Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Cambodian Royal Chronicle


10) King Jayavarman II
(AD 802--AD 869, Capital: Vyadharapura & Mount Kulen)
Around AD 802, a Khmer prince named Jayavarman II who was taken prisoner to Java during the Javanese invasion and occupation of Chenla/Cambodia had been sent back to rule Cambodia as a puppet monarch. However, Prince Jayavarman II was no puppet. Upon his return to Cambodia, he carefully and stealthily campaigned against the Javanese occupying troops.
After successfully defeating the Javanese occupying forces, Prince Jayavarman II ascended the Khmer throne and proclaimed himself a Devaraja or god-king. He immediately ordered the cessation of suzerainty to the king of Java and moved the capital from Vyadharapura to Mount Kulen. At Mount Kulen, he built a temple named Mahendra and a palace near Lake Mealia located about ½ kilometer from that mountain.
To ensure his prestige and power, King Jayavarman II had ordered sculptors to build a statue of him and named it Devaraja (the royal Shiva or god king). Everywhere he went, King Jayavarman II would always order his subjects to bring his statue along as an object for worshiping. He also appointed a council of Brahmans to organize the ceremonial worshiping of his statue.
Just a few years before his death, King Jayavarman II, once again, moved the capital to Hariharalaya which was located along the Roluos River in northeastern part of Siem Reap province.

11) King Jayavarman III
(AD 869--AD 877, Capital: Hariharalaya)
After the death of King Jayavarman II, his son, Jayavarman III, succeeded the throne. During his reign, King Jayavarman III did not establish much. However, he did not let the prestige and power of Cambodia erode either.
King Jayavarman III worshiped Vishnu, one of the Hindu’s gods, and had Brahmans as advisors. He built a number of religious temples dedicated to Hinduism. He died in AD 877 after 7 years of ruling.

12) King Indravarman II
(AD 877--AD 889, Capital: Mount Kulen)
Most of the kings who ruled Cambodia after King Jayavarman II always adapted the suffix -varman as their names. All of these -varman’s kings were usually warriors who would wage wars against neighboring states to expand their territories. Once they succeeded in the conquest of their neighboring states, they would appropriate their enemies’ wealth and make their prisoners build various monuments for their empire. During this period, Cambodia had great influence and prestige. However, the Chams who settled in Champa (present-day Central Vietnam) had, once in a while, succeeded in raiding and putting the Khmers on the defensive.
One of the kings who were very well-known during this period was King Indravarman I. He had built two beautiful monuments named Preah Ko and Bakong. According to the inscription found at these monuments, King Indravarman II was a warrior, but there was no indication that he had ever waged war against any of his neighboring states.

13) King Yasovarman I
(AD 889--AD 900, Capital: Angkor)
King Yasovarman I was the son of King Indravarman I. He was a very powerful leader, physically and intellectually. In the early period of his reign, he had waged war with a challenger to the royal throne and almost lost his life in battle. However, four of his leading soldiers help rescue him from the ominous defeat, and he, eventually, succeeded in neutralizing his challenger.
After calming down the turmoil, King Yasovarman I began the process of building the city of Angkor Thom (the greater Angkor complex) as a grand fortress surrounded by great stone walls in order to prevent the enemies from easily invading it. During his reign, the Chams from Champa had waged war against Cambodia several times, but King Yasovarman I defeated their armies every single time.
In addition to building the city, King Yasovarman I had also introduced the collection of taxes and promulgated laws to punish criminals such as thieves. At the time of his death, Cambodia was a grand empire with territory bordering the Salween River in Burma to the West, China to the North, South China Sea to the South, and the Gulf of Tonkin to the East (present-day Northern Vietnam).

14) King Harshavarman I
(AD 900--AD 923?, Capital: Angkor)
After the death of King Yasovarman I, his son, Harshavarman I (also known as Sri Harshavarman) succeeded the throne and ruled Cambodia from the city known as Yasodharapura, a principality within the Angkor complex. He later renamed that city Harshadharapura.
King Harshavarman I launched the dedication of the Phimeanakas Monument, which was built during his father’s reign. In the royal chronicle, there was no clear record on what year King Harshavarman I died, but there was a reference on his posthumous name, which was known as Preah Rutr Loke.

15) King Isanavarman II
(AD 923?--AD 928, Capital: Angkor)
King Isanavarman II was the younger brother of King Harshavarman I. He was also known as Sri Isanavarman. Throughout his reign, nothing unusual had happened. Cambodia was peaceful and tranquil. King Isanavarman II died in AD 928 and received the burial name as Preah Borom Rutr Loke.

16) King Jayavarman IV
(AD 928--AD 942, Capital: Angkor & Koh Ker)
King Jayavarman IV was the brother-in-law of King Isanavarman II. He usurped the throne from his nephew who was the son of King Isanavarman II.
After the death of King Yasovarman I, Cambodia was still a powerful and prosperous kingdom. Most of the successive kings continued to build monuments. However, because of internecine conflicts among the royal contenders to the throne, Cambodia’s power and influence began to decline, which opened the opportunity for the Chams to wage war against the Khmer kingdom.
In AD 930, King Jayavarman IV decided to move the kingdom’s capital from Angkor to Koh Ker, which was located in present-day Preah Vihear province, and Angkor was abandoned for the time being.

17) King Harshavarman II
(AD 942--AD 944, Capital: Koh Ker)
King Harshavarman II was the son of King Jayavarman IV and the cousin of Prince Rajedravarman II. He succeeded the throne in AD 942. According to the inscription at the Indrakausey Monument, King Harshavarman II was a very powerful leader that all of his subjects had compared him to “the shining Moon whose beautiful radiance brightened the royal lineage of Kaundinya.”
However, King Harshavarman II’s reign lasted only for two years when his cousin, Prince Rajendravarman II dethroned him in AD 944.

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