by Marcus Phillips-Silalahi, pride is fundamental. But their ancient history has been mostly forgotten or ignored and left to mythology. Most Batak people only know how many generations their family goes back, but this only covers about 400 years, while the legend of their first king, Si Raja Batak, simply appeared on PusukBuhit at Lake Toba. The migration of the Batak was never retold to the generations. They have an ancient script but there’s no recording of events and history. This is unlike most tribes in the world. Perhaps a dark past history or fear and hatred caused this. Even the most important word in the Batak language, Horas, the term of greeting and respect, has an unknown origin.
Over 1500 years ago the Batak were living in isolated villages without any capital town or central urbanized kingdom. One day an Arabian sailing ship landed on the west coast of North Sumatera, met with the Batak people, explored the area and discovered camphor oil. Camphor has many uses, including preservative for dead bodies, highly prized by the Pharoah and elite families of the Kingdom of Egypt and Arabian dynasty.
They established a port town called Barus, built their monuments of worship and showed their hieroglyphic script to the Batak. At this time the Arab people were believers in the sun and sky gods, one of which was named Horas (spelt Horus in English pronounciation), so regular ceremonies were devoted to Horas and the local people were invited to join. The relic ruins of these monuments are still visible at Barus today.
The Arabian ships continued to return to Barus with the Shah traders and Tamil sailors. The greeting becameHoras and the trade continued until the fall of the Pharoah dynasty and beginning of Islam.
Cemeteries of the Shah and Tamil with unusual script on the gravestone can still be visited today. Why the stories of these events was not recorded by the Batakremains a mystery, but the interpretation of these facts of history can be speculated on.