the khmer empire

Neak Pean - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Neak Pean is an artificial island featuring a Buddhist temple, in Angkor park, near to Preah Khan temple. It was built during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, who ruled the Khmer Empire between the years 1181 and 1218. Historians believe the island was built as a “hospital”, with the design taking inspiration from the mythical Himalayan lake Anavatapta, that was believed to cure illness. 

The design features a main pond, connected by four smaller ponds, representing earth, wind, fire and water. It was believed that bathing in these ponds that represent the elements would balance an ill person, and cure their ailment.

Nāga, female-  nāgiṇī.  In a Cambodian legend, the nāga were a reptilian race of beings under the King Kaliya who possessed a large empire or kingdom in the Pacific Ocean region until they were chased away by the Garuda and sought refuge in India. It was here Kaliya’s daughter married an Indian Brahman named Kaundinya, and from their union sprang the Cambodian people. Therefore, Cambodians possess a slogan “Born from the naga”. As a dowry, Kaliya drank up the water that covered the country and exposed the land for his daughter and son-in-law to inhabit and thus, Cambodia was created.

The seven-headed nagas depicted as statues on Cambodian temples such as Angkor Wat, apparently represent the seven races within naga society, which has a mythological, or symbolic, association with “the seven colors of the rainbow”. Furthermore, Cambodian naga possess numerological symbolism in the number of their heads. Odd-headed naga symbolise the Male Energy, Infinity, Timelessness, and Immortality. This is because, numerologically, all odd numbers come from One. Even-headed naga are said to be Female, representing Physicality, Mortality, Temporality, and the Earth. (x)

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Temples of Siem Reap

The Khmer Empire, which is situated in Cambodia, undoubtedly built the world’s most important archaeological sites. Today, in the region of Angkor, which is now called Siem Reap, lies the largest monument in the world, the Angkor Wat. But surrounding it is hundreds of temples. Here are some of my snaps during our temple hopping in Siem Reap Cambodia.

The Sings As Lost Cultures

The Mycenaean Civilization, Greece - Aries

The Mycenae didn’t flourish by trade alone – they set out to conquer, and expanded into an empire that overtook much of Greece. The Mycenaean civilization enjoyed five centuries of domination before vanishing sometime around 1100 BCE. Hellenic legend holds that the Mycenae defeated the possibly mythological Troy, and the empire’s artifacts have been found as far away as Ireland. In fact, this culturally and economically wealthy civilization has left behind a wealth of art, architecture and artifacts.

Cahokia, Illinois, United States - Taurus

Cahokia was once the largest urban center north of the great Mesoamerican cities of Mexico and may have once been home to as many as 40,000 people – greater, in the year 1250 CE, than the population of London, England, or that of any American city that was to come until Philadelphia around the year 1800.

The Anasazi, New Mexico, United States - Gemini

Remains best known for stone and adobe structures built along cliff walls, which evolved into amazing multi-story dwellings that were often only accessible by rope or ladder.

Clovis Culture, North America - Cancer

Very little is known about the Clovis culture, a prehistoric Paleo-Indian people that were thought to have been the first human inhabitants of North America. The artifacts, bone and stone blades known as Clovis points, are among the only clues we have that this group – technically not a civilization – ever existed.

The Aksumite Empire, Ethiopia - Leo

Theorized to be the home of the Queen of Sheba, the Aksumite Empire had its own alphabet and erected enormous obelisks including the Obelisk of Axum, which still stands. It was the first major empire to convert to Christianity.

The Indus Valley Civilization, Pakistan - Virgo

Sophisticated and technologically advanced, this civilization featured the world’s first urban sanitation systems as well as evidence of surprising proficiency in mathematics, engineering and even proto-dentistry.

The Minoans, Crete - Libra

Centers of commerce appeared around 2700 BCE, and as the civilization advanced, palaces of greater and greater complexity were built and rebuilt following series of disasters – likely earthquakes and eruptions of the Thera volcano. One of these palaces was Knossos, the ‘labyrinth’ associated with the legend of Minos, which is now a major archaeological site and tourist attraction.

Moche Civilization, Peru - Scorpio

The Moche civilization developed an agriculturally-based society complete with palaces, pyramids and complex irrigation canals on the north coast of Peru. In 2006, a Moche chamber was discovered that was apparently used for human sacrifice, containing the remains of human offerings.


The Khmer Empire, Cambodia - Sagittarius

Once one of the most powerful empires of Southeast Asia, the Khmer civilization spread from modern-day Cambodia out into Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia and is best known today for Angkor, its capital city.

The Olmec Civilization, Mexico - Capricorn

Once a grand Pre-Columbian civilization that constructed incredible ‘colossal heads’, practiced bloodletting and human sacrifice, invented the concept of the number zero, possibly invented the compass, and essentially laid the foundation for every Mesoamerican culture that was to follow.

The Cucuteni-Trypillians, Ukraine & Romania - Aquarius

This mysterious civilization is characterized by its uniquely patterned pottery and by its bizarre habit of burning its own villages to the ground every 60 to 80 years. The villages were rebuilt again and again, on top of the ashes of the old ones.

The Nabateans, Jordan - Pisces

Their legacy is epitomized by the breathtaking city of Petra, carved into the solid sandstone rock of Jordan’s mountains, and they are remembered for their skill in water engineering, managing a complex system of dams, canals and reservoirs which helped them expand and thrive in an arid desert region.

Laser Scans Unveil a Network of Ancient Cities in Cambodia

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — For decades, archaeologists here kept their eyes on the ground as they tramped through thick jungle, rice paddies and buffalo grazing fields, emerald green and soft with mud during the monsoon season.

They spent entire careers trying to spot mounds or depressions in the earth that would allow them to map even small parts of Angkor, the urban center at the heart of the Khmer empire, which covered a vast region of what is now Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos from roughly A.D. 802 to 1431. In modern times, little material evidence existed beyond a network of monumental stone temples, including the famed Angkor Wat, and the sprawling settlements that presumably fanned out around the temples long since swallowed up by the jungle.

But earlier this year, the archaeologists Shaun Mackey and Kong Leaksmy were armed with a portable GPS device containing data from an aerial survey of the area that is changing the way Angkor is studied. Read more.

The Years of Rice and Salt 

An alternative history where Europeans become instinct in the 14th century during the Black Plague, where Muslim and Chinese civilizations through the span of over 700 years become super powers.

Though it’s a great concept, a lot of the history isn’t quite accurate.

The Siamese-Burmese War

For example, XV claims to be the “Burmese League”. Before European colonization of South Asia and Burma, Burma and Siam were in a constant neighboring war. The Burmese invade, the Siamese fight back, it was a tug of war over Thailand.

However during the 1800′s, Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam were under the rule of Siam, and often offered military troops to fight against the Burmese. But in the history where the French never colonized Indochina and the British never colonized Burma, there may be a possibility that Burma could have been successful. For Burma to take over the rest of Indochina? It depends.

Geographically, all borders of Burma is mountainous, excluding the eastern borders that remained relatively flat. There was a possibility that they could have conquered Northern Thailand, and the rest of Central, Eastern and South Thailand, Cambodia, South Vietnam, Malaysian peninsular and Laos became part of “Siam”.

The Rise & Fall the South Vietnamese Empire

Before French colonization, the Vietnamese survives a civil war in the North, with thousands fleeing to Khmer Krom (Now known as South Vietnam), and successfully overthrows the Champa Kingdom to become Central Vietnam and the capital changed to Hue. The weakened Khmer Empire eventually succumbs to the Vietnamese and became South Vietnam.

Siam and the Cambodians go through a short war against the Viets in the Mekong Delta, before establishing a peace treaty and co-own South Vietnam.

Vietnam could essentially exist as North & Central Vietnam.

The Chinese West

It was said that China was the first Old World member to explore the New World in 1421, by a great Naval Admiral named Zheng He. Upon his return, the Chinese Dynasty changed from an open and public nation of discovery, to a closed and isolated nation.

During the 19th century, the Qing Empire was rather very destructive and expansive empire, crushed and opposed Muslim and Chinese Ethnic rebellions in Southern China. To the North was nothing but cold frozen plains, the west was desserts, to the south were large mountainous ranges. There was nowhere else that China could go, but East.

Without the British, Dutch, Portuguese and French colonizing the Pacific, the Chinese would have done it, to even possibly retaking over Northern Vietnam and Southern Vietnam, depending on the relations the Siamese and Qing Dynasty’s relations, which were actually pretty good in trade, and not only in the fact that China went to war against Burma.

The Japanese Isolation

In the 19th Century, Japan closed itself off from the rest of the world. No one was allowed to enter or step foot on the island of Japan at all. In fact, it was because of American aggression, that forced Japan to open itself up again, but not before they opened up to Western ideals and technology, that made them politically and militarily strong enough to fight off European colonizers.

In the event that if the West had cease to exist, there is a possibility that Japan would remain Japan itself, and plus some Northern Islands. The Qing Dynasty during that time was in control of the Korean Peninsula.

However, let’s just do say that Japan does become militarily advanced either way, they would have secured Korea, Manchuria and parts of Siberia quickly without having to fight Russian forces, and the Qing Dynasty’s stubborn passions for non-Chinese advancements.

evergloriousoverlord  asked:

SLAL, what kind of military traditions the individual kingdoms have? In real life, the French had their knights, the English their bowmen, and the Swiss their pikemen. What does the Stormlands have? Thanks for the hard work, Lord Hand.

Already did.

Well, this is actually something that annoys me in GRRM’s worldbuilding, same with the completely unified Faith. Only Dorne and the Iron Islands really have a strong sense of a different military tradition, whereas there is a generic “southron” fighting style that pretty much mirrors the heart of France, with the north being much the same, save with some Germanic infantry and Celtic Highlanders in the mountain clans. Military traditions are so much more diverse than that!

Had I been designing the world, I’d have made regional specialties to both enrich the depth of the world and to make the individual regions more unique. I’d also do this for cuisine, architecture, you name it. Fantasy is even better for this, you can really run wild mixing and matching things you personally find neat, and putting cultures together into a creative remix that really engages your audience and gives you your own unique style. One of the nice things I liked about the old school Dark Sun D&D setting was that you had seven cities each with their own unique style, from Rome and the civilizations of Mesopotemia, to the Mughal and Khmer empires and even Tenochtitlan, and you had seven wicked despots each with their own unique flavor (and yes, I worldbuilt them further so that each dragon-king had a unique path to power, I admit my vice freely). The two settings I’m designing are rather involved and I’m nowhere near complete, simulating thirty years of politics with the collapse of China to cybernetic riots to the glorious wars and oppressive blanket punishments of King Sogan the Inevitable. Every day, I’m always writing something further, and maybe one day I’ll stop being such a putz, devote a solid nine months or so to really building the complete world instead of just flirting with it, and then actually putting pen to paper and writing a book and see if I ever get published.

Hopefully, you like what I wrote before, but let me take a minute or two to describe how I came to my conclusions, and how I worldbuild.

When it comes to building a warfare tradition, you have to know who your people are and what is their philosophy toward war. A dangerous land are likely to have combat as mandatory training. If the threat of invasion is constant and unpredictable, no one will be spared learning to fight whether their gender, size, or personal attitudes. Contrarily, a land where the threat of warfare is remote will likely consider combat to be of secondary importance unless it is distinctly tied to a profession, a soldier or bodyguard, for example.

Then, you have to look at their environment. How many resources do they have, particularly when it comes to metal. If metal is in short supply, how do they acquire it, or what substitutes do they use? Look at their terrain to see what units fight most effectively there. Broken terrain full of chasms, gorges, and steep hills won’t promote effective cavalry, wide open terrain means that slow-moving infantry columns will be flanked without a maneuver element. Arid places mean weight becomes a concern, because heavy loads require more water for the person carrying them. Caves mean a lot of good places to launch sneak attacks from, so do dense wilderness. Are there enough rivers to mandate a riverrine navy? A coastal trading hub needs ships and marines to protect its valuable cargo. A people with a history of underground resistance would make use of weapons that resemble tools so they can have them on hand, the kama of Okinawa comes to mind. So the Vale, with their fertile valleys and narrow passes, train as both pikeman and mounted soldier, the North’s difficult terrain and harsh climate breeds a tough infantry and cavalry force, and Dorne’s heat means lighter forces who extend their enemy, letting their hot sun and dry soil do half the job for them.

Then, you have to take a look at the enemies. Military technology is an arms race in technique and equipment to defeat the enemy, after all, and so it’s natural that your tactics, training, and equipment would reflect that. So in my example, the Reachmen knights are handled differently by their neighbors. The Stormlands take advantage of their natural timber resources to build excellent bows, the Westerlands use their wealth and metallurgy to better equip their troops to resist the Reacher charge, the Dornish use their spears to make a thicket of metal to stop Reachmen incursions and bottle them up in the tighter terrain of the Prince’s Pass to curtail their mobility, and the Riverlands take advantage of water crossings to keep the Reachman cavalry bottled up.

If you do all this, your fantasy worlds can really come alive and feel like real worlds.

Thanks for the question, Overlord. Sorry for ranting off topic for a while.

SomethingLikeALawyer, Hand of the King

Suryavarman II, the creator of Angkor Wat beheaded his uncle to become king of The Khmer Empire. When he became king, he wanted Angkor Wat to be build to dedicate it to the supreme God Vishnu.

Legend has it, when Suryavarman died, the body was buried under this statue of supreme God, Vishnu, in the middle of Angkor Wat. Once he was buried, the eyes on the statue of Vishnu had open wider. It is said the spirit of Suryavarman II lives in this statue of Vishnu.