Saturday, April 29, 2006

A delaying action by the ruler of Wun (Warfare in the Razadarit era c. 1385-1421)

Before 1390 when Razadarit was still consolidating his hold over Lower Burma, Razadarit's dealings with the town of Wun is interesting deviation of the typical pattern of warfare. Wun is saved the first time from subjugation by Ava’s invasion of Lower Burma after the ascension of Razadarit. When Razadarit finally does get around to dealing with Wun, the ruler of Wun doesn’t want to submit to Razadarit and he negotiates a settlement which is very reminiscent of the negotiated settlements that end sieges that you read about in early modern European history. Note that Razadarit Ayeidawpon is quite explicit about the reasons why Razadarit bypasses Wun. Here it is:

After his victory against Ava, Razadarit once more marched against Wun. Than Laik, the ruler of Wun, “protested that he was only holding the town that he had won and that he was not a rebel like those Martaban, Lagunpyi, Tari, and Thanmaung, that he would not obstruct the king’s march and if he would attack after capturing the aforesaid towns, he would not find it an easy proposition.” Together with his advisers Razadarit decided to accept this settlement because:

1. “The approach to Wun was too restricted,” so it “would be difficult to mount an attack against it.”

2. Than Laik had given them right of way.

3. Than Laik “did not deny vassalage to the king.”

4. “Boats and barges from Wun and Taikalla were to be requisitioned for transport of provisions to Pankataing.”

As Razadarit approached the town of Tari by land and river, one member of the Mon ruling elite of Tari fled to Myaungmya by boat while another two fled to Martaban leaving Tari to Razadarit. Razadarit’s success at Tari convinced the ruler of Thanmaung to submit also. Tari was garrisoned with a force of 5,000 which was enough to resist several attacks by Martaban after Razadarit had left (SL 64).

The Battle of Wun

When Razadarit finally directed his attention to Wun again, the ruler there Than Laik, proved resistant to his entreaties, holding that he owed no allegiance to Razadarit even though he had been a loyal vassal to Razadarit’s father. When they finally were able to breach the defenses of Wun, Than Laik set off for Martaban with 300 men, but the elephant Byat that Than Laik rode was in musth and slow, so Razadarit’s men were able to overtake and slay him (SL 64-65).