The political significance of gifts of power in the Khmer and Mercian kingdoms 793-926

Andrew Wareham, Dominic Goodall

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    This paper compares four Latin charters and one recently discovered Sanskrit inscription recording various royal gifts of taxation to religious foundations in the contemporary Mercian and Khmer kingdoms in the early ninth and early tenth centuries. It draws upon philology and medieval history as its principal disciplines, and considers three models of gift-giving as a way of interpreting the data. Close textual investigation of these records is used to challenge narratives which suggest that such gifts of power weakened the power of rulers, and thus led to the breakup of states. It is equally possible to argue that these gifts of power enhanced the power of Mercian and Khmer kings. Moreover, other powerful factors, such as a cultural renaissance or environmental crisis, may be adduced to explain the context for the compilation of these key documents, thereby opening up new perspectives for enquiry into the history of the Khmer and Mercian kingdoms in the early medieval period.

    © 2017 The Author(s). This is the final published version of the article (version of record) uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. It first appeared online via Austrian Academy of Sciences Press at the link below.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages53
    JournalMedieval Worlds
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


    • Cambodia
    • ; charters
    • gifts
    • Hwicce
    • immunities
    • inscriptions
    • Khmer
    • Laos
    • Latin
    • Mercia
    • military
    • Śaivism
    • Sanskrit
    • taxation
    • Vat Phu

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