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The Palace Guards and the Palace Guard System in the Goryeo Dynasty

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2017, (128), pp.51-94
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

kim nak jin 1

1전쟁기념사업회(전쟁기념관)

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Sukui(宿衛) means the duties regarding the security service for the king in the royal palace, in other words palace guarding. In the Goryeo dynasty, the palace guards were named as Sukuigun(宿衛軍). The place guards prepared for emergencies on night duty in turn in the royal palace. Given the duty of place guarding, it can be argued that Sukuigun(宿衛軍) was related to the Geumgun(禁軍) as Gyeonryonggun(牽龍軍), a part of Geumgun(禁軍), was mentioned in the section of Sukui(宿衛) in <the History of Goryeo>. Besides, it is also notable that the term, Geumuisa(禁衛士) which is an abbreviation of Geumuigunsa(禁衛軍士) appeared in the section of Sukui(宿衛) in <the History of Goryeo>. As Geumui(禁衛) meant Geumgun(禁軍), Geumgun(禁軍) was Sukuigun(宿衛軍). Sukuigun(宿衛軍) was also called as Uisa(衛士). Uisa(衛士) was a collective term which referred to Geumuisa(禁衛士), Gunggwolsuuigunsa(宮闕守衛軍士) and Sukuijisa(宿衛之士). Soldiers of Uisa(衛士) were deployed in the innermost place of the royal palace and conducted missions to defense attacks from hostile forces, arrest and mop up them. Uisajang(衛士長) was the commander of the Uisa(衛士). Sukuigun(宿衛軍) served in the courtyard area and were assigned at the palace gates or administration buildings as guards. Gujeong(毬庭), the facility which divided the inner and outer courtyards functioned as a moat. The palace guard system had a multi-layer defense system. Igun(二軍) stationed in the royal fortress out of the royal palace, and Yukui(六衛) stationed in the capital fortress out of the royal fortress. In the middle of the Goryeo Dynasty, several new palace guard units were created such as Naesungeomgun(內巡檢軍), Uigukchomaengban(衛國抄猛班), Hubyeok(後壁), Holchi(忽赤), Sungun(巡軍), Chungyongui(忠勇衛) and Ikuigun(翊衛軍). The mission of these new palace guards was expanded from defense of the royal palace to the maintenance of public order of the capital city and the border defense. This phenomenon was related to weakening of the central forces of Igun(二軍) and Yukui(六衛). In particular, weakening of Igun(二軍) undermined the royal security service and caused slackening of the palace guard system. Consequently, new units for palace guarding were established and they were deployed to provinces to suppress uprisings or to border areas to defend the remote frontier.

Citation status

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