Questions about Goguryeo

Jan 2016
316
United States
#1
1. Were they literate/did they have writing?
2. How did they defeat the enormous army of the Sui dynasty (and also armies of initial Tang invasion)?
3. Where did their stone architecture (pyramids, fortresses, etc.) technology come from - maybe their own innovations? They made impressive constructions of cut-stone (ashlar) bounded by clay mortar (which can't possibly be from China because, at the time, only wood, rammed earth, brick, and loose stone were used to build free-standing buildings in China).
4. How big was the state at its greatest extent?
5. What is the state's legacy and impact on Korean civilization?

Thanks! Sorry for lots of questions.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#2
The fifth century Chinese monk Faxian sailed from India to the shores of Shandong, and the coast of Gorguryeo is not that far away, and if the ship sailing from India nad turn right instead of left it would have landed on Gorguryeo. So it is entirely possible the the people of Gorguryeo got their knowldedge of stone construction from other parts of the world. We know that Roman offiicials visited China during the Han dynasty, and Romans traders could have just as easily visited Gorguryeo, and the Romans certainly could have talked the people of Gorguryeo about constructing in stone. Just speculation, though, I don't know of any Roman object in the area of Gorguryeo, and even if there were, they could have been obtain by trade with China.

As for defeating the Chinese, I read somewhere that single armies larger than 150,000 were difficult in ancient times to maintain logistically, and even though China was far larger, Gorguryeo might have been able to raise locally an army as large as the Chinese one, and knowing the local terrain would give them an edge. Also better generalship can play a decissive role.

The Gorguryeo seems to have been the first to unify most of the Korean pennisula, and shorten version of their name, Goryeo, was the basis for the English name "Korea".
 
Last edited:
Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
#4
We know that Roman offiicials visited China during the Han dynasty, and Romans traders could have just as easily visited Gorguryeo, and the Romans certainly could have talked the people of Gorguryeo about constructing in stone. Just speculation, though, I don't know of any Roman object in the area of Gorguryeo, and even if there were, they could have been obtain by trade with China.
But so far evidences don't support your speculation.

China and Rome barely had any contact during the Han. There was an alleged contact in Chinese records, dating back to 166 AD, however we don't know if it was an authentic contact, or just some Middle-Easterners or Sogdians pretending to be Romans.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2016
316
United States
#5
Btw, these are the Goguryeo stone architecture I'm talking about:
Built ~ 4th-5th century AD
















Pretty impressive masonry constructions. I guess it is very possible that these skills came from the West (like Bart Dale said) because the Chinese at this time predominantly used rammed earth for such constructions.
 
Mar 2016
72
The motherland
#6
Goguryeo was founded by Yemaek tribes, who were despised by the ancient Chinese as barbarians. But Yamna, Andronovo and Afanasevo cultures that flourished in southern Russia influenced their culture, thus making them culturally superior to the ancient Chinese. The use of kurgans (tumuli) obsererved in Goguryeo archaeological sites originated in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.


Sarmatian Kurgan 4th century BC, Fillipovka, South Urals, Russia.
 
Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
#7
Pretty impressive masonry constructions. I guess it is very possible that these skills came from the West (like Bart Dale said) because the Chinese at this time predominantly used rammed earth for such constructions.
Why assume that all stone structures came from the West? They can be local creations as well. You and bart dale's speculation sounds quite eurocentric.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
#8
The use of kurgans (tumuli) obsererved in Goguryeo archaeological sites originated in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.


Sarmatian Kurgan 4th century BC, Fillipovka, South Urals, Russia.
Yet this is just an earthen mound, no stone whatsoever.

And such earthen mounds are also found in China, the most famous example is Qin Shihuang's tomb.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2016
2
Han Dynasty
#9
The Chinese influence on Koguryo is understated. A lot of Chinese settled and became part of Koguryo after it conquered Lelang and also it accepted many Chinese migrants and refugees. The writing was Chinese as well as the style of fighting, art and many cultural elements. But, definately Koguryo was a Korean state and was fundamental part of the development of Korean culture, identity and history
 
Jan 2016
316
United States
#10
Goguryeo was founded by Yemaek tribes, who were despised by the ancient Chinese as barbarians. But Yamna, Andronovo and Afanasevo cultures that flourished in southern Russia influenced their culture, thus making them culturally superior to the ancient Chinese. The use of kurgans (tumuli) obsererved in Goguryeo archaeological sites originated in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.


Sarmatian Kurgan 4th century BC, Fillipovka, South Urals, Russia.
How can you judge a culture to be "superior"?? Anyways, I'm not sure what you are talking about. The Pontic-Caspian Steppes were the homeland of Proto-Indo Europeans...
 

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