Later Silla

  (Redirected from Unified Silla)

Later Silla or Unified Silla (Korean통일신라; Hanja統一新羅; RRTongilsilla, Korean pronunciation: [tʰoːŋ.il.ɕ]) is the name often applied to the Korean kingdom of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, after it conquered Baekje and Goguryeo in the 7th century, unifying the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula.


신라 (新羅)
통일신라 (統一新羅)
후신라 (後新羅)
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
CapitalSeorabeol (present-day Gyeongju)
Common languagesOld Korean
Classical Chinese[1]
Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shamanism
• 661–681
• 681–692
• 887–897
• 927–935
Gyeongsun (last)
Historical eraAncient
• Start of Later Three Kingdoms period
• Handover to the Goryeo
• 8th century[2]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Later Baekje
Today part ofSouth Korea
North Korea
Later Silla
Bifyu 9.jpg
Anapji pavilion
Korean name
Revised RomanizationTongil Silla
McCune–ReischauerT'ongil Shilla

In 660, King Munmu ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yu-shin, aided by Tang forces, defeated General Gyebaek and conquered Baekje. In 661, he moved on Goguryeo but was repelled. King Munmu was the first ruler ever to look upon the Korean Peninsula as a single political entity after the fall of Gojoseon. As such, the post-668 Silla kingdom is referred to as Unified Silla. Unified Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it fell to Goryeo in 935.

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.

Despite its political instability, Unified Silla was a prosperous country,[3] and its metropolitan capital of Seorabeol (present-day Gyeongju)[4] was the fourth-largest city in the world at the time.[5][6][7][8] 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.


North Korean historians criticize the term "Unified Silla". traditionally "Unified Silla" considered as first unified kingdom of Korean people. According to north korean's perspective, Goryeo is the first unification of Korean people, since Balhae still existed after the establishment of "Unified Silla", despite occupying territory north of the Korean peninsula.[9][10] North Korean historians uses "Late Silla", using the word "late" means Silla never unifies Korean people as a whole. North Koreans acknowledges Goryeo is the first country that unifies Korean people.

But more historically accurate terminology for this time of era would be "Unified Silla". this perspective based on historical records. people of Silla consider themselves to be kingdom of unified Koreans they call it "삼한일통" which means unifying three kingdoms. this term is from one of main general "Kim-Yu-Shin(김유신)". in his death bed he writes a letter to the King Munmu. and Kings of Silla continues to show this perception. for example, King Sinmun's installment of "9 counties"(9주) and "9 서당(9 Legions)". in ancient Asia number 9 refers to a great things and 9 counties means a 'whole world(천하)'. more to this, Silla gave the noble ranks to the nobles of Goguryeo and Baekje as a token of unification. So historically more accurate term for this Era would be Unified Silla.[11]


Unified Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje, which acted like the Phoenicia of medieval East Asia,[12] 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.[13][14][15][16]

Unified Silla was a golden age of art and culture,[17][18][19][20] as evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa, Seokguram, and Emille Bell. Buddhism flourished during this time, and many Korean Buddhists gained great fame among Chinese Buddhists[21] and contributed to Chinese Buddhism,[22] including: Woncheuk, Wonhyo, Uisang, Musang,[23][24][25][26] and Kim Gyo-gak, a Silla prince whose influence made Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism.[27][28][29][30][31]

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 Hyech'o went to India to study Buddhism and wrote an account of his travels.[32] Different new sects of Buddhism were introduced by these traveling monks who had studied abroad such as Son and Pure Land Buddhism.[32]

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.[33]

A national Confucian college was established in 682 and around 750 it was renamed the National Confucian University.[32] The university was restricted to the elite aristocracy.

Woodblock printingEdit

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 the oldest discovered printed material in the world.[32]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Lee 1984, pp. 83–84.
  2. ^ 박용운 (1996). 고려시대 개경연구 147~156쪽.
  3. ^ MacGregor, Neil (2011-10-06). A History of the World in 100 Objects. Penguin UK. ISBN 9780141966830. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ International, Rotary (April 1989). The Rotarian. Rotary International. p. 28. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  6. ^ Ross, Alan (2013-01-17). After Pusan. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571299355. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  7. ^ Mason, David A. "Gyeongju, Korea's treasure house". Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS). Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  8. ^ Adams, Edward Ben (1990). Koreaʾs pottery heritage. Seoul International Pub. House. p. 53. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  9. ^ Ch'oe, Yŏng-ho (1980), "An Outline History of Korean Historiography", Korean Studies, 4: 23–25, doi:10.1353/ks.1980.0003, S2CID 162859304
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ "우리역사넷". Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  12. ^ Kitagawa, Joseph (2013-09-05). The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture. Routledge. p. 348. ISBN 9781136875908. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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."
  15. ^ Kim, Djun Kil (2014-05-30). The History of Korea, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 3. ISBN 9781610695824. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ DuBois, Jill (2004). Korea. Marshall Cavendish. p. 22. ISBN 9780761417866. Retrieved 29 July 2016. golden age of art and culture.
  18. ^ Randel, Don Michael (2003-11-28). The Harvard Dictionary of Music. Harvard University Press. p. 273. ISBN 9780674011632. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  19. ^ Hopfner, Jonathan (2013-09-10). Moon Living Abroad in South Korea. Avalon Travel. p. 21. ISBN 9781612386324. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  20. ^ Kim, Djun Kil (2005-01-30). The History of Korea. ABC-CLIO. p. 47. ISBN 9780313038532. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  21. ^ Mun, Chanju; Green, Ronald S. (2006). Buddhist Exploration of Peace and Justice. Blue Pine Books. p. 147. ISBN 9780977755301. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  22. ^ McIntire, Suzanne; Burns, William E. (2010-06-25). Speeches in World History. Infobase Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 9781438126807. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  23. ^ Jr, Robert E. Buswell; Jr, Donald S. Lopez (2013-11-24). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 187. ISBN 9781400848058. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Wright, Dale S. (25 March 2004). The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199882182. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  27. ^ Su-il, Jeong (18 July 2016). The Silk Road Encyclopedia. Seoul Selection. ISBN 9781624120763. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  28. ^ Nikaido, Yoshihiro (28 October 2015). Asian Folk Religion and Cultural Interaction. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 137. ISBN 9783847004851. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  29. ^ Leffman, David; Lewis, Simon; Atiyah, Jeremy (2003). China. Rough Guides. p. 519. ISBN 9781843530190. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  30. ^ Leffman, David (2 June 2014). The Rough Guide to China. Penguin. ISBN 9780241010372. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  31. ^ DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: China. Penguin. 2016-06-21. p. 240. ISBN 9781465455673. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ Korean history for high school p.141, issued by The National History Compilation Committee of the Republic of Korea.