Jayavarman II, King of the Khmer Empire

Jayavarman II, King of the Khmer Empire

Jayavarman II was a king of ancient Cambodia from 802 AD to 835 AD. The Khmer Empire, the dominant civilization on the Southeast Asian mainland from the 9th century until the mid-15th century, was founded under him. Many rulers after him consider Jayavarman II a warrior and the most powerful king from that time frame that they can recall. 

Jayavarman II is widely regarded as the king that set the foundation of the Angkor period in Cambodian history. This began with the grandiose consecration ritual conducted by him on sacred Mount Mahendraparvata to celebrate ancient Camobia’s independence from Javanese rule. At that ceremony Prince Jayavarman II was proclaimed a “God King”. 

It is suggested that Jayavarman and his followers moved over the course of some years from southeast Cambodia to the northwest, conquering various principalities along the way. He first seized the city of Vyadhapura in the southeast, then moved up the Mekong River to conquer Sambhupura. Once he settled in the Angkor region, Jayavarman reigned not only in Hariharalaya, but also at a place that inscriptions call Amarendra Pura. 

Despite his great role in Khmer history, there are few facts that survive about the king. No inscriptions authored by him have been found, but he is mentioned in numerous others, some of them written long after his death. The most valuable inscription concerning Jayavarman II is the one dated in 1052 AD, two centuries after his death, and found at the Sdok Kak Thom temple in present-day Thailand. It is believed that Jayavarman II had been of aristocratic birth and began his career of conquest in the southeast of present-day Cambodia. There are some other details about his life from these inscriptions that state he married a woman named Hyang Amrita and dedicated a foundation at Lobok Srot, in the southeast. 

King Jayavarman II died in 850 AD. After his death, he was given the name Parameshwara, "the supreme ruler," an epithet of Sri Shiva. After his death, he was formally honored in the Preah Ko temple in Roulous, built by King Indravarman I.

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