Khmer Empire Khmer Empire (k u mer') [ key ], ancient kingdom of SE Asia. In the 6th cent. the Cambodians, or Khmers, established an empire roughly corresponding to modern Cambodia and Laos . Divided during the 8th cent., it was reunited under the rule of Jayavarman II in the early 9th cent.; the capital was established in the area of Angkor by the king Yasovarman I (r. 889–900). The Angkor period (889–1434), the golden age of Khmer civilization, saw the empire at its greatest extent; it held sway over the valleys of the lower Menam (in present-day Thailand) and the lower Mekong (present-day Cambodia and Vietnam), as well as N into Laos. The Khmer civilization was largely formed by Indian cultural influences. Buddhism flourished side by side with the worship of Shiva and of other Hindu gods, while both religions coalesced with the cult of the deified king. In the Angkor period many Indian scholars, artists, and religious
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