Unified Silla, or Late Silla (Korean통일신라; Hanja統一新羅; RRTongilsilla, Korean pronunciation: [tʰoːŋ.iɭ.ɕiɭ.ɭa]), is the name often applied to the Korean kingdom of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, after 668 CE. In the 7th century, a Silla–Tang alliance conquered Baekje in the Baekje–Tang War. Silla conquered the southern part of Goguryeo in the 7th century following the Goguryeo–Tang War and Silla–Tang War, unifying the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula.

新羅 (Hanja)
신라 (Hangul)
Unified Silla
Late Silla
Flag of Later Silla or Unified Silla
Military Banner[a]
Unified Silla with indication of territory; Tamna and Little Goguryeo are indicated in light green
Unified Silla with indication of territory; Tamna and Little Goguryeo are indicated in light green
Common languagesOld Korean
Classical Chinese, (literary)[1]
Buddhism (state religion), Confucianism, Taoism,
Islam,[2][3] Shamanism
• 661–681
• 681–692
• 887–897
• 927–935
Gyeongsun (last)
Historical eraPost-classical
• Start of Later Three Kingdoms period
• Handover to the Goryeo
• 8th century[4]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Later Baekje
Today part ofNorth Korea
South Korea
Unified Silla
Anapji pavilion
Korean name
Revised RomanizationTongil Silla
McCune–ReischauerT'ongil Shilla

It existed during the Northern and Southern States period, when Balhae controlled the north of the peninsula. Unified Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it fell to Goryeo in 935.

Terminology edit

North Korean historians criticize the term "Unified Silla" as traditionally "Unified Silla" is considered to be the first unified kingdom of the Korean people. According to the North Korean perspective, Goryeo was the first state to unify the Korean people as Silla failed to conquer the most part of Goguryeo and Balhae still existed after the establishment of "Unified Silla"; Balhae also occupied territory north of the Korean peninsula.[5][6] North Korean historians use the term "Late Silla (후기신라)" as using the word "late" suggests that Silla never unified the Korean people as a whole. North Korea recognises Goryeo as the first country that unified the Korean people.[citation needed]

The people of Silla considered themselves to be a kingdom of unified Koreans and called it "삼한일통" which means unifying three kingdoms. As he lay on his death bed, one of the main generals "Kim Yu-sin", wrote this term "삼한일통" in a letter to King Munmu. From this, the Kings of Silla continued to hold this perception and it may be seen in King Sinmun's instalment of "9 counties (9주)" and "9 서당 (9 Legions)". In ancient Asia, number 9 refers to great things, and 9 counties means a 'whole world (천하)'. More to this, Silla gave noble ranks to the nobles of Goguryeo and Baekje as a token of unification. So a historically more accurate term for this era would be Unified Silla.[7]

History edit

In 660, King Munmu ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yu-sin, aided by Tang forces, defeated General Gyebaek and conquered Baekje. In 661, he moved on Goguryeo but was repelled. Silla then fought against the Tang dynasty for nearly a decade.[8]

During its heyday, the country contested with Balhae, a Goguryeo–Mohe kingdom, to the north for supremacy in the region. Throughout its existence, Unified Silla was plagued by intrigue and political turmoil in its newly conquered northern territory, caused by the rebel groups and factions in Baekje and Goguryeo, which eventually led to the Later Three Kingdoms period in the late 9th century.

Gyeongju remained the capital of Silla throughout the whole existence of the dynasty, which demonstrates the power of the governmental system employed in Silla. By using the “Bone Clan Class” system, a small group of powerful people ('bone clan') was able to rule over a large amount of subject people. To maintain this rule over a large number of people for an extensive period of time, it was important for the government to keep the unity of the bone system and hold the governed subjects in a low social status.[9]

Despite its political instability, Unified Silla was a prosperous country,[10] and its metropolitan capital of Seorabeol (present-day Gyeongju)[11] was the fourth-largest city in the world at the time.[12][13][14][15] Through close ties maintained with the Tang dynasty, Buddhism and Confucianism became the principal philosophical ideologies of the elite as well as the mainstays of the period's architecture and fine arts. Its last king, Gyeongsun, ruled over the state in name only and submitted to Wang Geon of the emerging Goryeo in 935, bringing the Silla dynasty to an end.

Government edit

Regional administration edit

Culture edit

Unified Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje, which acted like the Phoenicia of medieval East Asia,[16] and during the 8th and 9th centuries dominated the seas of East Asia and the trade between China, Korea and Japan, most notably during the time of Jang Bogo; in addition, Silla people made overseas communities in China on the Shandong Peninsula and the mouth of the Yangtze River.[17][18][19][20]

Unified Silla was a golden age of art and culture,[21][22][23][24] as evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa, Seokguram, and Emille Bell. Buddhism flourished during this time, and many Korean Buddhists gained great fame among Chinese Buddhists[25] and contributed to Chinese Buddhism,[26] including: Woncheuk, Wonhyo, Uisang, Musang,[27][28][29][30] and Kim Gyo-gak, a Silla prince whose influence made Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism.[31][32][33][34][35]

Unified Silla and the Tang maintained close ties. This was evidenced by the continual importation of Chinese culture. Many Korean monks went to China to learn about Buddhism. The monk Hyecho went to India to study Buddhism and wrote an account of his travels.[36] Different new sects of Buddhism were introduced by these traveling monks who had studied abroad such as Seon and Pure Land Buddhism.[36]

Unified Silla conducted a census of all towns' size and population, as well as horses, cows and special products and recorded the data in Minjeongmunseo (민정문서). The reporting was done by the leader of each town.[37]

A national Confucian college was established in 682 and around 750 it was renamed the National Confucian University.[36] The university was restricted to the elite aristocracy. However, in Silla society, because the “Bones status” was used for the election of officials over the examination process that was used in Confucianism, the National Confucian University did not have great appeal to the nobility class of Silla.[38]

Silla was very scientifically and technologically advanced for the time. There was an emphasis put on astrology especially as it was closely tied to agriculture. This allowed them to accurately record events such as solar eclipse and lunar eclipse.[39]

Woodblock printing edit

Woodblock printing was used to disseminate Buddhist sutras and Confucian works. During a refurbishment of the "Pagoda That Casts No Shadows", an ancient print of a Buddhist sutra was discovered. The print is dated to 751 CE and is one of the oldest discovered printed material in the world.[36]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ According to the Samguk Sagi, the symbol of Silla is painted with a white crescent moon on a blue background like a half moon from the daytime. — Samguk Sagi(삼국사기, 三國史記) 제40권. 잡지, 9, 금(衿), 신라 통일기 5주서의 역할과 위상,홍성열(Hong, Seong-yeol), 북악사론 제15집 / 2022 67–98 (32 Pages).
  2. ^ Other name(s): Geumseong (금성; 金城), Saro (사로; 斯盧), Sara (사라; 斯羅), Seonabeol (서나벌; 徐那伐), Seoyabeol (서야벌; 徐耶伐), Seobeol (서벌; 徐伐), Wanggyeong (왕경; 王京)
  3. ^ With the multiple capitals system; a Supreme capital with one to four secondary capitals (514-c.900)

References edit

Citations edit

  1. ^ Lee 1984, pp. 83–84.
  2. ^ Lee (1991) reviews the writings of more than 15 Arabic geographers on Silla, which most refer to as al-sila or al-shila.
  3. ^ Lee (1991, p. 26) cites the 10th-century chronicler Mas'udi.
  4. ^ 박용운 (1996). 고려시대 개경연구 147~156쪽.
  5. ^ Ch'oe, Yŏng-ho (1980), "An Outline History of Korean Historiography", Korean Studies, 4: 23–25, doi:10.1353/ks.1980.0003, S2CID 162859304
  6. ^ Armstrong, Charles K. (1995), "Centering the Periphery: Manchurian Exile(s) and the North Korean State" (PDF), Korean Studies, 19: 1–16, doi:10.1353/ks.1995.0017, S2CID 154659765
  7. ^ "우리역사넷". contents.history.go.kr. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  8. ^ Encyclopedia of World History, Vol II, P371 Silla Dynasty, Edited by Marsha E. Ackermann, Michael J. Schroeder, Janice J. Terry, Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur, Mark F. Whitters, ISBN 978-0-8160-6386-4
  9. ^ Hatada, Takashi (1969). A history of Korea. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio. ISBN 087436065X.
  10. ^ MacGregor, Neil (2011-10-06). A History of the World in 100 Objects. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141966830. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  11. ^ Chŏng, Yang-mo; Smith, Judith G.; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) (1998). Arts of Korea. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 230. ISBN 9780870998508. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  12. ^ International, Rotary (April 1989). The Rotarian. Rotary International. p. 28. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  13. ^ Ross, Alan (2013-01-17). After Pusan. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571299355. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  14. ^ Mason, David A. "Gyeongju, Korea's treasure house". Korea.net. Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS). Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  15. ^ Adams, Edward Ben (1990). Koreaʾs pottery heritage. Seoul International Pub. House. p. 53. ISBN 9788985113069. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  16. ^ Kitagawa, Joseph (2013-09-05). The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture. Routledge. p. 348. ISBN 9781136875908. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  17. ^ Gernet, Jacques (1996-05-31). A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 291. ISBN 9780521497817. Retrieved 21 July 2016. Korea held a dominant position in the north-eastern seas.
  18. ^ Reischauer, Edwin Oldfather (May 1955). Ennins Travels in Tang China. John Wiley & Sons Canada, Limited. pp. 276–283. ISBN 9780471070535. Retrieved 21 July 2016. "From what Ennin tells us, it seems that commerce between East China, Korea and Japan was, for the most part, in the hands of men from Silla. Here in the relatively dangerous waters on the eastern fringes of the world, they performed the same functions as did the traders of the placid Mediterranean on the western fringes. This is a historical fact of considerable significance but one which has received virtually no attention in the standard historical compilations of that period or in the modern books based on these sources. . . . While there were limits to the influence of the Koreans along the eastern coast of China, there can be no doubt of their dominance over the waters off these shores. . . . The days of Korean maritime dominance in the Far East actually were numbered, but in Ennin's time the men of Silla were still the masters of the seas in their part of the world."
  19. ^ Kim, Djun Kil (2014-05-30). The History of Korea, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 3. ISBN 9781610695824. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  20. ^ Seth, Michael J. (2006). A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic Period Through the Nineteenth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 65. ISBN 9780742540057. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  21. ^ DuBois, Jill (2004). Korea. Marshall Cavendish. p. 22. ISBN 9780761417866. Retrieved 29 July 2016. golden age of art and culture.
  22. ^ Randel, Don Michael (2003-11-28). The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Harvard University Press. p. 273. ISBN 9780674011632. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  23. ^ Hopfner, Jonathan (2013-09-10). Moon Living Abroad in South Korea. Avalon Travel. p. 21. ISBN 9781612386324. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  24. ^ Kim, Djun Kil (2005-01-30). The History of Korea. ABC-CLIO. p. 47. ISBN 9780313038532. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  25. ^ Mun, Chanju; Green, Ronald S. (2006). Buddhist Exploration of Peace and Justice. Blue Pine Books. p. 147. ISBN 9780977755301. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  26. ^ McIntire, Suzanne; Burns, William E. (2010-06-25). Speeches in World History. Infobase Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 9781438126807. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  27. ^ Buswell, Robert E. Jr.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr. (2013-11-24). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 187. ISBN 9781400848058. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  28. ^ Poceski, Mario (2007-04-13). Ordinary Mind as the Way: The Hongzhou School and the Growth of Chan Buddhism. Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780198043201. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  29. ^ Wu, Jiang; Chia, Lucille (2015-12-15). Spreading Buddha's Word in East Asia: The Formation and Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon. Columbia University Press. p. 155. ISBN 9780231540193. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  30. ^ Wright, Dale S. (25 March 2004). The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199882182. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  31. ^ Su-il, Jeong (18 July 2016). The Silk Road Encyclopedia. Seoul Selection. ISBN 9781624120763. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  32. ^ Nikaido, Yoshihiro (28 October 2015). Asian Folk Religion and Cultural Interaction. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 137. ISBN 9783847004851. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  33. ^ Leffman, David; Lewis, Simon; Atiyah, Jeremy (2003). China. Rough Guides. p. 519. ISBN 9781843530190. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  34. ^ Leffman, David (2 June 2014). The Rough Guide to China. Penguin. ISBN 9780241010372. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  35. ^ DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: China. Penguin. 2016-06-21. p. 240. ISBN 9781465455673. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  36. ^ a b c d Stearns, Peter N., ed. (2001). The Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronologically Arranged (6th ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 155–6. ISBN 978-0-395-65237-4. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  37. ^ Korean history for high school p.141, issued by The National History Compilation Committee of the Republic of Korea.
  38. ^ Hatada, Takashi (1968). A history of Korea. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio. ISBN 087436065X.
  39. ^ Kim, Jinwung (2012). A history of Korea from 'land of the morning calm' to states in conflict. Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-1-283-61806-9.

Sources edit