Examined in this article, is how the principles of inheriting the reign were established and then changed during the early days of the Koguryo dynasty, in correlation with the political system of the time. The result shows that there were total of thr ...
Examined in this article, is how the principles of inheriting the reign were established and then changed during the early days of the Koguryo dynasty, in correlation with the political system of the time. The result shows that there were total of three phases in such progress.
The《Samguk Sagi/三國史記》shows that the first five kings of Koguryo inherited reigns from father to son, yet in the process elements that had nothing to do with bloodlines, such as the holy nature of one's authority & power, or the military power one displayed, turned out to be more definitive than the blood relation the successor had with its predecessor. So the principle of inheriting the reign in the earliest days of Koguryo seems to have had less to do with bloodline relationships, and we can say that even an entity who was not the biological son of the sitting king was able to inherit the reign if he showed the character to assume the kingdom. This kind of practice must have been born out of the need of enthroning heroic figures, in order to hold and maintain a more advantageous ground for the Gyaeru group(桂樓集團) in its competition with other political entities. And in genealogical records, the new king was always referred to as the son(‘子’) of the former king, and the historians in subsequent periods, armed with patrilineal thinking, established the genealogical structure as we all know from《Samguk Sagi》.
The inheritance pattern displayed by the kings from the 6th through 10th of the reigns shows inheritance between siblings, from the elder brother to the younger one, yet kings from Taejo-wang(6th) to Shindae-wang(8th) were collateral relatives and belonged to the same generation, so we can say that they inherited the reigns within their generation, and not from one generation to the next. The ancient states were established upon the Na-bu structure(那部體制), yet they were also established during a process which assimilated smaller blood-related groups of the Gyaeru-bu/桂婁部 royal family and then had them inherit the reign. So the political capability(and roles) of the Gochuga/古鄒加 figures(leaders of the smaller blood-related groups) was most important in dictating who would inherit the reign. In actual inheritances, the smaller groups of Gyaeru-bu allied themselves with particular Na-bu entities, in a messy political competition and conflicts.
In the 'Gogukcheon-wang through Sansang-wang' period, this inheritance principle within the generation was transformed into a brother-to-brother succession pattern(with the distance between successors narrowed), and after the Dongcheon-wang period(11th) it changed into a father-to-son succession pattern. This kind of changes accompanied the changes that were going on in the state leadership, which had been transforming itself from the existing Na-bu system into a king-centered, central ruling system. Yet in the middle and latter half of the 3rd century, the Na-bu system was still not completely dismantled and the generational inheritance principle still partially existed, so the brothers or uncles of the sitting king had to be killed in order to eliminate threats to the succession of figures standing in the direct line. At the time, the central ruling system or the principle of father-to-son succession were still not fully established.
Key Words: Koguryo, principles observed in royal succession, the principle of inheriting the reign without bloodline relationships, the principle of inheriting the reign within generations, inheriting the reign between siblings, inheriting the reign between father and son, the Na-bu system(那部體制), Gochuga/古鄒加