There is no reason to suppose that these early states possessed borders in anything like the modern sense. To begin with, centres of power were generally separated by geographical barriers - mountains, seas, jungles - which made the drawing of a line of demarcation unnecessary. The actual power of any ruler and court, moreover, fluctuated over time: even the transition between wet and dry seasons or the regular change in the direction of the monsoons could mean a difference in the practical extent of a ruler political authority. Southeast Asia, too, has been relatively sparsely populated throughout much of its history, and the control of people was at least as important as control of territory. This meant that rulers generally constructed their polities by means of an elaborate series of alliances with those who could deliver them support. And finally, the Hindu-Buddhist cosmology which the new rulers adopted emphasized the boundless dominion of the ruler, making them reluctant to set any formal geographical limit to their authority.
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