Emergence of Shilla as a centralized kingdom

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,578
United States
#21
So did Silla have their origins in nomadic tribes like the Xiongnu as some have apparently proposed? That seems very far fetched.
No not at all. The archaeological predecessors are in the settled agricultural Mumun culture with some influx from the northwest such as P'yongan-Hwanghae and Liaodong.

That claim of Xiongnu ancestry was political, trying to curry Tang's favor by claiming descent from a guy who had once served in the Chinese court.
 
Likes: Richardrli
#22
So did Silla have their origins in nomadic tribes like the Xiongnu as some have apparently proposed? That seems very far fetched.


Here, Dr. Nelson who specializes in the area of history discusses Shilla in relation to the Dongbei at 6:00. I recommend you watch from beginning however since it's a very interesting interview with a knowledgeable expert from the Western academia on the topic.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,578
United States
#23
Fascinating interview. I actually have one of her books, The Archaeology of Korea.

She's from an older generations of researchers; note that she mentions the Altaic theory which is no longer very accepted. Also attributing all developments to outside influence is an older concept that is not very held anymore (except by Korean researchers so they can fit the archaeological data into the traditional historical narrative).

There is some debate as to exactly how much of Iron Age Korean culture is from outside and how much is from local development, but it appears to be some mix. I'm not aware of anything that specifically ties the Kim clan to the Xianbei other than the (frankly very tenuous) connection she made. So far as I know the only evidence for outside influence comes from China, Hwanghae-P'yongan, Japan, and Liaodong. I get the impression she's just kind of throwing out ideas and theories and speculations, not getting much into the nitty gritty. However I have seen her posit similar views though much more vague in her book that I have.

There is evidence of an increase in militarism, including horse armor and equipment, during the mid to late Iron Age (c. 2nd-3rd centuries AD) but I'm not aware of anything that ties them to a specific historical culture such as the Xianbei.

As for the origin of the Kim clan, I really don't think the name means "gold" but probably comes from the older Korean word kŭm meaning "chief, king". The surnames for the royal clans are generally understood to have been given no earlier than the late fifth century which was long after the Kim clan was indeed the king's clan. I speculate the clans were probably originally called after their home villages.

I'm open to the idea, though I think we need a lot of evidence before we can throw out what we already know. Why and how would Xianbei nomads travel across thousands of miles of strange (and probably hostile) territory and settle in some distant sedentary agriculturalist land, and leave no historical (and at best an uncertain archaeological) trace? There are just so many problems with a direct connection between the two.

The royal Shilla tombs at the end of the fourth century are the subject of some debate also. Some think they were developed from outside influence (presumably Koguryo), but others have traced their development locally.

Puyo (and probably Koguryo too) on the other hand, does show clear influence from the Xianbei.

Also the Hongshan was from 4700-2900 BC, long before there were a China or Korea or any historical records.
 
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Likes: Richardrli
#24
One of the most telling links between Shilla and the central Asian peoples is the striking similarity of crowns in Scythia, and Shilla






The rounded golden "fruit" hanging from golden branches is supposed to have a mythical symbolism in the Shilla lore, and is also present in the central asian crown. As this map shows there is a direct passage of steppe grasslands that central Asian nomads used to easily traverse through vast distances.

 

Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,578
United States
#25
Interesting comparisons, but I still see nothing more than dubious circumstantial evidence. We have to explain away everything else we already know, such as Shilla directly rising out of a combination of local Mumun agriculturalists and cultural influx from Liaodong and northwestern Korea. We would also have to explain why these people left no historical record at all (besides one mention several hundred years later that had obvious political usefulness).
 

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