The Social and Cultural Development of the Three Kingdoms

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  • Topic: Goguryeo, History of Korea, Silla
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  • Published : November 27, 2012
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The social and cultural development of the “Three Kingdoms”

The social and cultural development of the “Three Kingdoms” The Three Kingdoms were founded after the fall of Gojoseon, and gradually conquered and absorbed various other small states and confederacies. The Three Kingdoms period ran from 57 AD until Silla's triumph over Koguryo in 668,[1] which marked the beginning of the North and South States period (남북국시대) of Unified Silla in the South and Balhae in the North. The Three Kingdoms of Korea(삼국시대) refer to the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Paekche and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium. I think it is very interesting that in ancient China also had a period named “three kingdoms”. But we all known, it’s totally different with the “Three Kingdoms” in Korea. China would be Sui and Tang dynasties when Korea was in the period of “Three Kingdoms”. In the Chinese history, Sui and Tang dynasties had been the most prosperity period. Sui and Tang dynasties had a strong influence in Asia; the relationship of the Three Kingdoms with China presented a complex situation. On one hand, the three kingdoms launched bold military assaults against china itself at times, one the other hand, none of the Three Kingdoms showed any hesitation in adopting whatever elements of Chinese culture and statecraft might be useful for its own development. The social development of the “Three Kingdoms”

The Koguryo Kingdom was founded in 37 B.C., and by the first century, it had firmly established itself as a powerful state. Koguryo developed into a powerful nation and acted as a bulwark against the aggressive northern nations and China.[2] (There is another view in china that the ancient Kingdom of Koguryo (37 BC–AD668) was China’s vassal state, of course this view ignited a firestorm of protest in South Korea.[3]) When we talk about the social development of Koguryo we have to refer to the King Sosurim(371-384). The King Sosurim reshaped the pattern of Koguryo’s institutions. He adopted Buddhism and established a national Confucian academy in 372.Buddhism would give the nation spiritual unity, the national Confucian academy was essential to instituting a new bureaucratic structure, and the administrative code would systematize the state structure itself. In this way Koguryo completed its initial creation of a centralized aristocratic state. These internal arrangements laid the groundwork for external expansion. King Kwanggaet’o(391-413) vigorously added new domains to Koguryo by conquest. His great military campaigns recorded on a huge stone stele still standing at his tomb. Dominated by this king, Koguryo became a vast kingdom extending over two-thirds of Korean peninsula and much of Manchuria as well. Then, King Changsu(413-491) the son of King Kwanggaest succeeded, during his reign brought Koguryo to its flourishing height. In 427 King Changsu moved the Koguryo capital from P’yongyang, in this new metropolitan center other institutional arrangements now were perfected. Koguryo could be developed as prosperous as it was benefited from the military system I think. The military organization of Koguryo approximated the following: [3] First, Koguryo military system was based on a conscription system, Second, the King was the only supreme command and he alone could order the troops. It was considered treason to mobilize armed forces without the king's approval. It was not until after King Sindae's rule that a single army was divided in to central and local army. The central army had more power than the local army. The central army was stationed in the capital to play the role of protecting the king and defending the capital. Meanwhile, the local army was stationed in local areas to play the role of maintaining public security and defending the borders. The central army composed of two kinds of soldiers, Professional soldiers from...
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