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The Khmer Empire

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Jenna Pierce

on 25 September 2012

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Transcript of The Khmer Empire

The Khmer Empire -During the Golden Age it also held sway over the lower valleys of Menam (present day Thailand) and the lower Mekong (present day Vietnam and Cambodia) as well as North into Laos. - The Empire grew out of former kingdom of Chenla and was founded by King Jayavarman II. -The capitol of the Khmer Empire was the area of Angkor which was established by King Yasovarman Governmental System and Social Order - Hinduism was the most popular religion practiced by the Khmer civilization, with Buddhism close behind. Religion - The Empire's inhabitants were great architects and sculptors who created many temples on top of step pyramids. - Slaves undoubtedly built all of the temples and structures in the Khmer Empire. - In the early 12th century they fought repeated wars against the Annamese. The Fall of the Khmer Empire In The Beginning -It's golden age, also known as the Angkor period took place from 889-1434. Jayavarman IV ruled during this period. -It gained wealth through trading and agriculture in the area. -Located in Southeast Asia -The empire was divided into areas and districts, each administered by a team of officials, and appointed by the king. - As he was top of the ranks, the king had power over everything including the people, State, Law and Soil. A successful king ensured the prosperity of the kingdom and passed it onto his ancestors. -Priests were close to nobility in the class structure and occupied a sacred position. -Scholars, poets, astrologers and astronomers were privileged members of the society, whereas teachers and sacrificers were hereditary appointments. -The slave class ranked the lowest in Khmer society and consisted of debtors, prisoners of war, and hill tribesmen. -Warriors and farmers formed the largest classes. - Angkor Wat is still the Largest Hindu Temple in the World. -Rites and festivals coinciding with the full moon were held to drive away evil spirits. At these festivals they would have boat-races, dances, and, above-all, merit-making, offering food, water, and other beneficial things to the spirits, gods, and the Buddha Architecture of An Empire -They reached the height of their architecture when they built Angkor Wat, which was the largest preindustrial city in the world- even larger than Manhattan. - Water systems and strategies that were used to cope with the vastly changing water quantities included raising houses on mounds or stilts, or building and excavating small ponds at the household level, larger ones at the village level - extensive water management system stretching across over 1200 sq. km, which connected the natural lake to large man-made reservoirs through a series of canals, and permanently altering the local water systems. - This network allowed Angkor to flourish for six centuries despite the difficulties of maintaining a state level society even in the face of successive dry and monsoon regions. - Women were seemingly treated equally as they were involved in the government during the Angkor period and were also prominent in the economic structure of the empire. Lifestyle and Culture - The people were of medium height with black, often curly hair and had square-shaped faces with a broad forehead, a long straight nose with wide nostrils, and deep-set eyes. -A single, rectangular piece of cloth, about two metres in length and one metre wide, was worn by both men and women - Most often males would do majority of the farming duties in an average family of that era, while the mother mainly focused on tending to the children. - The children might also contribute to the family farming or fishing. -The typical diet consisted mainly of fish and rice as they had large fisheries and used water to bring irrigation to their rice paddies. - Both sexes wore elaborate jewellery consisting of necklaces, bracelets, and arm and ankle bands and the quantity and material of the jewellery depended on the status of the person wearing it. - After the founding of Ayuthia in 1350 A.D., Cambodia was subjected to repeated invasions from Thailand, and the Khmer power declined. - In 1434, after Thailand had captured The Capital of Angkor, the capital had moved to Phnom Penh, marking the end of the great Khmer Empire. Climate -Like most of Southeast Asia November to February is cool and dry, March to May is hot and dry, June to August is hot and wet, and September to early November is cold and wet. -The monsoonal and lunar cycles governed daily life in the Khmer Empire. -Rain usually occurred and still does from 2 to 3 pm and only lasted a few hours which made it easy for them to plan their time around the rain - Alternating wet and dry seasons and the waxing and waning of the moon set the pattern for harvesting rice and catching fish, the two staples of the economy. Impact on Today -The empire's legacy is still felt through the cultures of its successor Cambodia, but also the cultures of Thailand and Laos. -The Khmer people weren't known for their inventions, although they did create the world's largest temple. -Too many artifacts have been recovered to accurately guess how many there are but many of them are still in great shape
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