Koguryo: The 700-year Riddle

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Koguryo: The 700-year Riddle

Koguryo brings to mind images of galloping horse, masculinity, and the Korean race.
Koguryo was an ancient nation that was in existence 2000 years ago. Unfortunately, we have no extant records, save for a scant collection of evidence from Japan and China, and Samguksagi written hundreds of years later.
Accordingly, the historical contents are not clear, leading some to think of the Koguryo as a myth.
There are few studies on the Koguryo period, and their validity oft disputed among researchers and virtually unknown to the public.
'Koguryo: The 700-year Riddle' attempts to clear some of the fog surrounding the ancient nation, by answering twenty-five of the most frequently ansked questions.
The author argues the merits of Korguryo, its highly nationalistic spirit and powerful ideals, and brings them into a modern context for present-day Korea.
The question of Koguryo's military strength is explained through King Kwanggaeto's influence, ad well as the social structure of the society.
There were 10,000 unemployed farmers, in a nation of only 30,000 households. The author proposes that the unemployed farmers were recruited as soldiers, to expand geopolitical strength through war. The abnormally large military of the Koguryo was a large reason for the nation's success.
King Kwanggae succeeded in centralizing scattered units into a cohesive army by creating the official post of Sama, which came to be responsible for national defense.
The author looks at Hwanguoga poems by King Yuri to create an image of the prevailing society of the time. The poem reveals Koguryo as a loosely-connected tribal nation, unified under the rule of the royal family and Kings Sosurim and Kwanggaeto.
Koguryo's eventual ruin came as it lost its identity as a warrior state.
Kudans, a Chinese scolar, penned Koguryo's waning years, when nobles struggled for individual power and a king that had lost control over his kingdom.
This book touches on a variety of subjects, big and small, on Koguryo, including family customs and General Yongaesomun's story.

by O byung-sang

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