“Javanese History” is the term for Javanese manuscripts containing the history of kings who once reigned on the island of Java. There are a variety of arrangements and contents and no copies are found that are older than the 18th century.
Created as a historical literary work in the form of Javanese songs. As a big book with the royal center of the Mataram era, this book has never been released in any study of things that happened in Java.
This book also contains the genealogies of the kings forerunner to the Mataram kingdom, which is also unique in this book the author gives a hook to the prophet Adam and other prophets as ancestors of Hindu kings in Javanese land to Mataram Islam.
The genealogy of the kings of Pajajaran who also got a place first. Next, Majapahit, Demak, continued in sequence until the kingdom of Pajang and Mataram in the mid-18th century.
This book has been used as one of the chapters of the reconstruction of the history of Java. But realizing the thick mix of myth and cult, experts always use it with a critical approach.
This Babad Tanah Jawi has many versions. According to historian Hoesein Djajadiningrat, if you want to be simplified, the diversity of the versions can be divided into two groups. First, the chronicle written by Carik Braja at the behest of Sunan Paku Buwono III.
Braja’s writing was later circulated to the public in 1788. While the second group was a chronicle published by P. Adilangu II with the oldest manuscript dated in 1722.
The difference between them lies in the storytelling of ancient Javanese history before the emergence of the forerunner of the Mataram kingdom. The first group only recounts the history of Mataram in a concise manner, in the form of genealogies equipped with little information, while the second group is equipped with a long story.
The Babad Tanah Jawi has attracted the attention of many historians. Among others, historian HJ de Graaf. According to him, what is written in the Babad Tanah Jawi can be trusted, especially the story of the events of 1600 until the time of Kartasura in the 18th century.
Likewise with the events since 1580 which review the kingdom of Pajang. However, for the story after that era, de Graaf did not dare to call it historical data because it was too full of a mixture of mythology, cosmology and fairy tales.
In addition to Graaf, Meinsma is on the list of devotees for the Babad Tanah Jawi. Even in 1874, he published a prose version carried out by Kertapraja. Meinsma based her work on the chronicle written by Carik Braja. Meinsma’s work is the one that has been circulating up to now.
Towards World War II, Balai Pustaka also published dozens of volumes of the Babad Tanah Jawi in its original form. Asli is actually in the form of songs and Javanese writing.