Angkor Civilization Timeline

Timeline and King List of the Khmer Empire

Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom
Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom was built by Jayavarman VII (ruled 1182-1218) whose face may be one of those that adorns its facade. Jean-Pierre Dalbera

The Khmer Empire (also called the Angkor Civilization) was a state level society which at its height controlled all of what today is Cambodia, and parts of Laos, Viet Nam and Thailand as well. The Khmer primary capital was at Angkor, which means Holy City in Sanskrit. Angkor city was (and is) a complex of residential areas, temples and water reservoirs located north of Tonle Sap (Great Lake) in northwest Cambodia.

Chronology of Angkor

  • Complex Hunter Gatherers ? to ca 3000-3600 BC
  • Early Farming 3000-3600 BC to 500 BC (Ban Non Wat, Ban Lum Khao)
  • Iron Age 500 BC to AD 200-500
  • Early Kingdoms AD 100-200 to AD 802 (Oc Eo, Funan State, Sambor Prei Kuk), Chenla state
  • Classic (or Angkorian period) AD 802-1327 (Angkor Wat, Angkor Borei, etc.)
  • Post-Classic AD 1327-1863 (after establishment of Buddhism)

The earliest settlement in the Angkor region was by complex hunter-gatherers, at least as early as 3600 BC. The earliest states in the region emerged during the first century AD, as identified through historic documentation of the Funan state. Written accounts suggest that state level activities such as taxation on luxuries, walled settlements, participation in extensive trading, and the presence of foreign dignitaries occurred at Funan by AD 250. It is likely that Funan was not the only operating polity in southeast Asia at the time, but it is currently the best documented.

By ~500 AD, the region was occupied by several southeast Asian states, including Chenla, Dvarati, Champa, Keda, and Srivijaya. All these early states share the incorporation of legal, political and religious ideas from India, including the use of Sanskrit for the names of their rulers.

Architecture and carvings of the period also reflect Indian styles, although scholars believe the formation of states began before close interaction with India.

The classic period of Angkor is traditionally marked at AD 802, when Jayavarman II (born c~770, ruled 802-869) became ruler and subsequently united the previously independent and warring polities of the region.

Khmer Empire Classic Period (AD 802-1327)

The names of the rulers in the classic period, like those of the earlier states, are Sanskrit names. A focus on building temples in the greater Angkor region began in the 11th century AD, and they were built and decorated with Sanskrit texts which acted as both concrete evidence of royal legitimacy and as the archives for the ruling dynasty that built them. For example, the Mahuidharapura dynasty established itself by constructing a large tantric Buddhist-dominated temple complex at Phimai in Thailand between 1080 and 1107.

Jayavarman

Two of the most important rulers were both named Jayavarman - Jayavarman II and Jajavarman VII. The numbers after their names were assigned to them by modern scholars of the Angkor society, rather than by the rulers themselves.

Jayavarman II (ruled 802-835) founded the Saiva dynasty in Angkor, and united the region through a series of conquest battles. He established relative calm in the region, and Saiavism remained the unifying power in Angkor for 250 years.

Jayavarman VII (ruled 1182-1218) took power of the regime after a period of unrest, when Angkor was split into competing factions and suffered an incursion from Cham polity forces. He promulgated an ambitious building program, that doubled Angkor's temple population within a generation. Jayavarman VII erected more sandstone buildings than all his predecessors combined, at the same time turning the royal sculpting workshops into a strategic asset. Among his temples are Angkor Thom, Prah Khan, Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei. Jayavarman is also credited with bringing Buddhism to state prominence in Angkor: although the religion had appeared in the 7th century, it had been suppressed by earlier kings.

Khmer Empire Classic Period King List

  • Jayavarman II, ruled AD 802-869, capitals at Vyadharapura and Mount Kulen
  • Jayavarman III, 869-877, Hariharalaya
  • Indravarman II, 877-889, Mount Kulen
  • Yashovarman I, 889-900, Angkor
  • Harshavarman I, 900-~923, Angkor
  • Isanavarman II, ~923-928, Angkor
  • Jayavarman IV, 928-942, Angkor and Koh Ker
  • Harshavarman II, 942-944, Koh Ker
  • Rajendravarman II, 944-968, Koh Ker and Angkor
  • Jayavarman V 968-1000, Angkor
  • Udayadityavarman I, 1001-1002
  • Suryavarman I, 1002-1049, Angkor
  • Udayadityavarman II, 1050-1065, Angkor
  • Harshavarman III, 1066-1080, Angkor
  • Jayavarman VI and Dharanindravarman I, 1080-?, Angkor
  • Suryavarman II, 1113-1150, Angkor
  • Dharanindravarman I, 1150-1160, Angkor
  • Yasovarman II, 1160-~1166, Angkor
  • Jayavarman VII, 1182-1218, Angkor
  • Indravarman II, 1218-1243, Angkor
  • Jayavarman VIII, 1270-1295, Angkor
  • Indravarman III, 1295-1308, Angkor
  • Jayavarma Paramesvara 1327-
  • Ang Jaya I or Trosak Ph'aem, ?

Sources

This timeline is a part of the About.com guide to Angkor Civilization, and the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Chhay C. 2009. The Cambodian Royal Chronicle: A History at a Glance. New York: Vantage Press.

Higham C. 2008. In: Pearsall DM, editor. Encyclopedia of Archaeology. New York: Academic Press. p 796-808.

Sharrock PD. 2009. Garu a, Vajrapa i and religious change in Jayavarman VII's Angkor. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 40(01):111-151.

Wolters OW. 1973. Jayavarman II's military power: The Territorial foundation of the Angkor empire. The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1:21-30.

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Hirst, K. Kris. "Angkor Civilization Timeline." ThoughtCo, Apr. 9, 2016, thoughtco.com/angkor-civilization-timeline-171626. Hirst, K. Kris. (2016, April 9). Angkor Civilization Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/angkor-civilization-timeline-171626 Hirst, K. Kris. "Angkor Civilization Timeline." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/angkor-civilization-timeline-171626 (accessed January 20, 2018).