A treasure trove of ancient and valuable artifacts have recently been discovered at a tomb located in southeastern South Korea , reports The Korea Times . According to the Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (GNRICH), these artifacts can be traced back to the legendary 5th century Silla Kingdom, which ruled much of the Korean Peninsula for nearly 1,000 years (from 57 BC to 935 AD).
At a press conference on December 7, GNRICH officials released a detailed list of the items that had been found inside the tomb. This impressive and virtually priceless haul included:
- A gilt-bronze crown
- Pairs of gold pendants and earrings
- A gold chest ornament
- A dozen gold and silver bracelets and rings
- Multiple gilt-bronze ornaments decorated with golden-edged jewel beetles
- A stone mortar and pestle
- A knife decorated in silver
- 50 pieces of mica, which in the Taoist tradition are believed to deliver eternal youth and longevity
- Hundreds of Go (baduk) stones, which were used to play an ancient East Asian board game
Archaeologists found these rare items while digging at the massive Jjoksaem Excavation site near the city of Gyeongju, on South Korea ’s east coast 371 kilometers from Seoul. Home to nearly 300,000 people in the present day, Gyeongju has been occupied continuously for centuries, and was once the capital city of the mighty Silla Kingdom.
The site of the Silla Kingdom tomb no. 44 which archaeologists at Jjoksaem in Gyeongju, South Korea, have been excavating. Go stones were discovered near the bottom of the tomb and jewel beetle ornaments near the top. (Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage)
Who Was She? The Silla Kingdom Artifacts Reveal All
Based on the material nature of the artifacts discovered, and the advanced craftsmanship responsible for their creation, the GNRICH team has concluded that tomb number 44 was the burial site of a female who hailed from an aristocratic family . They estimate she was entombed at this location sometime in the late 5th century AD, when the Silla Kingdom still shared power on the Korean Peninsula with the Baekje and Goguryeo Kingdoms (the Silla Kingdom conquered both and unified the Peninsula in 668 AD).
“There is a possibility that the [tomb’s owner] is an under aged person, as the size of the accessories are overall smaller than those found at other ancient tombs,” explained an excited Sim Hyeon-cheol, a GNRICH-affiliated researcher who spoke with South Korea ’s Yonhap News Agency .
Archaeologists at the ancient Silla Kingdom tomb in Gyeongju in South Korea found a veritable treasure trove of valuable artifacts, including gold accessories. (Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage)
Surprising Discovery of Baduk Stones: Did Women Play Go?
Archaeologists have been working at tomb number 44 since it was first excavated in 2014. Six years later it is still capable of producing surprises. In this case, it was the presence of the baduk stones that GNRICH personnel found most notable. These stones have been found at Gyeongju excavation sites before, but only in the tombs of males from noble or royal families. This had led GNRICH researchers to conclude that only aristocratic men or boys were allowed to play baduk ( a game known as Go in most of East Asia).
- The Age-Old Bone-Rank Caste System of the Korean Kingdom of Silla
- Fun for Everyone: The Evolving History of Board Games
- Major Kingdom Finds Provide New Insights Into Ancient Korean Society
Natural Go stones were found in the ancient Silla Kingdom tomb in Gyeongju in South Korea. (Gyeongju National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage)
This intellectually challenging game was invented in China in approximately 500 BC and is still around today, giving it the title of the oldest continuously played board game in the world. While 21 st century enthusiasts come from a wide range of backgrounds, the game was strictly confined to elite circles during the time of the Silla Kingdom, when even recreational activities were governed by caste system rules.
Clearly, if baduk was normally reserved for men the young woman buried in tomb number 44 was exempted from the rules. Perhaps she was considered to be a special person, or perhaps women from aristocratic backgrounds were allowed to practice this exalted game after all. Either way, as Sim Hyeon-cheol notes, this new discovery “gives new interpretation and meaning to [ancient] baduk culture.”
Image of Chinese woman playing Go from time of Tang Dynasty around 744 AD. Previously it was believed that baduk, the board game known as Go, was reserved for men. This latest discovery will lead experts to question this assumption.
The Bone-Ranking System of the Silla Kingdom
The Silla Kingdom is viewed with fascination by archaeologists, who’ve been able to uncover the truth about the rigid caste system that determined life chances for the Kingdom’s citizens through their work at Gyeongju. The bounty of priceless items found in the young woman’s tomb is typical of the immense wealth and lavish lifestyle enjoyed by Silla elites, to whom a privileged life was taken as a birthright.
During the 6 th century AD, the unyielding and unforgiving caste traditions that defined life in the Silla Kingdom were codified under a system called “golpum”, which has been translated to “bone-rank.” The enigmatic bone-rank system was applied only to those who were descended from either royalty or nobility, and it is they who were granted exclusive access to positions of political power in Gyeongju.
Decorations from golden-edged jeweled beetles found in tomb No. 44 at Jjoksaem in Gyeongju,
North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea (Image: Gyeongju National Research
Institute of Cultural Heritage)
To become a king or queen in the Silla Dynasty, one had to be of full royal blood, meaning candidates were required to be descended from previous kings and queens on both sides of their family. Individuals with this genetic profile were classified as seonggol, or “sacred bone,” signifying their virtually godlike status.
Next in rank were those who carried royal genes from one side of their family but noble genes from the other, and they were known as jingol or “true bone.” They occupied important positions directly below monarchs, although they could never become a king or queen no matter how qualified and proficient they might be.
A notch below the bone-ranks were the head ranks, classified by stratus 6, 5, and 4 in descending order of importance and privilege. These individuals carried a mixture of royal, noble, and commoner blood, and they preserved enough status to be eligible to hold ministerial or military posts, or occupy other less prestigious spots on the royal governing hierarchy. Significantly, no archaeological discoveries have unearthed data about head ranks 3, 2, or 1, who presumably were tasked to serve the whims of Silla elites.
Overall, what the ongoing excavations at Gyeongju have revealed is detailed information about the architecture of an extraordinarily strict caste system, which heaped wealth and privilege on a chosen few and left the remaining scraps to those who were lucky enough to have a few droplets of royal or noble blood circulating through their veins.
Death Knows No Castes
At this time, little is known about the true identity of the young woman who once occupied tomb number 44 and her highly-ranked bones have long since turned to dust. Further exploration of the site could find evidence to suggest she was descended from royalty, which may explain why she was buried with riches and allowed to play a privileged game.
Regardless of her exact status, it is clear that she lived a life of luxury and leisure, right up to the moment of her untimely death. The fact that she died so young reveals an important fact about caste systems , which is that no matter how pampered and privileged someone might be, no amount of wealth can protect them from the cruel and tragic hand of fate.
Cleopatra’s strength was her keen intellect, Queen Nefertiti was almost a goddess, Viking Chief Tore Hund was a hero of his people, and Marcus Aurelius was a respected emperor. From the strong and masterful to the shrewd and brave, the world has been forever changed by popular leaders throughout time. Though perhaps flawed and not always beloved, these rulers gained a reputation for unforgettable leadership. Read all about them in this Ancient Origins special available here.
Top archeological discoveries in 2020-2021
2020 was a very tough year in most sectors. The archeological industry is one of those that experienced a significant setback. However, the process of making discoveries was not so much grounded as it continued.
There have been many discoveries made all through the world. Some are major, while some are minor discoveries. However, there are those discoveries that have been instrumental and quite historical.
We have done a highlight of the best and top discoveries that have been on the trend in 2020. Many other discoveries have been made and are not yet captured in this article. Moreover, some have not been charged in the books of history and are under investigation. Have a look.
In the Kostenki-Borshevo complex that is located at River Doni, in Europe, there is a famous historical site. The site is still under exploration and has given rise to several discoveries. The Mammoth bone structures have a design that is modern, giving rise to questions about their construction.
The structure has a circular shape and is very large. It was constructed 25000 years ago and had a diameter of 12.5 meters. In terms of age, it is among the oldest mammoths and the largest too. Its construction involved51 lower jaws and 64 upper jaws. Several bones with different shapes were also used. Several animal bones were also found.
In Cairo, Egypt, you will find the best archaeological sites in Africa. Several discoveries also arise day today. 2020 has been a year to reveal many of the findings. The sacred burial complex has been instrumental in helping in discovering many things.
One hundred forty sealed Sarcophangis have so far been discovered. Interestingly, most of them were found with mummies to the inside. The coffins are colorful and are backdated to 664-332 BC. Forty golden statues were also found, making the grave goods quite impressive.
One of the most significant discoveries has been the tomb of the legendary Romulus. He is the founder of Rome. The location was found under the temple that is buried underground right beneath the Roman Forum. In such an area, several discoveries have archeologists since the 6 th century.
You will find the underground temple that was buried near the Lapis in Niger. It is an ancient black shrine that is beneath the Curia stairway. The altar was also clearly spotted, constructed at the exact place where Romulus was buried.
However, there was no bone found in the coffin to determine if it truly belongs to Romulus. The historic story tells that the point is located exactly where he was buried.
In Turkey, you will find a huge rock that has an inscription of the word Luwian. It is a language that the Iron Age and bronze initially used. The historical bit of it is that it got lost to the Konya Plain. On the initial research, the researcher discovered the hieroglyphs, which is a sign of the king.
On further research, the archaeologists realized that the stone stele got erected by King Harpatu in the 8 th Century BC. The Turkmen-Karahoyuk is assumed to be the capital city, and the king was mentioned to gave defeated the Muksa Kingdom. The historic site has had a significant effect on the making of many other discoveries in the world.
According to history, between 41000 and 52000 years ago, someone innovatively took fibers and twisted them. He put them in a stone tool that has been in existence to date. It, therefore, provided live and existing evidence that there was some artwork during that time.
One thing that researchers admit is that the cord needed some skills to have it woven. It employed mastering several things such as the seasoning of plants and also the choice of plants. Something that provides some practical evidence is that some mathematics was applied in the making of the cord.
Writing is an art that has been in existence for a very long time. The Francois desert also hosts the Tehran department of archeology that also claims the Iranian Plateau. At this point, you will find the birthplace of writing based on the art of writing on the rocks. It marks the revolutionary history of the world.
Understanding the inscription has taken several years as it was on the caved tablets. In Iran, the southwest of Susa. However, there is the belief that the writing predates Mesopotamia, which has been for a long time been known to be the cradle for hand. The writings are quite visible and boast a great historical value.
The mysterious series of petroglyphs that the Pueblo people created have been one of the most inspiring discoveries. In this discovery, there has been a lot of technology in determining making the breakthrough. Laser scanning and photogrammetry have been significantly employed in achieving progress towards the realization of the discovery.
More stuff has therefore been seen by the researchers using devices than using the naked eyes. Ancestral tools and evidence have since then been spotted at the site. Scenes of rock art and the Puebloan culture have been traced, making the continuity possible.
A fantastic thing, the site still has very many things that need some research to understand better. The native Americans have dominated the region hence creating more hope for more discoveries.
The Ornate Treasures got discovered in the Tomb of Silla Princess. They are grave goods that were buried along with Silla the Princess. Its tomb is located at the Gyeongju in the North of South Korea. You will therefore enjoy the series of discoveries that have been made in the area.
The Gilt-Bronze crown and the gold chest ornaments were found in the area. You will also find bracelets, earrings, and other silver tools at the same point. Hundreds of stones were also found in the place and were symbolic of cultural value.
On the same grave, more discoveries are to be made because the point is still valuable.
Many discoveries were realized in the year 2020. The most exciting thing is that they have opened the doors to having more discoveries in 2021. Many other things have been discovered but have not been captured.
All the continents have had discoveries that have marked landslide impact on many of the findings. Interestingly, more discoveries are related to the ones that have been featured in the book of history.
Until its founding as a full-fledged kingdom, Silla was recorded using several hanja combinations to phonetically approximate its native Korean name, including 斯盧 (사로, Saro), 斯羅 (사라, Sara), 徐那(伐) (서나[벌], Seona[beol]), 徐耶(伐) (서야[벌], Seoya[beol]), 徐羅(伐) (서라[벌], Seora[beol]), and 徐伐 (서벌, Seobeol).
In 504, Jijeung of Silla standardized the characters into 新羅 (신라), which in Modern Korean is pronounced "Silla".
One etymological hypothesis suggests that the name Seorabeol might have been the origin of the word Seoul, meaning "capital city", and also the name of the present capital of South Korea, which was previously known as Hansung or Hanyang. The name of the Silla capital may have changed into its Late Middle Korean form Syeo-beul (셔블), meaning "royal capital city," which might have changed to Syeo-ul (셔울) soon after, and finally resulted in Seoul (서울 seo-ul) in the Modern Korean language.
The name of either Silla or its capital Seorabeol was widely used throughout Northeast Asia as the ethnonym for the people of Silla, appearing as Shiragi in Japanese and as Solgo or Solho in the language of the medieval Jurchens and their later descendants, the Manchus, respectively. In the modern Mongolian language, Korea and Koreans are still known as Солонгос (Solongos), which seems to be an alteration of Silla influenced by the Mongolian word for "rainbow" (солонго solongo).
Silla was also referred to as Gyerim (鷄林, 계림), literally "chicken forest," a name that has its origins in the forest near the Silla capital. Legend has it that the state's founder was born in the same forest, hatched from the egg of a cockatrice (Korean: gyeryong, 雞龍, 계룡, literally "chicken-dragon").
During the Proto–Three Kingdoms period, central and southern Korea consisted of three confederacies called the Samhan. Silla began as Saro-guk, a statelet within the 12-member confederacy known as Jinhan. Saro-guk consisted of six villages and six clans.
According to Korean records, Silla was founded by Bak Hyeokgeose of Silla in 57 BC, around present-day Gyeongju. Hyeokgeose is said to have been hatched from an egg laid from a white horse, and when he turned 13, six clans submitted to him as king and established Saro-guk (also called Seona) [ who? ] . He is also the progenitor of the Bak (박) clan, now one of the most common family names in Korea.
The Samguk Sagi and History of the Northern Dynasties state that the original Lelang Commandery which later became the Jinhan confederacy (辰韓) was the origin of Silla.    The people claimed they were descendants of Chinese Qin dynasty (秦, also pronounced as "Jin" in Korean) migrants who, fleeing Qin's forced labour policies, moved to the Mahan confederacy, which gave them land to the east. The confederacy was also called Qinhan (秦韓).        
In various inscriptions on monuments on the 13th king Munmu of Silla, it is recorded that King Munmu possibly has partial Xiongnu ancestry, via the Han dynasty general Jin Midi.    According to several historians, it is possible that this unknown tribe was originally of Koreanic origin and joined the Xiongnu confederation. Later the tribes ruling family returned to Korea and married into the royal family of Silla. There are also some Korean researchers that point out that the grave goods of Silla and of the eastern Xiongnu are alike,      and some researchers insist that the Silla king is descended from Xiongnu.       The Korean public broadcaster KBS has produced a documentary about this subject.   
Placename evidence, particularly placename glosses in the Samguk sagi, suggests that Japonic languages were spoken in central and southern parts of the Korean peninsula in the early centuries of the current era. Several linguists and historians concluded that a Peninsular Japonic language was natively spoken in these areas and subsequently displaced by later arriving Korean.  Alexander Vovin concluded that there is a Japonic substratum in the Sillan language and in its descended dialects such as modern Korean and Jeju language. 
Similarly, Whitman (2012) concluded that the Korean-speakers arrived in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula at around 300 BC and coexist with the descendants of the Japonic Mumun cultivators (or assimilated them). Both had influence on each other and a later founder effect diminished the internal variety of both language families. 
Early period Edit
By the 2nd century, Silla existed as a distinct state in the southeastern area of the Korean peninsula. It expanded its influence over neighboring Jinhan chiefdoms, but through the 3rd century was probably no more than the strongest city-state in a loose federation.
To the west, Baekje had centralized into a kingdom by about 250, overtaking the Mahan confederacy. To the southwest, Byeonhan was being replaced by the Gaya confederacy. In northern Korea, Goguryeo, a kingdom by about 50 AD, destroyed the last Chinese commandery in 313 and had grown into a threatening regional power.
Emergence of a centralized monarchy Edit
Naemul of Silla (356–402) of the Gim clan established a hereditary monarchy and took the royal title of Maripgan (麻立干 마립간). However, in Samguk Sagi, Naemul of Silla still appears as a title of Isageum (泥師今 이사금). He is considered by many historians as the starting point of the Gyeongju Gim (Kim) dynasty, which lasted more than 550 years. However, even when Gim monopolized the throne for more than 500 years, the worship of the founder Bak Hyeokgeose continued.
In 377, Silla sent emissaries to China and established relations with Goguryeo. Facing pressure from Baekje in the west and Japan in the south,  in the later part of the 4th century, Silla allied with Goguryeo. However, when Goguryeo began to expand its territory southward, moving its capital to Pyongyang in 427, Nulji of Silla was forced to ally with Baekje.
By the time of Beopheung of Silla (514–540), Silla was a full-fledged kingdom, with Buddhism as state religion, and its own Korean era name. Silla absorbed the Gaya confederacy during the Gaya–Silla Wars, annexing Geumgwan Gaya in 532 and conquering Daegaya in 562, thereby expanding its borders to the Nakdong River basin.
Jinheung of Silla (540–576) established a strong military force. Silla helped Baekje drive Goguryeo out of the Han River (Seoul) area, and then wrested control of the entire strategic region from Baekje in 553, breaching the 120-year Baekje-Silla alliance. Also, King Jinheung established the Hwarang.
The early period ended with the death of Jindeok of Silla and the demise of the "hallowed bone" (Hangul: 성골 seonggol) rank system.
Etymology of title Edit
The royal title Maripgan (Hangul: 마립간) is analyzed into two elements in many popular explanations, with the first element alleged to be from the Korean root
- mari (마리) or meori (머리), meaning "head"/ countable of "head / per head" or "hair"
- mang-rip or mang-nip (網笠), "a traditional-style hat made of horsehair"
- mo-rip (毛笠), "a kind of hat worn by servants in the old days"
- mi-rip or mi-reup, meaning "a knack, a trick, the hang of something"
- madi (맏이) or maji (맏히), meaning "the firstborn, the eldest (child of a family) an elder, a senior, a person whose age is greater than someone else's age"
- mat-jip (맛집), meaning "the house in which the head of a household lives, the main house on an estate"
- mŏrŏ or maru (마루), meaning "ridge, peak, crest (of a roof, a mountain, a wave, etc.) zenith, climax, prime the first, the standard"
- maru (마루) or mallu, meaning "floor"
or from a word related to Middle Korean marh meaning "stake, post, pile, picket, peg, pin (of a tent)".
The second element, gan (Hangul: 간), is generally believed to be related to the Middle Korean word han (Hangul: 한) meaning "great, grand, many, much", which was previously used for ruling princes in southern Korea, and may have some relationship with the Mongol/Turkic title Khan.
Later Silla Edit
In the 7th century Silla allied itself with the Chinese Tang dynasty. In 660, under Muyeol of Silla (654-661), Silla subjugated Baekje. In 668, under King Munmu of Silla (King Muyeol's successor) and General Gim Yu-sin, Silla conquered Goguryeo to its north. Silla then fought for nearly a decade to expel Chinese forces on the peninsula intent on creating Tang colonies there to finally establish a unified kingdom as far north as modern Pyongyang.  The northern region of the defunct Goguryeo state later reemerged as Balhae.
Silla's middle period is characterized by the rising power of the monarchy at the expense of the jingol nobility. This was made possible by the new wealth and prestige garnered as a result of Silla's unification of the peninsula, as well as the monarchy's successful suppression of several armed aristocratic revolts following early upon unification, which afforded the king the opportunity of purging the most powerful families and rivals to central authority. Further, for a brief period of about a century from the late 7th to late 8th centuries the monarchy made an attempt to divest aristocratic officialdom of their landed base by instituting a system of salary payments, or office land (jikjeon, 직전, 職田), in lieu of the former system whereby aristocratic officials were given grants of land to exploit as salary (the so–called tax villages, or nog-eup, 녹읍, 祿邑).
By the late 8th century, however, these royal initiatives had failed to check the power of the entrenched aristocracy. The mid to late 8th century saw renewed revolts led by branches of the Gim clan which effectively limited royal authority. Most prominent of these was a revolt led by Gim Daegong that persisted for three years. One key evidence of the erosion of kingly authority was the rescinding of the office land system and the re-institution of the former tax village system as salary land for aristocratic officialdom in 757.
The middle period of Silla came to an end with the assassination of Hyegong of Silla in 780, terminating the kingly line of succession of Muyeol of Silla, the architect of Silla's unification of the peninsula. Hyegong's demise was a bloody one, the culmination of an extended civil war involving most of the kingdom's high–ranking noble families. With Hyegong's death, during the remaining years of Silla, the king was reduced to little more than a figurehead as powerful aristocratic families became increasingly independent of central control.
Thereafter the Silla kingship was fixed in the house of Wonseong of Silla (785–798), though the office itself was continually contested among various branches of the Gim lineage.
Nevertheless, the middle period of Silla witnessed the state at its zenith, the brief consolidation of royal power, and the attempt to institute a Chinese style bureaucratic system.
Decline and fall Edit
The final century and a half of the Silla state was one of nearly constant upheaval and civil war as the king was reduced to little more than a figurehead and powerful aristocratic families rose to actual dominance outside the capital and royal court.
The tail end of this period, called the Later Three Kingdoms period, briefly saw the emergence of the kingdoms of Later Baekje and Later Goguryeo, which were really composed of military forces capitalizing on their respective region's historical background, and Silla's submission to the Goryeo dynasty.
From at least the 6th century, when Silla acquired a detailed system of law and governance, social status and official advancement were dictated by the bone rank system. This rigid lineage-based system also dictated clothing, house size and the permitted range of marriage.
Since its emergence as a centralized polity Silla society had been characterized by its strict aristocratic makeup. Silla had two royal classes: "sacred bone" (seonggol, 성골, 聖骨) and "true bone" (jingol, 진골, 眞骨). Up until the reign of King Muyeol this aristocracy had been divided into "sacred bone" and "true bone" aristocrats, with the former differentiated by their eligibility to attain the kingship. This duality had ended when Queen Jindeok, the last ruler from the "sacred bone" class, died in 654.  The numbers of "sacred bone" aristocrats had been decreasing for generations, as the title was only conferred to those whose parents were both "sacred bones", whereas children of a "sacred" and a "true bone" parent were considered as "true bones". There were also many ways for a "sacred bone" to be demoted to a "true bone", thus making the entire system even more likely to collapse eventually.
The king (or queen) theoretically was an absolute monarch, but royal powers were somewhat constrained by a strong aristocracy.
The "Hwabaek" (화백,和白) served as royal council with decision-making authorities on some vital issues like succession to the throne or declarations of war. The Hwabaek was headed by a person (Sangdaedeung) chosen from the "sacred bone" rank. One of the key decisions of this royal council was the adoption of Buddhism as state religion. 
Following unification Silla began to rely more upon Chinese models of bureaucracy to administer its greatly expanded territory. This was a marked change from pre-unification days when the Silla monarchy stressed Buddhism, and the Silla monarch's role as a "Buddha-king". Another salient factor in post-unification politics were the increasing tensions between the Korean monarchy and aristocracy.
The early Silla military was built around a small number of Silla royal guards designed to protect royalty and nobility and in times of war served as the primary military force if needed. Due to the frequency of conflicts between Baekje and Goguryeo as well as Yamato Japan, Silla created six local garrisons one for each district. The royal guards eventually morphed into "sworn banner" or Sodang units. In 625 another group of Sodang was created. Garrison soldiers were responsible for local defense and also served as a police force.
A number of Silla's greatest generals and military leaders were Hwarang (equivalent to the Western knights or chevaliers). Originally a social group, due to the continuous military rivalry between the Three Kingdoms of Korea, they eventually transformed from a group of elite male aristocratic youth into soldiers and military leaders. Hwarang were key in the fall of Goguryeo (which resulted in the unification of the Korean Peninsula under Unified Silla) and the Silla–Tang Wars, which expelled Tang forces in the other two Korean kingdoms.
A significant number of Silla tombs can still be found in Gyeongju, the capital of Silla. Silla tombs consist of a stone chamber surrounded by a soil mound. The historic area around Gyeongju was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000.  Much of it is also protected as part of Gyeongju National Park. Additionally, two villages near Gyeongju named Hahoe and Yangdong Folk Village were submitted for UNESCO heritages in 2008 or later by related cities and the South Korean government.  Since the tombs were harder to break into than those of Baekje, a larger number of objects has been preserved.  Notable amongst these are Silla's elaborate gold crowns and jewelry.
The massive Bronze Bell of King Seongdeok the Great of Silla is known to produce a distinctive sound. Cheomseongdae near Gyeongju is the oldest extant astronomical observatory in East Asia but some disagree on its exact functions. It was built during the reign of Queen Seondeok (632–647).
Muslim traders brought the name "Silla" to the world outside the traditional East Asian sphere through the Silk Road. Geographers of the Arab and Persian world, including ibn Khurdadhbih, al-Masudi, Dimashiki, Al-Nuwayri, and al-Maqrizi, left records about Silla.
The current descendants to the Silla dynasty fall under the Park name. Family records since the last ruler have been provided, but these records have yet to be fully verified.
Centuries after Buddhism originated in India, the Mahayana Buddhism arrived in China through the Silk Route in 1st century CE via Tibet, then to Korea peninsula in 3rd century during the Three Kingdoms Period from where it transmitted to Japan. In Korea, it was adopted as the state religion of 3 constituent polities of the Three Kingdoms Period, first by the Goguryeo (Gaya) in 372 CE, by the Silla in 528 CE, and by the Baekje in 552 CE.  Buddhism was introduced to Silla in 528.  Silla had been exposed to the religion for over a century during which the faith had certainly made inroads into the native populace. The Buddhist monk Ado introduced Silla to Buddhism when he arrived to proselytize in the mid 5th century.  The Samguk yusa and Samguk sagi record following 3 monks among the first to bring Buddhist teaching, or Dharma, to Korea: Malananta (late 4th century) - an Indian Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to King Baekje of Baekje in the southern Korean peninsula in 384, Sundo - a Chinese Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Goguryeo in northern Korea in 372, and Ado - a Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Silla in central Korea.   However, according to legend, the Silla monarchy was convinced to adopt the faith by the martyrdom of the Silla court noble Ichadon, who was executed for his Buddhist faith by the Silla king in 527 only to have his blood flow the color of milk.
The importance of Buddhism in Silla society of the late early period is difficult to exaggerate. From King Beopheung and for the following six reigns Silla kings adopted Buddhist names and came to portray themselves as Buddhist–kings. 
Silla's strong Buddhist nature is also reflected by the thousands of remnant Buddhist stone figures and carvings, mostly importantly on Namsan. The international influence of the Tang Dynasty on these figures and carvings can be witnessed in the hallmarks of a round full form, a stern expression of the face, and drapery that clings to the body, but stylistic elements of native Korean culture can still be identified. 
Korea's and Iran's long-running relationship started with cultural exchanges date back to the Three Kingdoms of Korea era, more than 1600 years ago by the way of the Silk Road. A dark blue glass was found in the Cheonmachong Tomb, one of Silla's royal tombs unearthed in Gyeongju. An exotic golden sword was found in Gyerim-ro, a street also located in Gyeongju. These are all relics that are presumed to be sent to Silla from ancient Iran or Persia through the Silk Road. Other items uncovered during the excavation [ which? ] include a silver bowl engraved with an image of the Persian goddess Anahita a golden dagger from Persia clay busts and figurines portraying Middle Eastern merchants.
It was only during the Goryeo Dynasty during King HyeonJong's reign when trade with Persia was officially recorded in Korean history. But in academic circles, it is presumed that both countries had active cultural exchanges during the 7th century Silla era which means the relationship between Korea and Iran began more than 1,500 years ago. "In a history book written by the Persian scholar Khurdadbid, it states that Silla is located at the eastern end of China and reads 'In this beautiful country Silla, there is much gold, majestetic cities and hardworking people. Their culture is comparable with Persia'.  Samguk Sagi— the official chronicle of the Three Kingdoms era, compiled in 1145—contains further descriptions of commercial items sold by Middle Eastern merchants and widely used in Silla society. The influence of Iranian culture was profoundly felt in other ways as well, most notably in the fields of music, visual arts, and literature. The popularity of Iranian designs in Korea can be seen in the widespread use of pearl-studded roundels and symmetrical, zoomorphic patterns.
An ancient Persian epic poem, the Kushnameh, contains detailed descriptions of Silla.  Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye said during a festival celebrating Iran and Korea's 1,500 years of shared cultural ties, "The Kushnameh, that tells of a Persian prince who went to Silla in the seventh century and got married with a Korean princess, thus forming a royal marriage.” 
The name "Goryeo" (Korean: 고려 Hanja: 高麗 MR: Koryŏ), which is the source of the name "Korea", was originally used by Goguryeo (Korean: 고구려 Hanja: 高句麗 MR: Koguryŏ) of the Three Kingdoms of Korea beginning in the early 5th century.  In 918, Goryeo was founded as the successor to Goguryeo and inherited its name.  Historically, Goguryeo (37 BC–668 AD), Later Goguryeo (901–918), and Goryeo (918–1392) all used the name "Goryeo".  Their historiographical names were implemented in the Samguk sagi in the 12th century.  Goryeo also used the names Samhan and Haedong, meaning "East of the Sea". 
[U]ntil 1270, when Koryŏ capitulated to the Mongols after thirty years of resistance, early Koryŏ rulers and most of its officials had held a "pluralist" (tawŏnjŏk) outlook that recognized greater and equal empires in China and in Manchuria, while positing Koryŏ as the center of a separate and bounded world ruled by the Koryŏ emperor, who claimed a ritual status reserved for the Son of Heaven. 
Goryeo positioned itself at the center of its own "world" ( 천하 天下 ) called "Haedong".  Haedong, meaning "East of the Sea", was a distinct and independent world that encompassed the historical domain of the "Samhan", another name for the Three Kingdoms of Korea.  The rulers of Goryeo, or Haedong, used the titles of emperor and Son of Heaven.  Imperial titles were used since the founding of Goryeo, and the last king of Silla addressed Wang Geon as the Son of Heaven when he capitulated.  Posthumously, temple names with the imperial characters of progenitor ( 조 祖 ) and ancestor ( 종 宗 ) were used.  Imperial designations and terminology were widely used, such as "empress", "imperial crown prince", "imperial edict", and "imperial palace".  
The rulers of Goryeo donned imperial yellow clothing, made sacrifices to Heaven, and invested sons as kings.  Goryeo used the Three Departments and Six Ministries imperial system of the Tang dynasty and had its own "microtributary system" that included Jurchen tribes outside its borders.   The military of Goryeo was organized into 5 armies, like an empire, as opposed to 3, like a kingdom.  Goryeo maintained multiple capitals: the main capital "Gaegyeong" (also called "Hwangdo" or "Imperial Capital")  in modern-day Kaesong, the "Western Capital" in modern-day Pyongyang, the "Eastern Capital" in modern-day Gyeongju, and the "Southern Capital" in modern-day Seoul.  The main capital and main palace were designed and intended to be an imperial capital and imperial palace.   The secondary capitals represented the capitals of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. 
The Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties were all well informed of, and tolerated, Goryeo's imperial claims and practices.   According to Henry Em, "[a]t times Song reception rituals for Koryŏ envoys and Koryŏ reception rituals for imperial envoys from Song, Liao, and Jin suggested equal rather than hierarchical relations".  In 1270, Goryeo capitulated to the Mongols and became a semi-autonomous "son-in-law state" ( 부마국 駙馬國 ) of the Yuan dynasty, bringing an end to its imperial system. The Yuan dynasty demoted the imperial titles of Goryeo and added "chung" ( 충 忠 ), meaning "loyalty", to the temple names of Goryeo kings, beginning with Chungnyeol. This continued until the mid-14th century, when Gongmin declared independence. 
Early period Edit
In the late 7th century, the kingdom of Silla unified the Three Kingdoms of Korea and entered a period known in historiography as "Later Silla" or "Unified Silla". Later Silla implemented a national policy of integrating Baekje and Goguryeo refugees called the "Unification of the Samhan", referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea.  However, the Baekje and Goguryeo refugees retained their respective collective consciousnesses and maintained a deep-seated resentment and hostility toward Silla.  Later Silla was initially a period of peace, without a single foreign invasion for 200 years, and commerce, as it engaged in international trade from as distant as the Middle East and maintained maritime leadership in East Asia.    Beginning in the late 8th century, Later Silla was undermined by instability because of political turbulence in the capital and class rigidity in the bone-rank system, leading to the weakening of the central government and the rise of the "hojok" ( 호족 豪族 ) regional lords.  The military officer Gyeon Hwon revived Baekje in 892 with the descendants of the Baekje refugees, and the Buddhist monk Gung Ye revived Goguryeo in 901 with the descendants of the Goguryeo refugees   these states are called "Later Baekje" and "Later Goguryeo" in historiography, and together with Later Silla form the "Later Three Kingdoms".
Later Goguryeo originated in the northern regions of Later Silla, which, along with its capital located in modern-day Kaesong, North Korea, were the strongholds of the Goguryeo refugee descendants.   Among the Goguryeo refugee descendants was Wang Geon,  a member of a prominent maritime hojok based in Kaesong, who traced his ancestry to a great clan of Goguryeo.    Wang Geon entered military service under Gung Ye at the age of 19 in 896, before Later Goguryeo had been established, and over the years accumulated a series of victories over Later Baekje and gained the public's confidence. In particular, using his maritime abilities, he persistently attacked the coast of Later Baekje and occupied key points, including modern-day Naju.  Gung Ye was unstable and cruel: he moved the capital to Cheorwon in 905, changed the name of his kingdom to Majin in 904 then Taebong in 911, changed his era name multiple times, proclaimed himself the Maitreya Buddha, claimed to read minds, and executed numerous subordinates and family members out of paranoia.  In 918, Gung Ye was deposed by his own generals, and Wang Geon was raised to the throne. Wang Geon, who would posthumously be known by his temple name of Taejo or "Grand Progenitor", changed the name of his kingdom back to "Goryeo", adopted the era name of "Heaven's Mandate", and moved the capital back to his home of Kaesong.  Goryeo regarded itself as the successor to Goguryeo and laid claim to Manchuria as its rightful legacy.     One of Taejo's first decrees was to repopulate and defend the ancient Goguryeo capital of Pyongyang, which had been in ruins for a long time afterward, he renamed it the "Western Capital", and before he died, he placed great importance on it in his Ten Injunctions to his descendants.  
In contrast to Gung Ye, who had harbored vengeful animosity toward Silla, Taejo (Wang Geon) was magnanimous toward the weakened kingdom. In 927, Gyeon Hwon, who had vowed to avenge the last king of Baekje when he founded Later Baekje, sacked the capital of Later Silla, forced the king to commit suicide, and installed a puppet on the throne.  Taejo came to Later Silla's aid but suffered a major defeat at the hand of Gyeon Hwon near modern-day Daegu Taejo barely escaped with his life thanks to the self-sacrifices of Generals Shin Sung-gyeom and Kim Nak, and, thereafter, Later Baekje became the dominant military power of the Later Three Kingdoms.  However, the balance of power shifted toward Goryeo with victories over Later Baekje in 930 and 934, and the peaceful annexation of Later Silla in 935. Taejo graciously accepted the capitulation of the last king of Silla and incorporated the ruling class of Later Silla.  In 935, Gyeon Hwon was removed from his throne by his eldest son over a succession dispute and imprisoned at Geumsansa Temple, but he escaped to Goryeo three months later and was deferentially received by his former archrival.  In the following year, upon Gyeon Hwon's request, Taejo and Gyeon Hwon conquered Later Baekje with an army of 87,500 soldiers, bringing an end to the Later Three Kingdoms period.  
Following the destruction of Balhae by the Khitan Liao dynasty in 927, the last crown prince of Balhae and much of the ruling class sought refuge in Goryeo, where they were warmly welcomed and given land by Taejo. In addition, Taejo included the Balhae crown prince in the Goryeo royal family, unifying the two successor states of Goguryeo and, according to Korean historians, achieving a "true national unification" of Korea.   According to the Goryeosa jeolyo, the Balhae refugees who accompanied the crown prince numbered in the tens of thousands of households.  An additional 3,000 Balhae households came to Goryeo in 938.  The Balhae refugees contributed 10 percent of the population of Goryeo.  As descendants of Goguryeo, the Balhae people and the Goryeo dynasts were related.  Taejo felt a strong familial kinship with Balhae, calling it his "relative country" and "married country",  and protected the Balhae refugees.  This was in stark contrast to Later Silla, which had endured a hostile relationship with Balhae.  Taejo displayed strong animosity toward the Khitans who had destroyed Balhae. The Liao dynasty sent 30 envoys with 50 camels as a gift in 942, but Taejo exiled the envoys to an island and starved the camels under a bridge, in what is known as the "Manbu Bridge Incident".   Taejo proposed to Gaozu of Later Jin that they attack the Khitans in retribution for Balhae, according to the Zizhi Tongjian.  Furthermore, in his Ten Injunctions to his descendants, he stated that the Khitans are "savage beasts" and should be guarded against.  
Political reformation Edit
Although Goryeo had unified the Korean Peninsula, the hojok regional lords remained quasi-independent within their walled domains and posed a threat to the monarchy. To secure political alliances, Taejo married 29 women from prominent hojok families, siring 25 sons and 9 daughters.  His fourth son, Gwangjong, came to power in 949 to become the fourth ruler of Goryeo and instituted reforms to consolidate monarchical authority. In 956, Gwangjong freed the prisoners of war and refugees who had been enslaved by the hojok during the tumultuous Later Three Kingdoms period, in effect decreasing the power and influence of the regional nobility and increasing the population liable for taxation by the central government.   In 958, advised by Shuang Ji, a naturalized Chinese official from the Later Zhou dynasty, Gwangjong implemented the gwageo civil service examinations, based primarily on the imperial examination of the Tang dynasty. This, too, was to consolidate monarchical authority. The gwageo remained an important institution in Korea until its abolition in 1894.  In contrast to Goryeo's traditional "dual royal/imperial structure under which the ruler was at once king, emperor and Son of Heaven", according to Remco E. Breuker, Gwangjong used a "full-blown imperial system".   All those who opposed or resisted his reforms were summarily purged. 
Gwangjong's successor, Gyeongjong, instituted the "Stipend Land Law" in 976 to support the new central government bureaucracy established on the foundation of Gwangjong's reforms.  The next ruler, Seongjong, secured centralization of government and laid the foundation for a centralized political order.  Seongjong filled the bureaucracy with new bureaucrats, who as products of the gwageo civil service examinations were educated to be loyal to the state, and dispatched centrally-appointed officials to administrate the provinces. As a result, the monarch controlled much of the decision making, and his signature was required to implement important decisions.  Seongjong supported Confucianism and, upon a proposal by the Confucian scholar Choe Seungno, the separation of government and religion.  In addition, Seongjong laid the foundation for Goryeo's educational system: he founded the Gukjagam national university in 992, supplementing the schools already established in Kaesong and Pyongyang by Taejo, and national libraries and archives in Kaesong and Pyongyang that contained tens of thousands of books. 
Goryeo–Khitan War Edit
Following the "Manbu Bridge Incident" of 942, Goryeo prepared itself for a conflict with the Khitan Empire: Jeongjong established a military reserve force of 300,000 soldiers called the "Resplendent Army" in 947, and Gwangjong built fortresses north of the Chongchon River, expanding toward the Yalu River.   The Khitans considered Goryeo a potential threat and, with tensions rising, invaded in 993.  The Koreans were defeated in their first encounter with the Khitans, but successfully defended against them at the Chongchon River.    Negotiations began between the Goryeo commander, Seo Hui, and the Liao commander, Xiao Sunning. In conclusion, Goryeo entered a nominal tributary relationship with Liao, severing relations with Song, and Liao conceded the land east of the Yalu River to Goryeo.   Afterward, Goryeo established the "Six Garrison Settlements East of the River" in its new territory.    In 994, Goryeo proposed to Song a joint military attack on Liao, but was declined  previously, in 985, when Song had proposed a joint military attack on Liao, Goryeo had declined.  For a time, Goryeo and Liao enjoyed an amicable relationship.  In 996, Seongjong married a Liao princess. 
As the Khitan Empire expanded and became more powerful, it demanded that Goryeo cede the Six Garrison Settlements, but Goryeo refused.  In 1009, Gang Jo staged a coup d'état, assassinating Mokjong and installing Hyeonjong on the throne.  In the following year, under the pretext of avenging Mokjong, Emperor Shengzong of Liao led an invasion of Goryeo with an army of 400,000 soldiers.  Meanwhile, Goryeo tried to establish relations with Song but was ignored, as Song had agreed to the Chanyuan Treaty in 1005.  Goryeo won the first battle against Liao, led by Yang Gyu, but lost the second battle, led by Gang Jo: the Goryeo army suffered heavy casualties and was dispersed, and many commanders were captured or killed, including Gang Jo himself.   Later, Pyongyang was successfully defended, but the Liao army marched toward Kaesong.  Hyeonjong, upon the advice of Gang Gamchan, evacuated south to Naju, and shortly afterward Kaesong was attacked and sacked by the Liao army.  He then sent Ha Gong-jin and Go Yeong-gi to sue for peace,  with a promise that he would pay homage in person to the Liao emperor, and the Khitans, who were sustaining attacks by the regrouped Korean army and disrupted supply lines, accepted and began their withdrawal.   However, the Khitans were ceaselessly attacked during their withdrawal Yang Gyu rescued 30,000 prisoners of war, but died in battle.    According to the History of Liao, the Khitans were beset by heavy rains and discarded much of their armor and weapons.  According to the Goryeosa, the Khitans were attacked while crossing the Yalu River and many drowned.   Afterward, Hyeonjong did not fulfill his promise to pay homage in person to the Liao emperor, and when demanded to cede the Six Garrison Settlements, he refused.  
The Khitans built a bridge across the Yalu River in 1014 and attacked in 1015, 1016, and 1017:  victory went to the Koreans in 1015, the Khitans in 1016, and the Koreans in 1017.  In 1018, Liao launched an invasion led by Xiao Paiya, the older brother of Xiao Sunning, with an army of 100,000 soldiers.   The Liao army was immediately ambushed and suffered heavy casualties: the Goryeo commander Gang Gam-chan had dammed a large tributary of the Yalu River and released the water on the unsuspecting Khitan soldiers, who were then charged by 12,000 elite cavalry.  The Liao army pushed on toward Kaesong under constant enemy harassment, but shortly turned around and retreated after failing to take the well-defended capital.   The retreating Liao army was intercepted by Gang Gam-chan in modern-day Kusong and suffered a major defeat, with only a few thousand soldiers escaping.    Shengzong intended to invade again but faced internal opposition.  In 1020, Goryeo sent tribute and Liao accepted, thus resuming nominal tributary relations.   Shengzong did not demand that Hyeonjong pay homage in person or cede the Six Garrison Settlements.  The only terms were a "declaration of vassalage" and the release of a detained Liao envoy.  The History of Liao claims that Hyeonjong "surrendered" and Shengzong "pardoned" him, but according to Hans Bielenstein, "[s]horn of its dynastic language, this means no more than that the two states concluded peace as equal partners (formalized in 1022)".  Hyeonjong kept his reign title and maintained diplomatic relations with the Song dynasty.  Kaesong was rebuilt, grander than before,  and, from 1033 to 1044, the Cheolli Jangseong, a wall stretching from the mouth of the Yalu River to the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, was built for defense against future invasions.  Liao never invaded Goryeo again.  
Golden age Edit
Following the Goryeo–Khitan War, a balance of power was established in East Asia between Goryeo, Liao, and Song.   With its victory over Liao, Goryeo was confident in its military ability and no longer worried about a Khitan military threat.  Fu Bi, a grand councilor of the Song dynasty, had a high estimate of Goryeo's military ability and said that Liao was afraid of Goryeo.   Furthermore, regarding the attitude of the Koreans, he said: "Among the many tribes and peoples which, depending on their power of resistance, have been either assimilated or made tributary to the Khitan, the Koreans alone do not bow their heads."  Song regarded Goryeo as a potential military ally and maintained friendly relations as equal partners.  Meanwhile, Liao sought to build closer ties with Goryeo and prevent a Song–Goryeo military alliance by appealing to Goryeo's infatuation with Buddhism, and offered Liao Buddhist knowledge and artifacts to Goryeo.  During the 11th century, Goryeo was viewed as "the state that could give either the Song or Liao military ascendancy".  When imperial envoys, who represented the emperors of Liao and Song, went to Goryeo, they were received as peers, not suzerains.   Goryeo's international reputation was greatly enhanced.   Beginning in 1034, merchants from Song and envoys from various Jurchen tribes and the Tamna kingdom attended the annual Palgwanhoe in Kaesong, the largest national celebration in Goryeo  the Song merchants attended as representatives of China while the Jurchen and Tamna envoys attended as members of Goryeo's tianxia.  During the reign of Munjong, the Heishui Mohe and Japan, among many others, attended as well.  The Tamna kingdom of Jeju Island was incorporated into Goryeo in 1105. 
Goryeo's golden age lasted about 100 years into the early 12th century and was a period of commercial, intellectual, and artistic achievement.  The capital was a center of trade and industry, and its merchants developed one of the earliest systems of double-entry bookkeeping in the world, called the sagae chibubeop, that was used until 1920.   The Goryeosa records the arrival of merchants from Arabia in 1024, 1025, and 1040,  and hundreds of merchants from Song each year, beginning in the 1030s.  There were developments in printing and publishing, spreading the knowledge of philosophy, literature, religion, and science.  Goryeo prolifically published and imported books, and by the late 11th century, exported books to China the Song dynasty transcribed thousands of Korean books.  The first Tripitaka Koreana, amounting to about 6,000 volumes, was completed in 1087.  The Munheon gongdo private academy was established in 1055 by Choe Chung, who is known as the "Haedong Confucius", and soon afterward there were 12 private academies in Goryeo that rivaled the Gukjagam national university.   In response, several Goryeo rulers reformed and revitalized the national education system, producing prominent scholars such as Kim Busik.  In 1101, the Seojeokpo printing bureau was established at the Gukjagam.  In the early 12th century, local schools called hyanghak were established.  Goryeo's reverence for learning is attested to in the Gaoli tujing, or Goryeo dogyeong, a book by an envoy from the Song dynasty who visited Goryeo in 1123.   The reign of Munjong, from 1046 to 1083, was called a "Reign of Peace" ( 태평성대 太平聖代 ) and is considered the most prosperous and peaceful period in Goryeo history. Munjong was highly praised and described as "benevolent" and "holy" (賢聖之君) in the Goryeosa.   In addition, he achieved the epitome of cultural blossoming in Goryeo.  Munjong had 13 sons: the three eldest succeeded him on the throne, and the fourth was the prominent Buddhist monk Uichon. 
Middle period Edit
Jurchen conflicts Edit
The Jurchens in the Yalu River region were tributaries of Goryeo since the reign of Wang Geon, who called upon them during the wars of the Later Three Kingdoms period, but the Jurchens switched allegiance between Liao and Goryeo multiple times, taking advantage of the tension between the two nations posing a potential threat to Goryeo's border security, the Jurchens offered tribute to the Goryeo court, expecting lavish gifts in return. 
The Jurchens north of Goryeo had traditionally rendered tribute to the Goryeo monarchs and called Goryeo their "parent country",    but thanks to the defeat of Liao in 1018, the Wanyan tribe of the Heishui Mohe unified the Jurchen tribes and gained in might.
In 1102, the Jurchen threatened and another crisis emerged. In 1115 the Jurchen founded the Jin dynasty, and in 1125 Jin annihilated Liao, which was Goryeo's suzerain, [ citation needed ] and started invasion of Song. In response to the circumstantial changes, Goryeo declared itself to be a tributary state of Jin in 1126.   After that, peace was maintained and Jin never actually did invade Goryeo.
In 1107, General Yun Gwan led a newly formed army, a force of approximately 17,000 men called the Byeolmuban, and attacked the Jurchen. Though the war lasted for several years, the Jurchen were ultimately defeated, and surrendered to Yun Gwan. To mark the victory, General Yun built nine fortresses to the northeast of the border (Korean: 東北九城 ). In 1108, however, General Yun was given orders to withdraw his troops by the new ruler, King Yejong. Due to manipulation and court intrigue from opposing factions, he was discharged from his post. Opposition factions fought to ensure the new fortresses were turned over to the Jurchen.
During the reign of Jurchen leader Wuyashu in 1103–1113, the border between the two nations was stabilized and Korean forces withdrew from Jurchen territories, acknowledging Jurchen control over the contested region.  
Power struggles Edit
The House Yi of Inju (Korean: 인주이씨(仁州李氏) ) married women to the kings from the time of Munjong to the 17th King, Injong. Eventually the House of Yi gained more power than the monarch himself. This led to the coup of Yi Ja-gyeom in 1126. It failed, but the power of the monarch was weakened Goryeo underwent a civil war among the nobility. 
In 1135, Myocheong argued in favor of moving the capital to Seogyeong (present-day Pyongyang).  This proposal divided the nobles. One faction, led by Myocheong, believed in moving the capital to Pyongyang and expanding into Manchuria. The other one, led by Kim Bu-sik (author of the Samguk Sagi), wanted to keep the status quo. Myocheong failed to persuade the king he rebelled and established the state of Daebang, but it failed and he was killed. 
Military regime Edit
Although Goryeo was founded by the military, its authority was in decline. In 1014, a coup occurred but the effects of the rebellion didn't last long, only making generals discontent with the current supremacy of the civilian officers. 
In addition, under the reign of King Uijong, the military officers were prohibited from entering the Security council, and even at times of state emergency, they were not allowed to assume commands.  After political chaos, Uijong started to enjoy travelling to local temples and studying sutra, while he was almost always accompanied by a large group of civilian officers. The military officers were largely ignored and were even mobilized to construct temples and ponds. 
In 1170, a group of army officers led by Jeong Jung-bu, Yi Ui-bang and Yi Go launched a coup d'état and succeeded.  King Uijong went into exile and King Myeongjong was placed on the throne. Effective power, however, lay with a succession of generals who used an elite guard unit known as the Tobang to control the throne: military rule of Goryeo had begun. In 1179, the young general Gyeong Dae-seung rose to power and began an attempt to restore the full power of the monarch and purge the corruption of the state. 
However, he died in 1183 and was succeeded by Yi Ui-min, who came from a nobi (slave) background.   His unrestrained corruption and cruelty  led to a coup by general Choe Chung-heon,  who assassinated Yi Ui-min and took supreme power in 1197.  For the next 61 years, the Choe house ruled as military dictators, maintaining the Kings as puppet monarchs  Choe Chung-heon was succeeded in turn by his son Choe U, his grandson Choe Hang  and his great-grandson Choe Ui. 
When he took control, Choe Chungheon forced Myeongjong off the throne and replaced him with King Sinjong.  What was different from former military leaders was the active involvement of scholars in Choe's control, notably Prime Minister Yi Gyu-bo who was a confucian scholar-official. 
After Sinjong died, Choe forced his son to the throne as Huijong. After 7 years, Huijong led a revolt but failed. Then, Choe found the pliable King Gojong instead. 
Although the House of Choe established strong private individuals loyal to it, continuous invasion by the Mongols ravaged the whole land, resulting in a weakened defense ability, and also the power of the military regime waned. 
Mongol invasions and Yuan domination Edit
Fleeing from the Mongols, in 1216 the Khitans invaded Goryeo and defeated the Korean armies multiple times, even reaching the gates of the capital and raiding deep into the south, but were defeated by Korean General Kim Chwi-ryeo who pushed them back north to Pyongan,   where the remaining Khitans were finished off by allied Mongol-Goryeo forces in 1219.  
Tension continued through the 12th century and into the 13th century, when the Mongol invasions started. After nearly 30 years of warfare, Goryeo swore allegiance to the Mongols, with the direct dynastic rule of Goryeo monarchy. 
In 1231, Mongols under Ögedei Khan invaded Goryeo following the aftermath of joint Goryeo-Mongol forces against the Khitans in 1219.  The royal court moved to Ganghwado in the Bay of Gyeonggi in 1232. The military ruler of the time, Choe U, insisted on fighting back. Goryeo resisted for about 30 years but finally sued for peace in 1259.
Meanwhile, the Mongols began a campaign from 1231 to 1259 that ravaged parts of Gyeongsang and Jeolla. There were six major campaigns: 1231, 1232, 1235, 1238, 1247, 1253 between 1253 and 1258, the Mongols under Möngke Khan's general Jalairtai Qorchi launched four devastating invasions against Korea at tremendous cost to civilian lives throughout the Korean peninsula.
Civilian resistance was strong, and the Imperial Court at Ganghwa attempted to strengthen its fortress. Korea won several victories but the Korean military could not withstand the waves of invasions. The repeated Mongol invasions caused havoc, loss of human lives and famine in Korea. In 1236, Gojong ordered the recreation of the Tripitaka Koreana, which was destroyed during the 1232 invasion. This collection of Buddhist scriptures took 15 years to carve on some 81,000 wooden blocks, and is preserved to this day.
In March 1258, the dictator Choe Ui was assassinated by Kim Jun. Thus, dictatorship by his military group was ended, and the scholars who had insisted on peace with Mongolia gained power. Goryeo was never conquered by the Mongols, but exhausted after decades of fighting, Goryeo sent Crown Prince Wonjong to the Yuan capital to swear allegiance to the Mongols Kublai Khan accepted, and married one of his daughters to the Korean crown prince.  Khubilai, who became khan of the Mongols and emperor of China in 1260, did not impose direct rule over most of Goryeo. Goryeo Korea, in contrast to Song China, was treated more like an Inner Asian power. The dynasty was allowed to survive, and intermarriage with Mongols was encouraged, even with the Mongol imperial family, while the marriage between Chinese and Mongols was strictly forbidden when the Song dynasty was ended. Some military officials who refused to surrender formed the Sambyeolcho Rebellion and resisted in the islands off the southern shore of the Korean Peninsula. 
Late period Edit
After 1270 Goryeo became a semi-autonomous client state of the Yuan dynasty. The Mongols and the Kingdom of Goryeo tied with marriages and Goryeo became quda (marriage alliance) vassal of the Yuan dynasty for about 80 years and monarchs of Goryeo were mainly imperial sons in-law (khuregen). The two nations became intertwined for 80 years as all subsequent Korean kings married Mongol princesses,  and the last empress of the Yuan dynasty was a Korean princess.  [ self-published source ] The kings of Goryeo held an important status like other important families of Mardin, the Uyghurs and Mongols (Oirats, Khongirad, and Ikeres).   It is claimed that one of Goryeo monarchs was the most beloved grandson of Kublai Khan. 
The Goryeo dynasty survived under the Yuan until King Gongmin began to push the Mongolian garrisons of the Yuan back in the 1350s. By 1356 Goryeo regained its lost northern territories.
Last reform Edit
When King Gongmin ascended to the throne, Goryeo was under the influence of the Mongol Yuan China. He was forced to spend many years at the Yuan court, being sent there in 1341 as a virtual prisoner before becoming king. He married the Mongol princess Queen Noguk. But in the mid-14th century the Yuan was beginning to crumble, soon to be replaced by the Ming dynasty in 1368. King Gongmin began efforts to reform the Goryeo government and remove Mongolian influences.
His first act was to remove all pro-Mongol aristocrats and military officers from their positions. Mongols had annexed the northern provinces of Goryeo after the invasions and incorporated them into their empire as the Ssangseong and Dongnyeong Prefectures. The Goryeo army retook these provinces partly thanks to defection from Yi Jachun, a minor Korean official in service of Mongols in Ssangseong, and his son Yi Seonggye. In addition, Generals Yi Seonggye and Ji Yongsu led a campaign into Liaoyang.
After the death of Gongmin's wife Noguk in 1365, he fell into depression. In the end, he became indifferent to politics and entrusted that great task to the Buddhist monk Shin Don. But after six years, Shin Don lost his position. In 1374, Gongmin was killed by Hong Ryun ( 홍륜 ), Choe Mansaeng ( 최만생 ), and others.
After his death, a high official Yi In-im assumed the helm of the government and enthroned eleven-year-old, King U, the son of King Gongmin.
During this tumultuous period, Goryeo momentarily conquered Liaoyang in 1356, repulsed two large invasions by the Red Turbans in 1359 and 1360, and defeated the final attempt by the Yuan to dominate Goryeo when General Choe Yeong defeated an invading Mongol tumen in 1364. During the 1380s, Goryeo turned its attention to the Wokou menace and used naval artillery created by Choe Museon to annihilate hundreds of pirate ships.
In 1388, King U (son of King Gongmin and a concubine) and general Choe Yeong planned a campaign to invade present-day Liaoning of China. King U put the general Yi Seong-gye (later Taejo) in charge, but he stopped at the border and rebelled.
Goryeo fell to General Yi Seong-gye, a son of Yi Ja-chun, who put to death the last three Goryeo kings, usurped the throne and established in 1392 the Joseon dynasty.
Goryeo affiliated itself with the successive short-lived Five Dynasties beginning with the Shatuo Later Tang dynasty in 933, and Taejo was acknowledged as the legitimate successor to Dongmyeong of Goguryeo.   In 962, Goryeo entered relations with the nascent Song dynasty.  Song did not have real suzerainty over Goryeo, and Goryeo sent tribute mainly for the sake of trade.  Later, Goryeo entered nominal tributary relations with the Khitan Liao dynasty then the Jurchen Jin dynasty while maintaining trade and unofficial relations with the Song dynasty. The Korean missions to China were intended to seek knowledge and conduct diplomacy and trade trade, in particular, was an important aspect of all the missions.  Sinologist Hans Bielenstein described the nature of Goryeo's nominal tributary relations with the dynasties in China:
The Five Dynasties, Sung, Liao, and Chin all liked to pretend that Koryŏ was a tributary vassal. Nothing could be more wrong. The Five Dynasties and Sung had no common border with Koryŏ and no way, even if they had possessed the military resources, to assert any supremacy over it. The Liao invasions of Koryŏ from 993 to 1020 were successfully repelled by the Koreans. The Chin made no serious attempts against Koryŏ. The dynastic historians accepted nevertheless the official fiction and referred to Koryŏ by an unrealistic terminology. 
To repeat, Koryŏ was not a vassal with tributary duties to the Five Dynasties, Sung, Liao, and Chin. In spite of its smaller size, it was able to stand up to Liao and Chin, and did not have to buy peace. This required clever diplomacy and a minimum of appeasement. In spite of window-dressing, rhetorics, and even a pinch of nostalgia for the good old times of Korean-Chinese friendship, Koryŏ succeeded in keeping its autonomy until the advent of the Mongols. 
In the Goryeo dynasty, trade was frequent. In the start of the dynasty, Byeokrando was the main port. Byeokrando was a port close to the Goryeo capital. Trade included:
|Song dynasty||Silk, pearls, tea, spices, medicine, books, instruments||Gold and silver, ginseng, marble, paper, ink|
|Liao dynasty||Horses, sheep, low-quality silk||Minerals, cotton, marble, ink and paper, ginseng|
|Jurchen||Gold, horses, weapons||Silver, cotton, silk|
|Japan||Mercury, minerals||Ginseng, books|
|Abbasid dynasty||Mercury, spices, tusk||Gold, silver|
At the time of Goryeo, Korean nobility was divided into 6 classes.
- Gukgong ( 국공 國公 ), Duke of a nation
- Gungong ( 군공 郡公 ), Duke of a county
- Hyeonhu ( 현후 縣侯 ), Marquis of a town
- Hyeonbaek ( 현백 縣伯 ), Count of a town
- Gaegukja ( 개국자 開國子 ) or Hyeonja ( 현자 縣子 ), Viscount of a town
- Hyeonnam ( 현남 縣男 ), Baron of a town
Also the title Taeja ( 태자 太子 ) was given to sons of emperor. In most other east Asian countries this title meant crown prince. Taeja was similar to Daegun ( 대군 大君 ) or Gun ( 군 君 ) of the Joseon Dynasty.
Buddhism in medieval Korea evolved in ways which rallied support for the state. 
Initially, the new Seon schools were regarded by the established doctrinal schools as radical and dangerous upstarts. Thus, the early founders of the various "nine mountain"  monasteries met with considerable resistance, repressed by the long influence in court of the Gyo schools. The struggles which ensued continued for most of the Goryeo period, but gradually the Seon argument for the possession of the true transmission of enlightenment would gain the upper hand.  The position that was generally adopted in the later Seon schools, due in large part to the efforts of Jinul, did not claim clear superiority of Seon meditational methods, but rather declared the intrinsic unity and similarities of the Seon and Gyo viewpoints.  Although all these schools are mentioned in historical records, toward the end of the dynasty, Seon became dominant in its effect on the government and society, and the production of noteworthy scholars and adepts. During the Goryeo period, Seon thoroughly became a "religion of the state," receiving extensive support and privileges through connections with the ruling family and powerful members of the court.  Although Buddhist predominated, Taoism was practiced in some temples, as was shamanism. 
Although most of the scholastic schools waned in activity and influence during this period of the growth of Seon, the Hwaeom school continued to be a lively source of scholarship well into the Goryeo, much of it continuing the legacy of Uisang and Wonhyo.  In particular the work of Gyunyeo (均如 923-973) prepared for the reconciliation of Hwaeom and Seon,  with Hwaeom's accommodating attitude toward the latter.  Gyunyeo's works are an important source for modern scholarship in identifying the distinctive nature of Korean Hwaeom. 
Another important advocate of Seon/Gyo unity was Uicheon. Like most other early Goryeo monks, he began his studies in Buddhism with the Hwaeom school. He later traveled to China, and upon his return, actively promulgated the Cheontae (天台宗, or Tiantai in Chinese) teachings, which became recognized as another Seon school. This period thus came to be described as "five doctrinal and two meditational schools" (ogyo yangjong). Uicheon himself, however, alienated too many Seon adherents, and he died at a relatively young age without seeing a Seon-Gyo unity accomplished.
The most important figure of Seon in the Goryeo was Jinul (知訥 1158–1210). In his time, the sangha was in a crisis of external appearance and internal issues of doctrine. Buddhism had gradually become infected by secular tendencies and involvements, such as fortune-telling and the offering of prayers and rituals for success in secular endeavors. This kind of corruption resulted in the profusion of increasingly larger numbers of monks and nuns with questionable motivations. Therefore, the correction, revival, and improvement of the quality of Buddhism were prominent issues for Buddhist leaders of the period.
Jinul sought to establish a new movement within Korean Seon, which he called the "samādhi and prajñā society",  whose goal was to establish a new community of disciplined, pure-minded practitioners deep in the mountains.  He eventually accomplished this mission with the founding of the Seonggwangsa monastery at Mt. Jogye (曹溪山).  Jinul's works are characterized by a thorough analysis and reformulation of the methodologies of Seon study and practice. One major issue that had long fermented in Chinese Seon, and which received special focus from Jinul, was the relationship between "gradual" and "sudden" methods in practice and enlightenment. Drawing upon various Chinese treatments of this topic, most importantly those by Zongmi (780-841) and Dahui (大慧 1089–1163),  Jinul created a "sudden enlightenment followed by gradual practice" dictum, which he outlined in a few relatively concise and accessible texts.  From Dahui, Jinul also incorporated the gwanhwa (觀話) method into his practice.  This form of meditation is the main method taught in Korean Seon today. Jinul's philosophical resolution of the Seon-Gyo conflict brought a deep and lasting effect on Korean Buddhism.
The general trend of Buddhism in the latter half of the Goryeo was a decline due to corruption, and the rise of strong anti-Buddhist political and philosophical sentiment.  However, this period of relative decadence would nevertheless produce some of Korea's most renowned Seon masters. Three important monks of this period who figured prominently in charting the future course of Korean Seon were contemporaries and friends: Gyeonghan Baeg'un (景閑白雲 1298–1374), Taego Bou (太古普愚 1301–1382) and Naong Hyegeun (懶翁慧勤 1320–1376). All three went to Yuan China to learn the Linji (臨濟 or Imje in Korean) gwanhwa teaching that had been popularized by Jinul. All three returned, and established the sharp, confrontational methods of the Imje school in their own teaching. Each of the three was also said to have had hundreds of disciples, such that this new infusion into Korean Seon brought about considerable effect. Despite the Imje influence, which was generally considered to be anti-scholarly in nature, Gyeonghan and Naong, under the influence of Jinul and the traditional tong bulgyo tendency, showed an unusual interest in scriptural study, as well as a strong understanding of Confucianism and Taoism, due to the increasing influence of Chinese philosophy as the foundation of official education. From this time, a marked tendency for Korean Buddhist monks to be "three teachings" exponents appeared.
A significant historical event of the Goryeo period is the production of the first woodblock edition of the Tripitaka, called the Tripitaka Koreana. Two editions were made, the first one completed from 1210 to 1231, and the second one from 1214 to 1259. The first edition was destroyed in a fire, during an attack by Mongol invaders in 1232, but the second edition is still in existence at Haeinsa in Gyeongsang province. This edition of the Tripitaka was of high quality, and served as the standard version of the Tripitaka in East Asia for almost 700 years. 
Emperor Gwangjong creating the national civil service examinations.  and King Seongjong was a key figure in establishing Confucianism. King Seongjong established Gukjagam.  Gukjagam was the highest educational institution of the Goryeo dynasty. This was facilitated by the establishment in 1398 of the Seonggyungwan – an academy with a Confucian curriculum – and the building of an altar at the palace, where the king would worship his ancestors.
According to Goryeosa, Muslims arrived in the peninsula in the year 1024 in the Goryeo kingdom,  a group of some 100 Muslims, including Hasan Raza, came in September of the 15th year of Hyeonjong of Goryeo and another group of 100 Muslim merchants came the following year.
Trading relations between the Islamic world and the Korean peninsula continued with the succeeding Goryeo kingdom through to the 15th century. As a result, a number of Muslim traders from the Near East and Central Asia settled down in Korea and established families there. Some Muslim Hui people from China also appear to have lived in the Goryeo kingdom. 
With the Mongol armies came the so-called Saengmokin (Semu), or "colored-eye people", this group consisted of Muslims from Central Asia.  In the Mongol social order, the Saengmokin occupied a position just below the Mongols themselves, and exerted a great deal of influence within the Yuan dynasty.
It was during this period satirical poems were composed and one of them was the Sanghwajeom, the "Colored-eye people bakery", the song tells the tale of a Korean woman who goes to a Muslim bakery to buy some dumplings. 
Small-scale contact with predominantly Muslim peoples continued on and off. During the late Goryeo period, there were mosques in the capital Gaeseong, called Ye-Kung, whose literary meaning is a "ceremonial hall". 
One of those Central Asian immigrants to Korea originally came to Korea as an aide to a Mongol princess who had been sent to marry King Chungnyeol of Goryeo. Goryeo documents say that his original name was Samga but, after he decided to make Korea his permanent home, the king bestowed on him the Korean name of Jang Sunnyong.  Jang married a Korean and became the founding ancestor of the Deoksu Jang clan. His clan produced many high officials and respected Confucian scholars over the centuries. Twenty-five generations later, around 30,000 Koreans look back to Jang Sunnyong as the grandfather of their clan: the Jang clan, with its seat at Toksu village. 
The same is true of the descendants of another Central Asian who settled down in Korea. A Central Asian named Seol Son fled to Korea when the Red Turban Rebellion erupted near the end of the Mongol's Yuan dynasty.  He, too, married a Korean, originating a lineage called the Gyeongju Seol that claims at least 2,000 members in Korea.
Soju was first distilled around the 13th century, during the Mongol invasions of Korea. The Mongols had acquired the technique of distilling Arak from the Muslim World  during their invasion of Central Asia and the Middle East around 1256, it was subsequently introduced to Koreans and distilleries were set up around the city of Kaesong. Indeed, in the area surrounding Kaesong, Soju is known as Arak-ju (hangul: 아락주).  Under the reign of King Chungryeol, soju quickly became a popular drink, while the stationed region of Mongolian troops came to produce high-quality soju, for instance in Andong. 
The official histories of Korea written by Goryeo historians, such as the Samguk sagi and Samguk yusa, as well as the poetry written by the educated elite were all written in Classical Chinese.    : 264
In contrast to the Three Kingdoms era practice of writing hyangga poetry in hyangchal, an early writing form of writing in the Korean language using Chinese characters, the Goryeo aristocracy emphasized writing in Classical Chinese.  Learning Chinese poetry as well as composing poetry in Chinese became an integral part of education for the aristocracy.  Eventually, Chinese poetry was used as lyrics for both Chinese and native Korean melodies. 
Tripitaka Koreana Edit
Tripitaka Koreana (팔만대장경) is a Korean collection of the Tripitaka of approximately 80,000 pages. The wooden blocks that were used to print it are stored in Haeinsa temple in South Gyeongsang province. The second version was made in 1251 by Gojong in an attempt invoke the power of Buddhism to fend off the Mongol invasion. The wooden blocks are kept clean by leaving them to dry outside every year. The Tripiṭaka Koreana was designated a National Treasure of South Korea in 1962, and inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2007.  
Goryeo celadon Edit
The ceramics of Goryeo are considered by some to be the finest small-scale works of ceramics in Korean history. Key-fret, foliate designs, geometric or scrolling flowerhead bands, elliptical panels, stylized fish and insects, and the use of incised designs began at this time. Glazes were usually various shades of celadon, with browned glazes to almost black glazes being used for stoneware and storage. Celadon glazes could be rendered almost transparent to show black and white inlays.
While the forms generally seen are broad-shouldered bottles, larger low bowls or shallow smaller bowls, highly decorated celadon cosmetic boxes, and small slip-inlaid cups, the Buddhist potteries also produced melon-shaped vases, chrysanthemum cups often of spectacularly architectural design on stands with lotus motifs and lotus flower heads. In-curving rimmed alms bowls have also been discovered similar to Korean metalware. Wine cups often had a tall foot which rested on dish-shaped stands.
Lacquerware with mother of pearl inlay Edit
During the Goryeo period, lacquerware with mother-of-pearl inlay reached a high point of technical and aesthetic achievement and was widely used by members of the aristocracy for Buddhist ritual implements and vessels, as well as horse saddles and royal carriages. Inlaid lacquers combine texture, color, and shape to produce a dazzling effect in both large and small objects. Although Korean lacquerware of the Goryeo period was highly prized throughout East Asia, fewer than fifteen examples are known to have survived, one of which is this exquisite box in the Museum's collection. This paucity of material is largely attributable to the fragility of lacquer objects and, to a certain extent, to wars and raids by foreign powers, notably those launched from Japan by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536–1598) in the late sixteenth century.
Construction techniques Edit
These ceramics are of a hard porcellaneous body with porcelain stone as one of the key ingredients however, it is not to be confused with porcelain. The body is low clay, quartz rich, high potassia and virtually identical in composition to the Chinese Yueh ceramics which scholars hypothesize occasioned the first production of celadon in Korea. The glaze is an ash glaze with iron colourant, fired in a reduction atmosphere in a modified Chinese-style 'dragon' kiln. The distinctive blue-grey-green of Korean celadon is caused by the iron content of the glaze with a minimum of titanium contaminant, which modifies the color to a greener cast, as can be seen in Chinese Yueh wares. However, the Goryeo potters took the glaze in a different direction than their Chinese forebears instead of relying solely on underglaze incised designs, they eventually developed the sanggam technique of inlaying black (magnetite) and white (quartz) which created bold contrast with the glaze. Scholars also theorize that this developed in part to an inlay tradition in Korean metalworks and lacquer, and also to the dissatisfaction with the nearly invisible effect of incising when done under a thick celadon glaze. 
Modern celadon Edit
A revival of Goryeo celadon pottery began in the early 20th century. Playing a leading role in its revival was Yu Geun-Hyeong, a Living National Treasure whose work was documented in the 1979 short film, Koryo Celadon.
It is generally accepted that the world's first metal movable type was invented in Goryeo during the 13th century by Choe Yun-ui.      The first metal movable type book was the Sangjeong Gogeum Yemun that was printed in 1234. Technology in Korea took a big step in Goryeo and strong relation with the Song dynasty contributed to this. In the dynasty, Korean ceramics and paper, which come down to now, started to be manufactured.
During the late Goryeo Dynasty, Goryeo was at the cutting edge of shipboard artillery. In 1356 early experiments were carried out with gunpowder weapons that shot wood or metal projectiles. In 1373 experiments with incendiary arrows and "fire tubes" possibly an early form of the Hwacha were developed and placed on Korean warships. The policy of placing cannons and other gunpowder weapons continued well into the Joseon dynasty and by 1410, over 160 Joseon warships had cannons on board. Choe Mu-seon, a medieval Korean inventor, military commander and scientist who introduced widespread use of gunpowder to Korea for the first time and creating various gunpowder based weapons.
- ^ Goryeo maintained nominal tributary relations with Chinese dynasties. See the "Foreign relations" section for more information.
- ^ Other name(s): Gaegyeong ( 개경 開京 ), Hwangdo ( 황도 皇都 ), Junggyeong ( 중경 中京 ), Songak ( 송악 松獄 ), Songdo ( 송도 松都 ), Songgyeong ( 송경 松京 ), Wanggyeong ( 왕경 王京 ) 
- ^ Other name(s): Gangdo ( 강도 江都 )
- ^ Other name(s): Namgyeong ( 남경 南京 ), Yangju ( 양주 楊州 )
- ^ The rulers of Goryeo were simultaneously kings, emperors, and Sons of Heaven.  The fourth ruler, Gwangjong, was exclusively an emperor and not a king.  The rulers of Goryeo were demoted to kings beginning in 1270 with capitulation to the Mongol Empire. (See Korean imperial titles#Goryeo for more information.)
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26. Chinp’yóng Wang: (579-632)
Kóyól-lang, Silch’ó-rang and Podong-nang
Samguk Yusa 5:228. Translation: Peter H. Lee: Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol.I, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993. p.205. Intrepertation: Lee, Peter H.: Studies in the Saenaennorae: Old Korean Poetry, Instituto Italiano Per Il Medio Ed Estremo Oriente. Roma 1959. p.55 and 111-112.
"When, during the reign of King Chinp’yong (579-632), three members of the Hwarang, Kóyól-lang, Silch’ó-rang (or Tolch’ó) and Podong-nang were about to make an excursion to the Diamond Mountains, a comet violated Scorpius, a star in one of the twenty-eight lunar mansions. Filled with foreboding, the three were about to abandon their plans.
Then Master Yungch’ón composed a poem (594), whereupon the uncanny comet disappeared and the Japanese troops withdrew, thus turning a misfortune into a blessing. The King was pleased and had the three youths go to the mountains. The song goes:
There is a castle by the Eastern Sea
Where once a mirage used to play.
Japanese Soldiers came,
Torches were burnt in the forest.
When Knights visited this mountain,
The moon marked its westerly course
And a star was about to sweep a path,
Someone said, "Look, there is a comet!"
The moon has already departed.
Now, where shall we look for the long-tailed star?
The first stanza sets the atmosphere of the poem, and the poet is about to recreate for us the fantastic experience he has had. For this purpose, the images of heavenly bodies
and kindred images are introduced. In the first stanza, it is a mirage which is described as "the castle where Gandharva plays", and the strange atmosphere is enhanced by
the arrival of Japanese soldiers. "Torches were burnt, rockets were fired" not to scare away those who came to admire the mirage (and the Diamond Mountains) but to
welcome them to the soil of Silla.
We are told that this poem was written to exorcise the comet. But the poet does not complain of the evil done by the comet, nor does he beg it to disappear from the sky instead, he praises it.
The second stanza is an indirect method of appeasing the comet, or the evil spirit which was supposed to be responsible for its appearance. Here the comet is "a star with a long broomstick" which sweeps a path for the moon, and not the star that devours the sky and other planets, as tradition has it. The comet is a servant who must sweep the path which the princess (the moon) is to tread. The moon, on the other hand, is lighting her lamp, and lighting it "zealously", to illuminate the world. But you should not be cared by the play of the heavenly bodies, the poet says it is not appropriate to shout at it saying:
One should just watch and admire the display. Notice the piling on of "s"’s in the eight line, which is intended to suggest the swift movement of the comet. When the
moon is risen and stands in the middle of the sky, the duty of the comet is fulfilled and it will disappear. In the last stanza, a miracle is already achieved, and the poet asks us
where we see the comet, this time referred to as "a long-trained star." It has already disappeared and the comet we see now will disappear also. When the poem is finished, the comet disappears form the sky.
One commentator suggests that this is a patriotic song which eulogizes the blessings of peace. According to his arguments, the celestial and foreign elements – a mirage, the moon, the comet, and Japanese soldiers – and earthly elements – torches, rockets, and the three Knights – are harmonized in the poem to achieve the final purpose: the praise of Silla. Thus here the sun and comet and moon and Japanese soldiers are introduced to enhance the joy of the people in their praise of the Silla kingdom. This commentator, therefore, interprets the poem from a totally different viewpoint, and offers us a possibility of another reading.
SamgukSagi, Samguk Yusa. Samguk Sagi (ha), translated into korean by Yi, Pyong-do, Samguk Sagi:
Wonmun-P’ton, Kug’ok-p’yon, Seoul: Uryu Munhwasa, 1980, p.76, 162 and 225.
Samnang-sa, or Temple of The Three Knights, was built in 597, the 19th year of King Chinp’yóng.
It is impossible to say if the temple was named after Kóyól-lang, Silch’ó-rang, and Podong-nang in the above story about the comet.
A clear indication however, that Samnang-sa could very well have been established in honor of Kóyól-lang, Silch’ó-rang, and Podong-nang, is that in the 9th year of King Hóngang
(883) the king, who ruled during the turbulent end of the Silla dynasty, went to the famous temple and had his officials compose poems, like monk Cungch’ón did.
Wonkwang-Popsa, Kwisan and Ch’wihang:
Samguk Yusa, Lives of Eminent Korean Monks
"Wonkwang-Popsa was born in 541(?) and became a monk when he was thirteen years old.
Wonkwang stayed in China for eleven years, during which he mastered the major Buddhist scriptures as well as the Confucian Classics. During his time in China, the people would gather around him like clouds to listen to his spiritual teaching.
He returned to Korea in 600 and went to his old residence on Samgi Mountain and everybody, young and old alike rejoiced, even the king declared his pious respect.
The master was detached and retiring by nature, but affectionate and loving to all. He always smiled when he spoke and never showed signs of anger. His reports, memorials, memoranda, and correspondence were all composed by himself and were greatly admired by the whole country. Power was bestowed on him so that he might govern the provinces, and he
used the opportunity to promote Buddhism, setting an example for future generations.
During his lectures he illustrated his points by quotations from Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu in order to make people understand.
Wonkwang-Popsa died in 640 (?), ninety-nine years old (Samguk Yusa says eighty-four), sitting upright (=meditating) in his residence in Hwangnyong Monastery. He was buried on
Samgi Mountain and the burial materials and attending rites were the same as those for a king."
The story of Kwisan and Ch’wihang was originally written in the book Samguk Yóljón and is quoted in Samguk Sagi, Samguk Yusa and Lives of Eminent Korean Monks:
"In 613 an Assembly of One Hundred Seats was held in the Hwangnyong monastery to expound the scriptures and harvest the fruits of blessing. Wonkwang-Popsa headed the
entire group. He used to spend days at Kach’wi monastery, lecturing on the true way.
Two Hwarang, Kwisan and Ch’wihang, from Saryang district, were conferring between themselves about seeking the monk’s advice concerning the purification of their minds and the regulation of their conduct. Both feeling that Wonkwang’s advice was necessary to teach them proper conduct and mental attitude.
The came to the master’s door and, lifting up their robes (Confucian way of showing respect), respectfully said: "We are ignorant and without knowledge. Please give us a maxim which will serve to instruct us for the rest of our lives." The master replied: "There are ten commandments in the Bodhisattva ordination. But, since you are subjects and sons, I fear you cannot practice all of them. Now, here are five commandments for laymen: serve your King with loyalty tend your parents with filial piety treat your friends with sincerity do not retreat in battles be discriminating about the taking of life. Exercise care in the performance of them." Kwisan said: "We understand your wishes with regard to the first four. But what is the meaning of being discriminating about the taking of life?" The master answered: "Not to kill during the months of spring and summer nor during the six maigre feast days is to choose the time. (The eight, fourteenth, fifteenth, twenty-third, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth days constitute the six monthly fast days. Nothing was eaten after noon. On these days the Four Deva Kings/Guardians (Chatur Mahárádjas) visit the earth and take note of the good and evil actions of mankind). Not to kill domestic animals such as cows, horses, chickens, dogs, and tiny creatures whose meat is less than a mouthful is to choose the creatures. Though you may have the need, you should not kill often. These are the good rules for laymen".
Kwisan and his friend pledged to adhered to them without ever breaking them. Which they did without fail. In 602, a large number of Paekche troops invaded Silla and surrounded Amak Fortress. Kwisan and Ch’wihang fought under General Muun, Kwisan’s father. In the middle of the battle, General Muun ran into an ambush and fell from his horse, Kwisan rushed to his father’s rescue, killing a great number of the pursuing enemy soldiers and crying out to his followers: "Now is the time to follow the commandment not to retreat in battles." Kwisan gave his horse to his father and fought beside Ch’wihang. Finally, both of them died on the battlefield, "bleeding from a thousand wounds."
Because of their valour King Chinp’yóng granted Kwisan the posthumous title of Naema (rank 11), and Ch’wihang was granted the title of Taesa (rank 12)".
"In 1934 (or 1940), a stone tablet, also known as the Imsin Sógi Sók was found on the hill behind the site of the Sókchang monastery, near Kyongju, and is now preserved in the Kyóngju national museum.
The inscription, consisting of seventy-four logographs in five lines (18, 16, 14, 16, and 10 respectively) and written in Hyangch’al, reads in part: "On the sixteenth day of the sixth month of the year imsin, we two solemnly swear by heaven to conduct ourselves with perfect loyalty and not to commit any fault for a span of three years. We swear that
if we act contrary to this oath we will sin gravely against Heaven. Especially when the country is unstable we swear to translate this oath into practice. Previously, on the twenty-second day of the seventh month of the year Sinmi, we pledged ourselves to master the Book of Songs, the Book of Documents, the Rites, and the Tso chuan in the like period of three years."
The identity of the two is unknown, but they might have been Kwisan and Ch’wihang. The Japanese scholar Suematsu dates the tablet to 732, while Yi Pyóng-do, because of the use of the Hyangch’al system and the contents of the oath, puts it before 676, the year of the unification of the Three Kingdoms.
A valuable record of contemporary facts, the tablet refers to such matters as the development of the Hyangch’al, the growth of the Hwarang, and the daily life of the upper class in Silla. The tablet is also unique in that it records a private oath rather than one of a public nature".
Of the books the Hwarang (?) previously pledged themselves to master in three years (The Book of Songs, the Book of Documents, the Book of Rites, and the Tso chuan) are the first three part of the Five Confucian Classics and the last one belongs to the Thirteen Confucian Classics.
Samguk Sagi. Own translation : Samguk Sagi (ha), translated into korean by Yi, Pyong-do, Samguk Sagi: Wonmun-P’ton, Kug’ok-p’yon, Seoul: Uryu Munhwasa, 1980, p.381.
"Kóngun was son of Taesa (rank) Kumun and became Sain ("Palace Officer"). In the 44. year (627 AD) there was a great frost in the 8.month which destroyed all kinds of grain and in spring the following year a great starvation started. The situation was so bad that people had to sell their children in order to eat.
At that time there were several Sain’s from the palace who conspired to steal grain from the storage and share it between themselves. Only Kóngun would not accept any grain. The Sain said: "Everybody have accepted grain, only you have refused. What is the reason for this? If you think it is too little, you can take more." Kóngun smiled and said,
"I am a student of the Hwarang Kunnang and we practice to improve ourselves by Pungwól. Actually, these petty ilicit matters are of small importance and not of justice
(oui). So even if I would benefit 1000 pieces of gold, it would not change my heart." At that time the Ich’an’s (high rank) son became a Hwarang, which is why Kóngun spoke like this.
When Kónhun left the palace in order to go to Kunnang, the Sain’s secretly confered. They felt that if they didn’t kill Kóngun he would certainly speak and reveal them, so they finally called him to the palace. Kóngun knew of their plans to kill him so he said goodbye to Kunnang and said, "After today we will not meet again". The Knight didn’t know why he spoke like that but Kóngun wouldn’t tell him. Only after he had asked him repeatedly did he give a short summery of the situation. The Knight understood fully but tested Kóngun and said, "Why don’t you tell it to the Chief Palace Officer?". Kóngun said, "I don’t have the heart to do so. For me to be afraid to die and then let so many people in trouble is not right." "In that case, why not run away?" Kógun ansvered, "That too is not good. I am straight (honest) and they are crooked. It is not for a man/gentleman to run away". And in the end he went to the palace.
Several of the Sain served him alcohol and apologized for their conduct while they secretly mixed poisonous drugs in his glass. Eventhough Kógun knew of it, he had to drink it and died.
The gentleman says that Kógun did not die because of what he did but it can be compared to "A Great Mountain and a Goosedown" person.
Samguk Sagi contains a full three volumes of biografical stories of the distuinguished Silla General, much more than on anyone else.
See Vos, Frits: Kim Yusin, Persönlichkeit und Mythos: Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Altkoreanischen Geschichte, Oriens Extremus 1 (1954) p.29-70 and 2 (1955) p.210-236 for a full translation of all material of Kim Yushin from both the Sagi and Yusa (in German).
Kim Yusin was 15 when he became a Hwarang and 18 when he became Master of the sword and a Kuksón. By the time of his death he was one of the most powerful men in Korea and
was buried like a king.
He was born in 595, and became the leader of a Hwarang group called Yonghwa-Hyangdo "Band of the Dragon Flower Tree" (= the Nagavrksa tree the Bodhi tree under which aitreya Buddha would rise and teach his learning).
In 611 AD under King Chinp’yóng, when Kim Yusin was seventeen, he saw Koguryó, Paekche and Magal troops closing in on Silla’s territory. He was enraged and deeply shaken. Wanting to free Silla from the enemy invaders, he entered a stone grotto on Chung’ak Mountain (Pu’ak – Middle Peak) alone.
After fasting he swore an oath to heaven: "The hostile countries are without moral. They are like wolves and tigers, therefor they disturb our frontiers, plunders and hardly
a year is left in peace. I am but one insignificant subject devoid of special talents or strength, but I am determined to put an end to this disorder. If only heaven would look down and help me fulfil my goals.
He had stayed in the grotto for four days when suddenly an old man, dressed in coarse garments came to him and said: "This place is filled with poisonous snakes and wild beasts. It is a terrible place. Why have you come here and stay be yourself, my noble youth?"
Kim Yusin answered: "Where did you come from, wise old man? May I ask your venerable name?" The old man spoke: "I have no residence, I come and go in harmony with my
wishes. My name is Nansung".
Hearing this Kim Yusin knew that this was no ordinary man. He bowed twice and spoke to him with awe: "I am a subject of Silla. When I see the enemies of my country, my heart is pained and my heart is filled with aching, that is why I am here. My hope is to discover some solution. Humbly I beg you, wise old man, take pity on my earnest sincerity and teach me your magic knowledge." The old man was silent and did not speak. Kim Yusin implored him again and again, shredding tears all the while.
After six or seven days the old man finally spoke: "Even though you are young, you are of determined to unify the Three Kingdoms, this certainly indicate a strong character." Then he taught him his secret methods and said. "Be careful not to pass on this method carelessly. If you use it for improper purposes you will suffer great misfortune. Once he was finished speaking, he left. Kim Yusin followed him for about two miles but then lost sight of him, and could not find him anywhere. Over the mountains was only a light – radiating brilliantly like the five colours (in all colours).
In 612 the neighbouring invaders advanced still further. Kim Yusin – even more resolute – grabbed his precious doubled-edged sword, and entered alone into a deep grotto on Mt.
Inbak. Burning incense and calling out to heaven, he swore the oath he had sworn before at Chung’ak, praying further that "the Heavenly Gods, send down a light and let a spirit decend into my precious sword!" On the night of the third day, the two asterisms of "Barrens" (in Aquarius and Equuleus) and Horn (Spica) shown their light into the sword, till it started to quiver tremulously .
The Middle Peak Cave in which Kim Yusin prayed for Silla’s unification of the Three Kingdoms is presumed to be the Sinsón
cave temple located on Tansók Mountain in Sómyón, Wólsóng Country.
The Sinsón-sa cave temple is a natural grotto whose wooden upper structure with a tile roof has been lost. Shaped in a form, the grotto has 10 large and small statues carved in
relief on the eastern, southern, and northern walls.
The standing Buddha and two standing Bodhisattvas, all carved on the innermost three walls, presumed to be a statue of Maitreya. On the northern
wall, farther inside, is a half-seated Maitreya carved in relief.
Samguk Yusa: "Kim Yusin was making plans day and night to conquer Koguryó and Paekche. And one night, when Yusin was about the age of eighteen, a Koguryó spy who
had mingled with the Hwarang for many years tried to lure Kim Yusin into a trap. The spy whispered secretly that they should spy on the enemy and they set out together.
One day as they paused on a mountain top, two girls appeared from the forest and followed after Kim Yusin. When they arrived at a village to rest for the night, a third girl appeared, and all three, in the most engaging manner, presented delicious cakes for Kim Yusin to eat. He was transported with joy and immediately fell in love with the three of them.
"My beautiful ladies," he said, "You are three laughing flowers and I am a humming bee. Will you suffer me to suck honey from your golden hearts the whole night?"
"Yes," they replied coyly, "we understand. Come to the forest with us and there we shall have our pleasure in beds of fragrant flowers, unseen and unheard by the other boy."
So Kim Yusin went into the forest with the three girls, but as soon as they arrived the girls changed into noble goddesses. "We are no laughing flowers or nymphs," they
told Kim Yusin,"but three goddesses who guard the three sacred mountains. We have come to warn you that you are being lured by an enemy spy. Be on your guard!
Farewell!" And with these words the three goddesses rose into the sky and flew away.
Kim Yusin prostrated himself before the departing goddesses and then returned to the sleeping spy. Early next morning Kim Yusin woke him and said, "Look. We started on our long journey to a foreign country in such a hurry that I forgot my purse and left it at home. Let’s go back and get it before going any farther." The Koguryó spy suspected nothing, and they returned to Kyongju. Here Kim Yusin immediately had him arrested and bound on hand and foot. After confessing, Kim Yusin had the spy executed and thanked the three goddesses who had saved his life".
In an early battle against Koguryó (629AD), Kim Yusin was fighting under his father, Sóhyún, who was the leader of the army. Silla was fighting to conquer Nangbi Castle but
at the battle the troops suffered one defeat after another. The numerous deaths caused a breakdown in the spirit to the point that none would fight on. Kim Yusin, who at this time
were commander for a medium sized garrison, went before his father and as he took of his helmet he said:
"They’ve defeated us. But throughout my life I have guided by loyalty and filial piety. In the face of battle one must be courageous. Now, I have heard that if you shake a
coat by its collar, the fur will hang straight. And that, if you lift up the headrope, the whole fishing net will open and it can be thrown far and wide. Let me become the collar
and the border ropes."
Then he jumped to his horse, drew his sword and leapt over a trench and fought his way into the enemy’s ranks where he beheaded the general. He came back holding the head up high ans as the Silla troops saw this they struck out in attack to take advantage of his victory. The number of cut-off heads were more than five thousand and more than a thousand
men were taken alive. Everybody in the besieged city, too frightened to resits, came out in surrender.
In 645 Kim Yusin became leader of the Silla army and won a big victory over Paekche. On his way back to Silla he received
information that another big Paekche army was ready to attack. Without even visiting his wife and children he mounted his horse, marched against the enemy army and send it off
He went to the palace and made his report but before he had time to go home, he again received an urgent message that Paekche troops were closing in. Again Kim Yusin did not go
home. He trained his troops, improved their weapons and went out to meet the enemy. On their way they passed Kim Yusin’s house and his family and servants were waiting for him
outside the gate. Yusin passed the gate without looking back. After about fifty steps he stopped his horse and ordered a soldier to get water from the well in his house. He drank
it and said: "The water in my house still has its old taste." Then the soldiers said: "When our leader is like this how then can we be sad to be parted from our meat
and our bread?" When they reached the boarder and the people from Paekche saw the Silla army, they dared not go on and withdrew. The Queen heard this and rejoiced, Kim
Yusin received a title and a large reward.
Kim Yusin had very strong ties to the royal family. For example, his sister became married to the future king, Kim Yusin’s close friend and blood brother, Kim Ch’un Ch’u, because of him. He accomplished this, by one day they were playing ball, stepping on a ribbon that were trailing from Ch’un Ch’u’s jacket.
Kim Yusin took him home with him and called his sister to sew on the ribbon again. She blushed deeply all the while and Ch’un Ch’u fell in love with her right away. From then on he visited her "day and night".
Somewhat later Kim Yusin discovered that his sister was pregnant, he was furious and began preparations to have her burned to death as a "an example to all immoral women." Ch’un Ch’u leaped on his horse and galloped quickly to Yusin’s house – and a few days later he and Yusin’s sister were formally married. After Yusin’s wife died he married Ch’un Ch’u’s sister, tying them even closer.
(In 654 Kim Ch’un Ch’u were elevated to the throne and were known as King Muryol. It was during his reign that he and Kim Yusin united the peninsula to one country for the first time ever.)
In 642 Paekche concurred parts of Silla, Ch’un Ch’u was furious and wanted to go to Koguryó to ask for troops, to get revenge. When Ch’un Ch’u was ready to leave, he said to
"I form together with you a body, we are the arms and legs of our fatherland. If I now go there, and thereby receive hardship, would you not care for this?"
Kim Yusin answered: "If you go, but do not return, then the hoofs of my horse will surely trot on the courts of Koguryó and Paekche. If not so, I would be ashamed to face my people". Ch’un Ch’u rejoiced. He and Kim Yusin bitting each other in the finger and smearing their mouths with blood, swore to be blood-brothers. Ch’un Ch’u said: "After sixty days I will be back. If it takes longer before I am here, then we will not meet again". After this they parted.
When Ch’un Ch’u came to Koguryó, the King saw that he was no ordinary man and put him in jail for later execution.
But when he had not returned after sixty days, Kim Yusin choose and trained 3000 brave men in Silla. He said to them: "I have heard, that it is the disposition of a hero to put his life in danger and forget his body in difficulties. If a man is ready to give himself up to death, then he is worth one hundred men if one hundred men are ready to give themselves up to death, then they are worth one thousand men if one thousand men are ready to give themselves up to death, then they are worth ten thousand men. In this case, it is possible, through faith, to march straight through the world. Now an able statesman from our country has been made prisoner by another country". The troops answered: "Even if you send us on an expedition in which we only would have a very small chance of surviving, how would we dare not to follow your commands?"
But before the Queen had time to decide on a date for Kim Yusin to leave, the King of Koguryó found out (through a spy) what Silla was planning and released Ch’un Ch’u.
In the Japanese book "Nihongi" (one of the oldest Japanese books, A.D. 697) there is a paragraph for the year 647 which says:
"Silla sent Kim Chhyun-chhyu, a Superior Minister, of the rank of Greater Ason, and others to accompany the Hakase, Takamuko no Kuromaro, of Shótoko rank, and Oshikuma, Nakatomi no Muraji, of middle Shósen rank (All are Japanese ranks), and bring a present to the Emperor of a peacock and a parrot. Chhyun-cchyu was made a hostage. He was a handsome man, who talked and smiled agreeably".
There is no mention as to when and how Kim Ch’un Chu was released but he became King Muryól in 654, I have not been able to find any other mention of this incident in the Korean sources. Aston, W.G.: Nihongi, Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697, Charles E. Tuttle company, Tokyo, 1972.
Kim Yusin was a very wise and courageous general. At one time he was leading his troops through the mountains. It was freezing cold, men and horses were exhausted and fell again
and again. Kim Yusin uncovered his shoulders, seized his whip and spurred his horse on. As the troops saw this they hurried on so much that the sweat started to pour. They dared not speak of the cold again.
For the last battle against Paekche, T’ang China sent 122,711 crack troops under the command of "Left Tiger Guard General Su Ting-fang". They were going to fight together with 50,000 hand picked warriors under the command of General Kim Yusin.
The two commanders was planning a coordinated attack when a fierce bird started to circle around the head of General Su. A fortune teller said it was a sure omen of his sure dead
in the coming battle. The T’ang General trembled from head to foot and was about to order his men to turn back. But Kim Yusin unsheathed his long sword, struck the swooping bird
dead, and laid it at the General’s feet, saying "A small grotesque bird cannot interfere with our great expedition against a bad king."
In summer, the sixth month of 660AD the Great King (T’aejong) and the Crown Prince Pómmin moved out with a huge army to attack Paekche, setting camp at Namch’ón. At the same time, Kim Inmun, who had gone to T’ang requesting troop support, came along with the T’ang Great Generals Su Ting-fang and Liu Po-ying at the head of one hundrede trirty thousand troops, crossing the sea and landing at Tóngmul Island. They had first sent an attendant Munch’ón on ahead to announce their arrival and with recipt of this news, the king ordered the Crown Prince, Generals Yusin, Chinju, Ch’ónjon, and others to take a hundred large vessels laden with troops to meet them. The Crown Prince met General Su Ting-fang, and Su Ting-fang said to him, "I’ll go by the sea route and you, prince, go by land. We will meet at the walls of Sabi, Paekche’s capital, on the tenth of the seventh month." When the Crown Prince reported this the Great King led his generals and warriors to an encampment at Sara. General Su Ting-fang and Kim Inmun came into Ibólp’o by sea but ran aground and were unable to proceed because of thick costal mud. Willow rush mats were spread permitting the armies to land, and T’ang and Silla joined in attack on Paekche. They destroyed her. Throughout that campain, it was Yusin’s merit that was greatest, and when the emperor of T’ang heard of it, he sent an emissary to praise and compliment him. General Su Ting-fang said to Yusin, Inmun, and Yangdo, "My command allows me to exercise authority as conditions dictate, so I will now present to you as maintenance lands all of aekche’s territory that have been acuired, this as reward for your merit. How would that be?"
Yusin answered, "You came with Heavenly Troops, Great General, to help realie our unworthy prince’s wish to avenge our small nation, and from our unworthy prince on down to
all officials and people throughout the nation there is endless rejoicing. How could it be just for the three of us alone to enrich ourselves by accepting such a gift?" They
did not accept it.
Once they had defeated Paekche, the men of T’ang camped on the Sabi hills and secretly planned to invade Silla. When the Silla king learned of it, he summoned all officials together to discuss a strategy. Lord Tami put forward his opinion, saying: "Have our people disguise themselves as Paekche men – wear Paekche clothes and act as if they are going to rebel. The men of T’ang will surely strike at them, then we can use this as an excuse to fight and achieve our goal." Yusin said, "That idea is worth using. Let us follow that plan." But the king said, "The T’ang army has destroyed our enemy for us. If we turn about and fight them, would we have heaven’s protection?"Yusin answered, "A dog fears his master, but if the master steps on its paw, the dog bites him. Why shouldn’t one save himself when endangered? I beg that the Great King grant permission." But the men of T’ang, learning of Silla’s preparedness through spies, took Paekche king, ninety-three officials, and twenty thousand soldiers as prisoners, and on the third day of the ninth month set sail from Sabi to return to T’ang. A group including General Liu Jen-yüan was left behind to occupy the territory.
After Su Ting-fang had presented the prisoners, the Son of Heaven expressed words of commendation and indebtedness and the said, "Why diden’t you follow through with an attack on Silla?" Su Ting-fang said, "The Silla sovereign is humane and loves his people, his officers serve their nation with loyalty, and those below serve those above as if they were their fathers or elder brothers. Even though it is a samell country, one can’t plot against them."
In 668 the T’ang emperor appointed State Duke of Ying, Li Chi, to marshal a force to attack Koguryó. King Munmu was thus requested also to send troops to support the Chinese
soldiers. He appointed Húmsun and Inmun to serve as generals. Húmsun said to the King: "If we do not march out together with Yusin I fear we might regret it." The King
responded, "You three are the treasures of our country. If all three goes into enemy territory and something happens that prevents your return, what would then happen to the
country? So when I now want to keep Kim Yusin here to protect our country, it will be as if there is a great hidden wall and we need not fear." Húmsun was Kim Yusin’s
younger brother and Inmun was his sisters son (The sister who was married to Kim Ch’un Ch’u, (King Muryól)) therefore they served him with awe and dared not go against his
wishes. So they said to him: "We, who are incapable, are about to go with the Great King to an unknown country. What should we do?"
He answered: "The generals serves as shields and walls of the nation, they are the claws and the fangs of his prince. It is in the middle arrows and stones (on the battlefield) that he determines victory or defeat. Only when he arrange himself upwards to the Way of Heaven, downwards to the geography, and of the minds of men before him can he command success. Our nation survives today because of its loyalty and trust, while Paekche at this time by simply striking with our uprightness at their deviousness, but how infinitely more secure we are with the support of the august power of the Great State’s brilliant Son of Heaven! Go now and strive your utmost. Don’t fail your charge."
The two men bowed and Said, "Your instructions have been respectfully recieved and will be carried into practice. We dare not slip or weaken."
So Silla finally conquered Koguryó in 668 with the assistance of T’ang China, but T’ang again revealed her ambition to put the Korean peninsula under her control and again
stationed troops in the former territory of Paekche. Silla had no choice but to engage the Chinese in battle and "The brave Silla soldiers, inspired by the Hwarang spirit,
hurled back the invaders" (?) (Translation: Samguk Yusa by Ha and Mintz) and finally, in the sixteenth year of King Munmu’s reign (676) Silla succeeded in driving the Chinese
out, unifying the peninsula.
In Korea the great King Munmu spoke to his officials: "Kim Yusin’s grandfather was the minister-president Muruók, he was a general and led a counter attack on Paekche.
Being victorious he captured the King as well as four ministers and many soldiers. This way stopping their campaign. His father, Sóhyón, when he was chief commander, fought Paekche many times and fought against their storm attacks so they would not violate our territory. Yusin has now carried on the work of his grandfather and his father. He is a servant of the state -a general on the outside, a statesman on the inside. His merits are enormous. If we did not support ourselves on his family, then the rise or fall of the country be uncertain. How should his position and reward be like?" The officials said: "Is true as Your Majesty says."
Then the King gave him the title of Great Minister-President (note) and gave him a fief of five hundred families. Furthermore Kim Yusin received the right to enter the palace at any time, and his subordinates each received a title.
Note:Sink’ú-ibulch’ihan. The highest office in Silla was Ibulch’ihan or Minister president. Kim Yusin had received this title from King T’aejong Taewang (Muryól) already in 660 because of his service in the destruction of Paekche.
In 673, the 13th year of King Munmu, in the Summer in the 6. month "everybody" saw many tenth’s of men in armour and with weapons in their hands walking crying out of Kim Yusin’s House, – suddenly they were nowhere to see. When Kim Yusin heard this he said: "That was surely my secret guardian soldiers who – feeling that my luck has run out – has left I will die!" Ten days later he lay sick in bed. The great King visited him personally. Kim Yusin spoke: "I would like to strain the power of my arms and legs to the limit, to serve my master, but the illness of your insignificant subject means that I from now on can no longer see your face." The great King said crying: "We need ministers as the fish needs the water. If your death is unavoidable, how then shall it be with the country?"
In spring, on the first day of the seventh month Kim Yusin died in the main room in his house – seventy nine years old! An incredible age for anyone this time in history.
The King payed for his funeral – one thousand rolls of coloured silk and two thousand sacks of rice. Further, he ordered people to guard the tomb on Kúmsanwon.
From King Húngdók (826-836) Kim Yusin was later awarded the posthumous title of "Great King Húngmu" (Húngmu Taewang – great king promoting the warlike).
Hyesuk and Kudam (Hoserang):
Samguk Yusa 4:89-91. Translation: Peter H. Lee: Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol.I, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993. p.192-193.
The Monk Hyesuk was formerly a member of the Hwarang Hoserang’s group, "one of the most renowned of the Hwarang of Silla".
When Knight Hose "removed his name from the Yellow Book" (retired), Hyesuk returned to Chóksón village (in the mountains) for twenty years.
One day Lord Kudam, a Hwarang came riding to hunt in the suburb of Monk Hyesuk’s hermitage. Hyesuk went out, held the lord’s reins, and asked him if he might join him in the hunt. The lord agreed. Doffing his robe, Hyesuk ran this way and that side by side with the lord, who was pleased. The two then sat down to rest and roast game of which Hyesuk partook without aversion. "I have some delicious meat. May I serve it to you?" asked Hyesuk in front of the lord.
"Very Well," replied the lord.
Rejecting a plea from onlookers, Hyesuk sliced a piece of flesh from his thigh and placed it on a tray, while his clothes dripped with blood.
"What are you doing?" the astonished lord asked.
Hyesuk replied, "I thought you a benevolent man whose compassion reached to other living things. Thus I followed you. Now I see that you indulge in butchering other living
beings for your own pleasure. This can hardly be the way of a benevolent gentleman. You are not my kind." With these words, the master rose from his seat and departed.
Ashamed, the lord looked at Hyesuk’s plate, which was still filled with meat. Marveling, he returned and told the story to the court. King Chinp’yóng (579-632) sent a messenger
to welcome the monk. Hyesuk purposely "lay down on a woman’s bed", and the (King’s) messenger, thinking it unclean, turned back. But before he had gone seven or eight li he encountered Hyesuk. When asked where he had been, the master replied, "I have been officiating at the seven-day abstinence offering in the capital. Now I am on my way home." The messenger reported the story, had a person locate the house of the patron, and found that the monk had indeed been there.
Shortly thereafter, Hyesuk died, and the villagers buried him to the east of Yi county. At the time a fellow villager, who was coming down from the west of the hill, met Hyesuk on
the way and asked him where he was going. "I have lived here for a long time now I would like to tour other places." After going about half a li further, he mounted a
cloud and vanished. Upon reaching the east of the hill, the traveler told the story to the mourners and dug up the grave, which yielded only one of Hyesuk’s sandals.
Hyesuk’s monastery is to the north of Angang county, where he lived. There also stands a stupa".
Hyesuk knew that Kudam was a Hwarang and thought that he therefore must be "a benevolent man whose compassion reach to other living things. Thus I followed you. Now I
see that you indulge in butchering other living beings for your own pleasure. This can hardly be the way of a benevolent gentleman." This must obviously have been characteristic for a Hwarang
Samguk Yusa by Ilyón, Translated by Tae-Hung Ha and Grafton K. Mintz. Yonsei University Press. Seoul, 1972. p.106-108.
Chukchirang was known as one of the bravest of the Hwarang. He rendered meritorious service under general Kim Yusin in the unification of the peninsula, and he served as a minister under four sovereigns – Queen Chindók, King Muyól, King Munmu and King Sinmun. Here is his story:
"Lord Suljong, a Silla nobleman, had been appointed governor of Sakju and was proceeding to his new post. Because of an armed revolt on the East Coast, he was guarded by a long train of cavalrymen. When they reached the mountain called Chukchiryóng, they found a strong youth guarding the pass against the rebels. The governor praised the youth for his patriotism and wished he had a son like him.
A month after his arrival at his post, Suljong-gong and his wife both had a dream in which they saw this same man, in the flower of his youth, enter their bedroom. They immediately
sent a servant to inquire after the youth, and learned that he had died a few days before. The governor ascertained from the servant that the day of the youth’s death was the same
of that of his dream. He therefore told his wife that the youth might be reborn as their son. He sent out soldiers to bury the youth on the northern crest of Chukchiryóng and had
a stone image of Maitreya (the Buddha of the Future) erected before the grave. Later the governor’s wife gave birth to a boy, whom they named Chukchi.
The boy grew into a strong man and joined the Hwarang. He soon became famous. And people thought that he was an incarnation of Maitreya Buddha.
Many years later, during the reign of King Hyoso (692-702), there was a young man called Siro or Tugosil who was a follower of the noble Hwarang ("enrolled in the Yellow Book
of P’ungnyu"). Siro attended Chukchi-rang every day in order to receive physical and mental training as a loyal and patriotic Silla soldier. But one morning he did not report
to his master as usual, and nobody knew where he was.
When Siro had not appeared for ten days, Chukchirang asked his mother about her son’s whereabouts. The old woman replied that her son had been appointed warehouse keeper of Pusan Fortress by order of Iksón-Agan – an army commander – and that he had been called away so suddenly that he had not had time to report to his Hwarang chief. Chukchirang said, "If your son had gone on private business there would be no need to call him back, but since he went on official business I must go and give him a treat."
He took a basket of cakes and a bottle of wine with him and departed with his servants and 137 youthful Hwarang in stately procession. After arriving at Pusan Fortress he asked the
gatekeeper where he might find Siro, and was told that the young man was working on Iksón’s farm as usual. Chukchirang entertained Iksón with the cakes and wine and requested that he grant Siro a leave of absence. This Iksón flatly refused. (Iksón was using his position to obtain forced labor for his own private purposes).
Just at this time Kan-Jin, an official courier, was delivering to the castle thirty bags of rise which he had collected as ground rents. He admired Chukchirang for his Hwarang
Virtues and devotion to his subordinates, and despised Iksón’s corruption and stubbornness.
He therefore offered Iksón the whole load of rice if he would release Siro. But it was not until he had added the gift of a fine saddle and harness that the covetous fortress commander would allow the kidnapped youth to go home.
Hearing this news, the royal officer who supervised the Hwarang (the Hwaju) sent out a company of soldiers to arrest Iksón, only to find that he had gone into hiding. So they arrested his eldest son and forced him to take a bath (to wash away his fathers guilt) in a pond on the palace grounds in the midwinter cold, this causing him to freeze to death.
When this strange affair of a father’s sin and his son’s punishment was reported to the throne, the King issued a decree expelling all natives of Moryang-pu from government office in perpetuity and forbidding them to enter Buddhist temples even though they were monks. At the same time, the children of Kan-jin (the official courier) were awarded the hereditary office of village chief wherever they happened to reside".
The story takes place under King Hyoso (692-702) and Chukchirang served as state minister under Queen Chindók (647-654), King Muryól (654-661), King Munmu (661-681), and King Sinmun (681-692). Taemara-rang himself joined in a campain against Paekche as early as the eight moon of the year 649. He distinguished himself on many occations, and if we recon that he was in his twenties in 649, he must have been at least over sixty by the time of King Hyoso (692-702). When Siro was saved by him, Taemara was already an old man, but he still belonged to the Hwarang. This can also be seen from the fact that Siro wrote an eight line Hyangga poem to praise Chukchirang (aka Taemara). In this poem Siro speaks of Chukchirang’s face which now has "deep furrows".
Ode to Knight Taemara by Siro (692-702)
All men sorrow and lament
Over the spring that is past
Your face once fair and bright,
Where has it gone with deep furrows?
I must gimpse you, sir,
If I can, for an awesome moment.
My fervent mind cannot rest at night,
Far off here in the mugwort-covered swamps.
"In the first stanza of this poem, the poet compares the spring to his master. Spring which comes and goes every year seems transient but it is not so, for the world of
nature is a world of cyclic change and the spring that goes away this year will return next year. Thus spring appears fresh and unchanged whenever it returns. We human beings are not so. We are born to die, and once dead, we never return again. The period of our springtime in life, which corresponds to the seasonal spring, is only once and for all. The fair and bright face of the Knight is no more to be seen he starts to wear "furrows deep". The poet thus achieves a contrast between the world of nature and that of man. The knowledge that we will never have our spring again overwhelms the poet and necessarily the tone of his poem.
Since the poet cannot see his youthful master in this world again, he says he would like to see him once again even for "an awesome moment". The phrase "awesome moment" is ambiguous, and its interpretation in the context depends largely on the interpretation of the first stanza. Knight Taemara is either dead or still alive. This
ambiguity arises from the fourth line of the first stanza, which could also mean: how could you wish to have such furrows? But this ambiguity does not change the inner organization of the poem itself. If he is dead, the contrast is between the world of nature (spring) and that of man (death). But if he is still alive, it is the contrast rather between the season of spring and the spring-time in one’s life. Thus in the first case, "awesome moment" must be taken to mean "a moment after death" in the second case, it merely says in an elaborate way that he is anxious to see him again "even for a moment." The last two lines achieve the culmination of his intense admiration for his master: until he sees him again even for a moment, he cannot enjoy peace of mind. His anxiety for him will torment him "even in the mugwort-covered swamps", meaning he will not forget him under whatever hardship or in whatever predicaments".
Hyangga poem: Lee, Peter H.: Anthology of Korean Literature From Early Times to the Nineteenth Century, University of Hawaii Press. Honolulu 1981. p.18. Hyangga interpretation: Lee, Peter H.: Studies in the Saenaennorae: Old Korean Poetry, Instituto Italiano Per Il Medio Ed Estremo Oriente. Roma 1959. p. 106-107.
Some scholars have speculated that the Hwarang organization was a youth organization that people left when they got older (they translate Hwarang into flower boys) but this
story clearly shows that the Hwarang were not "little boys". Also if Siro could have been appointed warehouse keeper of Pusan Fortress by order of Iksón-Agan, then he
would hardly have been a child. Anyway, in sixth century Korea, a person who was 14 or even 16 years old would hardly be called a child.
28. Chindók Yówang (Queen): (647-654)
The ancient Silla Kingdom reigned over part of the Korean Peninsula from 57 B.C. to A.D. 935, making it one of the longest-ruling royal dynasties. Many of Korea's modern-day cultural practices stem from this historic culture. Yet despite its long reign and wide-ranging influence on culture, the number of Silla burials with intact skeletons remained few and far between, said study co-author Dong Hoon Shin, a bioanthropologist at Seoul National University College of Medicine in the Republic of Korea.
"The skeletons are not preserved well in the soil of Korea," Shin told Live Science in an email. [7 Strange Facts About North Korea]
However, in 2013, researchers had a lucky break while excavating a grave near Gyeongju, the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom. Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a "mokgwakmyo," lay the nearly perfectly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s.
5 The Srubna CultureEastern Europe
The Srubna (aka &ldquoSrubnaya&rdquo) culture existed from approximately 1950 BC to 1200 BC in the area from the Ural Mountains to central Ukraine. In Russian, srub means &ldquotimber framework,&rdquo which explains why this culture is best known for its burial chambers, resembling log cabins made of timber, that are located under burial mounds called &ldquokurgans.&rdquo
The burial chambers, which were considered to be houses of the dead, looked a lot like rooms that the Srubna people lived in aboveground. Even so, over 95 percent of the Srubna dead were buried in regular earthen graves. So the name of the culture is a bit misleading. Researchers have found thousands of small Srubna settlements throughout Eastern Europe, most with only a few houses each, but the settlements do have differences. So it&rsquos more of a family of cultures. Nevertheless, archaeologists know so little about these people that they really haven&rsquot been able to divide them into clear groups.
Besides grave sites, scientists have mostly found pottery shards and tools made of stone or bronze. Many of the sites appear to be poor in a material sense. There&rsquos some evidence of agriculture but more of animal breeding, mainly cows, horses, pigs, and sheep. Again, it differs by region, and scientists debate how to interpret their findings.
In 2011, archaeologists discovered what appeared to be a stone sundial in one of the Srubna burial mounds. A researcher at Southern Federal University in Russia confirmed that the markings would have shown time accurately. In fact, it was surprisingly sophisticated from a geometry perspective.
Robert the Bruce and the Spider
Robert the Bruce is well known in Scotland and across the world due to the part he played in the wars of Scottish independence and films such as Outlaw King. He was born in 1274 at Lochmaben castle where he was Knight and Overlord of Annandale. In 1306 he was crowned King of Scotland and subsequently tried to free Scotland from the English enemy.
After being defeated in battle in 1306 by the Earl of Pembroke at Methven, Robert the Bruce went into hiding, supposedly in the Western Isles. He resided in a cave for three months, at the lowest point of his life and struggling to come up with a plan about what to do next, contemplating leaving the country never to return.
However, while Robert the Bruce was waiting, legend has it that he watched a spider building a web in the entrance to the cave. The typically stormy Scottish weather, not one to disappoint, made the spider&rsquos task difficult as droplet after droplet destroyed the creatures intricate work. Finally, against all odds, the spider succeeded with his web.
Robert the Bruce was inspired by the spider&rsquos efforts, so decided to get up and face another fight. He is said to have told his men: &ldquoIf at first you don&rsquot succeed, try try and try again,&rdquo which is a phrase used still to this day.
The prince arrives in Mississippi
Ignoring Sori’s protestations, Foster marched him to his frontier homestead in Natchez, Mississippi, which was still Spanish territory at the time.
It was a far cry from Timbo, the trading hub where Sori’s father had consolidated power in Fouta Djallon. Sori had been educated in Islam and politics in neighboring Timbuktu and by the time he was captured he spoke at least five languages and was the head of a 2,000 person army. Sori was horrified by how primitive and undeveloped Natchez was.
The Kingdom of Fouta Djallon was 𠇊 very sophisticated society,” said Hamza Yusuf Hanson, an Islamic scholar, in the documentary Prince Among Slaves.“This was a period of real intellectual expansion, they had a constitution, they had laws.”
Foster made haste with shearing Sori’s long hair, a sign of nobility in Fouta Djallon, and forcing him into vicious manual labor. Refusing to stomach the humiliation, Sori ran. For weeks, he survived in dense, unfamiliar terrain. Wanted posters sprung up and slave hunters pursued him to no avail. But eventually, he realized there was no escape.
𠇍uring the isolation of being alone in the wilderness it dawned on him that he is no longer a prince, he’s no longer a warrior,” said Zaid Shakir Imam, a Muslim scholar, in the same documentary. 𠇏rom that point onwards his dignity was based on his ability to master the circumstances that he was in.”
It was also when he realized a return to Fouta Djallon would not be possible, perhaps ever.
Faced with no good options, Sori returned to Foster and set about making himself indispensable.
An uneducated man who grew tobacco and herded cattle, Foster knew little about cotton𠅊 crop of growing consequence in North America. Sori did though, as cotton was grown in Fouta Jallon.
With Sori’s help, Foster became one of the region’s leading cotton producers. As his plantation swelled, so too did Sori’s influence. He became a foreman and met 25-year-old Isabella, a midwife also enslaved by Foster that Sori would go on to marry.
The two had five sons and four daughters and Sori’s relative freedom meant he could grow vegetables and sell them at a local market. One market day, in 1807, a chance encounter would, once again, radically alter his life.
Buyenlarge / Contributor /Getty Images
The mitochondrial DNA revealed that the woman belonged to a genetic lineage that is still present in East Asia today
Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a 'mokgwakmyo', they found the nearly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s. Analysis suggests she had been around 5 feet (1.55m) tall.
To understand more about the woman, researchers extracted her mitochondrial DNA - which is passed to offspring from their mothers.
The mitochondrial DNA revealed that the woman belonged to a genetic lineage that is still present in East Asia today.
Additional analysis of the carbon isotopes in the skeleton also showed that the woman did not eat meat, which is in line with the strict teachings of Buddhism at the time.
Piecing together the woman's facial features and head shape revealed that she was a dolichocephalic - which means her head width was less than 75 per cent of its length.
In 2013, researchers had a lucky break while excavating a grave near Gyeongju, the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom
Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a 'mokgwakmyo,' lay the nearly perfectly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s
Today, head shapes in the area are widely different, where people are commonly brachycephalic - which means their head widths are at least 80 per cent of the head length.
While the researchers initially thought the head might have been deliberately deformed to have this shape, they eventually ruled this out.
The skull did not have flat bones at the front of which are distinctive in deliberately deformed skulls.
Speaking to Live Science, Eun Jin Woo, who co-authored the study, said: 'The skull in this study did not show the shape changes in deformed crania.
'In this regard, we think her head should be considered as normal variation in the group.'
THE ANCIENT SILLA CULTURE
The ancient Silla Kingdom reigned over part of the Korean Peninsula from 57 BC to AD 935, making it one of the longest-ruling royal dynasties.
Many of Korea's modern-day cultural practices stem from this historic culture.
Despite its long reign, the number of Silla burials with intact skeletons remained few and far between.
However, in 2013, researchers had a lucky break while excavating a grave near Gyeongju, the historic capital of the Silla Kingdom.
Inside a traditional burial coffin, called a 'mokgwakmyo,' lay the nearly perfectly intact bones of a woman who died in her late 30s.
The researchers used digital technology to recreate what the woman's face would have looked like. Additionally, their results suggest she was around 5 feet (1.55m) tall
While the researchers initially thought the head might have been deliberately deformed to have this shape, they eventually ruled this out, as the skull did not have flat bones at the front