Trebots @ Saturday January 7th 2006 16:47

If Javanese portray their common folk as cowards and fools, here's a different view, taken from Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, Historia general y natural de las Indias (1535 - 1557):

This Indian [in the Columbian sense] was from Java but had married on Machian/Makian/Maquiem/Maquieu/Matjan [in the Moluccas; one of the four islands to which cloves were indigenous] and found himself inside the city when the Portuguese took it, and this is what happened. When this Javanese Indian saw the city entered, he went home and said to his wife and children that the Portuguese were already inside and that they would be unable to escape death or imprisonment, and that he would prefer to die fighting than be enslaved by the Portuguese or see his wife and children in their power, and that he had decided to first kill his wife and children and then go to fight the Portuguese, and die avenging their death and his own. And his wife said that he had spoken well and that he should proceed, and that she was content. And, without wasting time, he killed his wife and children and went to where he saw the Portuguese and fell upon the first Portuguese in the vanguard and cut his throat with a dagger he carried and gave another Portuguese at his side a huge slash across his face, and they shot him and he fell dead. It is impossible to imagine more spirit in a man, and this is one of those things celebrated in histories as most rare and notable and worth of much admiration, as indeed they are.

In The Voyage of Sir Henry Middleton to the Moluccas, 1604-1606 we read that "the singing of a bullet is as tirrible to a Javan as the cry of the hounds is in the eares of the hare; for they will not abide if once they heare it", so God knows what any surviving Javans made of the 1646 and 1862 volcanic eruption, which virtually tore the island in two.

Original:

En lo de Machián que se dijo de suso, acaesció una hazaña de un indio, que no es razón que se deje de escrebir, por ser notable y tan famosa como agora diré. Este indio era natural de Java, y estaba casado en Machián, y hallóse dentro de aquella cibdad al tiempo que los portugueses la tomaron, y fué el caso éste. Que como el indio javo vido que la cibdad se entraba, él se fué a su casa y dijo a su mujer e hijos que los portugueses estaban ya dentro del pueblo, y que no podían escapar de ser muertos o presos; y que él más quería morir peleando, que no ser esclavo de portugueses ni ver a su mujer e hijos en poder dellos; y que tenía determinado de matar a su mujer e hijos primero, y después ir a pelear contra los portugueses, y morir vengando sus muertes y la propria suya. Y su mujer le dijo que ello era bien dicho y que así se hiciese: que ella era muy contenta. Y sin perder tiempo, mató la mujer e hijos, y fuese a donde vido el escuadrón portugués y abrazóse con el primero portugués que iba en la delantera, y degollólo con una daga que llevaba, y dió a otro portugués que iba al lado de aquel una grand cuchillada por la cara, y diéronle a él un escopetazo y cayó muerto. Paresce que no podía haber más ánimo en hombre humano, y que es aquesto una de las cosas que las historias celebran por rarísimas y notables y de mucha admiración, como en la verdad son.
Categories: Empire

RSS: post comments / blog comments / blog posts / email / Twitter

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Picture-posts

Back to top