A History of South-East Asia by D G E Hall (auth.)

By D G E Hall (auth.)

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2 The spread of Indian culture, he believes, came as a result of an intensification of Indian trade with South-East Asia early in the Christian era. He does not support the theory of a mass emigration of fugitives from India, but sees Indian trading settlements arising in South-East Asian ports, through which the arrival was facilitated of more cultivated elements, priests and literati, able to disseminate Indian culture. The contact between the Mediterranean world and India, he explains, followed by the foundation of the Maurya and Kushan empires on the one hand, and the rise of the Seleucid and Roman empires on the other, led to an important trade in luxury articles between East and West.

12 CH. 2 SOUTH-EAST ASIAN PROTO-HISTORY IJ must, however, beware of using the term 'colonies' to describe these settlements, or reading backwards the conditions of a later age when there is evidence that at certain emporia a nucleus of traders would remain behind during the wet monsoon to act as agents for the others and particularly to collect local produce pending the return of the trading fleets. Furthermore, since the myth has grown up that the trading relations in the first instance, and the import of Indian culture in the second, have to be explained in terms of Indian enterprise alone, the point must be clearly made that the Malays (Indonesians) were par excellence a sea-going people, and indications are not wanting that they resorted to the ports of India and Ceylon every bit as much as the shipmen of India and Ceylon to the ports of South-East Asia.

Funan represents the modern Chinese pronunciation of two characters once pronounced B'iu-nam, the name by which they knew the pre-Khmer kingdom, whose original settlements were along the Mekong between Chaudoc and Phnom Penh. This was not its real name, which is unknown, but the title assumed by its rulers. It is the modern Khmer word phnom, 'mountain', in Old Khmer bnam, and the full CH. 2 SOUTH-EAST ASIAN PROTO-HISTORY title was kurung bnam, 'king of the mountain', the vernacular equivalent of the Sanskrit iailaraja, itself reminiscent of the title borne by the Pallava Kings of Conjeveram in south India.

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