Sources: Samguk-sagi biographies – Bi’nyeongja 丕寧子

The account of Bi’nyeongja is the 32nd of fifty biographies included in Kim Busik’s Samguk-sagi (三國史記).

Bi’nyeongja  丕寧子  비녕자

Bi’nyeongja, [his] home domain, clan and surname are all unknown. During the first year of King Jindeok’s (眞德王) reign, the Jeongmi year (丁未 647), a large number of warriors came and attacked fortresses including Musan (茂山), Gammul (甘勿) and Dongjam (桐岑). Kim Yusin (金庾信) led ten thousand foot and mounted [soldiers] and blocked them. The Baekje soldiers were extremely fierce (lit. “sharp”) and [although Silla] fought hard they could not overcome them; their spirits shrunk and strength tired. Kim Yusin, knowing that Bi’nyeongja had the will to strongly fight and deeply penetrate [the enemy], called him over and said, “Only in the cold winter can it be known that pine trees (松柏) do not wither. Today events are perilous (急), if not you who [else] can effectively project their fighting spirit to encourage people’s hearts?!”

With this they drank wine together to show their humble reverence. Bowing twice Bi’nyeongja said, “Though in the midst of countless people, you have entrusted me with this task, it can be said you know me [well]! I must repay you with death.”

Emerging [Bi’nyeongja] said to his slave Hapjeol (合節), “I, today for the higher purpose of the country and the lesser sake of having been understood [by Kim Yusin] will die. My son, Geojin (擧眞), although young in years possesses noble intentions (壯志) and [so] will certainly wish to die with me. [But] if father and son were both to die at once, then who would the family rely on for their future? You, together with Geojin, must collect my bones and return home to console a mother’s heart.”

Finishing his speech, he whipped his horse and leveled his spear and charged into the enemy camp. He killed a number of people before dying [himself]. Watching from afar, Geojin wanted to go [after him, but] Hapjeol said, “Your father has said I must return home together with the young master (阿郞) to console [your] mother; if you now disobey your father’s command and abandon your mother’s love, how could this be called filial piety?”

[Hapjeol] took hold of the horse’s reigns and would not let go. Geojin said, “Having watched my father die but caring for my own continued existence, would this be called a filial son?!”

Whereupon he cut [Hapjeol’s] arm [off?!] with his sword. Galloping into the midst of the enemy, he died fighting. Hapjeol said, “[Aaaaaaaaghh my arm!] My own sky has collapsed! If I don’t die what would become of me?”

[He] crossed blades [with the enemy] and died. The soldiers and warriors, upon seeing the deaths of the three men, were deeply moved and [began] fighting on the advance. Wherever they turned, they overpowered the [enemy] blades and forced the collapse of the enemy’s camp. They utterly defeated the enemy soldiers and decapitated more than three thousand heads. Yusin collected the three corpses; taking off his own robes he covered them and cried with incredible sadness. Hearing of this the great king [too] shed tears. With full ceremony they were buried on Mount Banji (反知山) and rewards to the wife and [remaining] children and nine generations (九族, four lineal generations above and four below) were bestowed all the more generously.

One thought on “Sources: Samguk-sagi biographies – Bi’nyeongja 丕寧子

  1. Pingback: Sources: Samguk-sagi 三國史記 (1145) – contents | Koreanology

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