Khmer Empire


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Khmer Empire

(kəmĕr`), ancient kingdom of SE Asia. In the 6th cent. the Cambodians, or Khmers, established an empire roughly corresponding to modern CambodiaCambodia
, Khmer Kampuchea, officially Kingdom of Cambodia, constitutional monarchy (2015 est. pop. 15,518,000), 69,898 sq mi (181,035 sq km), SE Asia. Cambodia is bordered by Thailand on the west and north, by Laos on the north, by Vietnam on the east, and by the Gulf of
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 and LaosLaos
, officially Lao People's Democratic Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 6,664,000), 91,428 sq mi (236,800 sq km), SE Asia. A landlocked nation, Laos is bordered by China on the north, by Vietnam on the east, by Cambodia on the south, and by Thailand and Myanmar on the west.
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. Divided during the 8th cent., it was reunited under the rule of Jayavarman II in the early 9th cent.; the capital was established in the area of AngkorAngkor
, site of several capitals of the Khmer Empire, north of Tônlé Sap, NW Cambodia, for about five and a half centuries (9th to 15th), the heart of the empire.
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 by the king Yasovarman I (r. 889–900). The Angkor period (889–1434), the golden age of Khmer civilization, saw the empire at its greatest extent; it held sway over the valleys of the lower Menam (in present-day Thailand) and the lower Mekong (present-day Cambodia and Vietnam), as well as N into Laos.

The Khmer civilization was largely formed by Indian cultural influences. Buddhism flourished side by side with the worship of Shiva and of other Hindu gods, while both religions coalesced with the cult of the deified king. In the Angkor period many Indian scholars, artists, and religious teachers were attracted to the Khmer court, and Sanskrit literature flourished with royal patronage.

The great achievement of the Khmers was in architecture and sculpture. The earliest known Khmer monuments, isolated towers of brick, probably date from the 7th cent. Small temples set on stepped pyramids next appeared. The development of covered galleries led gradually to a great elaboration of plan. Brick was largely abandoned in favor of stone. Khmer architecture reached its height with the construction of Angkor Wat by Suryavarman II (r. 1113–50) and Angkor Thom by Jayavarman VII (r. 1181–c.1218). Sculpture, which also prospered at Angkor, showed a steady development from relative naturalism to a more conventionalized technique. Bas-reliefs, lacking in the earliest monuments, came to overshadow in importance statues in the round; in the later stages of Khmer art hardly a wall was left bare of bas-reliefs, which conveyed in the richness of their detail and vitality a vivid picture of Khmer life.

The Khmers fought repeated wars against the Annamese (see AnnamAnnam
, historic region (c.58,000 sq mi/150,200 sq km) and former state, in central Vietnam, SE Asia. The capital was Hue. The region extended nearly 800 mi (1,290 km) along the South China Sea between Tonkin on the north and Cochin China on the south.
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) and the Chams; in the early 12th cent. they invaded ChampaChampa
, the kingdom of the Chams, which flourished in Vietnam from the 2d cent. A.D. until the 17th cent. At its greatest extent it occupied Annam as far north as central Vietnam. Its culture was strongly affected by Hindu influences.
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, but, in 1177, Angkor was sacked by the Chams. After the founding of Ayuthia (c.1350), Cambodia was subjected to repeated invasions from Thailand, and the Khmer power declined. In 1434, after the Thai captured Angkor, the capital was transferred to Phnom PenhPhnom Penh
or Phnum Penh
, city (1994 est. pop. 527,000), capital of Cambodia, SW Cambodia, at the confluence of the Mekong and Tônlé Sap rivers. Phnom Penh was founded in the 14th cent. and was made the Khmer capital after the abandonment (1434) of Angkor.
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; this event marks the end of the brilliance of the Khmer civilization.

Bibliography

See L. P. Briggs, The Ancient Khmer Empire (1951); J. Audric, Angkor and the Khmer Empire (1972); J. R. Coburn, Khmers, Tigers, and Talismans (1978).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The scenic northern section of Phnom Kulen National Park was once the site of ancient city of the Khmer Empire Mahendraparvata, or Mountain of the Great Indra.
Where Cambodian Monastery highlights the architectural influence of Anchor Wat, the largest Hindu temple in the world built for the Khmer Empire, the Chinese Zhong Hua monastery brings Chinese architecture and aesthetics on the table with Confucian avatars guarding it.
Angkor was the seat of Khmer empire which pioneered the establishment of many temples, monuments, and even waterways.
The ideological aim of their revolution was to recreate a "pure" rural society - "Classless and glorious" similar to that of the Khmer Empire of the tenth century.
Scientists used similar scans to unearth a network of ancient cities in Angkor, the heart of the Khmer empire in Cambodia that includes the famed Angkor Wat, according to the Times.
The items are thought to date back to the Khmer Empire, a once-mighty dynasty that sprawled much of modern-day Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos between the ninth and 15th centuries.
The complex embodied the Khmer Empire, Southeast Asia's greatest civilization whose godlike rulers reigned over present-day Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and southern Vietnam from the 9th century to the 15th century.
Isure fragile was garlic-It was my first day in Angkor, the former seat of the Khmer Empire. There are thought to be more than 1,000 temples dotted over a sprawling 1,000km area, though these range in grandeur from a tumble of rubble in a soggy rice field to the magnificent Angkor Wat.
Appealing to discerning travellers, Anantara Angkor Resort reopens as Siem Reap's premier all-suite boutique resort and gateway to the heart of Cambodia's ancient Khmer Empire. Renovations to the suites, restaurants and common areas plus the addition of several amenities and services ensure that every step of the guest's local immersion and high adventure are seamlessly navigated and masterfully personalised.Anantara Angkor carves out a quiet nook in Siem Reap; bringing a retreat-like atmosphere to guests at its central location between downtown, airport and temples.
It was constructed from the early to mid-1100s by King Suryavarman II at the height of the Khmer Empire's political and military power and was among the largest pre-industrial cities in the world.
Thanks to modern technology, Southeast Asia's Khmer Empire is rising from forest floors for the first time in centuries.