Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Cambodian Royal Chronicle

PART I
PRE-ANGKORIAN ERA
1) Funan Period

1) King Hun Tean [a.k.a. Kaundinya I]
(AD 68--AD....?, Capital: Kauk Thlok )
Around AD 68, an Indian trader/warrior named Hun Tean [Kaundinya I] led an army from the southeastern region of India to invade the Kingdom of Funan. Hun Tean was a Brahmin (priest/teacher) in the Hindu’s social class structure known as caste. After successfully conquering Funan, Hun Tean proclaimed himself king and then married Empress Liv Yi, the leader of Funan. He also changed Empress Liv Yi’s name to Soma, which means daughter of the Moon.
During his reign (and possibly successive reigns), the name of Funan/Kauk Thlok has been changed a number of times: First from Kauk Thlok to Takaseila, then to Intabhata Yasodhara, and finally to Mohanokor Kambuja Thibadey Serey Intabhata Korurordh Rajatheaney (The Grand, Prosperous, Sovereign, and Independence Royal City of Cambodia).
King Hun Tean and Queen Soma had a son who inherited the throne, and their royal lineage in Cambodia lasted for more than 200 years--from AD 68 to AD 285.

2) King Fan Man
(AD....?--AD 230, Capital: Kauk Thlok)
King Fan Man was a descendant of King Hun Tean. He was a very intelligent, courageous, and powerful leader. During his reign, he had conquered a number of neighboring kingdoms, such as Southern Siam and Malacca, and made them vassal states.
King Fan Man introduced the Indian system of caste structure, similar to that of India, among the people he ruled. There were four castes:

1) Ksatra--kings, warriors, and nation-builders.
2) Brahmin--priests, teachers, advisers, and lords.
3) Veshja--traders, farmers, and employers.
4) Sutra--laborers and slaves.

These four castes were very segregated. They did not and could not intermarry or hold any occupation, which was outside of their prescribed caste.
In AD 230, King Fan Man was murdered by his nephew, Fan Chan, who succeeded the throne. In AD 250, King Fan Chan was, in turn, murdered by King Fan Man’s son, Fan Hsun, who became King afterward.

3) King Fan Hsun (or Siyon)
(AD 250--AD....?, Capital: Kauk Thlok)
After neutralizing the usurper, King Fan Chan, King Fan Hsun ascended the throne in AD 250. King Fan Hsun was a very prestigious and cunning leader. He established relation with China in order to strengthen and protect his kingdom from marauding pirates and other intruders.
According to historical records, King Fan Hsun was the most powerful ruler among King Hun Tean’s descendants. After the reign of King Fan Hsun, there were no records of the reigns of successive kings for the next 200 years or so. Based on the records of later history, this historical blank spot might have been resulted from the degeneration of political administration, or internal turmoil, which would seal Kauk Thlok or Funan off from foreign contacts, especially, with the Chinese travelers/explorers.

4) King Kaundinya Jayavarman [a.k.a. Kaundinya II]
(AD 480--AD 514, Capital: Vyadharapura)
Some time in the 2nd half of the 5th century, another Indian trader/warrior, from southern India, named Kaundinya [II] came to settle in or invade the Kingdom of Kauk Thlok (Funan) again. After his conquest of Kauk Thlok, Kaundinya II became king and took the name of Kaundinya Jayavarman. During his rule, King Kaundinya Jayavarman established two Capitals: one named Vyadharapura, which is believed to be located at Angkor Borey in Takeo province, and the other named Samphupura, presently located at Sambo in Kratie province.
King Kaundinya Jayavarman had also strengthened the Sino-Funan alliance in order to wage war against Champa (a kingdom located to the east of Funan but no longer exists; it’s now part of Central Vietnam) and other neighboring kingdoms and take them as tributary states. Beside conquering and expanding Funan’s territory, King Kaundinya Jayavarman also introduced Hinduism to the Khmers and other people he conquered. He died in AD 514.

Soon after the death of King Kaundinya Jayavarman, Funan was plunged into chaos. King Kaundinya Jayavarman’s son and an heir to the throne, Prince Gunavarman, was assassinated by his half brother, Prince Rudravarman. After his usurpation, Prince Rudravarman forced Queen Kulapbhavati to retire to a distant palace (put her under house arrest in a sense). Because of his usurpation by means of assassinating his half brother, Prince Rudravarman lost the supports of his subjects, which gave an opportunity to a satellite state known as Chenla to revolt against Funan. Eventually, Funan was subjugated by Chenla.
(To be continued)

No comments: