Before we start, I just want to say that I find Thai history and the history of Southeast Asia in general to be extremely fascinating and interesting. I think that it’s just as interesting as Chinese history or European history and I believe that Southeast Asian history is criminally underrated.

Anyway, with that said, during the Burmese-Siamese War of 1584-1593, the official story (according to the Thais) state that King Naresuan‘s elephant along with Ekathotsarot and his elephant went into musth and broke ranks, stampeding into the army of Hongsawadee/the Burmese. King Naresuan took advantage of the situation and spotted Mingy Swa (Crown prince of Burma) on top of his own war elephant under the shade of a tree. King Naresuan called out something along the lines of “come out and duel me, no kings will ever do what we will do” and after that, a goddamn badass elephant duel commences between both royals. The duel between them was apparently so badass that both Burmese and Ayutthayan/Siamese troops stopped fighting each other and just watched. Eventually, after Mingy Swa got a lucky shot and cut off a piece of the brim of King Naresuan’s cover/hat, King Naresuan countered and managed to cut down the Burmese prince from his shoulder down to his hip. After Mingy Swa was killed, the Hongsawadee/Burmese troops retreated.

But that’s the Thai version of what went down. According to Burmese military records, Mingy Swa was shot and killed via musket fire and that Mingy Swa and King Naresuan never took part in any formalized duels. And according to this one source that I read, there are over 10 different accounts of what really went down during the Songkram Yutahatti, all of which are either Thai/Siamese, Burmese, or foreign accounts.

I know that it’s incredibly fantastical and I obviously doubt that it actually happened since it just sounds so mythical but I like to pretend and prefer the version where King Naresuan’s elephant was backing away from the duel and retreating, only for King Naresuan to pour some holy water onto the elephant, say a prayer to heaven as well as some words of encouragement to the elephant. After which, the elephant was back in the fight and he managed to stop Mingy Swa’s elephant by planting his foot up against a tree, using it to push against the Hongsawadee elephant, which allowed King Naresuan to take the chance to slice down Mingy Swa. Again, I like to think that that’s what actually happened but obviously it sounds too legendary for it to have happened.

But what do you guys think? What REALLY happened during the Songkram Yutahatti/Battle of Nong Sarai?

  • 2
    Myths are myths, but realistically musketry is far more probable cause of death for royal person and commander. Although part about elephant's musth is also somewhat plausible. Disclaimer : I don't have any sources for either pro or contra .
    – rs.29
    Jan 16, 2020 at 8:14
  • 2
    Gotta say, if I was Thai, and had on my hands a battle to describe where the enemy king was killed by my forces, and wanted to make my side's part in it seem as heroic as possible, that's probably the kind of story I'd come up with. So as a matter of historical analysis, I'd be very skeptical of any self-reported heroic tales.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 16, 2020 at 14:04


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy