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Goguryeo Traitors and Their Evaluations in the Biographies of 『SamgukSagi』

Choi, Il Rye 1

1전남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The focus of this study is on the evaluations made by the compilers of the 󰡔SamgukSagi󰡕 regarding the Goguryeo traitorous figures found within its biographies. Among the characters featured in the biographies, there are three Goguryeo individuals who committed acts of treason: MyeongrimDapbu, Changsori, and YeongaeSomun. Although all three engaged in treasonous acts, their evaluations varied. MyeongrimDapbu’s deeds are chronicled in the 5th volume of the biographies, categorized under the righteous type. In contrast, Changsori and YeongaeSomun are depicted in the 9th volume as traitors. Interestingly, there is little disparity between the accounts of Changsori and YeongaeSomun in the Goguryeo Annals and the biographies. However, the records of YeongaeSomun’s involvement in battles against the Tang dynasty are more detailed in the Goguryeo Annals. This indicates the compilers’ tendency in the 󰡔SamgukSagi󰡕 not to redundantly elaborate on the same facts. On the other hand, MyeongrimDapbu’s deeds exhibit disparities. While the Goguryeo Annals document MyeongrimDapbu’s act of assassinating King Cha, such records are omitted in the biographies. This divergence can be attributed to the compilers’ subjective selection and evaluation process. The compilers of the 󰡔SamgukSagi󰡕 commended MyeongrimDapbu for his significant victory against the invading forces of Han, under the leadership of King Shin. When King Shin sought advice on how to confront the Han army, MyeongrimDapbu suggested waiting until their provisions were depleted before launching an attack. King Shin accepted this counsel, leading to a decisive victory. The way MyeongrimDapbu dealt with the invading forces of Han resembled Kim Busik’s strategy in suppressing the rebel forces in Seogyeong by anticipating a favorable moment. Upon MyeongrimDapbu’s death, King Shin mourned for seven days, suspended court duties, and arranged for a grand funeral procession. The boundless trust and respect shown by King Shin towards MyeongrimDapbu exemplified the ideal relationship between a sovereign and a trusted subject, demonstrating unwavering belief and loyalty in delegation of tasks. In the end, the compilers of the 󰡔SamgukSagi󰡕 aimed to emphasize through MyeongrimDapbu the merits of Kim Busik, who suppressed the rebel forces by anticipating a favorable moment, as well as to highlight the exemplary loyalty shown by Myeongrim Dapbu until his final moments, portraying him as a loyal subject who earned boundless trust.

Citation status

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