-da-li（ 干陀利）, Chi-tu（ 赤土） and Srivijaya（ 室利佛逝）
2-6-4 Funan ⇒ Shi-li-fo-shi ⇒ Sailendra ⇒ San-fo-chi（ 三佛斉）
2-7 Disappearance of Shi-li-fo-shi and emergence of Sailendra
2-7-1 Ligor Inscription
2-8 Sailendra Dynasty
2-9 San-fo-chi （三佛斉）
2-9-1 Function of San-fo-chi（ 三佛斉）
2-9-2 Chola’s invasion （1025-1080?） and its influence
3. Chenla and Pre-Angkor Kingdom
3-1 Origin of Chenla and Funan
3-2 Si Thep as the original base of Chenla
3-3 Pre-Angkor Kingdom
3-3-2 Adhyapura family
3-3-3 Jayavarman I and decline of Pre-Angkor
3-3-4 Division of Chenla
3-3-5 Tributary missions of Chenla
3-4 The end of Pre-Angkor （Chenla）
3-5 Theoretical problem of Michael Vickery
3-5-1 Michael Vickery criticizes Coedès
3-5-2 Michael Vickery’s misunderstanding
3-6 Summary of the History of Chenla
Table1 Chenla Kings
4. Angkor Dynasty
4-1 Srivijaya group proceeded to Cambodia
4-2 Jayavarman II
4-2-1 Jayavarman II conquered Cambodia
4-2-2 Jayavarman II’s capital of Roluos
4-3 Yasovarman’s Inscription of Práh Thãt Khtom
4-4 From Roluos to Angkor district
4-4-1 Yasovarman transferred capital to Angkor
4-4-2 Jayavarman IV transferred capital to Koh Ker
4-5 Rajendravarman II and Jayavarman V
4-6 Suryavarman I
4-6-1 Influence of Srivijaya through Thambralinga and Lopburi
4-6-2 After Suryavarman I
4-7 The Mahindrapura Dynasty
4-7-1 Hiranyanavarman group, from the north of the Dangrek Range
4-7-2 Suryavarman II
4-8 Jayavarman VII
4-9 Decline of the Angkor Dynasty
Table2 Angkor Kings
5. History of Champa
General Aspect of the history of Champa
5-1 The Inscriptions of Champa
The oldest inscription; Vo Canh inscription
5-1-1 Distribution of Inscriptions by M. Vickery
5-2 Three Stages of Champa History Lin-yi, Huan Wang, and Champa
5-2-2 Huan Wang （環王）
5-3 Early relation with China. War and Tributary missions
5-3-1 Tributes of Lin-yi before the Tang Times
5-3-2 Relation with Tang
5-3-3 Srivijaya’s invasion
5-4 Dong Duong Dynasty
5-4-1 Champa’s missions to Song
5-5 Vijaya Kingdom
5-5-1 Vijaya’s tribute to Song
5-5-2 Confusion of Champa and Jayavarman VII
About the Author
Appendix List of tributary countries
鈴木 峻（すずき たかし）
主な著書『東南アジアの経済』（御茶ノ水書房、1996年）、『東南アジアの経済と歴史』（日本経済評論社、2002年）、『シュリヴィジャヤの歴史』（2010年、めこん）、The History of Srivijaya(英文。2012年、めこん)、『扶南・真臘・チャンパの歴史』（2016年）