Valerio Anselmo
A research on the name Kudara
(published in 1974)
Several hypotheses on Kudara (3)

Hypotheses on Kudara (2)

Hypotheses on Kudara (4)

Several hypotheses on Kudara (part three)

[page 30 of the original (cont.)]

3. Kudara was the name of a place

a-α) of the territory of Paekche: one of the names of the capital cities.

From the sources, the succession of the capitals of Paekche does not appear too clear. The first two names that appear are those of Mich’uhol and Wiryesŏng. Later comes the name of Hansan (or Hansŏng); a transfer of the capital city, always in the area of the present-day Kyŏng’gi-do, does not make its name to change, but it is indicated by the presence of the words puk “north” and nam “south” in front of the name: Pukhansansŏng 北漢山城 and Namhansansŏng 南漢山城. In the year 475 a big changement happens. In that year the capital Hansan, attacked by the troops of Koguryŏ, falls and the king himself, Kaero 蓋鹵, is killed. All the territory which gravitated around the capital, a region as big as the present day region of Kyŏng’gi, falls in the hands of the enemy and will not be recovered, if not for a very short time and partially, in 551 with the help of Silla. The new capital city was established more to the south, in the region of the present-day Kongju 公州. Yi Pyŏng-do 146 notices that the geographical position of Kongju, in the valley of the river Kŭm , is very similar to that of the old capital and, as a cause for the choice of this place, proposes economical reasons, because it dominated the rich territory of the present-day regions of Ch’ungch’ŏng 忠淸 and Chŏlla 全羅. The new town is called Ungjin 熊津 (or Ungch’ŏn 熊川). After hardly 63 years the capital is moved towards the south-west, always on the Kŭm river, but more towards the sea, in the region of the present-day Puyŏ 扶餘. Here rises Sabi 泗沘 (other name: Soburi 所夫里).
[page 31 of the original]
The reasons for this move are perhaps to be found in the fear for the increased expansionist power of the neighbouring Silla state, which a few years later snatched to Koguryŏ the region of the basin of the Han river, once possession of Paekche, isolating completely the latter. Yi Pyŏng-do 147, on the contrary, thinks that more than to avoid a danger from the north, the move was due to the desire to use the amassed wealth in building a big city of a new conception. However that may be, Paekche continues to fight against Silla, maintaining always good relations with the far-off Japanese ally. But this friendship with the court of Yamato will not be able to save it from its total ruin because the combined forces of Silla and T'ang will at the end succeed in crushingly defeating also the Japanese fleet that came to the help of Paekche. In the year 660 Sabi falls under the sword of Silla and T’ang. King Ŭija 義慈 is held prisoner and, as tells the legend, his three thousand concubines, in order not to fall under the enemy, commit suicide throwing themselves down the Nakhwa 落花 ravine into the river below. The resistance continues still for some time, but the last defensors too are overwhelmed in the year 663. It is the end of Paekche.

The names of the capital cities are, in order: Mich’uhol and Wiryesŏng 148, Hansan, Ungjin, Sabi.

The names of the first two centers, the fortresses Mich'u and Wirye 149, remind us the two names with which a king of Koguryŏ, Ŭlbul 乙弗 (I-fu-li 乙弗利 in the Chinese sources), called also Mich’on 美川 150 (r. 300-331), is known. The Samguk sagi says that this king is the first of a cadet branch of the old royal family 151 and the Chinese and Korean sources say that he is the great-great-grandson of king Wigung 位宮 152 The Samguk sagi tells also that Ŭlbul was compelled to hide himself as a commoner in order to escape death under the reign of the last king of the main branch of the dinasty, Pongsang 烽上 (r. 292-300). The events told here seem strangely to be consistent also with the events relating the foundation of Paekche. The name of the first two centers, the fact that Ŭlbul is the first king of a cadet branch, the news according which he was compelled to escape his country (or to hide himself), all seems to accord with what is told in the Samguk sagi about Paekche.
[page 32 of the original]
The only point that seems to be at variance is that of the dates. Mich’ŏn reigned from the year 300 to the 331, while Piryu and Onjo, according to the traditional dates, founded Paekche in the year 18 B.C. Several scholars are now admitting that these traditional dates must be modified.

The Nihon shoki in the 55th year of the empress regent Jingū 神功 (year yi-hai 乙亥) 153 gives the news of the death of the Paekche king Ch'ogo 肖古 (traditional dates 166-214) and in the 64th year of the same empress (year chia-shen 甲申) that of the death of the following king Kuisu 貴須 (traditional dates 214-234) 154. The dates given by the Nihon shoki, according to what will be said later, must be corrected by two sexagesimal cycles, so that the 55th and the 64th year of reign of the empress Jingū do not correspond to the 255 and the 264 (traditional dates), but to the 375 and the 384 A.D. In those years in the Samguk sagi is recorded the death of the kings Kŭnch’ogo 近肖古 (year yi-hai ) and Kŭn’gusu 近仇首 (year chia-shen ), while on the contrary the years of the death of the previous kings Ch'ogo (214, year chia-wu 甲午) and Kuisu (or Kusu 仇首) (234, year chia-yin 甲寅) do not correspond at all to those registered in the Japanese text. Moreover, it is still to be noticed the fact that phonetically the name of the older of the two brothers founders of Paekche corresponds to that of Piryu 比流 (traditional dates 304-344), father of the first clearly historical king of Paekche 155, Kye (r. 344-345), and grandfather of Kŭnch’ogo. These facts, bound to other considerations 156, let us suppose that all the series of kings before Piryu was made up. It is interesting to note, besides the faithful succession of the names of Ch’ogo and Kusu first, and Kŭnch’ogo and Kŭn’gusu after, also the fact that the year when traditionally Ch’ogo ascended to the throne is the same year ping-wu 內午 when also king Kŭnch’ogo ascended to the throne, three sexagesimal cicles later 157.

[page 33 of the original]
Being in this way established the identification of Ch’ogo with Kŭnch’ogo and of Kusu with Kŭn’gusu, the ostensible disagreement between the dates of reign of king Mich’ŏn (or Ŭlbul) and the foundation of the kingdom of Paekche is therefore made clear. The new kingdom was probably founded at the beginning of the 4th century and, although the history does not say it clearly, it is possible to understand that there was a connection between the first king of the new branch of Koguryŏ and the founders of Paekche.

Hypotheses on Kudara (2)

Hypotheses on Kudara (4)

  1. Cf. Yi Pyŏng-do, Han'guk-sa, cit., I, p. 430.
  2. Cf. Yi Pyŏng-do, Han'guk-sa, cit., I, p. 436.
  3. Ayugai Fusanoshin in Zakkō Nihon shoki Chōsen chimei kō 雜攷日本書紀朝鮮地名攷, Tōkyō 1941 (repr.), at p. 223 quotes this name as Wiryehol 慰禮忽.
  4. Karlgren gives for 彌鄒 and 慰禮 the pronounciations mjie̯:tṣ’iu (*mi̯artṣ’iu) (359m, 132) and ·jwe̯iliei: (*i̯wədliər) (525d, 597d)
  5. Karlgren gives for 美川 and 乙弗 the ancient and archaic Chinese pronounciations mji:tś’i̯wän (*mi̯ərt̂’iwən) (568a, 462a) and ˑi̯ĕtpi̯uət (*i̯ɛtpi̯uət) (505a, 500a).
  6. Cf. Samguk sagi, kwŏn 17, Koguryŏ 5, p. 300 of the cit. ed.
  7. Cf. Samguk sagi, kwŏn 17, p. 300, and kwŏn 16, Koguryŏ 4, p.285 of the cit. ed.
  8. For the calendar terms, here has been used the Chinese transcription for more clarity, because Japanese and Korean dates are to be compared.
  9. Cf. NS, Iwa, K. 9, Jingu Kogo, p. 359 and 360 of vol. I.
  10. Cf. Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 45.
  11. Cf. Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 43.
  12. As a further confirmation of of the identity of Ch’ogo with Kŭnch’ogo and of Kusu with Kŭn’gusu we can still introduce the fact that to the names of these two kings, who traditionally are following, as regards the names of the two kings traditionally preceding was simply prefixed, the character kŭn with the meaning of “great”, a title often used for the kings in the Korean history (cf. Anselmo, Armonia..., cit., p. 76). It is clear that the only difference between the names of the kings Kŭnch’ogo and Kŭn’gusu and those of the preceding kings Ch’ogo and Kusu is in this word “great” added to the following kings (and the historian preferred, for obvious reasons, to call “great” the kings under which it was writing, rather than the preceding ones). This fact gives us also an exact indication about the time this falsification was done. After the death of king Kŭnch’ogo in the year 375 a written history of Paekche was for the first time compiled (cf. Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 64) and probably in this occasion was fabricated the above mentioned series of previously inexistent kings.

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© Valerio Anselmo