Medieval Myanmar (900-1510AD)
By the 10th century, the kingdom of Bagan is beginning to emerge along with a unique cultural fusion that included, for the first time, speakers of the Burmese language. This section asks questions about how language and religions have evolved in Myanmar. Through the examination of early scripts, chronicles, and the records of travellers from distant lands, there is still much to be discovered.
Myanmar's first Christians?
Myanmar's first Christians were likely the Nestorians, who may have arrived as early as the 7th century (i.e even before the "Myanma" ethnicity existed). The Nestorians were widespread in China under the Tang (7th and 8th centuries AD) as well as across Central Asia and in Persia and parts of India. During the time of the Bagan dynasty, there was a large Nestorian presence in Yunnan according to Marco Polo. The Italian traveller Ludovico di Varthem who visited Pegu in...Read More
The origin of Burmese alphabet
This is the Pallava script on which many Southeast Asian scripts (Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Javanese, etc) are based. The Pallava dynasty ruled much of southern India from the 3rd to 9th centuries. Buddhism likely first traveled to what is today Myanmar from southern India in the early centuries AD. The Pallava script is, in turn, derived from the Brahmi script used by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BC (and ultimately from Aramaic and Phoenician). The Burmese language...Read More