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The Change of Donggungsiwigongja(東宮侍衛公子) System in Late Koryŏ Dynasty

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2013, (112), pp.79-112
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Jaemyoung Kim 1

1원광대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Donggungsiwigongja system held first at the 8th year of King Munjong(文宗) in Koryŏ began to change in its management from the period of Military rule. Most of all, in the way of selecting Donggungsiwigongja, the recommendation system that had carried into effect before changed into examination one. It had two ways. One was to engage able persons by testing the ability of writing poems, and the other was to select them among the people who had already passed the state examination. This change was because the throne was changed frequently by military rulers, and that made older Crown Prince appear repeatedly. As well, there was an important change in its constituent. The principle was originally to select sons of civil officials, but it didn't worked well. In reality, common people's sons like Hyangri(鄕吏) were picked mostly. That was because civil officials' sons avoided to be picked as Donggungsiwigongja, whereas common people's sons wanted it; Military rulers were afraid of connection between the royal family and the powerful civil officials. The change in management of Donggungsiwigongja system continued during the Won's(元) interfering period. First of all, the time of selecting them was very early, even before the Crown Prince was born. The faster the time of selecting is, the more ones who had worked as Sihak(侍學, Donggungsiwigongja) the Crown Prince can have, and they thought that could make the Crown Prince's political power stronger. There was another change that the former Donggungsiwigongja was devided into two; One called Sihak was to help the Crown Prince study and the other called Holchi(忽赤) was to guard him. In addition, there was a change that the government could let the civil officials held Sihak at the same time after King Chungmok(忠穆王). At this period, most Sihak were also from descendants of common families, not noble families. The reason was as follows. In case of noble families, they didn't want to be selected as Sihak to avoid political ruin which came from Jungjo(重祚); Jungjo was the phenomenon of alternating enthronement between the king and his son. On the other hand, common families' sons who didn't have good background were ready as candidates of Sihak in spite of their political danger. Because they thought it was worth trying to succeed in life for them. In short, Donggungsiwigongja system had a function of channel that common families' sons could grow politically through the period of military rule and the Won's interfering.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.