Sources: Samguk-sagi biographies – Haeron 奚論

The account of Haeron is the 23rd of fifty biographies included in Kim Busik’s Samguk-sagi (三國史記).

Haeron  奚論  해론

Haeron was a [Silla] man from Moryang (牟梁). His father was Chandeok (讚德) who possessed a courageous spirit and outstanding fidelity and at one time had been renowned. In the 27th Geonbok (建福) year, Eulchuk (乙丑 605), King Jinpyeong   the Great (眞平大王) had selected [Chandeok] to be the hyeollyeong county sheriff (縣令) of Gagam fortress (椵岑城). In the 10th month of the following year, Byeong’in (丙寅 606), winter, Baekje mobilized a great host of soldiers and attacked Gagam Fortress for more than a hundred days. King Jinpyeong ordered [his] generals to rescue them with troops from Sangju (上州 lit. ‘upper province’), Haju (下州 lit. ‘lower province’) and Sinju (新州 lit. ‘new province’). Eventually they went and fought with Baekje [but] were unable to defeat them and withdrew. Chandeok was [both] furious and sorrowful and said to his commanders and men (士卒), “The commanders of three provinces [upon] seeing the enemy’s strength, did not advance. The fortress is in peril [yet] they did not come to [our] assistance. They have no sense of virtue (義). Rather than live without virtue, it is better to have virtue and die.”

At this [spirits] were greatly roused; they fought and defended [the fortress]. Even when they ran out of food and water, they ate dead bodies and drank urine. They fought hard and did not give in (怠). [But] by lunar New Year [of the following year] in spring the men were exhausted and the fortress was on the verge of collapse. [Realising] it was no longer possible to restore [their] spirits (勢), [Chandeok] looked up at the sky and loudly shouted, “Our king entrusted me with a single fortress but I was unable to maintain it and have been defeated by the enemy. I wish to die and become a great demon (大厲) that will eat up the Baekje people and restore this fortress.”

At last, rolling up his sleeves and staring wildly, he charged into a pagoda tree (槐樹) and died. With that the fortress capitulated and all the soldiers surrendered.

At the age of twenty or so, owing to the meritorious achievements (功) of his father, Haeron became a daenama (大奈麻 10th degree rank). In the 41st Geonbok year, Muin (戊寅 618), the king made Haeron a dangju commander (幢主) of Geumsan (金山). Together with the governor (都督) of Hansan province (漢山州) they raised an army (師) and attacking Gagam Fortress, [re]took it. [Upon] hearing this, Baekje soldiers came. Haeron and the others met with them [in battle]. [When] the soldiers had already clashed, Haeron said to his generals, “In the past my father died here. Now I am also fighting here against Baekje men [and so] it is the day I die.”

Taking a short weapon he charged into the enemy. He killed a number of men and died. [When] the king heard of this, he shed tears. He gave aid to [Haeron’s] family all the more generously. At the time people could not help but be sad and composed a long song (長歌) to mourn them.

One thought on “Sources: Samguk-sagi biographies – Haeron 奚論

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

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