The Khmer Empire was one of the most powerful empires in Southeast Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdom of Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalized parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and Malaysia. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, in present-day Cambodia, which was the site of the capital city during the empire's zenith. Angkor bears testimony to the Khmer empire's immense power and wealth, as well as the variety of belief systems that it patronised over time. The empire's official religions included Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, until Theravada Buddhism prevailed, even among the lower classes, after its introduction from Sri Lanka in the 13th century. Recently satellite imaging has revealed Angkor to be the largest pre-industrial urban center in the world.
The history of Angkor as the central area of settlement of the historical kingdom of Kambujadesa is also the history of the Khmer from the 9th to the 13th centuries.
From Kambuja itself — and so also from the Angkor region — no written records have survived other than stone inscriptions. Therefore the current knowledge of the historical Khmer civilization is derived primarily from:
- archaeological excavation, reconstruction and investigation
- stone inscriptions (most important are foundation steles of temples), which report on the political and religious deeds of the kings
- reliefs in a series of temple walls with depictions of military marches, life in the palace, market scenes and also the everyday lives of the population
- reports and chronicles of Chinese diplomats, traders and travellers.
The beginning of the era of the Khmer Empire is conventionally dated to 802 AD. In this year, king Jayavarman II had himself declared chakravartin ("king of the world", or "king of kings") on Phnom Kulen.
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... During this time, the Khmer Empire, by force of arms, extended its dominions to encompass much of Southeast Asia ... led his country into battle, sometimes engaged his chief enemy in single combat, Khmer military strength rested on the junior officers, the captains of militia ... in their district and to lead them to Angkor to join the Khmer army ...
... of India, starting with the Kingdom of Funan around the 1st century CE to the Khmer Empire ... After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, such as the various Tai, Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artifacts that are ... Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th–15th century, the Buddhist Tai kingdoms of Sukhothai, Lanna and Lan Xang (now Laos) were on the ascension ...
... Following the Dvaravati period, the powerful Khmer Empire expanded its influence throughout what is now the southern Isan region of Thailand ... Surin was an important part of the ancient Khmer empire ... Temple ruins and a substantial ethnic Khmer minority remain part of Surin ...
... Following the Dvaravati period, the powerful Khmer Empire expanded its influence throughout what is now the southern Isan region of Thailand ... was an important part of the ancient Khmer empire ... Temple ruins and a substantial ethnic Khmer minority remain part of Surin ...
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