every narrated text, in episode order Apr 5, 2020 14:03:12 GMT -5
Post by ajk on Apr 5, 2020 14:03:12 GMT -5
Tangun Era 3229, A.D. 896, Kingdom of Shilla. On the tenth year summer of Queen Jinsong’s reign, Goongyae and his mighty troops verged upon Chulwon Castle waving a Salvation Army flag. 230 years had passed since Kim Chunchu united the three kingdoms. At this time Shilla was on a rapid path to downfall. Bloody battles among the royals for the throne [were] endless, and drought, disease and increasing tax[es] caused chaos and uprising of the people. The provincial leaders turned their backs against the powerless central government, and threatened the kingdom with their increasing autonomous powers. The stage was set for many heroes to emerge and give rise to the short-lived Multi-Dominion Era. At this time, our hero Wang Guhn was living in silence in Song-ak. But in the old Baekje region, a commander named Kyun-hwon had emerged and proclaimed himself the king, and in the old Koguryo region, Monk Goongyae had mobilized an army and took possession of Myungju, and made his way to Chulwon. Now a significant portion of old Koguryo was out of Shilla’s control and under Goongyae’s rule. This was an ominous sign. Yet another era of the Three Kingdoms was beginning.
Goongyae—he conquered Chulwon and proclaimed himself the king. This was the second overthrow after Kyun-hwon defeated Baekje. [The] Chronicle of Three Kingdoms writes about Goongyae in this early period like this: “Goongyae shared pain, discomfort, victory and satisfaction with his soldiers on the battlefield. He wasn’t reckless in taking from the enemy, but was fair and diplomatic in his dealings with them. Many feared and loved him for that reason, and honored him as the Great General.” It is evident that Goongyae was an exceptional leader who had the power to capture the hearts of his men. And he will soon face the hero of this epic drama, Wang Guhn.
The last day of January, A.D. 877. Wang Guhn who later unites the three Han States and establishes the Koryo Empire was born. History records his birth like this: Emperor Taejo has a last name of Wang, first name of Guhn, byname of Yakchun, and is a man of Song-ak. He is the eldest son of King Saejo and Queen Weesook. He was born on the last day of January in the year of the rooster, in the south quarters of the residence in Song-ak. It is said mysterious light surrounded the courtyard and lit up the birth room when he was born.
Wang Ryung, the father of Taejo Wang Guhn, was honored as Saejo when Wang Guhn was enthroned. There [is] insufficient data to validate his lineage. Written records state [only] that he was the father of Wang Guhn, son of Jak Jaegun, and grandson of a nobleman of [the] Tang Empire. This tells us that Wang Guhn’s ancestors were Shilla immigrants who lived in [the] Tang Empire and they were originally from the Han Peninsula. When Shilla united the Three Kingdoms, a great number of refugees from Baekje and Koguryo fled to [the] Tang Empire. Most of these refugees were overseas merchants, and some migrated back to Shila at a later date. Many historians believe that Wang Guhn’s ancestors may have been one of these clans that originated in the old Koguryo.
Mule’s ears. It is a fable about a king’s barber who couldn’t hold the secret of the king’s funny large ears to himself and made it public by going into the bamboo forest and shouting out “King’s ears are mule’s ears!” This fable originated from King Myungmoon’s time. People were mocking King Myungmoon’s frivolity and lack of resolution. With a father of such weak character, a concubine’s son Goongyae had no chance of survival.
Goongyae. He spent ten years in meditation at Saedal Temple. As a monk he was called Sunjong, and his exceptional intelligence was acknowledged at an early age. The chronicle of the Three Kingdoms writes that Goongyae was unrestrained by the monastic laws, and was courageous and stubborn. One can also interpret this as fulfillment of enlightenment in the world of Buddhism. Saedal Temple is a predecessor of Hong-kyo Temple. Hong-kyo Temple existed in two locations: one near Song-ak, and the other in Youngwol. At this time, Buddhism was rapidly transforming from [the] royalty- and nobility-focused Avatamska school of Buddhism to [the] Zen school of Buddhism, which was focused on the teachings of Dharma and delivered hope of enlightenment to lay believers. These monasteries were self-sustained and stood on the side of the lay people. These monks not only educated themselves, but also trained in martial arts for their own protection. It is evident that Goongyae also underwent this training.
Wang Guhn was no less exceptional. Wang Ryung extensively taught his young son about the sea and commerce, and he employed mentors in both literary and military arts in preparation for his future. At this time, Shilla was under the rule of Queen Jinseong, who was a half-sister of Goongyae. She was the third queen [ruler] of Shilla, following Queen Seondeok and Queen Jindeok. Shilla was on a rapid path to decline. General Weehung had dominated political power and the court was being shaped at his command. This is how [the] ten years had passed.
A crow brings a piece of jade to Goongyae with [the] inscription “King.” It sounds like a mythical tale, but it is so written in the Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms. Whether fiction or real, it reinforces that Goongyae was born to be a king.
Queen Jinsung, the 51st ruler of Shilla. She is the half-sister of Goongyae and the daughter of King Kyungmoon. This is her second year on the throne but she had long forgotten about the governmental affairs and was preoccupied with her love affair with her own uncle, Prime Minister Weeheung. Ignoring her reputation as a queen, she is en route to a rendezvous with her lover at his home.
Wang Guhin. He was a great poet and revered sage of his time. People of this time often condemned the government for the famine and tyranny by posting slanderous posters on walls, and one written in the Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms reads like this: This is an encrypted message that means that Queen Jinsung allowed her lover Weeheung to abuse his power and led Shilla to destruction beyond repair. The royal court believed that these were the works of the elite scholar Wang Guhin, and captured him.
Dosun and Choe Chiwon. Dosun was a high priest who studied geomancy and predicted the birth of Wang Guhn and the rise of Goryeo. He was also responsible for establishing Buddhist beliefs as the national ideology in the unified Later Three Kingdoms. Choe Chiwon was a master literary who was illustrious during the last stages of Shilla. The two were discussing the fate of the kingdom.
Samdaemok: A collection of ballads that was compiled during the second year of Jinsung’s reign. Ballads are equivalent to present-day pop music. “Samdae” refers to the three stages of Shilla history and “mok” means its characterization. It is presumed to have contained a wide variety of songs, but the contents remain uncertain as the text was not preserved. Its significance is that this is the first songbook that was recorded to have been compiled in Korean history.
At last, Kyun-hwon enters the scene. Kyun-hwon. He shows himself as the nameless commander of Surabul here. But who is he? He is the man that later conquers Bekjae and becomes its king. The heroes of the Later Three Kingdoms, Wang Guhn, Goongyae, and Kyun-hwon. This is an unforgettable encounter of these three men.
Kyun-hwon. Son of a powerful peasant of Sangju named Ah Jagae, his courage and boldness was noted at an early age. His fondness for martial arts is evidenced by the fact that he incorporated the word “sword” into all of his sons’ names. Records indicate that he renamed himself Kyun-hwon at the age of 15 and traveled to Surabul to join the military. It is not clear why he deserted his powerful and wealthy father to become a soldier, but it is presumed to have been due to discordant family relations.
Pekgoja—it was a national ceremony in which one hundred high monks collectively prayed for the welfare of the country. Because of its deep patriotic significance, the head of state was required to be he administrator of the ceremony. It was first established by King Jinpyung in A.D. 613 and continued through the Koryo period, but it was suppressed after the Mongol invasion.
Marketplace: History of [the] Korean Marketplace originated in the Shilla period. To circulate goods throughout the city of Surabul, the first Marketplace was established in the 12th year of King Soji, and further developed by later Kings Jijeng and Hyogong. They also created “Shijun,” a centralized office that oversaw the activities of the markets that were strategically placed throughout the city. Thus at the later stages of Shilla, the marketplace culture is assumed to have been at its height. An Arab literature describes Shilla of that time like this: “It is a land of many mountains and gold. Many merchants who travel there become enchanted with the delightful environment and do not return.
Dice game: This was one of Shilla’s pastime activities. This game is said to have originated at a pond tavern. Although a thousand years have passed, the form of the game has remained virtually unchanged.
Weeheung. He is the younger brother of King Kyungmoon. Holder of the highest government position, prime minister, his accomplishments include restoration of Hwangyong Pagoda, and compilation of the first songbook “Samdaemok.” After King Kyungmoon’s death, he seized political control and closely assisted his nephews King Jungkang and King Hunkang. Later he became a lover of his own niece, Queen Jinsung, and controlled the government and the court. Queen Jinsung’s love for him was sincere. She was bedridden for a time after Weeheung’s death, and memorialized him with an honorable title, King Haesung.
Kyun Hwon’s father Ahjagae had two wives. He had Kyun Hwon and Neungyae with his first wife, and fathered one daughter and five more sons with his second wife, Namwon. Kyun Hwon’s mother was deceased by this time, and the control of the household was in his stepmother’s hands. Discord with his father and stepmother eventually brings regrettable destruction to Kyun Hwon who erects Later Baekjae.
Secret Script of Dosun. It is a book of prophecy written by monk Dosun. It contains general narration about geomancy and its effects. Thus, Dosun is the first man who introduced us to feng-shui, which is still actively practiced in the present. In the Chronicle of Koryo, King Taejo Wang Guhn writes: “All Koryo’s temples are strategically located according to Dosun’s analysis. Do not build temples without Dosun’s approval, for this nation’s welfare may depend on it.” It is evident that Taejo greatly respected and trusted Dosun. Dosun’s disciple Kyungbo wanted to get a glimpse into the future with this secret script.
Mida Peak Base: Located in Munju, it was one of the ten military bases that were established in each state of Shilla. This is where Kyun Hwon was presumed to have been stationed when he was assigned to defend the southwestern coastal region. It is also where he began laying foundations for his new kingdom.
At this time Kyun-hwon was fighting his formidable enemy in the southwestern coastal region, our hero Wang Guhn was steadfastly training in both literature and martial arts. Living under the care of Kihwon in Jukju, Goongyae was building the trust of his peers while waiting for his time to come. Let’s set these two men aside for now and learn more about Kyun-hwon, as he was the first one of the three principal characters to rise to power.