Coming into the 12th century, since the reigns of Kings Yaejong and Injong, unusual changes in the weather, atmospheric disturbances and astronomical phenomena had been continuing to frequently occur. Examining how these atmospheric and astronomical e ...
Coming into the 12th century, since the reigns of Kings Yaejong and Injong, unusual changes in the weather, atmospheric disturbances and astronomical phenomena had been continuing to frequently occur. Examining how these atmospheric and astronomical events and disasters had taken place, how the government tried to handle those situations, what exactly was the King's role in dealing with the challenges and what those roles meant, are all important questions. They should be answered if we are to acquire understanding of the nature of national ruling order, including the King's own ruling authority, and the changes that occurred inside the political ideology around the time of adoption of the Neo-Confucian philosophy.
In this article, the natural atmospheric events that happened during the 12th century, the government's and the royal family's efforts to dissolve the disastrous effects of the atmospheric and astronomical phenomena and to also pray for no more incidents, are examined. Through such examination, acquiring understanding of the nature of relationship between natural atmospheric disasters and the ruling authority of the King will be attempted. Also, the 'Heaven's order' theory which suggested the correlation between heaven and men, and the role of the King's authority and power, will be evaluated as well.
Considering the atmospheric and astronomical disasters and phenomena, and the Goryeo people's response to such events, the government's position have apparently shifted more than once. Actually, three phases seem to have existed. Phase one was from King Injong's reign through King Gojong's reign. Phase two was from King Weonjong's reign through King Chungmok-wang's reign. Phase three was from King Gongmin-wang's reign through King Gongyang-wang's reign. Each phase featured its own political environment for the government, and its own international situation for the dynasty. And of course, each of them featured its own version of the Goryeo royal family's attitude toward the atmospheric and astronomical phenomena, its response to the disastrous events, and the fashions of praying for no more damages. At this medieval stage, the Goryeo society's 'Heaven's order' theory based upon the suggested correlation between heaven and men, appeared to have been very different from the Neo-Confucian view of the Holy King concept. In the Goryeo society, during the latter-half period of the dynasty, both perspectives co-existed with each other, yet the latter was becoming more prominent and influential. The 'Heaven's order' theory based upon the suggested correlation between heaven and men, which was favored, understood and utilized by the Goryeo dynasty's royal family, had played its role admirably as a ruling ideology which had contributed to the stability of the Goryeo society. And that was the characteristic of the Goryeo dynasty in this matter.