Saturday, September 5, 2020

Kingdom of Funan

The kingdom of “Funan,” as it was known to the Chinese from the 3rd to 7th centuries CE, comprised many semi-autonomous kingdoms in southeastern mainland Southeast Asia. Inhabitants of Funan probably spoke a Malayo-Polynesian language, as in neighboring Champa, and were heavily influenced both politically and culturally by South Asia.

The kings of Funan (3rd to 7th centuries A.D.) and those of ancient Cambodia were said to descend from a Brahman who had come from India and from the daughter of the serpent king of the country. According to legendary, Funan name possibly meaning 'mountain' in Khmer was founded when an Indian Brahmin named Kaundinya following a dream, acquired a magic bow and set sail, eventually reaching the coast of Cambodia where he was met by the local ruler, a woman named Liu-ye. Liu-ye actually was the ruler of the Kingdom of Champa. She at first sought to resist, but unable to counteract his magic bow, she submitted, they were married, and founded the first dynasty of Funan rulers.

In the early 3rd century, Kingdom of Funan extended to South Vietnam, Cambodia, central Thailand, northern Malaya and southern Myanmar.

The most outstanding figure in the history of Funan was a military leader named ‘Fan Man’ or ‘Fan Shih-man’ who ascended the throne by popular acclaim. The text says “He took the title of the Great King of Funan. He had great ships built, and after crossing the wide seas, he attacked more than ten kingdoms…”

Chinese emissaries who visited it during the Jin Dynasty (265-419 PE) referred to the Funan Kingdom as having already expanded its sphere of influence to encompass parts of the Malay Peninsula, and as having a tax on gold, “here are many walled towns, palaces and houses… they mostly take their food on silver utensils. The taxes are paid in gold, silver, pearls and perfumes”.

The disappearance of the empire of Funan in the middle of the sixth century came, according to the Chinese account, through the rebellion of a feudatory state named Chenla.

The kingdom of Chenla is on the south-west of Lin-yi. It was originally a vassal kingdom of Funan. The family name of the king was Ch’a-li and his personal name Che-to-sseu-na. His predecessors had gradually increased the power of the country. Che-to-sseu-na attacked Funan and conquered it.
Kingdom of Funan
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