Asadal

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Asadal
Hangul 아사달
Hanja 阿斯達
Revised Romanization Asadal
McCune–Reischauer Asadal

In Korean mythology and history, Asadal (Hangul/ Hanja:아사달/阿斯達) was the mythical capital city of the kingdom of Gojoseon (Hangul/ Hanja: 고조선/ 古朝鮮 - meaning "Older Joseon"), the first ever Korean kingdom and notably founded by the legendary god-king Dan'gun. It is thought that Asadal was located in Manchuria, northeastern Hwanghae Province (Hangul/ Hanja: 황해/黃海) in North Korea, or Pyongyang Province (Hangul/ Hanja: 평양/平讓) - that is, either the legendary kingdom in situ within the province of Pyongyang, not referring to the modern-day capital of North Korea - Pyongyang.

The first Korean historical work to mention it is the Samguk Yusa (Hangul/ Hanja: 삼국유사/三國遺事 - "Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms"), which cites the Chinese Book of Wei (Korean Hangul/ Hanja: 위서/魏書 - wi-seo). The Samguk Yusa also cites the lost historical records of Go-gi (고기/古記 - "Old Analects/ Records") to the effect that Dan'gun's capital was located in Pyongyang. But recent studies show that there were more than one city named Pyongyang, situated in the north deep in Manchuria - possibly bordering in between China and Russia. The Pyongyang that is North Korea's capital today is actually the Southern counterpart, as it was common at the time for an emperor to manage two capitals and rule in two palaces. Therefore, it could be that the "true" Asadal is located in Manchuria.

Word for word, Asadal can be broken up as asa and dal. Asa may be cognate with a common Korean word for "morning" (Middle Korean achɔm; Modern Korean achim). Dal may be the result of reading Chinese characters in the Korean way, and the original Chinese pronunciation at the time Asadal was recorded in ancient historical texts could have been "Da," a transcription of the Korean word sdah or ddang meaning "land." If such is the case, "Asadal" would mean "Morning Land." However, if "dal" is used much like the Goguryeo city name suffix "-dal" used for mountains and cities founded on plateaus/mountains, then "Asadal" means "Morning Mountain."

Other sources[edit]

  • Lee, Peter H & Wm. Theodore De Bary. Sources of Korean Tradition, page 5-6. Columbia University Press, 1997.

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