The Khmer Kings and the History of Cambodia: BOOK I - 1st Century to 1595: Funan, Chenla, Angkor and Longvek Periods
Book I is the most comprehensive and detailed study of the origins of the Khmer civilization available. It describes how Chenla -- a state under the vassalage of Funan -- came to conquer its master state, before ultimately splitting into two kingdoms known as Land and Water Chenla in 707 CE. Near the end of the 8th century, the Maharaja of Srivijaya (Java) invaded Water Chenla, beheaded the Chenla king, and subjugated the land. Later, Jayavarman II would emerge as the Khmer leader who led his land to declare independence from Java. The kingdom prospered and expanded to the north to found Angkor in the Kambuja Period, replacing Chenla as the dominant state in the region.
From 1100-1200 CE, Angkor reached its zenith under the reigns of Suryavarman II, the builder of Angkor Wat, and Jayavarman VII, the builder of Bayon. The book examines prominent roles played by the sacerdotal families (Brahmapurohita); examines the origins and meaning of the word Chenla; details the multi-century odyssey of the Emerald Buddha; considers the crucial role played by Neak Ta Khleang Moeung; the identity of the Leper king; the origin of Ponhea Yat; the rise and fall of Sdach Kân; as well as hundreds of related topics such as how Angkor Wat was built according to the Indian cosmology of the Yuga periods, and the explanation for the Khmer lunisolar calendar system.
The emergence of the Siamese capital of Ayutthaya brought economic and military challenges to Angkor, ultimately leading to the fall of Angkor, which is examined in detail. Aggression between Ayutthaya and Angkor pushed the Khmer kings to relocate their capitals farther south and east, leading to the Longvek period of Khmer history.
Book I covers every significant Cambodian historical event, place, temple and person from the 1st century to 1595 CE, supplemented by detailed genealogical charts, photos, diagrams, appendices, references, bibliography and full index.
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