Episode 3.9 – The Black Prince

(Image Credit: Wikimedia commons. Wat painting of the life of Naresuan, scene from his funeral procession)

King Naresuan embodied the Ayutthayan Age of Warfare better than any other king. His martial prowess, bravery in battle, and sense of honor and justice were famous. But the king also garnered a reputation as being harsh and merciless. Justice in the king’s mind became subject to his interpretation, and those he thought disobeyed him or committed an offense, were brutally punished.

Combined with exhaustion from a half century of near-ceaseless warfare, Ayutthayans were tired of violence. When the King died in 1605, they rejected what the so-called “Black Prince” stood for. The outcome was the ushering in of a new era, an “Age of Commerce”, where Ayutthaya would become the richest trade city in Southeast Asia. 

But to get there, Naresuan would first have to die.

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