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Conflicts Between Koguryo and Mulgil(勿吉) in the Late 5th Century, and Changes in the Northern Border Areas

  • 중앙사론
  • 2018, (47), pp.155-209
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : June 5, 2018
  • Accepted : June 18, 2018
  • Published : June 30, 2018

Yeo Hokyu 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Examined in this article are the conflicts that continued between Koguryo and Mulgil(勿吉) in the 5th century’s latter half, and how those clashes affected the border space in the Northern regions. At the time, the central region of Mulgil was located at the midstream and downstream areas of the East-bound(東流) Song’hwa-jiang(松花江) river. While fighting Koguryo, Mulgil advanced its presence to the upstream of the same river before 475, and then in 475 finally made its debut on the international stage by dispatching a diplomatic envoy to the Northern Wei [北魏] government, via a waterway connecting the Song’hwa-jiang and Nen-jiang(嫩江) rivers as well as a land route crossing the Eastern mountain foot of the Daxing’an-ling(大興安嶺) mountain range. After 475, Mulgil proceeded to the downstream area of the North-bound Song’hwa-jiang river, and even attempted to proceed in the direction of the Koguryo territory. This resulted in both sides fiercely fighting with each other at the said river’s downstream area. In 494, the Late Buyeo(後扶餘) faction in the Nong’an(農安) area surrendered to Koguryo, and right before 503 and 504 Mulgil successfully annexed the above-mentioned downstream area of the North-bound Song’hwa-jiang river, following its prior occupation of the East-bound Song’hwa-jiang river’s upstream area. Meanwhile, Koguryo and Mulgil competed diplomatically as well, to win several tribes in the North. In order to separate Mulgil and Northern Wei from each other, Koguryo discussed with Yuyeon(柔然) in 479 the division of the Jiduwu(地豆于) area. Koguryo’s effort generated a much wanted effect, as it prevented Mulgil from sending an envoy to Northern Wei from 478 through 485. Yet this also caused a bit of a backfire for Koguryo, as its relationship with Khitan(契丹) deteriorated as a result. Mulgil took advantage of this new situation, by befriending Khitan and therefore managing to resume envoy-sending to Northern Wei. Later, Koguryo found itself in an increasingly disadvantageous diplomatic situation, as it fared worse in several armed conflicts with Mulgil. With the Mulgil approaching the region, Koguryo came to share borders with it at the Daeheuk(大黑) mountain range. Koguryo’s Northern territory was seriously compromised, and to make matters worse its connection with the North was partially blocked by Mulgil. It became much more difficult for Koguryo to communicate with Northern tribes because of the presence of Mulgil.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.