History of Southeast Asia

History of Southeast Asia

Episode 7, The Khmers

October 16, 2016

We're now up to the most spectacular civilization in ancient/medieval Southeast Asia. This episode covers Cambodia from 550 to 1431, the golden age of the Khmers, ancestors of today's Cambodians. Here are some maps and pictures to give you a better idea of what I am talking about:

Indochina, 8th-century map

First, a map of mainland Southeast Asia, around 750 A.D. The violet-colored nation at the bottom is Srivijaya (see Episode 6).

Jayavarman II and his high priest.

And here is Jayavarman II in the Devaraja (god-king) ceremony. The priest is annointing a lingam, a phallus-shaped stone representing Shiva; that was the most important image in the temple. From the April 1960 issue of National Geographic.

Khmer Empire.

The Khmer Empire in the twelfth century. The striped area was ruled by the Burmese, but also claimed by the Khmers. From Angkorvat.net.

Angkor gateway.

One of Angkor's gateways, with four faces of Jayavarman VII looking in different directions. In Ankgor, the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" was carved in stone!

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