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Establishment of Six Guards and the Operation of the Military System during the time of King Taejo of the Goryeo Period

Kim Jong Soo 1

1군산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

For organization of the central military, six guards were established in the second year of King Taejo during the Goryeo Period (919). The six guards were comprised of military officers and farmers. The centralized military mobilization system and the local-area system were not satisfactorily operated during the time of King Taejo. Accordingly, during the time of King Taejo, six guards were operated mainly by military officers, and they were mostly cavalry soldiers. The origin of the soldiers composing the six guards were diverse. First, the soldiers of the Gungye(弓裔) regime mostly comprised the six guards. Second, some of the soldiers among the six guards during the time of King Taejo were from wealthy and powerful clans who voluntarily accepted the new regime after the foundation of Goryeo. Third, many soldiers from Balhae and the later Baekje came to be included in the six guards. Furthermore, military officers were recruited in various other ways. During the later three kingdoms period, many soldiers died in the war, and, particularly, large numbers of military officers were lost. Subsequently, the recruitment of military officers continued. The military system during the time of King Taejo was divided into two: a peace-time structure and a war-time structure. The peace-time system was operated separately by the central military and was composed of six guards and local military of each region. Meanwhile the war-time operation was a marching organization in the form of three guards that were restructured by a combination of the central military and the local military. Meanwhile, during the time of King Taejo, in order to prevent any military rebellion, no specific person was designated as the commander of the war-time operation and a commander was designated each time a military operation is needed. Also during the time of King Taejo, in order to prevent the military coups, military officers of the central military were made to reside in Gaegyeong(開京), the capital city, with their families. In addition, King Taejo strengthened the military force of Seogyeong(西京), the western capital, to prevent a rebellion by the central military. The operation of the military system during the King Taejo period established firmly the basis of the country of Goryeo. Also, not only did it bring about the political stability during the early period of Goryeo, but also had a great influence on the later period.

Citation status

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