A Mosaic of Gerolamo Emilio Gerini’s Soul and Siamese Literary Minds [1] .


Kanokwan Rittipairoj [2]



            Col. G. E. Gerini’s literature on Siamese customs, language and history as in A Retrospective View and Account of the Origin of the "Thet Maha C'hat" Ceremony (Maha-Jati Desana), (1892); "Chulakantamangala" or the Tonsure Ceremony, as performed in Siam (1895); On Siamese Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions (1904); and Historical Retrospect of Junkeceylon Island, 1905 are nothing other than the records of his soul, the soul of a gifted reader who has read and reread widely and thought deeply about Siamese tradition; the soul of a reader who believes that the Siamese are far from lacking the genius and spirit of a great nation; and the soul of a reader who deeply read for verification of this belief.  Summoning up what G. E. Gerini read based on his literary collections and bibliographical sketches can illuminate and expand our understanding and appreciation of his literary works which are depicted by using both his power of insight and the genius of Siamese literary minds, just like a wall mosaic that uses pieces of glass to reflect light apart from stone and ceramics or bits of terracotta or bricks to provide a range of colours. The principle enterprise of this paper is to examine the positive parallels and juxtapositions between G. E. Gerini’s soul and Siamese literary minds and the ways and manners they have influenced one another.


            G. E. Gerini had the power of insight into Siamese literary works and Siamese minds. His remarkable collection of Thai books and records donated by his family to Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples and several priceless records and manuscripts in Siamese language with remarks of his observations and clarification in handwriting preserved in Luciano Gerolamo Gerini’s archive give evidence of his twenty-five-year-long encounter with Siamese literature and treatise. Although the selections of what G. E. Gerini read here were not necessarily in the top one hundred works of the Siamese canon and were likely to be more meaningful to him than to his readers, it is very worthwhile categorizing and describing them because the real value lies in his insight into the Siamese mind and his ability to transfer this power of insight from author to reader. In the attempt to depict Gerini’s insight into Siamese literary minds, this paper will examine those approximately 100 printed books, records, and manuscripts in ‘Thai language’ that Gerini could have read for his research and for his own pleasure, grouping them according to a structure of my own invention which is based on the anatomy of his oeuvres about Siam.  A picture of Gerini’s works as a whole is like a spacious colorful mosaic. At a closer look, we find that the mosaic is an amalgamation of six different clusters as follows:


A mosaic of Gerini’s power of insight

Cluster I:  Siamese customs and religion.

            Some major works in this cluster are A Retrospective View and Account of the Origin of the "Thet Maha C'hat" Ceremony (Maha-Jati Desana), (Bangkok 1892); and Chulakantamangala or the Tonsure Ceremony, as performed in Siam (Bangkok 1895), dedicated to His Royal Highness Somdech Chau Fa Maha Vajiravudh, Crown Prince of  Siam


Cluster II:  Siamese literature and language.

            The major work in this cluster is “On Siamese Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions” in the Journal of Siam Society, 1904.


Cluster III: ‘Geographia’

            The name of this cluster comes from ‘Geographia by Ptolemy’ which is defined by Prof. Renato Novelli in his article “Gerolamo Gerini, Siamese Traditions and Ptolemy’s Geography” as geographical knowledge given to studies, calculations, astronomic observations, travels and military expedition. This cluster also includes knowledge about natural resources, manufactures and products of Siam. The heart of this cluster is Researches on Ptolemy's Geographia of Easterne Asia (Further India and Indo-Malay Archipelago), London, 1909; others are Astronomia Siamese, Fascicolo II, Il Sāram, tradotti da Gerini. L’ortografia corretta é สารัมภ์ 1894; Astrologia Siamese, Fascicolo II, Estratti dai trattati I. Cakradipanī, tradotti ed annotate da Gerini, 1894; a series of articles titled “Up River Guide”, under the alias Hesper, in The Siam Free Press, 1888; “A Trip to the Ancient Ruins of Kamboja” (Asiatic Quarterly Review Apr. 1904). The best book of all time in this cluster is Siam and Its Productions, Arts, and Manufactures (1911): a descriptive catalogue of the ‘Siamese Section’ at the International Exhibition of Industry and Labour with contributions from several special writers.  Gerini himself wrote many articles on knowledge of Siam.


Cluster IV: Archaeology and history.

            This cluster consists of Archaeology, A Synoptical Sketch, as the 15th chapter of the book The Kingdom of Siam, edited by A, Cecil Carter for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (New York and London 1904); Historical Retrospect of Junkeceylon Island, 1905; articles in Siamese about archaeology, the history and ancient monuments of Cambodia, Dvi-panya a review directed by H.R.H. the Crown Prince, 1905.


Cluster V: Siam and foreign countries.

            Articles in this cluster are, for example, “Shan and Siam”, The Asiatic Quarterly Review Jan. 1898; “Shan and Siam: a Few More Explanations”, The Asiatic Quarterly Review Jan. 1899; “Siam's Intercourse with China - Seventh to Nineteenth Centuries”, The Asiatic Quarterly Review Oct. 1900, Jan. 1901, Apr. 1901, Jan. 1902, Apr. 1902, Oct. 1902); articles in Siamese on Dvi-panya with subjects as the ancient relations between Siam and Giava. “Siam and Italy: A Historical Retrospect” Siam and its Productions, Arts, and Manufactures, English Edition, 1912.


Cluster VI: Military and Siamese law.

            The well-known book among Siamese literary minds is The Art of War: military organization, weapons and political maxims of the Ancient Hindus (in Siamese), (Bangkok 1894) Manual of Military Tactics Book I: Section 1 deals with detecting directions and traveling by using skills of directions; Section 2 deals with patrolling and finding news in different geographical landscapes, safekeeping strategy when staying amidst enemies (1900); Manual of Military Cycling; Military Topography; Manual of Military Map Book I : how to read and use military maps; how to reproduce maps of the same size or smaller, with 91 illustrations (1905), Manual of Military Map Book II : how to calculate and measure distances and how to draw military maps; how to operate a topographical survey and how to prepare a survey report, with 78 illustrations (1906). Geometry: how to draw by using circle, dividers and ruler: explanation and fundamental advice, 125 geometry problems and 157 illustrations. Trial by Ordeal in Siam and the Siamese Law of Ordeals, the Asiatic Quarterly Review, Apr. and Jul. 1895; in 1894.


            The six clusters of  ‘what Gerini wrote’ about Siam reflect the faculty of his soul, the soul of an anthropologist, a linguist, a historian, an archaeologist, a geographer, a diplomat, a surveyor, a soldier, a traveler, a teacher, a lawyer, an astrologist, a scientist, and a philanthropist.  For twenty-five years Gerini’s soul had a dialogue with the Over-soul of Siamese literary minds, either in person or through their works. It was then that his soul became a part of the Siamese Over-soul, an essential part of a whole.


            Important Siamese works and Siamese minds which were sources of knowledge for Gerini in his discovery of the path toward Siamese wisdom can be grouped and explained according to the anatomy of his oeuvres and his appreciation as follows:


A Mosaic of Siamese literary minds

Group I: Gerini and Siamese Customs and religion

            In relation to the first cluster of Siamese customs and religion, Gerini’s appreciation lies in Buddhist scriptures, the Siamese canon with Buddhist inspiration.  What Gerini read ranged from Pali and Siamese manuscripts to Siamese books and important Siamese magazines. In order to analyze the significance and to find a juxtaposition with his soul, the works are grouped by a classificatory system of perceived affinities as follows:


Class I:  Buddhist canon

(i) Phra Sutta Pitaka, Digha Nikaya, Maha-vagga, edited by the Buddhist monk Phra Ahusakatadhera, Phra Methathammaros of Phichaiyatikaram Monastery, published under the auspices of King Chulalongkorn, on the occasion of the silver jubilee of his reign, 1894.      

(ii) Phra Sutta Pitaka, Samyutta Nikaya, Salayatana-vagga, edited by the Buddhist monk Phra Ahusakatadhera who was Phra Methathammaros of Phichaiyatikaram Monastery, published under the auspices of King Chulalongkorn, on the occasion of the silver jubilee of his reign, 1894.

(iii) Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka Yamaka Book 3, edited His Holiness Prince Krom Mun Vajirañan Varorosa, published under the auspices of King Chulalongkorn, on the occasion of the silver jubilee of his reign, 1894.  

(iv) Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka, Patthana, Mahamakuta Rajavidyalaya, a transliteration of the Tipitaka using Thai characters.  

            (v) The Book of Chants, Watcharindh company printing office, 1893. [3]

(vi) Prathom Som Bhodhi Katha, composed by His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phra Paramanijita Jinorasa, edited by Phra Phimontham (Dit) of  Manhathat Monastery, published for Buddhists by Mom Chao Watcharindr, Watcharindr company printing office, 1896.

(vii) Trai Phum Lok Winichai: the royal edition, March 19, 1913, Sophon Phiphat Thanakorn printing office.   This is a religious work discussing the role of the king, using the notions of heaven and hell as they relate to governing.

(viii) Causes: Two ways of drapingthe monistic robes, Phadungphan Sanphaphat printing office, Bangkok by K. S. R. Kularb, 1903.


            Gerini was conscious that Buddhism and Siam’s literary body were indivisible and it was important to understand the Buddhist canon. Unsurprisingly, Gerini decided to read the Tipitaka [4] , the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. Naturally, the Tipitaka consists of three divisions: Vinaya Pitaka [5] , Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka; there is evidence that Gerini read the Sutta Pitaka, and Abhidhamma Pitaka (Group I, Class I: i, ii, iii, iv), which are  transliterations of Pali into Thai printed using Thai characters. Considering the structure and content of these two divisions that form the discourses of the Buddha, one can imagine how deep Gerini’s knowledge was:

            (1) Phra Sutta Pitaka. This is the second division of the Tipitaka. It is the collection of suttas attributed to the Buddha and a few of his closest disciples during and shortly after the Buddha’s forty-five year teaching career, containing all the central teachings of Theravada Buddhism. The Suttas are divided into five nikayas (discourses or collections):

                        (i) Digha Nikaya [6]

                        (ii) Majjhima Nikaya

                        (iii) Samyutta Nikaya [7]

                        (iv) Anguttara Nikaya

                        (v) Khuddaka Nikaya. 

            (2) Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka. This is the third division of the Tipitaka. The Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka is very important because it stands as a monumental feat of intellectual genius. It offers an extraordinarily detailed analysis of the basic principles governing the behaviour of mental and physical processes.  Whereas the Sutta Pitaka is characterized by the principal teachings regarding the Buddhist path to Awakening, the Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka presents an almost scientific analysis of the underpinnings of that very path.  Having a reputation for being dense and difficult reading, the Abhidhamma Pitaka is divided into seven books:

                        (i) Dhammasangani (Enumeration of Phenomena)

                        (ii)Vibhanga (the Book of Treatises)

                        (iii) Dhatukatha (Discussion with Reference to the Elements)

                        (iv) Puggalapaññatti (Description of Individuals)

                        (v) Kathavatthu (Points of Controversy)

                        (vi) Yamaka (The Book of Pairs)

                        (vii) Patthana (The Book of Relations).          

            One of the Buddhist scriptures in Gerini’s collection, Phra Sutta Pitaka, Digha Nikaya, Maha-vagga (Group I, Class I, i) describes the second division of the The Digha Nikaya (The Long Discourses) called The Maha-vagga, which contains the Maha-nidana Sutta  (The Great Causes Discourse), one of the most profound discourses in the Pali canon, which gives an extended treatment of the teachings of dependent co-arising (paticca samuppada) and not-self (anatta) in an outlined context of how these teachings function in practice ; Maha-parinibbana Sutta ( The Last Days of the Buddha), this colorful narrative contains a wealth of Dhamma teachings, including the Buddha's final instructions that defined how Buddhism would be lived and practiced long after the Buddha's death -- even to this day; Maha-samaya Sutta  (The Great Meeting) ; Sakka-pañha Sutta (Sakka's Questions) in which Sakka, the deva-king, asks the Buddha about the sources of conflict, and about the path of practice that can bring it to an end; and Maha-satipatthana Sutta (The Great Frames of Reference), it is The Great Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness.

            Another Buddhist scripture in Gerini’s collection, Phra Sutta Pitaka, Samyutta Nikaya, Salayatana-vagga (Group I, Class I: ii) describes The Salayatana-vagga (XXXV-XLIV) which deals with the six senses; feeling -- how an understanding of the nature of feelings leads to Nibbana and to the ending of passion; purification of feeling –- an enumeration of the three kinds of feeling; pleasant, painful, and neither-pleasant-nor painful; the three kinds of suffering (dukkha) and how they are to be fully comprehended; the principles of kamma and rebirth’.

            The other two books are Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka Yamaka  and Phra Abhidhamma Pitaka, Patthana   (Group I, Class I, iii. iv). The Yamaka (The Book of Pairs) is a logical analysis of many concepts presented in the earlier books. The Patthana (The Book of Relations), by far the longest single volume in the Tipitaka (over 6,000 pages long in the Siamese edition) describes the 24 paccayas, or laws of conditionality, through which the dhammas interact. These laws, when applied in every possible permutation with the dhammas described in the Dhammasangani, give rise to all knowledge and experience. It is the first (Dhammasangani) and last (Patthana) that together form the essence of the Abhidhamma teachings.

            It should be noted that during the reigns of King Chulalongkorn and King Vajiravudh, which was the time that Gerini was in Siam, bhikkhus were greatly encouraged in their study and practice of Buddhism. As a result, there were more books of the Buddha’s doctrine and commentaries in Thai language apart from in Pali. (Group I, Class I, v.vi.vii, viii). The Prathom Somphodhikatha, composed by Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phra Paramanijita Jinorosa [8] , edited by Phra Phimontham (Dit) of Manhathat Monastery, 1896 and Trai Phum Lok Winichai: the royal edition, March 19, 1913 are good examples taken from Gerini’s collection (Group I, Class I, vi.vii). They represent the Siamese mindset that always kept a good balance between the ecclesiastical world and the secular world. The former book is the story of the life of the Lord Buddha and the latter is a religious work discussing the role of the king, using the notions of heaven and hell as they relate to governing. 

            In addition to printed books of Buddhist scriptures, good sources of information for Gerini were intellectual magazines. There are, at least, two important magazines of that time that Gerini read and used as references:  “Vajirañān” and “The Siam Prabheth”. Gerini had many copies in his collection [9] . These two magazines were naturally different, but they formed a good balance in Gerini’s soul. The former belonged to the Vajirañān Royal Library in the ecclesiastical world, and was initiated by His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phraya Vajirayanavarorosa [10] (1860-1920) (Prince Manusanagamanob), the 10th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand. The later belonged to the secular world with the slogan, ‘the all-inclusive manuscript offering secular and ecclesiastical knowledge and intellect for all human beings, males and females and younger generations’, and was established and edited by a Siamese avant-garde scholar named K. S. R. Kularb [11] (1834-1921). Interestingly, these two magazines pursued the same dream, which was also shared by a reader like Gerini; that is to excel in the intellect of mankind, no matter who you are, or where in the history or the period of time you belong. As a matter of fact, the three were great colleagues. A number of Thai letters from His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phraya Vajirayanavarorosa and K. S. R.  Kularb to G. E. Gerini on many occasions [12] show that Gerini had a constant discussion and exchange of ideas with these two Siamese scholars and sometimes asked for advice about Siamese customs, religion, ceremonies, etc. for his articles and books, namely Chulakantamangala or the Tonsure Ceremony, as performed in Siam (Bangkok 1895), etc. [13]


Class II: Siamese canon with Buddhist and Siamese Brahmanical inspiration

(i) Maha Bhon Khamchan, Kumara Khamchan, Maddi Khamchan, Sakka-Bhan Khamchan,Maharaja Khamchan, Brammanaradha Khamchan  “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 14 (No. 79-          85) April - September, 1902. 

(ii) Lilit Tossaphon, Lilit Chuchok, Lilit Chula Bhon, Lilit Maha Bhon, Lilit Maddi, Lilit Maharaja, “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 15  “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 14 (No. 85 - 90) October 1902 - March 1903.

(iii) Maha Bhon Khamchan, Kumara Khamchan “Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 79  April, 1902.  (iv) Sapphasit Kham Chan by The Prince-Patriarch Paramanujita Jonorosa “Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 103  April, 1904. 

(v) Sapphasit Khamchan, Book 1, Mister Gotti printing office, Tambon Oriental Hotel,       Bangkok 1892.

(vi) Phra Chandra Kumara, Book 1.

(vii) Maha Bhon Khamchan, a manuscript.

(viii) Aniruddha  Khamchan“Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 14 (No. 79 - 85) April –

 September, 1902.


            We can simply infer first from the following literary works that Gerini read in “Vajirañān” Magazine and printed books -- Mahaphon Khamchan, Kumara Khamchan, Maddi Khamchan, Sakka-Bhan Khamchan, Maharaja Khamchan, Brammanaradha Khamchan, Aniruddha Khamchan, Lilit Tossaphon, Lilit Chuchok, Lilit Chulaphon, Lilit Mahaphon, Lilit Maddi, Lilit Maharaja, Lilit Phra Lor, Mahaphon Khamchan, Kumara Khamcham Sapphasit Khamchan - - that Gerini had  the power of judgment.  His selections are outstanding in that, firstly, they are Siamese scriptures written in the noble Siamese verse form known as ‘chan' and ‘lilit’’ [14] and, secondly, they are not simply fictional but filled with Buddhist inspiration and essence from Jataka or stories of the incarnations of the Lord Buddha.  This power of judgment must have been based upon his power of insight and his appreciation.  The former enabled him to discover that Siamese literature was the mirror of Buddhism, Siamese folklore, tales, legends, history and most important of all, Siamese imagination and aesthetics while the latter convinced him to explore more deeply into Siamese literary works and literary minds.

            His English work entitled A Retrospective View and Account of the Origin of the "Thet Maha C’hat" Ceremony (Maha-Jati Desana), (Bangkok 1892) is a confirmation of his insight into the true meaning of the Siamese mind and the correlation between Buddhism and literature and Buddhism and the people’s lives.  Thet Maha C’hat”, or the recitation of Great Incarnation of the Buddha, is an annual Buddhist festival which is held in nearly every village in Siam.  It lasts a full day and a night after the rains retreat during the twelfth lunar month and is believed to be an act that bestows great merit upon all who listen to the complete rendition. The Buddha was reborn several times and each time he would accumulate more and more merit so that he became at last the Buddha. The last ten incarnations are called in Thai ‘the Tosachat’. Each story (jataka) within the Tosachat illustrates one of the ten Paramita or principle virtues to which all should aspire. [15] They correspond to the Mahanipata section of the Pali collection of Jatakas, although the Thais have changed the order of their presentation. The Vessantara Jataka [16] is seen as particularly important as it is the incarnation that the Buddha assumed just before being born as Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha, or the Enlightened One and it is called in Thai ‘Maha C’hat’ (great incarnation). This jataka has become the source of inspiration for many Thai Buddhist folk arts and religious festivals, including the ‘Thet Maha C’hat’ ceremony.

            The “Maha C’hat” as recited by Buddhist monks comprises thirteen episodes. [17] This also makes up thirteen beautiful Siamese scriptures in verse form for Siamese people to read. This morality literature became a good source for Gerini’s writing. The synopsis of each work is as follows (i) Thosaphon (The Blessings), ten different blessings which Indra bestows upon Queen Phutsadi (ii) Himaphan Forest), the early life of Vessantara in which he gives a royal white elephant which has the power to make rain in another territory and is forced to exile into Himavan forest with his wife and two children (iii) Than (The Gifts) Vessantara gives away all his possessions (iv) Vanpravet (The Wandering) Vessantara and his wife and children go to their exile on Mount Wongkot (v) Chuchok (Jujaka) , the story of the beggar Brahmin (vi) Chula Bhon (The Small Forest), Jujaka sets out to find Vessantara (vii) Maha Bhon (The Large Forest) Jujaka continues his travels, (viii) Kumara (The Children) Jujaka begs for Vessantara's children (ix) Matsi (Princess Maddi), Maddi cannot prevent Vessantara giving the children to Jujaka (x) Sakka Bhan (Phra Indra), the god Indra prevents Vessantara giving away his wife (xi) Maharaja (The Great King) Vessantara’s father rescues the children from Jujaka (xii) Cho Ksatriya (The Six Royal Families), The six royal members: King  Sonchai, Queen Phutsadi, Vessantara, Maddi, Jali and Kanhajina, meet at Mount Khiriwongkot, become unconscious. Then the magic rain Bokkhoraphat is made to fall on the six royal people and they regain consciousness. The royal families are reunited (xiii) Nakorn (The City), Vessantara and his family are welcomed back to their city.

            Apart from Buddhist-inspired literature, Gerini found it necessary to understand works inspired by Siamese Brahmanical beliefs as well because Buddhism and Hindu were closely related and intermingled in Siamese context [18] . Regarding literature he read Aniruddha Khamchan, a masterpiece in Chan verse form by Sri Prach, a famous poet of the Bangkok period. Although this story sounded like a narrative which was filled with excitements, miracles and adventures, it was based on a Brahmanical belief as it referred to the reincarnation of God Vishnu as Krishna. Aniruddha was a nephew of Krishna. One night while asleep under the tree, Aniruddha was appropriated by the god of the tree to meet Usa, a princess of a giant king and was caught up by her father, the giant king. Krishna came with his army to save his nephew while the giant king begged Shiva to help him. What Shiva could do was to ask for the giant’s life while the giant had to let Aniruddha and Usa marry. This story is like a tale filled with miracles and adventures ending with happiness. Like Siamese literature, this literary work aimed to teach the right from wrong and to glorify the justice of gods.

            As for Group I: Siamese customs and religion, the Siamese mind that is prevalent is, of course, the Buddha and his Dhamma. This is the positive and continuing influence that no other Siamese minds can surmise. This is the right place which Gerini made in order to be seated in Siamese minds.


Group II: Gerini and Siamese literature and language

            Gerini’s wide reading of the Siamese canon ranging from the classical epic Ramakian to the ancient tale ‘Malithong’ best infers his faculty of Siamese literature and language. In order to show the essence of what Gerini discovered in Siamese literature and language, the works are deconstructed into six classes according to their fundamental nature as follows:


Class I:  Mythology

(i) Paksi Pakaranam and Narai Sip Pang (1896) published on the occasion of King Chulalongkorn’s coronation in 1869.

(ii) Lilit Paksi Noi (1852), a manuscript copied from “Vajirañān” Magazine No. 113, 1904 pp. 41 - 52

            The significance of Paksi Pakaranam and Narai Sip Pang (The myth of Paksi and the story of the ten incarnations of God Vishnu) lies as much in the content as the occasion they were published. In the preface, it was written that King Chulalongkorn who came to the throne of Siam in 1869 had an audience with members of the royal family and noblemen in the Amarindrawinitchai Throne Hall. He graciously commanded Prince Krom Mün Aksorn Sasanasobhon, who was in charge of the Department of Letters and Printing, to collect famous manuscripts of the canon which included novels written in Pali and stories written by scholars of the past in order to edit, translate and publish them. The three main purposes bestowed by King Chulalongkorn were for him to study, to broaden his intellect and to be a treasure of his nation. Paksi Pakaranam and Narai Sip Pang is a specimen of the taste of the early Bangkok which was largely based on the Indian canon and myths of Hindu gods. Through studying literature in this class, Gerini discovered anthropological aspects of Siamese literature apart from mythical, poetic and dramatic ones.


Class II:  Life and vision of the world of ordinary Siamese people:

(i) Khun Chang, Khun Phaen, Book 1, by Sunthorn Phu

(ii) Khun Chang, Khun Phaen, Book 8, by Sunthorn Phu

            Unlike many other Siamese works, Khun Chang Khun Phaen by a talented poet who was born as a common man, Sunthorn Phu, is a popular literary work depicting the life of the people in the early Bangkok Period and the vision of their world, including the power of the monarch, government officials, criminals, traders, and ordinary men and women. It features a triangular love plot of one heroine with two lovers.

            Gerini found that there were many Siamese proverbs spoken by the people or disseminated through original local literature.  Khun Chang, Khun Phaen was used as a reference in his famous book, On Siamese Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions (1904), Appendix C:  Initial List of Siamese Proverbs, Saws, etc. In this part, Gerini added 208 more Siamese proverbs and idiomatic phrase from is own research to the list apart from those of King Ruang, with the hope that those who take interest in the subject will therefore be induced to contribute further additions to the present list thus soon making it sufficiently extensive. One of them was a skit occurring in the Khun Chang, Khun Phaen play. This saying is “Lāu women don the Sin skirt (a sarong with horizontal stripes) and eat millipedes.” [19] Gerini placed this kind of skit in a category of ‘Ethnological Proverbs” dealing with the characteristics and foibles of other nations and tribes, and holding them up, as a rule to ridicule. Similarly Gerini found another skit in popular performance of the Phra Aphai Manee Play, which is “Europeans don trousers flapping about their persons, and fear not death.” [20]


Class III:  Foreign influences

(i) Rāmākian by King Thonbūri (Phyā Tāk), Book 1-22, Khru Smith printing office, Tambon Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok, 1875.

(ii) Rāmākian by King Thonbūri (Phyā Tāk), Book 45-66, Khru Smith printing office, Tambon Bang Kho Laem, Bangkok, 1875.

(iii) Nirat Sita [21] ,  “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 15 (No. 85-90) October 1902 - March, 1903.

(iv) Rājādhirāj: from the reign of King Fa Rua to King Rājādhirāj) Bradley printing office, 1880.

            In the early Bangkok period, literary works were composed by the aristocracy and the royalty, and the use of plots from other countries were popular. This indicates that the Thai royal court had numerous contacts and relationships with foreign countries. Like Siamese readers who enjoyed knowing about worlds other than Siam, Gerini read the major literary works, the Rāmākian and the Rājādhirāj. The Rāmākian, to begin with, was the Thai version of the famous Indian epic, the Ramayana. It was composed in the form of a poem and was then turned into a mask play. Early Thai versions of the Rāmākian were lost in the destruction of Ayuddhaya and were revived by famous poets in later periods. The epic had numerous episodes which were written by many poets, including King Thonbūri, King Rama I and a group of his intimates, and King Rama II. Thai and Buddhist elements were also incorporated into it to preserve the oral knowledge of Ayuddhaya state rites and traditions. The version that Gerini had was exceptional because it was composed by King Thonbūri, which is always forgotten and rarely mentioned.

            The other work is the Rājādhirāj; one of the best literary works in prose. This work was a translation of the Mōn Chronicle from the reign of King Fa Rua to the ninth king, King Rājādhirāj (1085 - 1521) into Thai.  It was done by a staff of Mōn and Siamese literati under the superintendence of H. E. the Foreign Minister Hon, one of the foremost Siamese poets and prose writers of the second half of the eighteenth century. The work is noble in style and elegant in diction. This Mōn ethnic group and its traditions and language seemed to interest Gerini very much. In his famous work On Siamese Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions (1904) he dedicated Appendix E to ‘Preliminary notes on Mōn Proverbs’ saying that these sayings had become rare and found only among descendants of former Mōn refugees that settled in Siam during the latter half of the eighteenth century, so far only known to the public through the Siamese translation published under the title Rājādhirāj.  Gerini used this work as a source for his study of Mōn proverbs and he was able to make an initial list of 44 important Mōn proverbs quoted form the Rājādhirāj.  He referred to the Siamese translation of each saying and accompanied by the reference to the number of the page in the local edition of the Rājādhirāj where the passage occurs, and by the date and the year at which it is mentioned in the text. Then he translated them into English with brief remarks as to their meanings, the probable source where the saying was derived whenever borrowing appears to have occurred, and critical observations on the Siamese translation of it as well as comparative notes on parallel or similar sayings in Siamese, when such are known to exist. By using his precise research tools, Gerini discovered a wonderful amalgamation between Siamese and Mōn sayings and the origin of such sayings.


Class IV:  Legendary and historical aspects.

(i) Taleng Phai Book 2, 1902, Prince Paramanijita Jinorasa second edition, Sanpa Anongkit printing office, Tambon Sikak Phrayasi, Bangkok, 1902.

(ii) Lilit Phra Lor (1856) written by Phra Khru Phichet (Klad), who at that time was Luang   Si Mohorasop, copied from “Vajirañān” Magazine, pp. 160-261. 

            Yuan Phai, Phra Lor and Taleng Phai are the three best Siamese literary works in lilit verse form from ancient times. The three pieces were based on the history and legends of the Siamese, Yuan and Mōn which are important ethnic groups in the north and west of Siam.  Lilit Yuan Phai is a very beautiful historical piece of poetry written around 1491 - 1529 to glorify King Somdech Phra Barom Trailokanadha, referring to his life, his great ability in and attention to administration, the military, religion and most important of all his heroic deeds during the war with Yuan led by King Tilokaraja of Chieng Mai, who attacked the northern provinces of Siam, Sukhothai and Phitsanulok and Khamphang Phet. It took King Baroma Trailokanadha many years to win back this territory and to suppress the Yuan army.  Lilit Phra Lor may have been first written in the early Ayuddhaya period (1448 - 1533). It was a story of the passionate love of a charming prince and two princesses intermingled with magic, charms and witchcraft, war and death.  The tragedy is believed to have occured in northern provinces of Siam known as Prae and Lampang in 1073 - 1150. Lilit Taleng Phai is a story about the war between King Nasesvara of Ayuddhaya and Burma. In the Burmese army, there were a number of Mōn soldiers and for this reason they were called ‘Taleng’ which means Mōn [22] . Siam won the war and the Mōn lost.  Lilit Taleng Phai was composed by the 7th Holiness Prince Patriarch of Bangkok, Krom Phra Paramanujita Jinorosa based on this chronicle in order to glorify the king of Siam. This Prince Supreme Patriarch (1791 - 1852) was a very important Siamese literary mind. He was one of the most famous Thai poets and was a prolific writer on patriotic and moralistic themes in verse and prose. He became the abbot of Wat Phra Jetubon. Many of his works are literature for all standard Thai elementary and secondary school students, such as Kritsana Sorn Nong, Lilit Taleng Phai, Sapphasit Khamchan, Vessantara Jataka in raay verse form (every episode except Maha Bhon and Jujaka), etc.


Class V:  Folk tales and fables:

(i) Dhanonchai Bhandit, Book 1 - Book 21, Ban Luang Indramontri printing office, Bang Lampu Lang, 1881 .

(ii) Malithong Book 1 – an ancient tale in verse.

(iii) Phra Suthon, “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 15 (No. 85-90) October 1902 - March 1903.

            Literature in this class reflects the Siamese sense of humour and morality enacted in folk tales and fables. Thanonchai Bandit is the story of Sri Thanonchai, a witty but tricky young man who got himself out of troubles by using several cunning but artful devices.  Malithong was one of the traditional Siamese tales.


Class VI:  Siamese language and Pali language

            Gerini’s competence and ability in the Siamese and Pali languages were exceptional. In 1885 he worked as an English and French translator and interpreter for the Interior Ministry.  He was also trusted by the royalty, for example H. R. H. Prince Chira and His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phraya Vajirayanavarorosa, to do translation work from Thai into English and always received compliments. [23] Books of reference on Siamese and Pali that Gerini used are as follows:          

            (i) Munlabot Bhanphakit, Vahanit Nikorn, Akson Prayok, Sangyok Phithan, Viphot     Phichan, Phisan Karan: Six lessons for learning the Thai language by Phraya Sri Sunthon          Vohan

            (ii) Pali Grammar Vol. I in two parts: Part I – Orthography Part II - Etymology, compiled     by H. R. H. Kroma-Mün Vajirañān, Sukka Bimbakan, Bangkok, 1889.

            (iii) Siamese Dictionary, Sukka Bimbakan, Bangkok, 1892.

            (iv) The Comprehensive Anglo-Siamese Dictionary Vol. 2, From D to H Inclusive,

            by Samuel J. Smith

            (v) The Comprehensive Anglo-Siamese Dictionary Vol. 3, From I to P Inclusive,

            by Samuel J. Smith

            Having been acquainted with the extremely complex use of the Siamese language as in Buddhist scripture, courtly documents and Siamese literature for many years, Gerini became fascinated with the richness of the Siamese language. In 1904, Gerini did deep research into Siamese proverbs and published On Siamese Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions. According to Gerini, proverbs are significant in that through them, ‘we can arrive at an adequate knowledge of the people’s character, gain an insight into their modes of thought and peculiar ways of life, and acquire a better understanding of certain of their manners and customs, of which proverbs often present so life-like a picture not to be found elsewhere.” [24]   His studies about Siamese proverbs were very extensive. Books about Siamese subhāasit language that Gerini read for his writing were as follows:

(i)       The Wise Sayings of King Rueng or “The precepts of King Ruang” It includes some 160 precepts, circa 1257 - 1300.

(ii)     Lokaniti or “Guidance to Mankind” It is a work in the Pali language, which has formed the prototype for most Siamese compositions of a similar character subsequently produced, “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 2, 1885.

(iii)    Lokaniti in verse  This is a Siamese metrical translation of the above text by Phraya Sri Sunthon Vohan (1822 - 1891).

(iv)   Lokaniti in verse. Another version by Prince Kroma-somdech Dec‘hādisōn (1793 - 1859), “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 2 No. 8, 1885.

(v)     Lokanit Subhasit Thai. It is another metrical translation of the Lokaniti into Siamese, by an anonymous author, printed by S. J. Smith, 1872.

(vi)   Isaranāna’s Maxims. It is a metrical composition consisting of proverbs and useful maxims by Reverend Isaranāna, a Buddhist monk (1851 - 1868).

(vii) Vajiranān Subhasit. It is a collection of maxims, mottoes, etc. for the most  part in verse, consisting of contribution from 293 members of the Vajirañān Library society and Library, “Vajirañān” Magazine, 1889.

(viii) A Century of Maxims by Dh. V. S., 1898.

(ix) Old Maxims in Verse by anonymous authors

(x) Adages of Lāu C ‘hieng people It is a series of proverbs and wise sayings in verse with paraphrasing, published in “Vajirañān” Magazine, 1899.

(xi) Versified Maxims of Phra Ruang. It is a paraphrase in verse of the wise sayings of King Ruang by Khun Prasöt Aksoranit (Phe), “Vajirañān” Magazine, 1895, 1896.

(xii) One Hundred and Fifty Precepts. It is in metrical form by the Buddhist monk Maha - Joti of the Rajapurana monastery, 1900


            The Siamese literary minds of Group II: Siamese literature and language that Gerini was familiar with are ‘the heart of Siamese civilization’. They can be simply classified into three groups according to their status as follows: (i) Buddhist monks, i.e. His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phraya Vajirayanavarorosa, the tenth Supreme Patriarch of Siam, His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phra Paramanijita Jinorosa, the seventh Supreme Patriarch of Siam, Phra Bhimondham (Dit) of the Manhathat Monastery, Phra Ahumsaka Dhera of the Phichaiyatikaram Monastery, Phra Khru Bhijet (Klad) (ii) scholars, i.e. Phraya Sri Sunthon Vohan [25] , H. E. the Foreign Minister (Hon) (iii) poets, i. e. King Rama I, King Rama II, Sunthon Phu  (1789 - 1856) [26] , and many unknown poets from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Also, there are other literary minds, which have their origin from different cultures such as Indian and Mōn, that have become synchronistic within Siamese minds in the Siamese context. The idea about cultural syncretism is what Gerini really appreciated. He was interested in understanding every single piece of little stone and glass that forms the mosaic. He traced their origins with respect and discovered a valuable correlation with the present. This is a way to preserve the past and understand the present. 


Group III: Gerini and Siamese topography

            G. E. Gerini’s power of insight into Siamese topography can be inferred from a map of the Kingdom of Siam and of its natural products that he compiled for the Siam Exhibition in the International Exhibition of Industry and Labour, held in Turin (April 29 - November 19, 1911). This map shows Siamese territory surrounded by French Possessions (Laos, Annam, Kamboja) and British Possessions (Shan States, Pegu, Malaysia). Within the territory, he identifies chief provincial towns, i.e. Ayuddhaya, Khorat, Phitsanulok, Ligore, Patāni and small towns, i.e. P’huket, P’hang-nga, Bāng-Tap’hān, Nān, etc. Besides this, railways in operation, railways under construction, streams, historical and present sea routes, i.e. Marco Polo, 1292, P. & O. from Brindist, Messageries Maritimes from Marseilles and Nord-Deutscher-Lloyd from Genua and Naples   provinces, S.S. Route to Bangkok; Messageries Fluviales Bangkok-Saigon are precisely identified. Most important of all, the map illustrates Siam’s natural products which include important vegetable production: rice, teak, cotton, tobacco, silk, wood, pepper and minerals: gold, copper, tin, iron, coal, rubies, sapphires, wolfram and lead. Mapmaking is one of his best languages. It represents the knowledge derived from his research into written documents and his survey of the real sites. The following are samples of Siamese works of Group III found in Gerini’s collection:


Class I:  Geography and administrative system

(i) Geography of Asia, Book I, for Siamese students by Khun Indra Prasat, instructor of the   Military Academy, 1909.

(ii) List of provinces and tributary states of the Kingdom of Siam, printed with the permission of the minister of the Ministry of Interior, Bamrungnukunkit printing office, Bangkok, 1879.

(iii) Administration of Eastern region of Laos, Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 25, October, 1897.


Class II: Trips

(i) A Trip to provinces in eastern region of Laos “Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 25, October, 1897.

       (ii) A trip to the city of King Ruang by His Royal Highness Somdech Chau Fa Maha             Vajiravudh, Crown Prince of Siam, 1908.


Class III:  Agriculture & commerce and Expositions

(i) Report on the first exhibition of agriculture and commerce in Bangkok, April 18, 1911.

Compiled by Mr. J. C. Barnette, translated by Khun Dhraphak Badhi

(ii) Report on Museums in Java, “Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 25, October, 1897.


            It can be inferred from the list above that Gerini’s knowledge and understanding of the kingdom of Siam was accumulated from several points of view. Books of Class I, II and III are embodiments of the state point of view (Group III, Class I, ii), the scholarly point of view (Group III, Class I, i), the royal point of view (Group III, Class II, ii), and the exotic point of view (Group III, Class III, i). On top of that, his study of each site covers many aspects ranging from topography to history, natural resources, and possible expositions. Gerini also found that it is very important to study the kingdom of Siam in comparison and contrast with the neighboring countries and as related to Asia as a whole (Group III, Class I, i, iii; Group III, Class II, I; Group III, Class III, ii). This became the character of his writing, which was created by using a multidisciplinary approach. This creation process led to a profound and reliable answer to his hypothesis. 

            Possessing characteristics of a true researcher and a pragmatic surveyor, Gerini found that any knowledge and information, whether technical, historical and statistical, on natural resources, productions, and trade as well as the remarkable progress Siam had made, the new thoroughfares, the facilities and possibilities for trade created should be updated to the world in order to promote modernization and trade. With this mindset, when Gerini was appointed Commissioner-General of H. M. the King of Siam to the International Exhibition of Industry and Labour held in Turin on April 29 - November 19, 1911, he wrote the catalogue for the Siamese Section which supplies more extensive and detailed information on the products, industries, and trade than ever before. Apart from detailed information about geographical and historical aspects of Siam, Gerini described products, industries and trade with the aim to show the world that Siam was a worthy modern trading partner. These comprised notes on public works, navigation - Siamese boats, development of modern shipping in Siam, inland navigation, works relating to waterways, postal service - sporting industries, decoration, furniture, and appointments, statistical data on the export of timber and other secondary products of the woods, fishing, agriculture-silkworm culture; food industries and products, products from mines, ceramic industries, industry and technology of fats and soaps, industry of perfumery, tobacco, cotton and other fibres, silk weaving, clothing-apparel industry, toys, the art of printing, paper and pictorial postcards.  Considering the vast scope of Siam that Gerini describes in this book, we have to admit that the Siamese minds that inspired Gerini were already present within himself. Gerini finally became a part of the Over-soul of Siam.


Group IV:  Gerini and Siamese chronicles

            Chronicles and historical accounts in Gerini’s collection represent the exemplary minds of Siam. They are considered original and formal accounts of the kingdom in the passage of time. The following three classificatory classes - - The Emerald Buddha, the Chronicles of Ayuddhaya and Bangkok, and the Chronicles of Yuan, Yonok, Nān, - - form a multi-colored mosaic of Siam.


Class I: The Emerald Buddha

(i) Historical account of the Emerald Buddha (manuscript), a royal edition of King Rama IV 1854.

(ii) Ratana bimba vamsa (The Legend of Emerald Buddha) in Pali.

            (iii) Ballad for the Emerald Buddha. “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 14 (No. 79 - 85) April-      September, 1902.

(iv) Chinnakanmalini, in Pali language, a royal edition of the Vajirañān Royal Library, Sophon Phiphatthanakorn printing office, 1906.

(v) Chinnakanmalini, translated into Siamese by Phraya Bhojanabhimon, a royal edition from the Vajirañān Royal Library, Sophon Phiphatthanakorn printing office, 1906.


            The Emerald Buddha which kings throughout the southeast Asian region desired to possess, as it was believed to bring good favour to the capitals where it resided, was finally housed in the Temple in the Grand Palace in Bangkok and has remained there since the rise of the Chakri Dynasty in 1782. In the past, monks and scholars in Siam and neighbouring countries examined and studied fables, myths, legends, records, chronicle and other sources of information in order to revise the confused account of the history of the Emerald Buddha. Among them was King Mongkut, the fourth king of the Chakri Dynasty. In 1854 King Mongkut researched into the chronicles of Laos, Chieng Saen, Chieng Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Vientiane, and Luang Prabang and wrote a Historical Account of the Emerald Buddha, 1854. (Group IV, Class I, i) beginning from its first appearance in the town of Chiang Rai to Lampang, Chieng Mai, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Thonburi, and finally, to its present location in Bangkok. King Mongkut composed this holy text of the Emerald Buddha in four languages: Pali, Siamese, Latin and English and printed many copies by using a lithographic technique. He also had Siamese painters paint a large coloured picture of the Emerald Buddha [27] in the three different headdresses and garments of the three seasons on a piece of cloth.  It is recorded in this account that King Mongkut gave the paintings of the Emerald Buddha together with the text that he composed to those in foreign countries that had diplomatic relationships with Siam during his reign who wished to appreciate the Emerald Buddha but had never visited Siam [28] . The genius for appreciation made Gerini continue studying more about the story from many more sources (Group IV, Class I, i, ii). Ratana Bimbavongse (Group IV, Class I, ii) was composed by the Buddhist monk Phra Brahma Ratcha Panya in Pali in 1729. It is the story of the origin of the Emerald Buddha from the very beginning up to its presence in Chieng Rai and Lampang. It covers four chapters. The Pali text was translated into Siamese language for the first time in 1788 and another translation was done in 1906 in the reign of King Rama V by Luang Prasert Aksaraniti and published in 1912. Chinnakanmalini (Group IV, Class I, iv, v) was composed in Pali by a Buddhist monk of the Lanna region in the north of Siam named Phra Ratana Panya Thera in 1517 - 1528.  It deals with the origin of Buddhism in India, and its appearance and development in Ceylon and Siam, particularly in Lanna. An important characteristic of this scripture is that the author records not only the story of Buddhism, but also the history and social aspects of the region and important characters and Buddha images in that locality. For this reason, there is good knowledge about the history of provinces in the Lanna region, which include Lamphun, Chieng Mai, Chieng Rai, Chieng Saen, etc. The original and correct name of this scripture is Chinnakanmalipakara but due to a publication of the text in Pali and a translation into Siamese language in the reign of King Rama V the name was corrupted into Chinnakanmalini. [29]


Class II: Ayuddhaya and Bangkok

            (i) Chronicle of Ayuddhya Monarchs, “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 15 (No. 85 - 90) October 1902 - March, 1903.

(ii) Chronicle of Autddhaya, Vol I (twenty-six monarchs) edited from the original version by Phra Sri Sunthon Vohan. Bradley printing office, 1863.

(iii) Dynastic Chronicle of Bangkok Era (First Reign: 1782 - 1809) compiled by Chao Phraya Divakonvongse Maha Kosadhibodi and Prince Krom Luang Damrong Rajanubhab, Bhamrungnukunkit printing office, 1902.

            The books in the list above show Gerini’s power of judgment about sources, as they are examples of the best and most reliable Siamese sources of all time. In ancient times, chronicles and legends were an important part of education and it was considered as one of the duties of every Siamese king to examine and revise the chronicles of the nation. In the Bangkok period, for instance, King Rama I modified The Royal Chronicle of Ayuddhaya and had the Crown Prince who later became King Rama II revise the Chronicle of the Northerners, records of history before the kingdom of Ayuddhaya was established. Later in the reign of King Rama III, the King had a scholar collect data regarding the capital of Sukhothai focusing on Lady Nappamat and had Krom Somdech Phra Paramanujita Jinorosa continue the chronicle from where King Rama I had finished. King Rama IV had Krom Luang Vamsadhiratsanit examine this royal chronicle and he revised and corrected it. This edition is called The Royal Edition of the Royal Chronicle, which was published by H. R. H Prince Bhanu Rangsi Savangvongse. King Mongkut sought more chronicles and manuscripts and restored them in the Royal Library for public research.  Among them are The Chronicle of Sukhothai, The Chronicle of Ayuddhaya in Mon language, The Chronicle of Khmer that he had scholars translate into the Siamese language, and The Chronicle of Burma that he also had scholar translate into the Siamese language. The king himself composed and edited many manuscripts and legends, too.  Later, in the reign of King Chulalongkorn, he had Chao Phraya Divakonvongse and Prince Krom Luang Damrong Rajanubhab [30] compose The Dynastic Chronicle of the Bangkok Era, continuing from the edition of Krom Somdech Phra Paramanujita Jinorosa that covered the reign of King Rama I to the reign of King Rama IV.  Such a brief chronology of these royal chronicles can assure the authenticity and reliability of the sources. With the progress of printing technology in Siam [31] the chronicles, as well as many religious and literary works were published in many languages, i. e. Siamese, Pali, Peguan, and Lāu (Laotian). Newspapers, magazines, and publications of literary, educational, religious and modern characters multiplied. This movement facilitated scholars like Gerini in their access and research into the intellectual heritage of the past generations.

            His power of insight into these sources is obviously seen in his writing ‘Siam and Italy: A Historical Retrospect’ in which he traced the historical relationship between Italy and Siam. The success of this work derives from Gerini’s extensive knowledge and deep memories about the relationship between Europe and Asia which goes far back to the time of Ptolemy. This is strengthened by the knowledge that he acquired from Siamese sources, i.e. The Royal Chronicles. Gerini confirmed in that article that the establishment of amicable relations between Italy and Siam ‘date as far back as the glorious days of Ancient Rome, whose commencement reached back, perhaps even before the restoration by Caesar Augustus of the imperial power‘ [32] . He supported his judgment by showing that the word Rôm or Rôm-visai (from the Sanskrit Roma-visaya, that is to say, “Roman region’ or ‘Roman Empire’) recur in the old legends and literature of Siam. He also found that in the thirteenth century, Marco Polo sailed to the Gulf of Siam and put on record the gold and other valuable resources which formed the object of trade.  Gerini discovered further from many Italian and French documents, i.e. Ramusio’s Delle Navigationi et Viaggi, 1563 Archivio torico Italiano, 1846, Delle Missioni dei Padri della Compagnia di Gesu, 1663, etc. along with The Chronicle of Siam and confirmed that there were Italian merchants and travelers and Jesuit fathers [33] coming to Odia or Ayuddhaya [34] , the capital of Siam and serving Siamese kings long before Pope Clement IX sent a letter to the King of Siam on August 24, 1669 and the first Siamese diplomatic mission appeared in Italy on December 22, 1687 [35] . In the same article, the bonds of friendship between Siam and Italy are further listed chronologically from the reign of King Chulalongkorn when he received the first Italian diplomat at the Siamese court, Commander Carlo Racchia, after more than one and a half centuries on December 27, 1870 to the moment when the courts of the two nations united on March 29, 1881 when the Duke of Genua arrived in Siam and stayed as a guest of the King, followed by the visits by the Duke of Abuzzi in 1895 and 1905, of the Court of Turin in 1898 and of the Prince of Udine during these last years and concluded with His Majesty King Chulalongkorn’s [36] two lengthy stays in Italy in 1897 and 1907.  It is evident that Gerini’s references in this article fulfilled a missing part in the mosaic of relations between Siam and Italy, bringing them together to establish trading, cultural and diplomatic relations.


 Class III: Yuan, Yonok, Nān

(i) Yuan Chronicle, Bhamrungnukunkit printing office, Bangkok, 1901.

(ii) Yonok Chronicle translated and edited by Phraya Prachakit-korachak, Bangkok, 1908.

(iii) Chronicle of Nān  (manuscript)

Chronicles of ethnic groups were important sources for Gerini to understand Siam as a whole because, for him, they are small pieces of precious stones that form the Siamese mosaic. According to Gerini’s Geographical and Commercial Notes on Siam in a descriptive catalogue for the Siamese section in the Turin Exhibition printed in 1911, geographically and ethnologically, the kingdom of Siam may be considered as consisting of three distinct regions, each of which comprises a different ethnic group, namely (i) Siam proper, which extends from the upper part of the Gulf, consisting of purely Siamese elements (ii) Lāu (Laos) Provinces, northern and eastern which consists of a collective population, mostly of Lāu elements. (iii) Siamo-Malay Peninsula and Islands which consists of Siamese elements and Malay elements.  For this reason, it is necessary to read and study documents and manuscripts written in the Thai language about those ethnic groups. The three chronicles here refer to the northern and eastern regions of Siam, which include Chieng Mai, Chieng Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Prae, and Nān. The chronicles comprised historical data from the North Thai Annals that refer to the history and cultures of northern people who are also known as Lanna, Lāu, Youanne, Youon, Yuan or Thaiyuan. G. E. Gerini’s deep knowledge about the history of the region is evident in "Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia [Further India and Indo-Malay Archipelago]", issued in London 1909, in which he proved with extensive evidence that this region [37] was known to Ptolemy as the country of the Doānai. Gerini’s conclusion in every chapter shows the power of insight into the linguistics, literature, ethnology, botany, history, topology, and geography of Eastern Asia and the strength of his multidisciplinary studies on Asia (further India and Indo-Malay archipelago). This enabled Gerini to fix Ptolemy’s mosaic by using Siamese and other minds.



Group V: Gerini and collective diplomacy

            Gerini’s long presence in Siam was essentially a result of the bond and friendship established between Italy and Siam since the ancient period as he expressed this awareness in his article ‘Siam and Italy: A Historical Retrospect’.  Relations and communications between Siam and neighbouring countries and the West and the position of Siam in the past is what interested Gerini.


 Class I: Foreign Relations

            (i) The Siamese diplomatic delegation of Dvaravati, “VajirañānMagazine, No. 31, April 1898.

            (ii) Foreign affairs in Germany, “Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 43, April, 1898. 

            (iii) A Report of Siamese diplomatic relations with China in 1851 and 1852, composed          by         Phra Indra Montri (Yem) upon the request of King Chulalongkorn in 1881.

Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century was threatened by western colonization. Western countries wanted to conquer and rule the region. Gerini’s soul was totally different from them. The directions of his research and investigation were always focused on good relations and bonds between Siam and neighboring countries like Shan State and with the powers of the Far East such as China rather than on wars and conflicts. He studied many manuscripts about relations between Siam and foreign countries and tried to find the juxtapositions and correlations. Articles published in The Asiatic Quarterly Review  (Cluster V) are good examples of this attitude. It is as if his soul became Siamese and that was the point where his writing always started. Moreover, Gerini’s points of interest lie not only in past Siamese diplomatic policy but also on the past diplomatic itineraries or specifically geography and navigations. In the Siamese manuscript of A Report of Siamese diplomatic relations with China in 1851 and 1852, composed by Phra Indra Montri (Yem) upon the request of King Chulalongkorn in 1881 that Gerini studied for his writing “Siam's Intercourse with China - Seventh to Nineteenth Centuries” (Cluster V), we find that Gerini underlined names of cities and localities and transliterated only those from the Siamese language into Roman characters. Name of cities that appeared in the description of the itinerary of Siamese delegations in China are Canton, Whampoa, San-Shui, Shaochou, Nan-hiung, Nan-an, Kiang-si, Kan-chou, Pakino, etc.  This similar style of marking is found when he read other Siamese chronicles, too.  Gerini said in his book Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia [Further India and Indo-Malay Archipelago] that he came across many unknown names of places, cities, gulfs and regions in Indo-China proper and the Indo-Malay Archipelago, having been engaging in researches in the early history of Siam, ‘this naturally led me to a study of the documents that the Western geographers of antiquity left us, more especially Ptolemy [38] , who gives us the first collection of anything like authentic data on the countries in question.  The result of his lifetime research is highly appreciated as he was able to find many drawbacks from Ptolemy’s Geography about calculations and identifications of Asian places [39] and then correct them. His research has brought a better understanding and importance of the ignored parts of world history. The coasts of south Thailand and Malay peninsula are part of the sea communication system, worked in both dimensions of a local system of connections between several regions or communities and a long distance trade in which relations worked between the net of local exchanges and merchants coming from India, China and occasionally from further west. [40]


Group VI: Gerini and military art and Siamese Laws

Gerini’s concentration on military education is undoubted, considering his contributions to Siamese military education for 25 years together with many military textbooks (Cluster IV) including Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review. During his twenty-five years in Siam (1881 - 1906), he was entrusted with the instruction of the Royal Guard and later the creation of a Siamese military Academy. Gerini was bestowed the prestigious title of Phra Sarasasana Balakhandh holding the position of General Director of Military Education of Siam and upon his departure in 1906 King Chulalongkorn bestowed to him a royal decoration ‘Nibhabhan’. This assured a harmonization between Italian and Siamese military education.

In terms of military education, Gerini’s academic contributions (Cluster VI) exceeded his procurement.  What filled his soul about Siamese laws is seen from what he read as follows:  


Class I: Military Education

(i) The Siamese Art of War (a copy from Royal Version)

(ii) Algebra, Book I for Siamese Students, Bangkok, 1906

(iii) Manual of building camps and fortresses compiled by Major Mom Chatdech Udom, Commander in Chief of Military Academy, 1902.

(iv) Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review Book 4, 1896-1897.

(v) Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review Book 7, Sept 1899- August 1900.

(vi) Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review Book 10, 1902-1903.

(vii) Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review Book 12, 1904-1905

(viii) Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review Book 13, 1905-1906.

(ix) Directory of government officers of Military Department, Aksonnit printing office, July 15, 1900.

(x) Directory of government officers of Ministry of Defense, August 1, 1912.

(xi) Directory of Ministry of Defense, August 1, 1913.



Class II: Siamese laws

(i) The Royal Gazette, Book I, The Royal Printing Office in the Grand Palace, 1877.

(ii) The Royal Gazette, Book III, The Royal Printing Office in the Grand Palace, 1879.

(iii) The Royal Gazette, Book IV, The Royal Printing Office in the Grand Palace, 1880.

(iv) The Royal Gazette, Book VI, The Royal Printing Office in the Grand Palace, 1884.

(v) The Royal Gazette, Book VIII, Bangkok: The Grand Palace, 1892.

(vi) The Royal Gazette, Book XV, Bangkok: The Grand Palace, 1899.

(vii) The Royal Gazette, Book XVI Bangkok: The Grand Palace, 1900.

(viii) Acts and announcements in the reign of King Rama IV, Akson Bimbakan in the Grand Palace, 1891.

(ix) Acts and announcements in the reign of King Rama IV, Book III.

(x) Laws, announcements and acts: old and new that are used at present, Book I, compiled from The Royal Gazette and old laws by Luang Damrong Dhammasan, the Judge, second edition, Bamrungnukunkit, Bangkok, 1898.


A good juxtaposition of his soul and the Siamese mind can be seen in a response to his writings which always embody his thoughts and mindsets. We find in the list that Gerini studied The Siamese Art of War. However, his interest brought him to go deeper into the Hindu origin and this made for great knowledge for Siamese officers. In 1894 Gerini published The Art of War: military organization, weapons and political maxims of the Ancient Hindus in the Siamese language and gave this book to his respected colleagues and members of the royal family. We find from Gerini’s personal letters that those Siamese minds showed great appreciation for his efforts and his profound knowledge regarding the art of war. Among them was Major General H. R. H. Prince Prachak Silpakhom, a brother of King Chulalongkorn, who showed his admiration in his long letter to Lieutenant G. E. Gerini dated August 1, 1895. Firstly, for his great efforts in studying the Siamese language and his excellence in the language which was far better than some Siamese people, secondly, for his loyalty towards His Majesty the King, the royal family and the Siamese military body and his devotion of his personal time and happiness for writing this book, and thirdly, for his exemplary example that he made for Siamese people. Major General H. R. H. Prince Prachak Silpakhom stated in this letter that he considered Gerini not as a foreigner but honestly as a brotherhood of man and with this letter he attached a set of a flower, a candle and incense sticks which represented his spirit to thank Gerini for bringing such wonderful knowledge to his mind. Another person is H. R. H. Prince Maha Vajiravudh, the Crown Prince who also wrote a letter to thank Gerini for the book. “I have also received the other book ‘พิไชยสงครามฮินดูโบราณ’ from Prince Svasti last year. I like it immediately too.” [41]   Two more members of the royal family who received Gerini’s The Art of War and expressed their appreciation in writing [42] are H. R. H. Prince Vajirunhis, the Crown Prince and H. R. H. Prince Chira. The response of Siamese minds towards Gerini’s later works is even better.  H. R. H. Prince Chakrapongse received a book entitled ‘Military Tactics” from Gerini, who at that time was holding the title Luang Sarasasana Bhalakhandh, and replied in a letter dated September 11, 1900 that he was pleased to have his book and that ‘I truly believe even before having read it that this must be another good book as I always have a strong confidence in the author.”

For Gerini, military education went side by side with court and justice. Gerini’s interest in Siamese law is venerable because this is a means to understand the true meaning of Siamese justice. He studied old and new laws, announcements and acts from the most reliable sources: The Royal Gazettes (Group VI, Class II, i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii, ix, x, xi) and had Luang Damrong Dhammasan, one of the best Siamese minds in laws as his Siamese mind. Then he explained them to the western countries. In Trial by Ordeal in Siam and the Siamese Law of Ordeals, published in the Asiatic Quarterly Review, Apr. and Jul. 1895; in 1894 he explained the truth in Siam. However, at the same time, he educated Siamese minds about the practice in the west.  In many editions of Yuddhakosa, a military monthly review of which Gerini was the editor, there were articles about military courts in western countries published.


Gerini’s soul and Siamese minds: The Power of Genius


            There is a significant positive parallel and correlation between the first six Clusters which represent Gerini’s soul and the later six Groups, which embody Siamese minds as perceived by Gerini.  If we assemble the six groups of what G. E. Gerini read in our imagination -- Siamese customs and religion, Siamese literature and language, Siamese topography, Siamese chronicles, Siamese collective diplomacy and Siamese military art and laws -- we can see in our mind’s eye a beautiful ‘mosaic’ of Siam. It is as if the wisdom of Gerini’s soul and Siamese minds were just precisely of the same soul - a mosaic soul of Siam.  Significantly, this provokes us into thinking about the great process of creation that must involve the power of the intellect, ardor, logic, judgment and appreciation from both sides in order to reflect the quality of each and every piece of stone, glass, and ceramic harmoniously. The juxtaposition of Gerini’s soul and Siamese minds brings about valuable studies on the relations between Siam and Italy and the world in a reciprocal way. Judging from Gerini’s works, we see that sometimes Gerini’s soul added up wisdom to fulfill Siamese minds and there are other times when his empty soul needed Siamese minds to fill it up. Still, there are many times that both sides did the same thing.  This relationship is similar to Emerson’s transcendental idea about a soul and over-soul [43] .  Each is a part of the whole. Gerini has already become a part of Siamese over-soul. Phya Anumanrajadhon, a true Siamese scholar, considered Gerini’s intellect as a part of Siamese over-soul. He wrote four volumes on Thai customs and he left out only one ceremony – the Tonsure Ceremony - since he felt that he could not match the old savant [44] .  H. R. H. Prince Krom Luang Devawongse, Foreign Minister, supported Gerini’s cross-cultural research on Siamese customs, “I beg to assure you that I was glad to have been of ever so little help to you in your undertaking. I trust that you will continue in your interesting studies in connection with Siamese customs” and admired his industry “the labour bestowed on this book, which He was pleased to see was a labour of real love.” [45] King Chulalongkorn saw the power of insight in him, “His majesty is pleased to accept the dedication of the book to the Crown Prince and has further commended me to state, that having glanced over its pages and whilst of course not prepared, to say, that you have in all instances given the right explanation of ceremonies, which are of purely Brahmanical origin and which were taken over by Buddhists as not contrary to the creed” [46] . This is a sign of appreciation judged from the memory of personality and the wonder of intellectual faculty. If ‘appreciation is a better mode for the understanding of achievement than are all the analytical kinds of accounting for the emergence of exceptional individuals’ [47] is true as Bloom believes, Gerolamo Emilio Gerini or Phra Sarasanabalakhandh could be one of the extraordinary characters that naturally makes this Siamese mosaic the power of genius. 



















[1] This paper was first presented at The Italian-Thai Conference on ‘La Cultura Thailandese e Le Relazioni Italo-Thai, which was organized in Turin from 20-21 May, 2004 by CESMEO, Ministero per i Bene e le Attivita Culturali, Camera di Commercio, Industria, Artigianato e Agricoltura di Torino, Agenzia Regionale per la Promozione Turistica del Piemonte and in collaboration with Italian Embassy in Bangkok, Royal Embassy in Rome, H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn Foundation, Bangkok and Silpakorn University, Bangkok.

[2] Department of Western Languages, Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (1985-present).

[3] Gerini’s autograph is on the top right of the cover

[4] Tipitaka or Pali Canon (Pali ti means ‘three’ and pitaka means ‘baskets’)

[5] The collection of texts concerning the rules of conduct governing the daily affairs within the Sangha – the community of bhikkhus (ordained monks). It also includes the stories behind the origin of each rule, providing a detailed account of the Buddha’s solution to the questions of how to maintain communal harmony within a large and diverse spiritual community.

[6] The Digha Nikaya (The Long Discourses) is the first division of the Sutta Pitaka and consists of 34 suttas, grouped into three vaggas (divisions):

            (i) Silakkhandha-vagga (The Division Concerning Morality), 13 suttas

            (ii) Maha-vagga  (The Large Division), 10 suttas

            (iii) Patika-vagga  ( The Patika Division) ,11 suttas

(Handful of Leaves, An Anthology of sutta, Thanissaro Bhikkhu,trans)

[7] The Samyutta Nikaya (The Grouped Discourses) is the third division of the Sutta Pitaka, and contains 2,889 suttas, grouped into five vaggas (divisions):

            (i) Sagatha-vagga (contains samyuttas i-xi)

            (ii) Nidana-vagga (xii-xxi)

            (iii) Khandha-vagga (xxii-xxxiv)

            (iv) Salayatana-vagga (xxxv-xliv)

            (v) Maha-vagga (XLV-LVI).

(Handful of Leaves, An Anthology of sutta, Thanissaro Bhikkhu,trans.)

[8] His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Krom Phra Paramanijita Jinorasa was the 7th patriarch of the Bangkok period.  His Prathom Som Bhodhi Katha, comprising 2,160 pages, describes the life of the Lord Buddha in great length.

[9] The Siamese magazines which are now available at Seminario di Studi Asiatici, Istituto Universitario Orientale, Napoli are  “Vajirañān” Magazine, No. 1, October, 1895; No. 25, October, 1897; No. 31, April, 1898; No. 43, April, 1898, 5. “Vajirañān” Magazine, Book 14 (No. 79-85) April-September, 1902; Book 15 (No. 85-90) October 1902 -March, 1903; No. 79  April, 1902; No. 103  April, 1904. “The Siam Prabheth” monthly magazine, edited by K. S. R. Kularb Vol I, December 3, 1898; “The Siam Prabheth” bi-monthly magazine, Vol II, Book 13, June 1, 1900; “The Siam Prabheth” Tri-monthly magazine, Vol III, Book 1, Dec 1, 1900; “The Siam Prabheth” Tri-monthly magazine, Vol 3, Book 19, June 1, 1901; “The Siam Prabheth” weekly magazine, Vol. IV, Book 1, Dec 6, 1901; “The Siam Prabheth” weekly magazine, Vol. V, Book 49, March 28, 1905.

[10] His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Kroma-ma Phraya Vajirayanavarorosa and K. S. R. Kularb were interesting Siamese minds. (Group I, class 1, iii, viii). The former was a member of the royal family, a son of King Rama IV and a younger brother of King Chulalongkorn, and then the first supreme Patriarch in the history of Siam who bravely reformed the administration system of Buddhism monks and laws so that Thai monks governed themselves for the first time by using Acts of the administration of the Buddhist order of Sangha while the state would be the patron under the direction of Buddhist holy community. In addition to this, he reformed the educational system for Thai Buddhist monks throughout the nation. He established Maka Makut Rajavittayalai Academy to provide education for Buddhist monks and Siamese children and Maha Makut Rajavittayalai printing office to produce textbooks and related publications. He spoke many languages including Pali, Sanskrit, English and French and published more than 200 books, most of which reflected his progressive ideas and modernistic spirit.

[11] K. S. R. Kularb, or the latter, on the other hand, was born as a common man but was adopted by a daughter of King Rama III and was brought up in the Royal Palace. After coming of age, he left the palace. Having been acquainted with members of the royal family and Siamese scholars, he had a chance to study and read good manuscripts and books about Thai language, literature and history. In addition to this, he had good relations and associations with westerners and was influenced by their new ideology. With this mindset, he became an avant-garde writer.

[12] All are well-preserved in Luciano Gerolamo Gerini’s archive in Cisano sul Neva.

[13] In L. G. Gerini’s archive, there are two letters in Thai language from K. S. R. Kularb to Gerini dated March 15 and 22, 1893 referring to the manuscripts about the ceremonies of Chulakantamangala and Brahmanical rites that Gerini asked K. S. R. Kularb to find for him.

[14] The major Siamese verse types from their earliest appearance during the Sukhothai period (1240s-1345/50) to the present are khloong, chan, kaap, raay, and klon. Of these, khloong, raay, and klon are indigenous forms, while kaap (Sanskrit kavya) and chan (Sanskrit chandas; Pali chando) are borrowed ones. According to Thomas J. Hudak (1990)  “The chan forms have their origin in the Pali treatise on metrics, the Vuttodaya, borrowing seventeen or eighteen of the original 109 meters, the Thai poets added rhyme schemes and changed the concept of the heavy (kharu) and light  (lahu) syllable, transforming the Pali stanzas into Thai stanzas.   Lilit is a literary form in which raay alternates with khloong. Raay, a type of rhyme prose, usually consists of wak of five syllables each, linked together by rhymes between the last syllable of a wak and one of the first three in the next. A series of any number of wak completes a single stanza. Raay is often used for laws and chronicles. On the other hand, khloong is the oldest form of poetry, a highly intellectual form of poetry used only by the sophisticated and educated classes because of its elaborate tonal and rhyming constrains. In lilit compositions, the raay passages frequently describe action while the khloong passages consist of dialogues or provide commentary. Judging from the similarities in syllable number and tone placement in raay and khloong, it appears that raay may have been the forerunner of the khloong verse forms.

[15] The Tosachat consists of ten jataka stories (i) The Temiya Jataka (The Muga-pakka Jataka),

The Paramita of Determination, Adhitthana Paramita (ii) The Mahajanaka Jataka, The Paramita of Energy, Viriya Paramita (iii) Sama Jataka, The Paramita of Loving Kindness, Metta Paramita (iv) Nemi Jataka (Nimi Jataka) The Paramita of Renunciation, Nekkhamma Paramita (v) Mahasodha Jataka (The Maha-Ummaga Jataka), The Paramita of Wisdom, The Vanna Paramita (vi) Bhuridatta Jataka, The Paramita of Moral Conduct, Sila Paramita (vii) Candakumara Jataka (The Khandahala Jataka), The Paramita of Patience, Khanti Paramita (viii) Narada Jataka (The Mahanaradakassapa Jataka) ,The Paramita of Equanimity, Uppekkha Paramita (ix) The Vidhura Jataka (The Vidhurapandita Jataka), The Paramita of Truthfulness, The Sacca Paramita (x) The Vessantara Jataka, The Paramita of Perfect Generosity, Dana Paramita

[16] In his tenth life, Buddha is born as Prince Vessantara who commences his renunciation by giving away a white elephant. This causes rain to fall on his father's kingdom and he is consequently expelled with his wife, Princess Maddi and their children. Early in his journey, the prince gives away his carriage and they continue into the jungle and live as hermits. A Brahmin called Chuchok has a wife who is thought to work too hard for her husband by the other wives. She asks her husband for the prince's two children as slaves. Chuchok eventually finds the prince and the children are persuaded by him to go with Chuchok. The Gods intervene to prevent Princess Maddi from being given away by the prince. The God Indra appears as a Brahmin and asks for the princess, which is duly given. He reveals himself to the prince and offers to look after the princess. In the meantime, Chuchok is lost and sleeps in a tree - the prince's two children being guarded by the gods. Later, Chuchok comes across the king and queen who recognize their grandchildren immediately. Chuchok accepts a reward for them but later dies of gluttony. The Prince and Princess are then invited back to the palace.

[17] During the ‘Thet Maha C‘hat” Ceremony, each part of the story is read in Pali, the sacred language of Buddhism in Thailand, by a monk, and each reading is followed by a discussion by one or more monks on the meaning of that part of the story.

[18] Gerini’s awareness of this kind of cultural diffusion is seen in his Chulakantamangala (Cluster I), where Gerini tries to identify the anthropological-historical origins and cultural meaning of tonsure or connected rites and shaving head practices that were diffused in India and gives an account of the Brahmanical legends on the top knot cutting rite and Buddhist version of the same ceremony.


[19] หญิ งลาวนุ่งผ้าสิน, กินกิ้งกือ

[20] ชาติฝรั่งนุ่งกางเกงโตงเตง ตามตัว ไม่กลัวตาย

[21] A nirat was composed when a poet took a journey and expressed how he loved and missed his beloved woman. He also described the places that he saw during the trip and sometimes inserted moral teachings as well. The story of Nirat Sita is taken from the Ramakian. Sita is a daughter of Ravana and Mondo, an incarnation of the goddess Laksmi.

[22] Taleng Phai  means  Mōn being defeated.

[23] In a letter from His Holiness Somdech Phra Maha Samana Chao Kromma Phraya Vajirayanavarorosa to Gerini dated April 13, 1903, His Holiness expressed his admiration for Gerini’s great ability in translating the text of ‘Maruthawatara’ from the Thai and Pali languages into beautiful English and this was published to be distributed on the occasion of the cremation of Dr Gowan.

[24] Gerini, G.E. On Siamese Proverbs and Idiomatic Expressions, 1904, p.13

[25] Phraya Sri Sunthon Vohan was professor of Thai language and wrote textbooks on the basics of Thai language. During the reign of King Rama V, he had a Royal School established and had educational textbooks of Thai language prepared.

[26] Sunthon Phu was different from other poets who were great nobles and princes. Phu was a common man. He was born in Klang, Rayong and was educated at a monastery. He joined the service of the royal scribes and rose to fame because of his skill in poetry. King Rama II liked him and consulted with him on many occasions about his poetical writing. Among the works he had written were "Nirats" (travel poems), the stories of "Phra Chaisuriya", "Khobut", "Singha Kraiphop", "Laksanawong", and ”Phra Aphai Mani”.


[27] Eric Roeder describes the Emerald Buddha in his article Origin and Significance of the Emerald Buddha in A Journal of the Southeast Asian Studies Student Association, Vol. 3, Fall 1999 that the Emerald Buddha is 66 centimeters high, and its lap measures 48.3 centimeters. The image has a round based, top-knot which is smooth, terminating in a dulled point marking the top of the image. The face of the Emerald Buddha has a gold third eye inset above its pronounced eyebrows. The eyes of the image are cast downward giving the image a placid appearance. The nose and mouth are small, and the mouth is closed. The ears are elongated, indicating the figure's divine status. The torso of the image sits in an upright posture with smooth, rounded shoulders, an unpronounced chest, and a slightly protruding belly. The torso also appears to wear 'wet' drapery, with the robe clinging smoothly to it. The elbows of the statue almost rest on the thighs. The hands rest on the lap with the up-ward facing right palm resting in the palm of the left hand.

[28] One of those paintings of the Three Emerald Buddha images on cloth was bestowed to Emperor Napoleon II of France on June 27, 1861 by a Siamese delegation. It is now displayed in the Chinese Museum of Fontanbleau Palace in France.

[29] This text was translated into French by Prof. George Cedes and published in Bulletin de L’Ecole Francaise d’Extrême Oriente, Tôme, XXV in 1925.

[30] These two Siamese minds were significant characters. The former was an expert of foreign affairs and the later was one of interior affairs. Prince Damrong (1862 - 1943) was among the most important advisors of the King and was one of the most influential intellectuals of his time. Today he is credited as the father of Thai history, the modern education system and provincial administration. Prince Damrong wrote countless books and articles about Thai archaeology and history in Thai language, of which only few are available in English translation: Our Wars with the Burmese, Thai-Burmese Conflict 1539 – 1767, and Journey through Burma in 1936: A View of the Culture, History and Institutions. On his 100th birthday in 1962 he became the first Thai to be included in the UNESCO list of the world's most distinguished persons.

[31] An enlightened character of the age of King Mongkut who had a printing-press installed in his monastery, where he for the first time made use of typeface that were obtained for him from Italy by local Catholic missionaries, printing in Romanized Siamese with them. This was the first printing-office ever established and operated by Siamese and started work in 1836 [31]

[32]   G.E. Gerini, Siam and its Productions, Arts, and Manufacture, 1911:  A descriptive catalogue for the Siamese section in the Turin Exhibition printed in 1911, p. xix.

[33] (i) Father Giovan Maria Leria, a Piedmontese. He left Italy for Annam in 1622 and proceeded to the neighbouring Kamboja, went over to Siam (1640) and entered Laos in 1642. (ii) Father Thomas Valguarnera, a Sicilian, who designed and built an ornamental fountain, out of homage to His Majesty King Narai. He was an able astronomer and La Loubere, who visited Siam in 1687, still states the position of Ayuddhaya, according to Father Thomas. He was an interpreter and translation in King Nari’s relations with foreigners. He was the pioneer who compiled a dictionary of the language.

[34] Ayuddhaya became the capital of the kingdom of Siam in 1350 which lasted for 413 years (1350-1763). Throughout her history, Ayuddhaya established diplomatic relationships and traded with many foreign countries including China, India, Japan and Persia, and later Portugal, Spain, Holland, Britain, France, and Italy.

[35] G. E. Gerini, Introduction to Siam and its Productions, Arts, and Manufacture, pp. xix-xxx.

[36] G. E. Gerini, Siam and its Productions, Arts, and Manufacture, 1911:  A descriptive catalogue for the Siamese section in the Turin Exhibition printed in 1911, p. xxxii-iv.

[37] ‘The region of the Eastern or white-bellied Lāu, lying to the south of Yünnan and encompassed by the two great bends of the Më-Khōng on the west by Tonkin on the east, and by the eighteenth parallel of the latitude on the south.’ Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia [Further India and Indo-Malay Archipelago], chapter 7, p. 116

[38] Prof. Renato Novelli summarizes a part of Ptolemy’s work “In book VII, Ptolemy refers of a travel, already described some years before by Marinus of Tyre, whose works are lost. A certain Alexander, a professional sailor, sailed from Mediterranean to the town of Cattigara on the border with the reign of Serii (the Chinese empire in the Roman tradition), who inhabited the extreme regions of Asia, unknown to the Romans except for their existence. In his travel, Alexander records routes, places, and towns. Ptolemy uses the story of the sailor to give a geography of Asia and sign a map of Old World, which, in broad lines and with some not precise contribution in the south of Chinese sea and the Terra incognita in the South hemisphere, was more or less the same we have now days. The travel of Alexander proceeded from the Indian coast to a peninsula named Golden Chersonese. From the western part of this peninsula to the towns east, to a sea named Sinus Magnus, to the town of Cattigara in the south of the country of Serii. Ptolemy describes details places and geographical positions.  For centuries, on a broad scale the route of Alexander had been illustrated and the lands he touched identified, the Golden Chersonese, for example, was supposed to be the Malay peninsula. Gerini walked a step forward. He tried to identify towns, entre-ports, rivers, places mentioned by Ptolemy, on a detailed scale.

[39] Prof. Novelli notes that Ptolemy and his Byzantine follower mistook the real distances from one place to the other one, the coast lines and ignored most of the isles of South East Asia.

[40] Renato Novelli, Gerolamo Gerini, Siamese Traditions and Ptolemy’s Geography.


[41] This personal letter is kept in Luciano Gerini’s archive. The Siamese words in the letter “พิไชยสงครามฮินดูโบราณ” is the title of the book The Art of War: military organization, weapons and political maxims of the Ancient Hindus

  [42] The letters are kept in Luciano Gerini’s archive.

[43] According to Ralph Waldo Emerson  (1803 - 1882) the over-soul is the power of goodness from which all things come and of which all things are a part.

[44] ‘Introductory Note’, Chulakantamangala, The Siam Society, 1976.

[45] Letter from H. R. H. Prince Krom Luang Devawongse, Foreign Minister to Captain Gerini dated March 23, 1895. Luciano Gerini’s Archive (‘this book’ is “Chulakantamangala; He refers to King Chulalongkorn)

[46] Letter from H. R. H. Prince Krom Luang Devawongse, Foreign Minister, to Captain Gerini dated March 5th, 1895, Luciano Gerini’s Archive. ‘His Majesty’ is King Chulalongkorn; ‘the book’ is “Chulakantamangala: The Tonsure Ceremony as performed in Siam” in which Captain G. E. Gerini describes the steps of the tonsure ceremony used in Siam with children and refer through direct observation the rite which took place in Bangkok for the Chulakantamangala of Prince Vajiravudh from December 25, 1892 until January 1, 1893.

[47] Harold Bloom, Introduction: What is Genius inGenius’, 2002.