In the Beishi (北史) it is written, “The ancestors of Silla were originally the people of Jinhan (辰韓). The territory was southeast of Goguryeo and during the Han (漢) it was part of Lelang (樂浪). The king was originally from Baekje. He escaped by sea and came to Silla where he eventually became king.”
In the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “The surname of the founder of Silla was Bak (朴) and his first name was Hyeokgeose (赫居世). He ascended to the throne on the Byeongjin day (丙辰) in the 4th month of the 1st Wufeng (五鳳 오봉) year of Emperor Xuan-di (宣帝 91–49 BC), and was called Geoseogan (居西干). At the time he was aged thirty-three. Before then the remaining people of Joseon resided in the valleys divided into six villages which were known as the six bu (六部) of Jinhan. [One day] the village head of Goheo (高墟村長), So Beol-gong (蘇伐公), was in the forest beside Najeong (蘿井) at the foot of Mount Yang (陽山), when he saw through the trees a horse whinnying crouched down on its knees. Going to take a closer look, the horse suddenly vanished but left behind a large egg. Breaking open the egg he discovered inside a baby which he took into his care and raised. At the age of ten or so, the boy was already intelligent and precociously talented. The people of the six bu recognizing his divine and supernatural birth respectfully revered him and subsequently made him their ruler. Jinhan people call gourds (瓠 호) bak and because the large egg resembled a gourd, he took the surname Bak (朴). Geoseogan in Jinhan language means ‘king.'”
In the Munheon-pigo (文獻備考) it is written, “Silla was variously called Seoyabeol (徐耶伐), Sara (斯羅) and Saro (斯盧).
In the Donggyeong-japgi (Miscellaneous Records of the East Capital [aka Gyeongju] 東京雜記 it is written, “Gyeongju (慶州) was originally the former capital of Silla.”
辰韓六部澹秋烟 진한육부담추연 平平入上上平平(先)
徐菀繁華想可憐 서울번화상가련 平 平平上上平
萬萬波波加號笛 만만파파가호적 去去平平平去入
橫吹三姓一千年 횡취삼성일천년 平平平去入平平
jin han yuk bu dam chu yeon
seo ul beon hwa sang ga ryeon
man man pa pa ga ho jeok
heong chwi sam seong il cheon nyeon
Autumn mists drift across the six bu of Jinhan.
It is sad [now] to think of the prosperity of Seoul [Silla’s capital.]
They called it the Flute of Multitudinous Waves, manman-papa;
For a thousand years it was blown by the three families.
the six bu of Jinhan (辰韓六部): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “The first is Yangsan Village (楊山村) by Al-cheon River (閼川), the second is Goheo Village (高墟村) by Mount Dol (突山), the third is Jinji Village (珍支村) by Mount Ja (觜山), the fourth is Daesu Village (大樹村) by Mount Mu (茂山), the fifth is Gari Village (加利村) by Mount Geum (金山) and the sixth is Goya Village (高耶村) by Mount Myeonghwal (明活山).” These were the six bu of Jinhan.
Seoul (徐菀 서울): according to the Munheon-pigo (文獻備考), “The name of Silla was [also] Seoyabeol (徐耶伐) and so later generations called the capital Seobeol (徐伐) which changed to Seoul.”
Manman-papa (萬萬派派): according to the Donggyeong-japgi (東京雜記), “During the reign of King Sinmun (r. 681–692 神文王) in the middle of the East Sea (東海) was a mountain which shifted with the waves. Thinking it strange, the king took a boat to the mountain where, at the top, he discovered a stork of bamboo growing [there]. Upon crafting the bamboo into a flute and playing it, he found that enemy armies would retreat, diseases would recover, rain would fall at times of drought and during the rainy season the weather would become clear. It could both quieten the wind and calm the waves, and so it was named Manpa-sik-jeok (the Flute that Calms (息) Ten-Thousand Waves 萬波息笛). It was regarded as a treasure and passed down for generations. During the reign of King Hyoso (孝昭王) its name was augmented to Manman-papa (Multitudinous Waves).”
the three families (三姓): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “The surname of the founder of Silla was Bak (朴). The surname of Talhae-isageum was Seok (昔) and that of Michu-isageum was Kim (金).” According to the Jibong-yuseol (Topical Discourses of Jibong 芝峯類說 [written by Jibong I Su-gwang (1563-1628)]), “Silla enjoyed nearly a thousand years of prosperity. Around the time it unified the three Han, life was peaceful and every year was a good harvest; this was known as the Silla age of sages (/golden era 聖代).
幾處靑山幾佛幢 기처청산기불당 上去平平上入平(江)
荒池鴈鴨不成雙 황지안압불성쌍 平平去入入平平
春風谷口松花屋 춘풍곡구송화옥 平平入上平平入
時聽寥寥短尾狵 시청요요단미방 平平平平上上平
gi cheo cheong san gi bul dang
hwang ji an ap bul seong ssang
chun pung gok gu song hwa ok
si cheong yo yo dan mi bang
Amongst the many green peaks are many Buddhist temples.
The wild geese and ducks of the desolate [An’ap-ji] pond are unable to find mates.
A spring wind blows across the valley entrance by Pine Flower Hermitage.
At times one can hear the lonely bark of a short tailed sapsal dog [삽살개.]
wild geese and ducks of the desolate pond (荒池鴈鴨 황지안압): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “The An’ap-ji pond (Goose-Duck Pond 鴈鴨池) is north of Cheonju Temple (天柱寺) in Gyeongju-bu (慶州府). King Munmu (r.661-81) of Silla dug the pond and piled stones to form a mountain resembling the twelve peaks of Mount Wu (巫山). He planted flowers and kept rare birds [there]. To the west is the former site of Imhae-jeon hall (臨海殿).”
Pine Flower Hermitage (松花屋): according to the Donggyeong-jabgi (東京雜記), “When Kim Yu-sin’s (金庾信) wife (or daughter? 宗女), Madam Jaemae (財買夫人) died she was buried in the valley above Cheong-yeon (靑淵) and so it was named Jaemae-gok gorge (財買谷). In spring each year, the men and women from the same family gather at the stream to the south of Jaemae-gok gorge and hold a banquet. At that time all different types of flowers are in bloom and the valley is filled with pine flowers. At the mouth of the valley a hermitage was built called Songhwa-bang (Pine Flower Room 松花房).
a short tailed sapsal (短尾狵 단미방): according to the Donggyeong-jabgi (東京雜記), “Northern Gyeonju is desolate (虛) and so most of the dogs there have short tails and are known as ‘eastern capital [ie Gyeongju] dogs’ (東京狗 동경구).”
料峭風中過上元 요초풍중과상원 去 平平去去平(元)
忉忉怛怛踏歌喧 도도달달답가훤 入入 入平平
年年糯飯無人祭 연년나반무인제 平平 去平平去
一陳寒鴉噪別村 일진한아조별촌 入平平平 入平
yo cho pung jung gwa sang won
do do dal dal dap ga hwon
yeon nyeon na ban mu in je
il jin han a jo byeol chon
The first two weeks of the [lunar] new year are spent amongst a chill wind.
Tapping the rhythm with their feet, they sing; anxious and melancholy.
There is no one to perform the yearly rites of offering glutinous rice.
A flock of cold crows squawk [far off] in another village.
anxious and melancholy (忉忉怛怛 도도달달): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Seochul-ji pond (書出池) is to the east of Mount Geum’o (金鰲山) in Gyeonju-bu. On the 15th day in the 1st month of the 10th year of King Soji’s reign (r.479-500), the king visited Cheoncheon-sa temple (天泉寺). A strange event occurred between a crow (烏) and mouse/rat, so the king ordered one of his mounted warriors to chase the crow. Upon the knight arriving at Pi-chon village (避村), [he saw] two pigs fighting one another. Lingering to watch this, he lost track of the crow. Then an old person came out from the pond [there] and offered up [to the knight] a written letter which read on the outside envelope, ‘If opened two people will die, if not opened one person will die.’ The knight galloped back to the king and delivered the letter. The king said, ‘It is better to not open the letter and for one person to die than for two people to die.’ But one of the official ilgwan (日官) soothsayers replied, ‘Two people refers to commoners, but one person refers to the king.’ Agreeing with this, the king opened the letter and found written, ‘Shoot the geomun’go box.’ The king entered the castle and fired an arrow at the geomun’go. [At this time] in the women’s quarters of the palace (內殿) the slave responsible for burning incense (焚修) was having an adulterous relationship with one of the chief palace ladies (could even refer to the queen 宮主 n.66) and plotting treason. The lady and slave were executed whilst the pond was named Seochul-ji (Letter Emerging Pond 書出池).” It further says, “The people of Silla considered that for the king to avoid the calamity (禍) of the geomun’go box, if not for the efforts of the crow, mouse, dragon, horse and pig, the king’s body would have been endangered. Finally the sangja (上子), sangjin (上辰), sang’o (上午) and sanhae (上亥) days of the 1st month (正月) were made days of abstinence when people would avoid all work and not move. In the vernacular, the word dodal (忉怛) refers to something sad and taboo. Also, the 16th day is observed as O’gi-il (Crow Abstinence Day 烏忌日) when glutinous rice (찰밥) is sacrificed to the crows. This national custom continues still today.” According to the Jeompiljae-jip (Collected Works of Jeompiljae [Kim Jong-jik (1431-92)] 佔畢齋集), “The Dodal song (忉怛歌 n.67) goes as follows, ‘Anxious and melancholy, the king was almost unable to preserve [himself]. Inside the tassled silk curtain [n.68], the geomun’go collapsed, the pretty queen [n.69] was unable to grow old with her husband.'”
金鰲山色晩蒼蒼 금오산색만창창 平平平入上平平(陽)
渲染鷄林一半霜 선염계림일반상 去上平平入去平
萬疊伽倻人去後 만첩가야인거후 去入平平平去上
至今紅葉上書莊 지금홍엽상서장 去平平入去平平
geum o san saek man chang chang
seon yeom gye rim il ban sang
man cheop ga ya in geo hu
ji geum hong yeop sang seo jang
In evening Golden Turtle Mountain turns a deep green.
Chicken Forest is half dyed in the gradations of frost.
After [Choe Chi-won] left for the deep [valleys of] Mount Gaya,
The leaves are now red at Letter Writing Villa.
Golden Turtle Mountain (金鰲山 금오산): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Mount Geum’o (Golden Turtle) is also known as South Mountain (南山) and is six li south of Gyeongju-bu (慶州府). In a poem the Tang poet Gu Yun (顧雲 고운 n.70) sent to Choe Chi-won (崔致遠 b.857) he wrote, ‘I have heard that above the sea are three golden turtles and on their heads are the tallest of mountains. At the top of the mountains are the Pearl Palace (珠宮 주궁), the Clam Palace (貝闕 패궐) and the Golden Hall (黃金殿). Beneath the palaces are waves stretching out infinitely.'”
Chicken Forest (鷄林 계림 Gyerim): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “In the 3rd spring month of the 9th year of Talhae-isageum’s reign, the king heard the voice of a cockerel calling in Si-rim forest (始林) to the west of the Golden Palace (金城) and so ordered Duke Ho (瓠公) to investigate. [The duke] found a white chicken crowing beneath a branch on which a small golden box was balanced. Returning and reporting what he saw, the king ordered men to bring the box and open it, whereupon they found inside a baby boy of extraordinary and wonderful appearance. The king rejoiced saying, ‘This is surely heaven sending me a son!’ He took the baby in and raised it. Growing up the boy was intelligent and possessed much wisdom and so was named Al-ji (閼智). As he came out of a golden box, he was given the surname Kim (金). Si-rim forest was renamed Gye-rim (Chicken Forest), which also became the name of the country (Silla).”
Gaya (伽倻): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Mount Gaya is 30 li to the north of Hapcheon-gun (陜川郡). It is also called Mount Udu (牛頭山).”
Letter Writing Villa (上書莊): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “Choi Chi-won’s pen names were Go-un (孤雲) and Hae-un (海雲). He was from Saryang-bu (沙梁部). At the age of twelve, he accompanied an envoy by boat to Tang. In the 1st Qianfu year (乾符 건부, 874) he passed the examination held under (/for becoming?) the Ritual Department Libushilang-peizan (禮部侍郞 裵瓚 예부시랑 배찬), and became lieutenant of Lishui-xian county (凓水縣尉). Passing the kaoshi examination (考試) he was made chengwurang-shiyushi- neigongfeng (乘務郞 侍御史 內供奉 승무랑 시어사 내공봉) and then had the purple and gold fish robes (紫金魚袋) conferred upon him. During the Huang Chao (874-84) (黃巢 황소) rebellion Gao Pian (高騈 고변 d.887, ‘former Prince of Bohai’ n.71) was made Grand Marshall of Everywhere (諸道行營兵馬都統 zhudao-xingying-bingma-doutong) and when suppressing Huang Chao, made Chiwon a congshi (從事) officer. In the 1st Guangqi (光啓 광계) year (885), Choi Chiwon was called back by royal edict [to Silla] and became both a sidok (侍讀) and hallim-haksa scholar-official (翰林學士). Leaving the capital, he became magistrate of Tae-san (太山太守 present day Tae’in 泰仁 n.72). From the time he went west to serve the Tang until he returned to his former country [Silla] in the east, he met with all manner of difficulties and so did not intend again to pursue officialdom. Together with his family he retired to Haein-sa temple (海印寺 n.73) and lived out the rest of his life free and relaxed.” According to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Sangseo-jan (Letter Writing Villa 上書莊) is to the north of Mount Geum’o. When Taejo of Goryeo [aka Wang Geon (877-943)] rose to power, knowing that he would be ordered (back to office) Choe Chiwon wrote a letter to the king (上書), ‘Gyerim is a yellow leaf but Gong-nyeong (鵠嶺 곡령 = Song’ak 松嶽 = Goryeo, see poem 43) is a green pine.’ Later generations named the place where he resided Letter Writing [to the king] Villa.”
城南城北蔚藍峯 성남성북울람봉 平平平入入平平(冬)
落日昌林寺裏鐘 낙일창림사리종 入入平平去上平
閒補東京書畵傳 한보동경서화전 平上上平平去去
金生碑版率居松 김생비판솔거송 平平平上入平平
seong nam seong buk ul ram bong
nak il chang rim sa ri jong
han bo dong gyeong seo hwa jeon
gim saeng bi pan sol geo song
Mountain peaks lush with vegetation [rise] both to the south and north of the fortress.
At sunset the bell sounds at Changnim-sa temple.
The books and paintings of the Eastern Capital [Gyeongju] are leisurely restored [and so] passed down.
[They remind us of] Kim Saeng’s stone monument and Sol Geo’s pine trees.
Kim Saeng (金生 711-91): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “From an early age, Kim Saeng was skillful at calligraphy. Throughout his life he never studied any other art. Even past the age of 80, far from laying down his brush, he was a godly master in all three styles yeseo (隸書), haengseo (行書) and choseo (草/艸書). During the Chongning (崇寧 숭녕) reign period [of Song emperor Huizong (徽宗)] (1102-06), chunghaksa scholar (中學士) Hong Gwan (洪灌 d.1126 calligrapher, n.75) accompanied an official mission (奉仕 봉사) to Song and, whilst staying in Bianjing (汴京 변징, modern Kaifeng), hanlin-daizhao (翰林待詔 한림대조) Yang Qiu (楊球) and Li Ge (李革 n.76) visited with a letter from the emperor (勅書) and [whilst there they] painted a picture scroll. Hong Gwan showed them a sheet of Kim Saeng’s haeng-cho (行艸) [calligraphy] at which the two were greatly surprised and said, ‘Today we have unexpectedly seen the calligraphy of You Jun (右軍 303–61 n.77)!’ Hong Gwan replied, ‘This is the calligraphy of none other than Kim Saeng of Silla!’ But the two would not believe him.” In the epilogue (跋文) of the commemorative stone at Changnim-sa temple (昌林寺), Zhao Zi-ang (趙子昻, 1254-1322) wrote, ‘[Calligraphy as fine as] You (右) was written by a Silla monk of Tang, Kim Saeng. The character strokes on the commemorative stone of Changnim-sa Temple in his country [Silla] have depth and form (典型) such that even a famous calligraphic engraver of Tang would not be able to greatly surpass it. Did not the ancients say, ‘Talented people may be born in any land’? I believe it to be so.” According to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Changnim-sa temple (昌林寺) was located on Mount Geum’o but today is ruined. There is an old stone (碑) there but it has no writing.”
Sol Geo (率居): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “Sol Geo was good at painting and early on he painted on the wall of Hwangnyong-sa temple (黃龍寺 n.79) the body, trunk, scales (鱗) and wrinkles of an old pine tree. Every now and then crows and kites spying the pine would try to fly and land on it but would fall down the wall. After a long time the colour began to fade and so the monks of the temple restored it with dancheong (丹靑) paint, but after that the crows and kites no longer came. The pictures of Avalokiteśvara (觀音) at Bunhwan-sa temple (芬皇寺 n.80) in Gyeonju and the portrait of Vimalakīrti (維摩像 유마상) at Dansok-sa (斷俗寺 n.81) in Jinju (晉州) are also by his brush.”
三月初旬去踏靑 삼월초순거답청 平入平平去入平(靑)
蚊川花柳鎖冥冥 문천화류쇄명명 平平平上上平平
流觴曲水傷心事 유상곡수상심사 平平入上平平去
休上春風鮑石亭 휴상춘풍포석정 平上平平上入平
sam wol cho sun geo dap cheong
mun cheon hwa ryu swae myeong myeong
yu sang gok su sang sim sa
hyu sang chun pung po seok jeong
In spring [the first ten days of the third lunar month], [King Gyeong-ae, penultimate king of Silla (r. 924–927)] was out enjoying the new foliage.
By Mosquito Stream, the flowers and willows are darkly locked together.
Whilst playing a game of floating wine cups, they met with sorrow.
Do not ascend to Abalone Stone Platform when the spring wind blows!
Mosquito Stream (蚊川): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Mun-cheon stream (蚊川) is 5 li to the south of Gyeongju-bu, it is downstream of Sadeung-cheon stream (史等川). There is a poem by Kim Geuk-gi (金克己 1148-1209) of Goryeo that speaks of the Mun-cheon stream Bulgye festival game [composing poems before a wine cup floats past you] (蚊川祓禊 n.83).”
Abalone Stone Platform (鮑石亭 포석정): according to the Yeoji-seungnam (輿地勝覽), “Poseok-jeong is seven li south of Gyeongju-bu at the base of the western side of Mount Geum’o. The rocks have been arranged in the shape of an abalone (鮑) after which it is named. It is clearly the remains of where wine cups were floated along the winding water (流觴曲水).” According to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “Gyeon Hwon (甄萱 867-936) suddenly invaded the Silla capital at which time the king and queen and ladies in waiting (嬪御) were out at Poseok-jeong enjoying wine. Having been invaded, they were in a fix and were not sure what to do. All the lords, retainers, palace women and officers were captured and died [King Gyeong’ae committed suicide].”
In the Samguk-sagi (三國史記) it is written, “When King Seondeok (r.780–785) of Silla died he had no son and so a group of his vassals discussed together and decided to make an indirect descendant (族子) of Seondeok, Ju-won (周元), their king. Ju-won was living 20 li to the north of the capital, but just at that time heavy rain fell and swelled the Al-cheon river (閼川) preventing him from crossing. Someone then said, ‘Perhaps heaven is trying to stop Ju-won becoming king. Daesangdeung (大上等) Gyeong-sin (aka King Wonseong 敬信) was the younger brother of the former king and he has the countenance of a ruler.’ Upon deciding to enthrone him the rain stopped and so all the subjects of the kingdom shouted out manse! “
In the Yeoji-ji (輿地志) it is written, “Fearing disaster, Ju-won withdrew to Myeoungju and was not invited to the court. Two years later he was enfeoffed as king of Myeongju-gun (溟州郡) which was divided into the fiefdoms (食邑) of Myeongju, Ingnyeong (翼嶺 익령, [modern day Yangyang]), Samcheok (三陟), Geun’eur’eo (斤乙於) [modern day Pyeonghae] and Uljin (蔚珍).”
In the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考) it is written, “Myeongju is present day Gangneung-bu (江陵府).”
雞林眞骨大王親 계림진골대왕친 平平平入去平平(眞)
九雉分供左海濱 구치분공좌해빈 上上平平上上平
最憶如花池上女 최억여화지상녀 去入平平平去上
魚書遠寄倦遊人 어서원기권유인 平平上去去平平
gye rim jin gol dae wang chin
gu chi bun gong jwa hae bin
choe eok yeo hwa ji wang nyeo
eo seo won gi gwon yu in
[Kim Juwon] was a True Bone rank (眞骨) of Gyerim and a close relative to the king (Seondeok who died without issue.)
Royal food provision was divided and given to [Kim Juwon] beside the left [i.e. eastern] sea.
[Myeongju] makes one think most of the girl by the lilly pond
Who sent a letter faraway by fish to the man she had promised herself to.
True Bone (眞骨): according to the Samguk-sagi (三國史記), “Sadaham (斯多含) was of True Bone lineage. Seol Gye-du (薛罽頭 d.645 note84) said, ‘When appointments are made in Silla, they take into consideration their golpum bone rank status (骨品).'” Ling Hu-cheng (令狐澄 영호징) wrote in the Xinluoguo-ji (History of Silla 新羅國記), “In that country (신라), the king is First Bone rank (第一骨) and the rest of the aristocracy is Second Bone rank (第二骨).”
“royal food provision” guchi (九雉): according to the Munheon-bigo (文獻備考), “According to the Silla system, each day the king would eat three mal (斗 두) of rice and nine male pheasants (九雉).”
send a letter far away by fish (漁書遠寄 어서원기): according to the ‘Ak-ji’ chapter of the Goryeo-sa (Records of Music in the History of Goryeo 高麗史樂志), “In the Goguryeo folk music section (高句麗 俗樂部) is the song Myeongju-gok (Myeongju Melody 溟州曲). It is said that a young scholar (書生) was travelling for study when he arrived in Myeongju and saw the daughter of a well-to-do house who had a beautiful body and complexion. She also knew how to write. The young scholar kept writing her poems to try and seduce her, to which the girl replied, ‘A lady (婦女子) cannot pursue a stranger. Wait until you have passed the exam and if my parents order [our marriage] then something will happen.’ The young scholar soon returned to the capital and prepared for the gwago civil service examination. At the girls’ house [meanwhile] they started to welcome a future son-in-law. The girl raised fish in a pond and when they heard the sound of coughing they knew that food was coming. Feeding the fish, the girl said, ‘I have raised you for a long time, so you should understand my intentions (意).’ She threw in a silk letter (帛書) and a large fish jumped out and swallowed it before leisurely swimming away. Whilst in the capital, one day the young student bought a fish to feed his parents and when he cut open its stomach, he discovered inside a silk letter. Surprised and considering it wondrous, he immediately took the silk letter and a letter written by his father, and went straight to the girl’s house but found the intended future son-in-law had already arrived. He showed the letters to the girl’s family and sung this [Myeongju-gok] song. Thinking it wondrous, the girl’s parents said, ‘This has the feeling of sincere devotion (精誠) and is not something that can be done through [mere] human effort.’ Sending away the other man, they welcomed the young scholar as their son-in-law.”
According to the Ganggye-ji (Record of Borderlands 疆界志 n.86), “The younger brother of the Silla king, Muwol-lang (無月郞 무월랑 n.87), had two sons. The eldest was Ju-won (周元 n.88) and the second Gyeong-sin (敬信). Their mother was born in Myeongju and because she originally lived beneath Yeonhwa-bong peak (Lotus Peak 蓮花峯 연화봉) she was known as Madam Yeonhwa (n.89). When Ju-won became ruler of Myeongju, his mother lived under his support. The Myeongju-gok (n.90) is about Madam Yeonhwa and the young scholar is Muwol-lang. Also, because Myeongju was established during the Silla period, it is not a Goguryeo period name and so naturally Myeongju-gok is classified as a Silla song (新羅樂).”
Continue to part 5..