November 22, 2012posted by: casaangkor
“The Large City”
Of all the Angkor temples, it was the Bayon, at the centre of Angkor Thom, which most confounded the archaeologists. In earlier chapters, when discussing the chronology of the monuments, we touched briefly on the debate that ran with respect to the dating of its construction, based, until 1923, on the false identification of the “Central Mountain” mentioned in the inscription of Sdok Kak Thom – which referred in fact to Phnom Bakheng and not to the Bayon. This latter was therefore no longer assumed to be the “temple-mountain” of Yasodharapura, the capital of king Yasovarman dating from the end of the 9th century, and was instead recognised as the official sanctuary of the last city of Angkor Thom, reconstructed by Jayavarman VII towards the end of the 12th century following its sacking by the Chams.
It may seem surprising that, contrary to its function, a temple of this size was built without any external enclosure wall or moat – until one appreciates that these were in effect formed by the ramparts of the city of Angkor Thom itself and by its moats, with the gates taking the place of gopuras.