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Malay Medieval Pack (Sultanate of Melaka) 2016-10-05

Melaka Sultanate Info:

Spoiler :
Muslims have probably been living in the South-East Asian archipelago since the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Middle-Eastern merchants and sailors have a long history of voyage in South-East Asia and doubtless some Arabic travelers carried their new faith into the region since the seventh century. According to tradition, the Sahabah, the companions and disciples of the Prophet, are said to have preached in South-East Asia and China. But the faith remained a minority in the region, subordinate to Hinduism and Buddhism for several centuries. In the 12th century, a group of Muslim Indians, recent converts themselves, converted the ruler of the city-state of Kedah on the Malay Peninsula. Sultan Mudzafar Shah I (1136-1179), formerly Phra Ong Mahawangsa, became the first Islamic state in South-East Asia. Next, the state of Samudera Pasai, in Sumatra, converted in 1267. In the proceeding centuries, Islam would blossom in the archipelago and the religious landscape would change forever. By the late 14th century Islam was a major power in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, the northern coasts of Java, and Brunei in Northern Borneo. Conversion to Islam gave states important cultural and trade contacts with foreign kingdoms in northern India, the Middle East and Africa. Trade flourished and the Malay states became enriched. This is the era of the legendary Sultanate of Melaka.

The actual concrete reasons for the rising popularity of Islam among the states in the archipelago is not fully known and there are various theories. One of the main reasons which is mentioned is the trade contacts offered by conversion. Northern Indian was conquered by the Islamic Ghurids by the 1200s and would soon be replaced by the more powerful and cohesive Delhi sultanate. Besides Rajput lands, northern India would become a Islamic power center. Even while Southern India remained Hindu, Islamic missionaries would be proliferate and many Southern Indian merchants would convert. The later Hindu Vijayangar empire in Southern India would practice religious tolerance and, even though very Hindu, adopt many culture norms from their northern Islamic neighbors. Adopting Islam or Islamic norms would become a necessity for any Malay merchant hoping to trade with India or the Middle East. In the same vein, adopting Islamic culture would become necessary for any ruler hoping to woo foreign merchants to his port.

One of the other factors in the rise of Islam in the Malay states in the western archipelago may be found in the religious politics of the region. The Javanese Hindu Majapahit Empire, while weakening, was still a major power in the region. On the other hand the Malay peninsula was subject to the energetic expansionist policy of the new Thai polity, the Buddhist Ayutthaya. The Thai kingdom had grown powerful after the decline of the Khmer Angkor Empire and its power began to stretch down the peninsula. Many Malay states were forced to pay tribute to Ayutthaya. Trapped between these two Hindu and Buddhist powers, Islam may have became popular during this time as local rulers looked to new forms of legitimacy.

The greatest of these Islamic Malay states was the Sultanate of Melaka, which in a single century would grow to the wealthiest in the archipelago. According to legend the sultanate's royal lineage can be traced back to a Sri Vijaya prince who fled Sumatra after a Majapahit assault and lived in Singapura (also known as Temasek) probably sometime during the 14th century. Sometime later, either the same prince or his descendants were attacked again in Singapura by Majapahit and fled west along the coast-line of the Malay peninsula. Finding the spot where the Malay straits were the narrowest, they made alliances with the local Orang Laut and founded a new port city, Melaka. By the 15th century, their old enemy, Majapahit was weakening and in this economic and political vacuum Malacca was able to rise to prominence.

Trade and religion are the two major elements that the city is remembered by. It is said that Parameswara, the first ruler of Melaka that we know of, became a Muslim in 1414 after marrying a princess from Samudera Pasai. He took the name Iskander Shah. However, some say that the rulers of Melaka were already Islamic before this time. One way or another, the spread of Islam seems to have been a special consideration for Melaka and under Iskander’s successor, Megat Iskander Shah, Islam began to rise in popularity in the archipelago. Packaged with the spread of Islam was also the spread of Malay culture. During the 15th century Malay culture begin to infiltrate the highlands of the Malay peninsula and the mountainous areas of Sumatra and Borneo. Culture and religion could spread rapidly thanks to Malacca’s new control over many of the trade routes of the archipelago. Thanks to its strategic position on the Malay straits, the rulers could control all the trade going from the Indian Ocean to East Asia. Malacca was propelled into financial greatness by its early trade contacts with Ming China. The Ming court had renewed interest in the southern seas and this was the era of Zhang He‘s treasure fleets. Melaka, more so then most of the other states of South-East Asia, sought a close alliance with China. The port city gained favored status at the Ming court and other south-east Asia polities were discouraged from making war on the port. When the Ming naval interest in the region begun to dwindle in the 1430s, Melaka established a relationship with the northern Islamic ports of Java and the cities of Sumatra and became the economic center of the region. All manner of spices and trade goods had to pass through Melaka or her trade partners.

After the death of Iskander Shah, Malacca became a significant military and political power under his successors, largely thanks to the talented prime minster Tun Perak who can be thought of as the Gajah Mada of Melaka. Sultan Muzaffar Shah (r. 1445 to 1459) appointed the talented Tun Perak (d. 1498) as his prime minister and Tun Perak would lead the small kingdom to greatness over the next 50 years. Tun Perak's main problem was the Thai kingdom. While Majapahit was becoming a memory, the Ayutthaya was still aggressively trying to control the Malay peninsula. Many of the cities of the Malay Peninsula were still under the thumb of the Thai kingdom during this period and even Malacca had been forced to pay tribute. The amount was probably small but ritually significant. Malacca could not become a true power while paying tribute to its rivals. Sultan Muzaffar Shah refused to pay tribute to Ayytthaya and Tun Perak managed to defeat two Thai armies which were sent against the city in response. While this period of Malacca history is obscure, it is known that Malacca probably became the prominent political power in the western part of the archipelago during this time. After the death of Tun Perak in 1498, Melaka was posed to continue in its golden age for some time (the kingdom managed to conquer Kelantan in 1506) but Melaka's age was cut short by the Portuguese attack in 1511.

In 1509 the Portuguese sent a diplomatic party to Melaka to establish trade, but the court was under the influence of the prime minister Bendahara Sri Maharaja Tun Mutahir who was a Tamil Muslim and led a faction composed of his fellow countrymen. The Portuguese had mistreated many Muslims in Goa and the Indian community in Malacca was against any dealings with Portugal. -They argued that the Sultan Mahmud Shah should capture the party. -Finally there was a attempt to capture the Portuguese party but word leaked out and some escaped. While this could be looked at as a casus belli for the Portuguese to invade, Portugal’s long term plans was to disrupt Venice and Islamic trade in the Indian Ocean and control the trade routes to China and the Spice islands, they would have probably invaded Malacca anyway.

The Portuguese fleet invaded in 1511 under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque. The army was composed of 1200 men and 17-18 ships. The first assault on Malacca actually failed and many argued against another attack. The Malacca fortress city had it’s own artillery, though inferior to the western cannons, they were still a threat. Most of Albuquerque’s commanders thought that the city could hold up to another assault. However, against staggering odds, Albuquerque’s second assault was a success and he capture the port city, ending the Melaka empire. The royal family of Melaka would make several attempts to retake the city, however they would all be failures. The Melaka empire was finished.

While seemingly a shocking success, the fall of Melaka planted the seeds of failure for Portugal's long term strategy in East Asia. The fall of one of it’s prominent tributary states would make China a constant enemy of Portugal for the next several decades, China would deny their request to create a colony at Hong Kong and defeat the Portuguese navy twice in 1522 and 1524. Portuguese and Chinese relations would become so strained that many Portuguese were simply massacred and their bodies mutilated and hung up to display at Guangzhou. It would take a full three decades before the Portuguese were allowed to set up a settlement at Macau in 1557. Meanwhile, the royal family of Melaka would flee and set up a new sultanate, Johor. The “holy war” attitude of Portugal would turn most Islamic traders against them, and many Malay, Javanese, Indian, and Chinese merchants would simply bypass Portuguese controlled ports and head for Johor or Aceh. Competition and wars between Portuguese Malacca, Aceh, and Johor would dominate the political scene of the western archipelago for the next century. By the dawn of the 17th century, Portugal's south-east Asian holdings would be easy prey to the Dutch.


Spoiler :
Not much is known about the specifics of the military of Malay states during this period, even great Melaka, but sources from the general region can be used. Common weapons, as elsewhere in the archipelago, were sword, spear and kris. Shields would have been made of rattan, leather, wood or some combination of the three. Chinese accounts point toward the use of bows in naval engagements and blow darts were also probably used. The Chinese sources also state that, in order to guard against raiding junks from Temasek (14th century Singapore/Singapura), sailors would equip themselves with armor to protect against these projectiles so we can be sure that armor was probably used in the general peninsula region. The armor was probably of the padded vest type that survives in the ethnological record of the region. Alternatively there is a enigmatic source from 13th century Borneo that mentions bronze armor and that style of armor may have also been used.

Cavalry was probably little used by the Malay states during this era. Later European accounts mention that cavalry was rarely fielded by states in Sumatra and the Malay peninsula. However, we know from the Portuguese accounts of the fall of Melaka that elephants were fielded by at least the Melaka sultanate.

When under siege, the whole town could contribute to the defense and women could participate in the battle. When the Portuguese attacked Melaka, women are recorded to have left their homes and fought in the defense of the town.

The actually naval capabilities of the region are also not known, but during the 14th century Temasek could muster 200-300 "pirate" junks against ships passing through the strait and the later Melaka and other Malay cities could probably muster similar numbers. How big these Junks were is not known, but they probably varied considerably. Chinese sources say that Ayyuthaya threatened Temasek with only seventy war junks, presumably most of Temasek's 200 odd Junks were probably sleeker raiding ships.

Gunpowder was in use by 1511, when the Portuguese captured Melaka they found a large number of guns of various sizes. The accounts say that they found some 3000 guns. A few were very large siege cannon as were being used in the middle east and India during this age. One had been sent by the King of Calicut. De Burres states that, "All the artillery with its appurtenances was of such workmanship that it could not be excelled, even in Portugal." Sadly we don't know what type of guns the majority were, but they were probably Chinese style cannon and the smaller Rentaka (or Lankata) swivel guns. Interestingly enough, the Portuguese also mention that matchlocks were already in use in Melaka when it was conquered. Matchlock technology was still very new east of the Levant. The Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire had equipped themselves with matchlocks since the 1440s. And a large number of these weapons were ordered by Babur later in 1526 who would use them to great effect to conquer northern India. If Melaka had matchlocks and well-made Calicut cannons in 1511, it may be that the Indian ocean networks (Southern India and the Malay states) were already on the cutting age of gunpowder weapons before northern India, Pakistan and central Asia.


Spoiler :
There are very few primary sources for Malay dress and custom during this period. The units in this pack were made from a combination of secondary sources, primary sources from neighboring lands, and later European accounts of Malay dress and weaponry. Unlike Majapahit, the Malay of this era did not leave behind many artifacts. However, there are many popular historical images of this period. Many museums in Malaysia feature art representing the customs and dress of the Melaka era and, while I am not sure what sources these were based on, the general aesthetic was used for many of the units, (1), (2), (3). But these historical images were used with one major caveat regarding the pants. The early European accounts of the 17th century mention that in Sumatra and the Malay peninsula the people wore shirts, sarongs and a headwrap/scarf which may have been a type of tanjak (the iconic Malay headgear). What they never mention are pants, meaning that they were probably rarely wore by the common people and soldiers. While the Majapahit temple reliefs feature pants wearing figures, these are much rarer then the figures which only wear the sarong. Hence it is unlikely that pants were widely worn in the Melaka sultanate and the other Malay polities of this time period. Only noble and elite units in this pack wear pants.

Unit Info:

Spoiler :
Malay Composite Archer,

Chinese sources mention that the people of the peninsula made use of archer in naval engagements, so we known that the bow was a important weapon during this era. The recurve style bow is based off of a Majapahit example, (1). Padded armor was used by sailors in the region to defend against arrows. Even though no examples survive, padded armor is well known in the ethnographic record of Indonesia and Malaysia. The archer's padded armor is based off of a 20th century Dayak example, (2). Various head wraps styles are recorded to have been used by later Malay people, from headbands to full turbans. The earliest concrete reference to Malay head wraps is from 16th century European accounts but most assume that head wraps were worn in Malaysia since ancient times. This archer's turban is based off of a northern Borneo example from the 19th century (3).

Malay Spearman (Padded Armor),

This spearman is armed with a shield based off of Dayak example, (1). His armor is based off of both Dayak,(2), and Iban's (3), examples.

Malay Light Spearman (Headband),

Malay Crossbowman,

Both of these units are based on this image of an orang laut from 1818, at a museum at Singapore, (1). The spearman's shield is based this Borneo example, (2), wielded by the man on the far right.
The Malay probably knew of the crossbow as the weapon was popular on the mainland and the numerous Chinese sailors and merchants in the region. However there is no evidence, there is no evidence that the Malay used the crossbow in large numbers or at all. Nonetheless, this unit is needed for the civ4 roster and it is included.

Malay Swordsman (Leather Scale),

Malay Swordsman (Bronze Armor),

Other armor types besides padded may have been used in the Malay world during this era. With the sheer variety and frequency of the types of armor that have been collected from the archipelago it would be amazing if padded armor was the only type in use in the early medieval era. The Malay Swordsman (Leather Scale) has a composite rattan and leather armor that is from Sulawesi, (1). The metal helmet is a Nias examples, (2), (3), (4), (5). The sword is based off of a Batak blade (6). The rattan shield is based off of a Sumatran (Malay? Aceh?) example, (7).
The Malay Swordsman (Bronze Armor)'s armor is based off of this example from Malaysia, (8). There is a reference to bronze armor from 12-13th century Borneo and the armor may have been in use during the time of Melaka. The leather shield is based off of a shield in a Malaysia museum (9).

Malay Armored Cavalry,

The Malay states of the medieval era probably did not make use of cavalry, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra have never been known for being great cavalry country. It is doubtful if horsemen were fielded in any large numbers. But to complete the line-up a armored cavalryman is included. The cavalryman's armor is based off of this example from Sulawesi, (1). The cavalryman is wearing a tanjak, while it is unknown when the tanjak was first wore by Malay people, I have heard that it begin around the time of the Melaka sultanate.

Malay Early Silat Warrior,

Silat is the generic term given to Malay martial arts and the various martial traditions in the archipelago and mainland of South East Asia. Besides indigenous techniques, silat has been heavily influenced by martial arts from China and India, especially Southern Chinese and Southern Indian styles. Malay martial arts cover both armed and unarmed fighting and feature a wide variety of styles and schools. Various forms of silat were probably practiced by early Malay warriors with varying levels of mastery. The keris is the most iconic weapon of the martial arts of the archipelago and the weapon this warrior is equipped with. The keris has a long history in the archipelago, the wavy form of the blade probably originates from the 14th or 15th century. The most famous keris makers were Javanese and numerous Javanese blades were exported all over the region, however, many blades were made locally including in Malay lands.
The keris in Javanese art is often used in a stabbing motion and its grip is centered around that motion, (1), (2), and the Malay styles also use a similar grip. The last image is from Donn F. Raeger's "The Weapons and Fighting Arts of Indonesia". Draeger also mentions that the blade may have been poisoned sometimes but it was probably more often used without poison (pg. 96). A poison blade was probably only prepared if the fight called for it or in the case of a assassination.
The vest and sarong of the warrior is based off of a image of Malays from Borneo, (3).

Malay War Elephant,

Portuguese accounts of the fall of Melaka mention that the Sultan fielded war elephants against the Portuguese during the urban fighting. The elephants managed to drive back the Portuguese at first, almost out of the city. But they were repulsed by Portuguese pikeman in the end and the elephants turned back on their own ranks. Like rulers in the South-East Asian mainland and India, the Sultan Ahmad and his son rode on elephants into the fighting. The sultan's elephant was killed out from under him. Sadly I couldn't find the actual number of war elephants that took part in the fighting, was it just the two rode by the sultan and son, or was there a whole regiment?
I couldn't find any information on whether or not the war elephants had towers, howdahs, or were rode on barebacked. All styles were in use in India and South-East Asia during this era. This elephant's carriage and harness is loosely based on a sketch by Peter Mundy (1600–1667) which features the war elephants in a parade at Aceh, (1). The rider's shoulder cloth is based on this image, (2).

Malay Hand Cannon,

Malay Matchlock,

Unlike Java, the Malay people of the straits seem to have adopted gunpowder weaponry in great numbers by the turn of the 16th century. When Melaka fell in 1511 a wide variety of guns and cannon were found, including matchlock guns. However, not much is known about the begginings of gunpowder use in the straits. The Chinese Ming navy would have doubtlessly used gunpowder weaponry when it was sailing in the area in the early 15th century and the Malay may have learned how to use gunpowder from them. The Malay Hand Cannon is based on a Filipino example, (1), and is supposed to represent early 15th century firearms. As the museum plaque states, (2), similar small cannon/guns may have been used by Melaka. The matchlock is based on the matchlock guns of the Boxer Codex of the Philippines (c. 1595), (3)

Malay Cannon (Siege)

Malay Cannon (Rentaka)

The Portuguese found a wide assortment of artillery after they took Melaka. Some 3,000 pieces are reported. While a few were large middle-eastern style siege cannon, most were smaller. The appearance of the smaller cannon is not known, but they were probably very similar to the Rentaka/Lantaka used by later states in the archipelago. The Rentaka's carriage is based off of a later Filipino example, (1). The Malay siege cannon is based off of a cannon cast in the Malay kingdom of Pattani in 1571, (2). Early cannons may have been of a similar type. The cannon carriage is based off of a Mughal example from the Akbar Nama (1590s), (3). It isn't known how the siege cannons were transported, but they may have used a similar type of transport wagon.

Dayak Spearman,

Dayak Swordsman,

The Dayak are a group of people living in tribes in Borneo. The Dayak people are famous for being fearsome warriors, pirates, raiders and head-hunters. Besides the tribes of the Luzon highlands in the Philippines, the Dayak are one of the great stereotypical examples of ritual head-hunting in the anthropological record. These two are based off of the Iban or Sea Dayaks of northern Borneo. The Iban are well known for using padded armor of either cloth or thick plant fibers, sometimes with added fur/hide, (1), (2), (3). The sword is based off of this example, (4). Feathers, plumes and headwraps could be very extravagant, (5).
No one is sure when the Iban first came to Borneo but they seem to have invaded northern Borneo sometime around 1675. It is believed that they came from Indonesia but where exactly is not known. These two are included in the pack to represent the Orang Laut or sea peoples that the port city polities often allied with to help with raiding passing merchants and policing the waters. No one is sure how the Orang Laut lived or their customs during these centuries but many imagine that they may have armed themselves like later sea raiders. Indeed, before invading northern Borneo, the Iban may have been a group of Orang Laut themselves.

Animations directions are in the zip.

Please leave comments in the thread.


Other Malay Packs:
Malay Ancient Unit Pack (Srivijaya)
Malay Renaissance Pack (Post-Melaka)
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