|The Khmer Empire|
The Khmer led by Suryavarman II is a custom civilisation by LastSword, with contributions from hokath. This mod requires Gods and Kings & Brave New World.
The Khmer Empire now known as Cambodia was the most powerful state in Indochina for over 600 years. The empire, which grew out of the former Kingdom of Funan and Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalized most of mainland Southeast Asia, parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, and southern Vietnam. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, which was the site of the capital city during the empire's zenith. The majestic monuments of Angkor — such as Angkor Wat and Bayon — bear testimony to the Khmer empire's immense power and wealth, impressive art and culture, architectural technique and aesthetics achievements, as well as the variety of belief systems that it patronised over time. 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. The empire ended with the fall of Angkor in the 15th century.
Suryavarman appears to have grown up in a provincial estate, at a time of weakening central control in the empire. An inscription lists his father as Ksitindraditya and his mother as Narendralakshmi. As a young prince, he maneuvered for power, contending he had a legitimate claim to the throne. “At the end of his studies,” states an inscription, “he approved the desire of the royal dignity of his family.” He appears to have dealt with a rival claimant from the line of Harshavarman III, which held sway in the south, then to have turned on the elderly and largely ineffectual king Dharanindravarman I, his great uncle. “Leaving on the field of combat the ocean of his armies, he delivered a terrible battle,” states an inscription. “Bounding on the head of the elephant of the enemy king, he killed him, as Garuda on the edge of a mountain would kill a serpent.” Scholars have disagreed on whether this language refers to the death of the southern claimant or King Dharanindravarman.
Suryavarman was enthroned in 1113 AD. An aged Brahmin sage named Divakarapandita oversaw the ceremonies, this being the third time the priest had officiated coronation. Inscriptions record that the new monarch studied sacred rituals, celebrated religious festivals and gave gifts to the priest such as palanquins, fans, crowns, buckets and rings. The priest embarked on a lengthy tour of temples in the empire, including the mountaintop Preah Vihear, which he provided with a golden statue of dancing Shiva. The king’s formal coronation took place in 1119 AD, with Divakarapandita again performing the rites.
During his decades in power, the king reunited the empire, reversing many of the benign policies of his predecessor, historians believe. Vassals paid him tribute. In the west and north, his soldiers expanded the borders to cover new parts of present-day Thailand, Laos and Peninsular Malaysia. He staged large military operations in eastern Champa as well, but these were largely unsuccessful, at least according to accounts from the empire's rivals. As is common in reconstructing Khmer history, there is plenty of room for debating these and other precise events. Khmer inscriptions, a major source of information, may exaggerate the empire's accomplishments, while accounts from rival states may do the same with its shortcomings.
In addition to war, Suryavarman practiced diplomacy, resuming formal relations with China in 1116 AD. A Chinese account of the 13th century says that the Khmer embassy had 14 members, who after reaching Chinese soil were given special court garments. “Scarcely have we arrived to contemplate anear your glory than we are already filled with your benefits,” one of the ambassadors is quoted as telling the Chinese emperor. The embassy went home the following year. Another embassy visited in 1120 AD; in 1128 AD, the emperor conferred high dignities on the Khmer ruler, deeming him “great vassal of the empire.” Problems concerning commerce between the two states were examined and regulated.
The king's reign saw great innovations in art and architecture. He presided over construction of Angkor Wat, the largest temple ever built in the capital, and in many modern minds the ultimate masterpiece of Khmer architecture. Its five central towers evoke the peaks of Mount Meru, home of the Hindu gods. It was resplendent with more than 1,860 carved apsara, or heavenly nymphs, and hundreds of meters of elaborate bas reliefs depicting the Hindu legends and scenes from contemporary life. Other temples dating to his reign include Banteay Samre, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda and, east of the capital, the huge Beng Mealea complex.
Suryavarman married, but no record exists of his wives' names. Suryavarman II was unusual among Khmer kings in making Vishnu rather than Shiva the focus of court religious life. The reasons for this decision are not known. Scholars have long debated whether his association with Vishnu helps explain why Angkor Wat faces west, the cardinal direction with which Vishnu is associated, rather than the common orientation for Khmer temples of east.
Suryavarman II is the first Khmer king to be depicted in art. A bas relief in the south gallery of Angkor Wat shows him seated on an elaborate wooden dais whose legs and railings are carved to resemble naga snakes. On his head is a pointed diadem, and his ears have pendants. He wears anklets, armlets and bracelets. His right hand holds what seems to be a small dead snake—its meaning is unclear. His torso curves gracefully, his legs folded beneath him. The general image projected is one of serenity, and comfort with power and position.
His image is part of a unique and detailed portrait of court life in the Angkor period. The scene's setting appears to be outside, amidst a forest. Kneeling attendants hold over His Majesty a profusion of fans, fly whisks and parasols that denoted rank. Princesses are carried in elaborately carved palanquins. Whiskered Brahman priests look on, some of them apparently preparing things for a ceremony. To the right of His Majesty, a courtier kneels, apparently presenting something. Advisers look on, kneeling, some with hands over hearts in a gesture of obeisance. To the right we see an elaborate procession, with retainers sounding conches, drums and a gong. An ark bearing the royal fire, symbol of power, is carried on shoulders.
Inscriptional evidence suggests that Suryavarman II died between 1145 AD and 1150 AD, possibly during a military campaign against Champa. He was succeeded by Dharanindravarman II, a cousin, son of the brother of the king’s mother. A period of weak rule and feuding began.
Dawn of Man
Great Suryavarman, Emperor of the Khmer, the one who has entered the heavenly world of Vishnu, the constructor of the Angkor Wat, we kneel blinded by your glory! You reunited a divided empire and made Her stronger than ever before, expanding Her borders to the west and north, reaching the present-day peninsular Malaysia. Merciless to enemies, kind to friends, you established good relations with China, creating new important trade routes. You gave the order to build the legendary Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the known world! History remembers you as a warrior, diplomat, artist and religious man. Your empire collapsed below its own greatness long before the Europeans managed to create their "civilizations".
Once again, your people long for mighty temples that stretch beyond the horizon! Yet, enemies of the empire also grow in strength. Can you bring back the glory of Angkor? Can you smite your insolent enemies? Can you build a civilization that will stand the test of time?
Introduction: "You look upon the King of Angkor, Emperor of Khmer, rightful Ruler of the World and Master of the Universe!"
Introduction: "The sages tell me I am probably a yet undiscovered incarnation of Vishnu. I suppose it explains the awed look on your face."
Defeat: "What do you mean by "end"? Work is not finished! I have to build... one... more... temple..."
Defeat: "You are too late! I have completed my destiny and nothing can take eternal glory from me, even death!"
The Khmer (Suryavarman II)
|Angkor the Magnificent|
|Baray (Water Mill)|
|Peace Theme||War Theme|
|"Ramkhamkaeng Peace Theme" from the soundtrack of Civilization V.||"Ramkhamkaeng War Theme" from the soundtrack of Civilization V.|
Community Balance Patch
Unique Cultural Influence
Wish for the World
Full Credits List
|Latest Version:||BNW v. 18|
|Last Updated:||23 April 2015|
- hokath: Text.
- LastSword: All else.