Hyeokgeose of Silla

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Hyeokgeose
King of Silla
Tenure57 BC – 4 AD
PredecessorNone
SuccessorNamhae
Born69 BC
Died4 AD (age 73)
BurialSareung
SpouseLady Aryeong
IssueNamhae of Silla
Full name
Bak Hyeokgeose
Era name and dates
Three Kingdoms: 57 BC – 668 AD
DynastySilla Dynasty
MotherLady Saso
Hyeokgeose of Silla
Hangul박혁거세 거서간
Hanja西
Revised RomanizationBak Hyeokgeose Geoseogan
McCune–ReischauerPak Hyŏkkŏse Kŏsŏgan

Hyeokgeose of Silla (69 BC – 4 AD, r. 57 BC–4 AD), also known by his personal full name as Bak (Park, Pak) Hyeokgeose, was the founding monarch of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.[1] He was the progenitor of all Bak (Park) clans in Korea.

Name[edit]

His title Geoseogan (Hangul:거서간 Hanja:居西干) or Geoseulhan (Hangul:거슬한 Hanja:居瑟邯), means "king" in the language of the Jinhan confederacy, the group of chiefdoms in the southeast of the Korean Peninsula.

"Hyeokgeose" was not a personal name, but the hanja for his honorific name, pronounced "Bulgeunae" (Hangul:불그내 Hanja:弗矩内) in archaic Korean, meaning "bright world." 赫 hyeok, a Chinese character that means "bright, radiant, glowing" (from doubling the character for 赤 jeok "red"), is used to transcribe the Korean adjective stem 븕 bylg- > 붉 bulg- "red" (< ancient Korean word for "red; brightly colored; bright"). 居 geo, a Chinese character that means "live, dwell, reside, sit," is used to transcribe the Korean prenominal adjective inflection ㄴ -n ~ 은 -eun "~ that is (bright/red), ~ which is (bright/red)." 世 se, a Chinese character that means "generation; world; era," is used to transcribe an ancient word related to the obsolescent Korean word 뉘 nuy ~ 누리 nuri "world."[2]

Founding legend[edit]

The Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa describe the founding of Silla by Hyeokgeose.

Refugees of Gojoseon lived in the valleys of present-day Gyeongsang-do, South Korea, in six villages called Yangsan (Hangul:양산촌 Hanja:楊山村), Goheo (Hangul:고허촌 Hanja:高墟村), Jinji (Hangul:진지촌 Hanja:珍支村), Daesu (Hangul:대수촌 Hanja:大樹村), Gari (Hangul:가리촌 Hanja:加利村), and Goya (Hangul:고야촌 Hanja:高耶村).[3]

In 69 BC, the heads of the six chiefdoms gathered to discuss forming a kingdom and selecting a king. In the forest, at a well called Najeong at Yangsan, a strange light shone from the sky, and a white horse was bowed down. Chief Sobeolgong of Goheo discovered a large egg there. A boy came out of the egg, and when bathed, his body radiated light and birds and beasts danced.

Sobeolgong raised him, and the six chieftains revered him. The chieftains made him king when he became 13 years old. The state was named Seorabeol.

Upon becoming king, he married Lady Aryeong, who is said to have been born from the ribs of a dragon.

Hyeokgeose is a son of Lady Saso who is from Chinese royal family and moved to Jinhan confederacy.[4][note 1]

Historical context[edit]

This legend reflects developments in the city-state stage, the six chieftains representing a loose group of Gojoseon refugees. The story implies the ascendency of the Bak clan over the native peoples, and may indicate horse and sun worship.

The founding date is widely questioned today, as the Samguk Sagi was written from the viewpoint of Silla, claiming Silla's superiority and antiquity over Goguryeo and Baekje. Silla in this traditional thinking is thought to have been founded first, followed by Goguryeo, and then Baekje.[citation needed] Archaeological evidence, however, paints a different picture, and it is suspected that Goguryeo is the oldest of the three kingdoms, with Silla developing either concurrently with Baekje or after it.

Reign[edit]

According to the Samguk Sagi, Hyeokgeose and his queen traveled the realm in 41 BC, helping the people improve their harvests. The people praised them as the Two Saints or Two Holy Ones (Hangul:이성 Hanja:二聖).

In 37 BC Hyeokgeose built Geumseong (Hangul:금성 Hanja:金城) in the capital city (present-day Gyeongju), and in 32 BC he built a royal palace inside.

The Chinese Lelang commandery invaded in 28 BC but seeing that the people enjoyed piles of grain and did not lock their doors at night, called Silla a moral nation and retreated.

In 20 BC, the king of the Mahan confederacy demanded a tribute. Silla sent Hogong, who was a minister of Silla. The king was angry that Silla sent Hogong and not a tribute. Hogong criticized the king's impoliteness with fortitude. The king was angry at him and tried to kill him, but nearby subordinates stopped the king, and he was permitted to return to Silla.

In 20 BC, Hyeokgeose also sent an emissary upon the death of the Mahan king in 19 BC. In 5 BC, East Okjeo (a small state to the north, later conquered by Goguryeo) sent an emissary, and Hyeokgeose presented him with 20 horses.

Death and succession[edit]

Hyeokgeose ruled for around 60 years, and set the foundation for a kingdom that would unify much of the Korean Peninsula in 668.[5]

Hyeokgeose maintained control over his kingdom and was one of the few Park rulers to hold complete power over Silla. He died at age 73, and was buried in Sareung, north of Dameomsa (south of Namcheon). Hyeokgeose was succeeded by his eldest son Namhae.

Legacy[edit]

Though not much is known about Hyeokgeose, his many legacies and reminders survive to this day. One of them being his numerous descendants, the Park clans of Korea, who are numbered as the third largest group of people with a common last name. Another legacy was the kingdom that he established. Despite the fact that his descendants eventually lost power over Silla, the fact that he founded it remained under high respects and great consideration.

Family[edit]

Park사소부인
Saso
혁거세 거서간
Hyeokgeose
알영부인
Aryeong
남해 차차웅
Namhae

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Samguk Sagi
  2. ^ Daum Encyclopedia (Korean)
  3. ^ 박혁거세, 朴赫居世, Naver Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Korean Culture 사소 娑蘇. Encyclopedia of Korean Culture.
  5. ^ The Academy of Korean studies

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article: 三國遺事/卷第五#仙桃聖母隨喜佛事Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the three Kingdoms), volume 5, clause 7.

    神母本中國帝室之女。名娑蘇。早得神仙之術。歸止海東。久而不還。父皇寄書繫足云。隨鳶所止為家。蘇得書放鳶。飛到此山而止。遂來宅為地仙。故名西鳶山。神母久據茲山。鎮祐邦國。靈異甚多。

    〈Sacred mother was called SaSo and she was born in Chinese royal family. She got sacred power and came to Hae Dong (해동/Korea), lived there and stayed there for long time. Her tied a letter to the feet of kite and told her “Let’s make a house where the kite stops”. Once she read letter and release a kite, a kite flew to Mt. Seondo (West mountain of Gyeongju/慶州) and stopped there. She decided to live there and became Xian (仙) of the land. That mountain was named as West Kite mountain and Sacred mother of SaSo stayed there as her base for quite long time and rule the country. There are a lot of miracles around that mountain as well.〉

    其始到辰韓也。生聖子為東國始君。蓋赫居閼英二聖之所自也。故稱雞龍雞林白馬等。雞屬西故也。嘗使諸天仙織羅。緋染作朝衣。贈其夫。國人因此始知神驗。

    〈She came to Jinhan confederacy at beginning, gave birth for sacred children and became first king of East country. Probably those children were Aryeong and Hyeokgeose of Silla. That’s why they are called as Gye-Nong (계농), Gye-Rim (계림), Baek-Ma (백마) and so on. This is because Gye (계) belongs to west side. One day, SaSo make fairy of heavens to weave silk cloth, dyed in scarlet and made Korean garment. She sent this garment to her husband. This was the first time for people in the country to know her miracle.〉

Hyeokgeose of Silla
Born: 69 BC Died: 4
Regnal titles
New creation Ruler of Silla
57 BC – 4
Succeeded by
Namhae