Zatadawbon Yazawin

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Zatadawbon Yazawin
Zatadawbon Yazawin.png
Author Court historians
Original title ဇာတာတော်ပုံ ရာဇဝင်
Language Burmese
Series Burmese chronicles
Genre Chronicle, History
Publication date
13th to 19th centuries

Zatadawbon Yazawin (Burmese: ဇာတာတော်ပုံ ရာဇဝင်, pronounced [zàdàdɔ̀bòʊɴ jàzəwɪ̀ɴ]; also spelled Zatatawpon; lit. the "Chronicle of Royal Horoscopes") is the earliest extant chronicle of Burma. The chronicle mainly covers the regnal dates of kings as well as horoscopes of select kings from Pagan to Konbaung periods. In terms of regnal years, the chronicle is considered "the most accurate of all Burmese chronicles, particularly with regard to the best-known Pagan and Ava kings, many of whose dates have been corroborated by epigraphy."[1]


The chronicle was continuously updated and handed down by court historians from generation to generation.[2] Given its inscriptionally verified regnal dates of 11th century Pagan kings, the list keeping of regnal dates probably had begun at least since the 11th century, if not earlier. The earliest portions of the chronicle appear to have written some time in the late 13th century or the early 14th century. The original author is unknown but based on the internal text, he was a contemporary of Shin Ditha Pamauk, the diplomat and monk who led the Pagan delegation to the Mongol court in 1286–87. Furthermore, internal evidence indicates the original author first wrote the chronicle in the late Pagan or Myinsaing or Pinya periods (late 13th to early 14th centuries).[3] The original author apparently had access to earlier records now lost to history, which he noted as yazawin mhat-chet akyin ("summary and notes of chronicles").[4]

Over the following centuries, however, the original, simple chronicle of regnal lists came to be layered upon (and bookended) by religious history (and mythology). By King Minyekyawdin's reign (1673–98), much of the current form of the chronicle had come into existence,[5] although later historians continued to update the regnal dates of following kings down to the last Burmese monarch Thibaw.[4]


Zatadawbon is only one of two extant Burmese chronicles (along with Yazawin Thit) to organize itself by dynasties and periods whereas all others had been organized strictly along the linear order of kings.[6] Its criterion for "periodization" is the rise and fall of dynasties, and its criterion for their labeling is the capital city. Thus the Tagaung, Sri Ksetra, Pagan, Pinya, Sagaing and Ava dynasties are named after the capital cities of the dynasties.[7]

The chronicle consists of five general sections.[4]

  1. The beginning of the world system according to Buddhist mythology, its era, and the many dispensations of the Buddha
  2. From the first king of the world Maha Sammata, Prince Siddhattha, who becomes the historical Buddha, to King Asoka's reign right before the beginning of Burmese history. A history of Sri Lankan kings is also included. The first two sections came from the standard Theravada Buddhist texts such as the Mahavamsa, the Dipavamsa and the Buddhavamsa.
  3. Legendary and historical origins of Burma (Myanmar), beginning with the Tagaung Kingdom, and the regnal lists of successive dynasties. The regnal list includes all the kings of Sri Ksetra, Pagan, Myinsaing, Pinya, Sagaing, Ava kingdoms, as well as Toungoo Dynasty, ending with King Narawara in 1671.
  4. This section covers the horoscopes, as diagrams and numerals, of 36 select kings of Pagan, Sagaing and Ava kingdoms. Some of the kings in the list of 36 are minor/less well-known kings such as Sokkate. Konbaung historians later added the horoscopes of Konbaung kings down to the last Burmese monarch Thibaw to the original list of 36. The section also includes the astrological calculations of the founding of major cities, palaces, exemplary temples and important events such as the first time the Mongols sent an embassy to Pagan (Bagan).
  5. Section five has various statistical charts and data such as "the great Buddhist cities of Jambudipa", "the 16 great countries", "the 19 great capitals". It also includes a list of cities in Burma (probably in the Ava Kingdom (1364–1555)) that were required to supply fighting men and cavalrymen, lists of governors of major cities, the taxation levels of various regions, etc.


In terms of regnal years, the chronicle is considered "the most accurate of all Burmese chronicles, particularly with regard to the best-known Pagan and Ava kings, many of whose dates have been corroborated by epigraphy."[4] This can be seen in the following comparison of the regnal dates of the early Pagan kings (from Pyinbya, the fortifier of Pagan, according to the chronicles) as reported in the three chronicles.[8] (Note that although Zata had been available to later chroniclers, including those of the two standard chronicles, Maha Yazawin (1724) and Hmannan Yazawin (1832), the later chroniclers did not follow Zata's dates. Maha Yazawin's dates are off by at least a decade for the most part, and Hmannan's are also similarly off until at the end of Sithu I's reign (1167) at which the chroniclers of Hmannan tried to synchronize with Zata's. The Myazedi inscription, inscribed in 1112 and rediscovered in 1887, has corroborated the accuracy of Zata and disproves the dates reported in Maha Yazawin and Hmannan for kings Anawrahta to Kyansittha.)

Name Reign per Zatadawbon Yazawin Reign per Maha Yazawin Reign per Yazawin Thit Reign per Hmannan Yazawin Reign per scholarship
Pyinbya 846–876 846–858 846–878 846–878
Tannet 876–904 858–876 878–906 878–906
Sale Ngahkwe 904–934 876–901 906–915 906–915
Theinhko 934–956 901–917 915–931 915–931
Nyaung-u Sawrahan 956–1001 917–950 931–964 931–964
Kunhsaw Kyaunghpyu 1001–1021 950–971 964–986 964–986
Kyiso 1021–1038 971–977 986–992 986–992
Sokkate 1038–1044 977–1002 992–1017 992–1017
Anawrahta 1044–1077 1002–1035 1017–1059 1017–1059 1044–1077
Saw Lu 1077–1084 1035–1061 1059–1064 1059–1064 1077–1084
Kyansittha 1084–1111 1063–1088[note 1] 1064–1093 1064–1092 1084–1112/1113
Sithu I 1111–1167 1088–1158 1093–1168 1092–1167 1112/1113–1167
Narathu 1167–1170 1158–1161 1168–1171 1167–1171 1167–1170
Naratheinkha 1170–1173 1161–1164 1171–1174 1171–1174 1170–1174
Sithu II 1173–1210 1164–1197 1174–1211 1174–1211 1174–1211
Htilominlo 1210–1234 1197–1219 1211–1234 1211–1234 1211–1235
Kyaswa 1234–1249 1219–1234 1234–1250 1234–1250 1235–1249
Uzana 1249–1254 1234–1240 1250–1255 1250–1255 1249–1256
Narathihapate 1254–1287 1240–1284 1255–1286 1255–1286 1256–1287
Vassal of Mongols (1297)
1287–1300 1286–1300[note 2] 1286–1298 1286–1298 1289–1297
Saw Hnit
Vassal of Myingsaing/Pinya
1300–1331 1300–1322 1298–1330 1298–1325  ?
Uzana II
Vassal of Pinya and Ava
1331–1368 1322–1365 1330–1368 1325–1368  ?


  1. ^ (Maha Yazawin Vol. 1 184–185): Saw Lu died in 423 ME (1061–1062 CE), and his death was followed by two years interregnum. Kyansittha succeeded the throne only in 425 ME (1063–1064 CE).
  2. ^ (Maha Yazawin Vol. 1 2006: 252): Kyawswa came to power after two years of interregnum.


  1. ^ Aung-Thwin 2005: 121–123
  2. ^ Htin Aung 1970: 41
  3. ^ Aung-Thwin 2005: 121
  4. ^ a b c d Aung-Thwin 2005: 122–123
  5. ^ Aung-Thwin and Aung-Thwin 2012: 151
  6. ^ Aung-Thwin 2005: 142–144
  7. ^ Aung-Thwin 2005: 357
  8. ^ Maha Yazawin Vol. 1 2006: 346–349


  • Aung-Thwin, Michael A.; Maitrii Aung-Thwin (2012). A History of Myanmar Since Ancient Times (illustrated ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-1-86189-901-9. 
  • Charney, Michael W. (2006). Powerful Learning: Buddhist Literati and the Throne in Burma's Last Dynasty, 1752–1885. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. 
  • Htin Aung, Maung (1970). Burmese History before 1287: A Defence of the Chronicles. Oxford: The Asoka Society. 
  • Kala, U (1724). Maha Yazawin Gyi (in Burmese). 1–3 (2006, 4th printing ed.). Yangon: Ya-Pyei Publishing. 
  • Royal Historians of Burma (c. 1680). U Hla Tin (Hla Thamein), ed. Zatadawbon Yazawin (1960 ed.). Historical Research Directorate of the Union of Burma. 
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