Emergence of Shilla as a centralized kingdom

Mar 2015
861
Europe
#11
Interesting that the Shilla Kings political rival was exiled to Japan. Even though Japan during the time is known as Wa, all of Japan was not under a single political state,
Last time Japan was attested as not being under a single political state was 240s.
and it is likely Shilla had barely noticeable enclaves on Japan's northern areas, judging from the discovery of Shilla style stone architecture in these regions. I am curious where exactly The prince was exiled to, since it would have to be an area under tight control by Shilla ruling faction to ensure that the exiled cannot escape. Usually those exiled are sent to a part of a country's own territory, not a foreign country, for reasons of security.
Well, there is the question of exile vs. hostage. Given the distance and language barrier, the Yamato court could could well have had trouble judging the internal politics of Silla court. Was the prince sent to Yamato court a hostage valued by the Silla court, or someone the Silla court wanted to be rid of?
Even if Yamato court figured out they had been cheated by sending them an unwanted hostage - they could send the hostage back with a Japanese army to make trouble, but meanwhile the hostage would have been cut off from making connections and recruiting supporters in Silla. An exile coming back with a foreign army but no Sillan supporters might be rejected by Sillans.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#12
Last time Japan was attested as not being under a single political state was 240s.
The Gishi Wajinden does not describe a state but some sort of complex network of chieftains, which is exactly what we see in the archaeological record. Archaeological evidence for a consolidated state with a standardized culture does not appear until the late fifth century and early sixth. Even then the state was no larger than the Kinai region.

The Kofun tombs show enough local variation that they are very unlikely to be part of a single political entity, and there is evidence of shifting peer-level power centers (indicating a fairly unstable political situation, unlike an actual state structure) throughout the Kofun territory, including the Nara basin where the Yamato state was later based.

Rather, according to Gina Barnes, the Kofun culture was sort of an elite cult based on Queen Mother of the West mythology that tied the chiefs together and strengthened their position over the commoners. Not all towns of this period adopted the tomb cult.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#13
Shilla enacted its first major administrative reforms under Chijung (r. 500-514) and Pophung (514-540). The court strengthened enough to actually determine the divisions of the country, reforming the existing systems (probably relatively unchanged since Shilla took over those regions) into those of kun, chu, and hyon. The first two at least were headed by kunju and chuju, indicating hereditary lords. The title of wang replaced the native maripkan as the king's title, at least in official records. Official dress was also standardized, and probably Chinese-style bureaucratic ministries began to be instated.
 

Haakbus

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Aug 2013
3,767
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#14
Shilla's capital appears to have actually been a very dispersed collection of the six original towns with the royal residence at (Pan)Wolsong in between them. A true capital city built in the Tang gridded style was built just north of Wolsong in the late seventh century.

Shinmun (r. 681-692) made actions to curb the power of his vassals, starting a transition into a Chinese-style system with appointed governors. This was not fully completed until the late 900s during the early Koryo dynasty.
 
Mar 2015
861
Europe
#15
The Gishi Wajinden does not describe a state but some sort of complex network of chieftains, which is exactly what we see in the archaeological record. Archaeological evidence for a consolidated state with a standardized culture does not appear until the late fifth century and early sixth. Even then the state was no larger than the Kinai region.

The Kofun tombs show enough local variation that they are very unlikely to be part of a single political entity,
Wei Zhi describes, in 230s, a network of chieftains, bearing different titles but subject to Yamatai. Yamatai could in 3rd century project power to northern Kyushu - send there an official who was "feared" and take control of foreign relations. Does not mean Yamatai could, or tried to, impose a standardized culture - the local chieftains were likely hereditary entrenched in their localities, as were kunju and chuju of 6th century Silla or daimyo of 19th century Wa.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#16
Wei Zhi describes, in 230s, a network of chieftains, bearing different titles but subject to Yamatai. Yamatai could in 3rd century project power to northern Kyushu - send there an official who was "feared" and take control of foreign relations. Does not mean Yamatai could, or tried to, impose a standardized culture - the local chieftains were likely hereditary entrenched in their localities, as were kunju and chuju of 6th century Silla or daimyo of 19th century Wa.
Well Chief Powhatan also appointed his friends and relatives to the places he conquered and his hierarchy was very far from a state.

States typically are relatively stable (they have a defined, institutional structure), and during the Kofun period there is evidence of strong social competition and shifting power bases even in the most complex region, the Nara basin. Note that the Weizhi speaks of "the queen's countries" rather than them all being part of a single entity. This merely means the different polities that were in one way or another subject to the queen in whatever capacity she could exert such power. I have just never seen any evidence that there is a defined, stable political structure either in the textual or archaeological sources.

Anyway this is getting off-topic.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#17
So I've been poring over the early Shilla annals parts of the Samguk Sagi and trying to figure out what sources it was compiled from. I think I have determined as many as five or six original sources that have been redacted together to form the early parts of the annals. We clearly can't take the Samguk Sagi at face value because of the chronological problems (ridiculously early foundation of Shilla and Paekche, Shilla annals' record of Koguryo destroying Lelang in 37 AD etc.).

My theory is that it's compiled from three earlier sources, what I call the Hyokkose narrative (antedated 5 sexagenary cycles or 300 years), covering the reigns of Hyokkose and Namhae, the Yuri narrative covering the reigns from Yuri to Mich'u, and the Yurye narrative (roughly accurate dating) from the reign of Yurye, not sure about Kirim and Hurhae, onward. This is because I'm pretty certain at this point Hyokkose, Yuri, and Yurye were all the same person but from different sources. The Yuri narrative I believe is compiled from the genealogies of the three clans redacted in series (when they're actually all from the same time probably), the starting point being antedated four cycles (240 years) and also redacted with what I call the Naemul narrative, a source that describes events that first began during the (traditional) reign of Naemul but was antedated 300 years.

So most of the early kings actually did exist but they ruled at the same time in different villages but were later strung out in a single line. The Pak genealogy starts with Pak Yuri/Yurye/Hyokkose, the Sok genealogy with T'arhae, and the Kim genealogy, probably being better preserved because it was the royal one, goes back much further possibly to the late second century.

The exact succession of Shilla rulers is unclear, especially for the early fourth century, but it's pretty clear the Pak clan was the first hegemon, then they were replaced probably by the Sok clan. The Kim clan was clearly in power by the 380s, but I suspect the Pak clan had regained its dominant position in the 360s when they apparently began to develop a defined governing structure over the outlying towns. I also suspect there was one Kim chieftain (Michu) who ruled Shilla before Naemul, probably before the Pak in the 360s.

A tentative succession would be: Pak (Yuri) -> Sok (T'arhae) -> Kim (Mich'u) -> Pak (Cima or Ilsong) -> Kim (Naemul)

It's generally accepted in Western academia that the early parts of the Samguk Sagi are antedated 4-5 sexagenary cycles (240-300 years), but I'm not aware of anyone going into depth to try to understand its actual composition.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#18
The fact that the Yurye narrative contradicts what I believe I can reconstruct from the earlier sources is a problem. There are two main problems: the Yurye narrative claims Naemul directly succeeded Hurhae (of the Sok clan), but this is probably not the case, since the Pak clan apparently was dominant in the 360s. So this shows we can't take it at face value in this period. Also the narrative says Yurye was a Sok clan member when he was actually a Pak. I think Yurye was probably redacted into the Sok genealogy, perhaps with Kirim and Hurhae being placed into a gap between Yurye and Naemul, though they actually lived at the end of the fourth century.

I think my analysis of the composition of the Samguk Sagi is pretty sound, but obviously much of these theories on exactly what happened include a lot of educated guesses and speculation, so take them for what they're worth. This is fairly preliminary since I don't think there are any in-depth analyses of the Samguk Sagi like this, at least in western academia.
 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,767
United States
#19
So Shilla submitted to Koguryo and sent Prince Shilsong as a hostage in the 390s at some point. The annals say 392. The Kwanggaet'o stele says Shilla requested military assistance in 399 and had submitted at one point, not sure if this passage indicates it was in 399 or earlier.

The controversial shinmyo passage says that someone did something to Shilla to make them subjects in 391, but the inscription is partly illegible.

Also did Shilla submit because they wanted the reinforcements or because (based on the corrected dating on supposedly earlier records) around this time they were expanding, probably northward and didn't want to alarm Koguryo?
 
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