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Learning The Language Of Ritual: The Dutch At The Court Of King Prasatthong

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Chapter Summary

Van Nijenrode was the first of a series of VOC employees who, in their writings, gave a coherent picture of their daily-life encounters with early modern Thai society. By the time King Prasatthong usurped the throne in 1629, the period of acclimatisation of the Dutch in Siam seemed to have long been over. This chapter deals with the receptions of four Dutch embassies at the Siamese court during the period of 1628-41. De Roij’s account of the reception of his embassy is no less detailed and fascinating than Schouten’s piece of 1628, and also repeats it in many points. The Dutch had been made aware that active diplomacy was one of the main policies of Siam. The chapter shows that the Dutch East India Company men in general spoke the language of Ayutthaya ritual fairly ably, although they often did not understand or agree with the purposes of the ceremonial.

Keywords: Ayutthaya ritual; De Roij’s embassy; Dutch East India Company; early modern Thai society; king Prasatthong; post-1641 diplomacy; Prince of Orange; Siamese court; Van Nijenrode



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