The Burmese Empire a Hundred Years Ago by Vincenzo Sangermano in 1838
From the Bibliotheca Orientalis series - Burma Vol. 2
Bibliotheca Orientalis is a series of reprints of research monographs and studies related to a wide range of aspects of Asian culture, mainly arts, crafts, architecture and historical source material. The series is classified by country.
The Burmese Empire a Hundred Years Ago. Father Vincentius Sangermano, a Barnabite missionary, lived and worked in Burma from 1783 to 1808. As Symes recorded at the time: 'he seemed a very respectable and intelligent man and wrote the Birman language fluently, and was held in high estimation by the natives for his exemplary life and inoffensive manners'. His book is divided into sections on: Burmese Cosmography; Burmese History; Constitution of the Burmese Empire; Religion of the Burmese; Moral and Physical Constitution of the Burmese Empire; and Burmese Code. The last of these is significant for being the first translation of any of the numerous codes of law written on palm leaves. Sangermano was also one of the earliest Christian missionaries to study the languages, literatures and institutions of the people, and in this book, no matter how dry the subject matter, his empathy with the Burmese people is evident. In addition, because of his language skills, the high regard in which he was held, and his access to the king's officials and Pali scholars, Father Vincentius was able to tap original sources unavailable to others either at the time or since. No wonder his book has been treated as an authority by those writers who have followed him.
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