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The invasion of the Kitan at the reign of King Seongjong in Goryeo dynasty and the improvement of the military system

Jeon Gyung-Sook 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examined the process of improvement of the military system in early Goryeo dynasty after the invasion of the Kitan during the reign of King Seongjong. King Seongjong reformed the overall government system after seizing the power by accepting the appeal of Choe Seung-ro. In this process, the reformation of the military system was carried out. The plan of the military reform suggested by Choe Seung-ro was to secure national finance by reducing any unnecessary military expenditure, and to reinforce the royal authority. For this purpose, he insisted that the government was to clarify the border and to reshuffle the military force with elite corps at its center. However, the purpose of the military system improvement sought by King Seongjong did not focus on the actual capability of war execution. It seems that he sought to establish the formation of the Chinese military system in a grand frame for minimizing the military force of the local nobles who contained the royal authority since the unification of the Post Three Kingdom period, and also for securing Confucian national system. As the invasion of the Kitan was not full-stretch war, it was not clear what type of the military system for engaging in the war. However, considering the facts that the King took part in the war directly, and that the discussion of parcel the country was raised without any engagement of the war, the military system seems not to be developed in balance between the Central Military Forces and the Local Military Forces. After the invasion of the Kitan, King Seongjong attempted to reshuffle the military system to a full stretch. First of all, he developed fortresses in the north to secure stable border defense line, reorganized the local system with 10 provinces (Dos) and dispatched military governors to 12 Counties (Moks) which reinforced the military characters of the local administration. And, he installed Jeolchungdowi and Gwaui at Jeolchungbu, a department for military recruitment and mobilization for systematic operation. And, he also promoted to reshuffle 6 Wi (the Six Divisions) and developed a rank system in the military section from General (Sangjanggun) to the private (Sanwon). While those changes mentioned above such as 10 provinces (Dos), military governor(Jeoldosa) system and Jeolchungbu were executed under the reign of King Hyeonjong, the organization of the central military force and the military hierarchical system remained as the backbone in the early Goryeo period.

Citation status

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