Muyeol of Silla

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Muyeol of Silla
Hangul 태종 무열왕
Hanja 太宗 武烈王
Revised Romanization Taejong Muyeol
McCune–Reischauer T'aejong Muyǒl
Birth name
Hangul 김춘추
Hanja 金春秋
Revised Romanization Gim Chun-chu
McCune–Reischauer Kim Ch'un-ch'u

King Taejong Muyeol (604[1] – June 661), born Kim Choon-Choo, was the 29th monarch of the southern Korean kingdom of Silla (Sinra) and ruled from 654 to 661.[2] He is credited for leading the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was a friend and superior of Kim Yusin, a renowned army general, who eventually became his brother-in-law after marrying Taejong's sister.


King Taejong Muyeol was born with the "sacred bone" rank of seonggol. His father, Kim Yongsu (金龍樹), was a son of Silla's 25th ruler, King Jinji. When King Jinji was overthrown, all royalty from his line, including Kim Yongsu, were deemed unfit to rule over the kingdom. However, as he Yongsu was one of the few remaining seonggols, and married a seonggol princess (King Jinpyeong's daughter Princess Cheonmyeong), their child, Kim Chunchu, became seonggol and thus had a claim to the throne. Kim Yongsu was a powerful figure in the government. However, he lost all of his power to Kim Baekban, the brother of the king. In order to survive, he had accepted to become a jingol, the rank that was right below seonggol. Therefore, he lost his chance of becoming the king, and so did his child, Kim Chunchu. Following the death of his aunt, Queen Seondeok, Chunchu was passed over in favor of Jindeok of Silla, the last verifiable seonggol. With her death, all the seonggols were dead, so somebody with the royal blood in the jinggol rank had to succeed the throne. Kim Alcheon (a.k.a. So Alcheon), who was then Sangdaedeung (highest post of government) of Silla was the original favorite to succeed the throne. His father was a seonggol, who married a jingol wife so that his son would not be a seonggol and suffer from the fight for the throne. However, Kim Yushin supported Kim Chunchu, and Alcheon eventually refused the throne and supported Chunchu's claim. As a result, Kim Chunchu succeeded the throne as King Muyeol.


He was well acquainted with the Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty, for he and the Emperor were friends before Gaozong became an Emperor. King Muyeol was a great support to the Emperor, and the Emperor returned the support to King Muyeol. He constantly pleaded with the Tang for reinforcements to destroy Baekje, to which the Tang finally acquiesced in 660, sending 130,000 troops under General Su Dingfang. Meanwhile, Kim Yusin set out from Silla with 50,000 soldiers and fought the bloody Battle of Hwangsanbeol leaving Baekje devastated and unprotected. King Uija of Baekje finally surrendered, leaving only Goguryeo to face Silla as an adversary on the Korean peninsula.

In June of the following year King Muyeol died, leaving his son Kim Beopmin to assume the throne as King Munmu.


  • Father: Kim Yongsu (金龍樹), son of King Jinji of Silla, 25th ruler of Silla, and Lady Jido of the Park clan
  • Mother: Princess Cheonmyeong (Hangul: 천명공주, Hanja: 天明公主), daughter of King Jinpyeong of Silla and Queen Maya
  • Uncle: Kim Yongchun (Hangul: 김용춘, Hanja: 金龍春), brother of Kim Yongsu; 13th Pungwolju of Silla
  • Aunt: Queen Seondeok of Silla, sister of Princess Cheonmyeong; 27th ruler of Silla
  • Wife:
    • Queen Munmyeong (Hangul: 문명왕후, Hanja: 文明王后), birth name "Kim Munhui" (Hangul: 김문희, Hanja: 金文姬), younger sister of General Kim Yushin, younger daughter of General Kim Seohyun and Lady Manmyeong.
  • Issue:[3][4]
    • King Munmu of Silla (626 – 681)
    • Kim Inmun (Hangul: 김인문, Hanja: 金仁問) (629 – 694)
    • Kim Munwang (Hangul: 김문왕, Hanja: 金文王) (629 – 665)
    • Kim Nocha (Hangul: 김노차, Hanja: 金老且)
    • Kim Jigyeong (Hangul: 김지경, Hanja: 金智鏡)
    • Kim Gaewon (Hangul: 김개원, Hanja: 金愷元)
    • Kim Intae (Hangul: 김인태, Hanja: 金仁泰)
    • Kim Gaejimun (Hangul: 김개지문, Hanja: 金皆知文)
    • Kim Chadeuk (Hangul: 김차득, Hanja: 金車得)
    • Kim Madeuk (Hangul: 김마득, Hanja: 金馬得)


Popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ According to records in his royal tombstone, his birth year is 604
  2. ^ Il-yeon: Samguk Yusa: Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea, translated by Tae-Hung Ha and Grafton K. Mintz. Book One, page 64. Silk Pagoda (2006). ISBN 1-59654-348-5
  3. ^ King Munmu and Kim Inmun are known for certain to be sons of Queen Munmyeong. It is also certain that Kim Intae, Kim Gaejimun, Kim Geodeok, and Kim Madeok were the sons of concubines.
  4. ^ The identity of Kim Munwang, Kim Nocha, Kim Jigyeong, and Kim Gaewon's mothers are uncertain. According to the Samguk Yusa, they are listed as sons of Queen Munmyeong. In the Samguk Sagi, they are listed as sons of concubines.

External links[edit]

Muyeol of Silla
Born: 604 Died: 661
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Silla
Succeeded by