Sri Maharaja Rakai Watukura Dyah Balitung Sri Dharmodaya Mahasambu was the king of the Kingdom of Mataram. He reigned circa 899–911. His territories included Central Java, East Java, and Bali. In 907 he created the Mantyasih inscription (also known as Balitung's charter), containing the list of Medang kings.
Historians such as Boechari and Poerbatjaraka argued that Dyah Balitung became the king as a result of his marriage to the daughter of his predecessor. It was speculated that his predecessor and his father-in-law is Rakai Watuhumalang who according to the stele of Mantyasih ruled before Balitung.
However, the reason Balitung inherited the kingdom might not be that of marrying the King's daughter, since he also had a son, Mpu Daksa according to the stele of Telahap. Other reason that after Rakai Kayuwangi's death, the kingdom is broken. This is confirmed with Maharaja Rakai Gurunwangi's stele of Munggu Antan and Rakai Limus Dyah Dewendra's stele of Poh Dulur.
It can be speculated that Dyah Balitung, the son-in-law of Rakai Watuhumalang, who in turn the successor of Rakai Kayuwangi, become a hero by defeating Rakai Gurunwangi and Rakai Limus, and thus uniting the divided kingdoms. As a result, the people elected Balitung as King in favour of his brother-in-law, Mpu Daksa.
During his rule, the palace was moved to Poh Pitu area and named Yawapura. The move is speculated because of the former palace, Mamratipura, built by Rakai Pikatan was badly damaged as a result of war between Rakai Kayuwangi and Rakai Gurunwangi.
The oldest stele under the name of Balitung is the stele of Telahap, dated 11 September 899. However, this does not means it is his first stele, as it is possible he ascended the throne even before 899. The next stele is Watukura, dated 27 July 902. This is the oldest stele that stated the existence of the position of Rakryan Kanuruhan (Prime Minister). Meanwhile, the position of Rakryan Mapatih in Balitung's era is equivalent that of a crown prince, held by Mpu Daksa.
The stele of Telang, dated 11 January 904 revealed the development of a complex named Paparahuan which was led by Rakai Welar Mpu Sudarsana, located on the verge of Bengawan Solo river. Balitung freed the villages in Paparahuan and its surrounding off tax, and forbid the local inhabitants to collect payment from people who crossed the river. The stele of Poh, (17 July 905) revealed that village Poh is freed from tax in returns of taking care of Sang Hyang Caitya and Silunglung, properties of the previous ruler Rakai Pikatan, the grandfather of Mpu Daksa and Balitung's consort.
The stele of Kubu-Kubu (17 October 905) revealed the gift given to Rakryan Hujung Dyah Mangarak and Rakryan Matuha Dyah Majawuntan in form of a village, Kubu-Kubu, as they both conquered Bantan area. Historians speculated that Bantan might be an alternative name to Bali. Bantan means "sacrifice", while Bali means "offering"
The stele of Mantyaish (11 April 907) revealed the gift given to five junior patihs because they maintained peace during Balitung's wedding. Also mentioned in this stele, the previous ruler of the kingdom before Balitung. Also in year 907, Balitung offers the village Rukam to his grandmother, Rakryan Sanjiwana.
The end of an era
The accession of Balitung as king might caused the previous king's son, Mpu Daksa became jealous. During the rule of his brother-in-law, Mpu Daksa held the position as Rakai Hino as found written on a stele which dated 21 December 910 about the partition of Taji Gunung area between him and Rakai Gurunwangi. According to the stele of Plaosan, Rakai Gurunwangi is speculated as the son of Rakai Pikatan.
Historians speculated that Rakai Gurunwangi allied himself with Mpu Daksa, his nephew as they are the son and grandson of Rakai Pikatan respectively.
Historian Boechari is certain that the rule of Balitung ended as a result of Mpu Daksa's rebellion. According to stele of Taji Gunung (910), Daksa was still as Rakai Hino, while in the stele of Timbangan Wungkal (913), he already ascended the throne as king.
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