A REASSESSMENT OF HYPERBOLIC MILITARY STATISTICS IN SOME EARLY MODERN BURMESE TEXTS

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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Abstract

Scholarly literature has not taken Burmese accounts of warfare seriously. Colonial historians viewed statistics in these sources as fanciful, exaggerated, and unreliable. Later scholars, both indigenous and western, have followed suit. They judge the chronicle accounts of Burmese warfare solely on the merits of the "objective" data. Much of this valuable material thus remains untouched or unconsidered in the secondary literature. This article suggests alternative ways in which the indigenous warfare accounts can be read. Lists of armies and numbers of soldiers convey significant subjective data on indigenous views of precolonial Burmese history, culture, and society.La littérature érudite n'a pas approché avec sérieux les récits de guerre birmans. Les historiens coloniaux ont considéré les chiffres fournis par ces sources, fantaisistes, exagérés et peu fiables. Plus tard, les chercheurs locaux et occidentaux en ont fait de même. Ils jugent les récits de guerre dans les chroniques birmanes uniquement en se fondant sur les données "objectives." Une bonne partie de ces précieuses informations est ainsi délaissée par la littérature secondaire. Cet article suggère des manières alternatives de lire les récits de guerre indigènes. Les listes d'armées et les nombres de soldats transmettent des données subjectives majeures sur les visions indigènes de l'histoire, la culture et la société birmanes.

A REASSESSMENT OF HYPERBOLIC MILITARY STATISTICS IN SOME EARLY MODERN BURMESE TEXTS

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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