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Encyclopedia > Yeon Gaesomun
For the historical drama, see Yeon Gaesomun (TV series).
Yeon Gaesomun
Hangul 연개소문[1]
Hanja 淵蓋蘇文[1]
Revised Romanization Yeon Gaesomun
McCune-Reischauer Yŏn Kaesomun

Yeon Gaesomun[1] (603 - 665), was a powerful and controversial military dictator and Generalissimo in the waning days of Goguryeo--one of the Three Kingdoms of ancient Korea. Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... For other uses, see Drama (disambiguation). ... Yeon Gaesomun(연개소문) is the title of a television historical drama. ... Jamo redirects here. ... Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. ... The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea. ... McCune-Reischauer romanization is one of the two most widely used Korean language romanization systems, along with the Revised Romanization of Korean, which replaced (a modified) McCune-Reischauer as the official romanization system in South Korea in 2000. ... Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda Generalissimo or Generalissimus is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to a Field Marshal or Grand Admiral. ... Chinese name Russian name Goguryeo was an ancient kingdom located in southern Manchuria, southern Russian Maritime province, and the northern and central parts of the Korean peninsula. ... The Three Kingdoms Period of Korea (hangul: 삼국시대) featured the three rival kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium CE. Historians claim that the Three Kingdoms period ran from the 1st century BCE (specifically 57 BC) until... This article is about the Korean peninsula and civilization. ...


Traditional Korean histories paint Yeon as a despotic leader, whose cruel policies and disobedience to his monarch led to the fall of Goguryeo. However, his achievements in defending Goguryeo against Chinese onslaughts have inspired Korean nationalist historians, most notably the 19th century Korean historian and intellectual Sin Chaeho, to term Yeon the greatest hero in Korean history. Many Korean scholars today echo Sin and praise Yeon as a soldier-statesman without equal in Korean history, though other scholars strongly disagree. Chinese and Japanese scholars continue to hold an unfavorable view of Yeon. Sin Chae-ho (1880-1936) was a Korean historian who questioned whether Korean territory should rightly be limited to only the peninsula, or whether claim could be laid upon areas such as Manchuria, which had at times been inhabited by sizeable Korean populations. ...

Contents

Background

Yeon Gaesomun was the first, and oldest son of Yeon Taejo, the Prime minister (막리지, 莫離支) of Goguryeo during the reigns of Kings Pyeongwon of Goguryeo and Yeongyang of Goguryeo. It is known that the Yeon family was always of high rank and status in Goguryeo. Yeon's grandfather Yeon Ja-Yu was also a prime minister of Goguryeo. Information about Yeon Gṣaesomun comes largely from the Samguk Sagi's accounts of Kings Yeongnyu and Bojang (Goguryeo vols. 8-10) and its biography of Yeon Gaesomun (vol. 49), surviving tomb engravings belonging to his sons Yeon Namsaeng and Yeon Namgeon, and the biographies of those same sons that appear in the Xin Tangshu (New History of Tang). Yeon Taejo (연태조) (?-616?) was the Magniji (Prime Minister) of Goguryeo during the reigns of King Pyeongwon and King Yeongyang. ... Pyeongwon was King of Goguryeo (559-590). ... Yeong-yang (r. ... Yeon Ja-Yu (연자유) was the Magniji (Prime Minister) of Goguryeo during its waning days, and was the grandfather of Yeon Gaesomun, who was Dae Magniji and dictator of Goguryeo before its fall. ... We dont have an article called Samguk sagi Start this article Search for Samguk sagi in. ... Yeon Namsaeng 淵男生 연남생 (634-679) was the eldest son of the Goguryeo military leader and DaeMagniji Yeon Gaesomun (603?-665). ... Yeon Namgeon 淵男建 연남건 (dates unknown) was the second son of the Goguryeo military leader and dictator Yeon Gaesomun (Unknown-665). ...


Tang Chinese historical records give Yeon Gaesomun's surname as Cheon 泉 (Chinese, Quan, meaning "spring"), because Yeon (Chinese 淵, Yuan, meaning "riverhead") was the given name of Emperor Gaozu of Tang (Li Yuan, 李淵), founder and first emperor of Tang, and thus taboo to apply to another by Chinese tradition (see naming taboo). He is also sometimes referred to as Gaegeum (개금/蓋金). Emperor GāozÇ” of Táng China (566 - June 25, 635), born Lǐ Yuān, was the founder of the Tang Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of this dynasty from 618 to 626. ... Naming taboo was a taboo of saying or writing names (specifically characters) of the emperors and ancestors in China and neighboring nations in the ancient Chinese cultural sphere. ...


Very little is known of Yeon's early days, until he became the Governor of the Western province (西部), where he oversaw the building of the Cheolli Jangseong, a network of military garrisons to defend the Liaodong area from Tang invaders. There were two separate structures called Cheolli Jangseong (lit. ...


Overthrow of the throne

Yeon Gaesomun's 642 coup d'etat came as the culimnation of a lengthy power struggle between the military and the executive officials. Traditional Chinese and Korean historians believed that his motive was simply his thirst for power. With the rise of Korean nationalism, many revisionist Korean historians now assert that his motive was to make Goguryeo take a tougher stance against Tang China (they have some trouble explaining why Yeon ordered invasions of Silla rather Tang China after his assumption of power). At the time the emperor was basically submitting to Tang for a peaceful diplomacy. A coup détat, or simply a coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, usually done by a small group that just replaces the top power figures. ...


In 642, Yeon arranged a lavish banquet to celebrate his rise to the position of Eastern Governor to which one hundred the opposing Politicians of the kingdom were invited. Yeon's soldiers ambushed and killed all one hundred ministers that were present. Yeon then proceeded to the palace and murdered the king. According to traditional Chinese and Korean sources, Yeon's men dismembered the dead king's corpse into pieces and discarded it unaccordingly. After placing Bojang Taewang (r. 642-668),a nephew of Yeongnyu, on the Goguryeo throne, Yeon appointed himself Dae Mangniji (대막리지, 大莫離支, the highest possible rank of Goguryeo under the Taewang; associated with commander of military affairs, and leader of political affairs. Subsequently, in this role Yeon went on to assume de facto control over Goguryeo affairs of state until his death around 666. King Bojang (?-682, r. ... De facto is a Latin expression that means in fact or in practice. It is commonly used as opposed to de jure (meaning by law) when referring to matters of law or governance or technique (such as standards), that are found in the common experience as created or developed without...


His role in the murder of the Goguryeo king was taken as the primary pretext for the failed Tang invasion of 645.


Wars with China

The series of wars between Goguryeo and the Tang is one of the most important conflicts in Northeastern Asian history, for many believe that they were the main cause of the ultimate demise of once-powerful Goguryeo. Yeon was a central protagonist in this important series of wars, as well as its chief cause.


In the beginning of his rule, Yeon was briefly conciliatory toward Tang China. For instance, he supported Taoism at the expense of Buddhism, and in 643 sent emissaries to the Tang court to request Taoist sages, eight of whom were brought to Goguryeo. This gesture is considered by some historians as an effort to pacify the Tang and buy time to prepare for a Tang invasion that Yeon thought inevitable, given Yeon's ambitions to annex Silla. Jesus 1st got his period when he was 12 years old, he used libra tampons! Korean Taoism began with the introduction of Taoism to Korea from China during the Three Kingdoms period, and remains as a minor but significant element of Korean thought. ... The grounds of Koreas Buryeongsa Temple. ...


Relations with Tang deteriorated, however, as Goguryeo launched new invasions of Silla, In the beginning, Taizong's noted military acumen enabled him to conquer a number of major border city fortresses of Goguryeo. Eventually, however, Taizong's invasion was met with two major setbacks. First, Taizong's main army was stymied and bogged down for several months at Ansi Fortress due to the resistance of the celebrated commander, Yang Man-chun. Second, the elite marine force that Taizong sent to take Pyongyang, Goguryeo's capital, was defeated by Yeon who, according to the Joseon Sanggosa, then immediately marched his legions to relieve Yang's Goguryeo forces at Ansi Fortress. Silla (also spelled Shilla, traditional dates 57 BCE - 935 CE) was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. ... Yang Man-chun is the name given to the Goguryeo commander of Ansi Castle in the 640s. ... Not to be confused with PyeongChang. ... Joseon Sangosa was written by Sin Chaeho, and describes the ancient history of Korea. ...


Taizong, caught between Yang's forces in the front and Yeon's counter-attacking forces closing in behind him as well as suffering from the harsh winter and dangerously low food supplies Taizong was forced to retreat back home. (Zizhi Tongjian). During the retreat itself, a large number of Taizong's soldiers were slain by Yeon and his pursuing army. However, Taizong and the bulk of the invading army survived. Taizong's first invasion of Goguryeo was defeated. However Taizong inflicted heavy casualties on Goguryeo's side (both soldiers and civilians). After the invasion, Goguryeo was never again able to launch attacks on China, as it once did during the peak of its power.


It is speculated that after Taizong's failure of conquering Goguryeo the personal rivalry with Yeon became an obsession with Taizong and his son Gaozong. They invaded Goguryeo two more times in 661 and 667 and were unsuccessful at both times--perhaps most notably during Yeon's defeat of the Silla forces in 662 at the Sasu River (蛇水, Probably present-day Botong river) where the defending general and all 13 of his sons were killed in the battle. Yeon's defeat in Sasu is today considered by many Koreans to be one of the three worest military victories in Korean history. With increasing domestic issues in China, Tang was once again forced to failure. The population and economy were severely damaged after the three major invasions and never recovered. both Silla and Tang continued their invasions for over 8 years, ultimately leading to the demise of Goguryeo. Emperor Gaozong (628 - 683) was the third emperor of Tang Dynasty in China and he ruled from 649 to 683. ... The Sasu River is a tributary of the Åžieu river in Romania. ... Silla (also spelled Shilla, traditional dates 57 BCE - 935 CE) was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. ... For the band, see Tang Dynasty (band). ...


Death

The most likely date of Yeon's death is that recorded on the tomb stele of Namsaeng, Yeon Gaesomun's eldest son: the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Bojang (665). However, the Samguk Sagi records the year as 666, and the Japanese history Nihonshoki gives the year as the twenty-third year of the reign of King Bojang (664). Ancient Egyptian funerary stele Suenos Stone in Forres Scotland A stele (or stela) is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerary or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living—inscribed, carved in relief (bas... We dont have an article called Samguk sagi Start this article Search for Samguk sagi in. ... Nihonshoki (Japanese: 日本書紀), sometimes translated as Chronicles of Japan, is the second oldest book of classical Japanese history. ...


He apparently died of natural causes.


Yeon Gaesomun had at least three sons, (eldest to youngest) Yeon Namsaeng, Yeon Namgeon, and Yeon Namsan. After his death, the country was weakened by a succession struggle between his brother and three sons, and in 668 fell relatively swiftly to the Silla-Tang armies. Yeon Namsaeng 淵男生 연남생 (634-679) was the eldest son of the Goguryeo military leader and DaeMagniji Yeon Gaesomun (603?-665). ... Yeon Namgeon 淵男建 연남건 (dates unknown) was the second son of the Goguryeo military leader and dictator Yeon Gaesomun (Unknown-665). ... Yeon Namsan 淵男産 연남산 (639-701) was the third son of the Goguryeo military leader and dictator Yeon Gaesomun (603?-665). ...


Controversy and Legacy

Yeon has been one of the most — if not the most — controversial figures in Korean history. The many controversies surrounding him revolve around two issues: his character and his role in the fall of Goguryeo. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ...


First, in terms of his character, later Confucian scholars have mercilessly criticized Yeon for the coup and the regicide that brought him to power. In their eyes, he was a disloyal subject who sought personal power above all else. In particular, extant Tang and Silla sources have consistently portrayed Yeon as a brutal and arrogant dictator. According to their testimony, for instance, Yeon carried five swords at a time, and would have men prostrate themselves so that he might use their backs to mount or dismount his horse.


Yeon's modern-time defenders, however, dismiss these Tang and Silla sources as biased calumnies of enemy historians. Moreover, they argue that Yeon's subsequent single-mindedness and success in defending Goguryeo testifies his genuine patriotism (though Taizong's first invasion was provoked by Yeon's attacks on Silla, and subsequent attacks were possibly due to Taizong and his son's personal hatred against Yeon).


Second, in terms of his role in the downfall of Gogureyo, Yeon's detractors blame Yeon for needlessly provoking the Tang to attack Goguryeo (see above) and thereby ensuring its downfall. They point out that, while Goguryeo remained a formidable regional power before Yeon assumed power, it was completely destroyed by Silla and Tang within a short time soon after his death. They also point out that the population of Gogureyo decreased dramatically during Yeon's rule, and much of the economy was destroyed due to constant wars with Tang China and Silla.


Yeon's defenders rejoin by claiming that the Tang would have invaded Goguryeo, regardless of Goguryeo's attitude vis-a-vis Tang (although a major reason for Taizong's first invasion of Goguryeo was Yeon's invasion of Silla, another Korean kingdom that allied with Tang). They add that continuing to appease the Tang--as King Yongnyu had done--is tantamount to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler.


For many modern Korean nationalists, Yeon is a symbol of that magic historical juncture where the pinnacle of Korean history and its Chinese counterpart violently collided, and the Koreans unambiguously triumphed over the Chinese. It is no wonder in this age of renascent conflict between South Korea and China over the historical ownership of part of Manchuria, Yeon has undegone a dramatic rehabilitation, and he is for the first time by a large number of South Koreans, most of them descendants of the people of Silla, the greatest hero in their history per Sin Chae-ho's words.


Another huge controversy that arises is the sources actually used to support the defeat of the Tang Dynasty. Some sources such as Sin's Joseon Sangosa claim that Taizong was forced into the outskirts of Beijing, but Sin's account has been challenged on the basis that it lacked support in traditional Korean and Chinese sources. For example, he stated that 100,000-200,000 Tang soldiers died, but both the ancient Korean history Samguk Sagi[2] and ancient Chinese histories Book of Tang[3], New Book of Tang[4], and Zizhi Tongjian[5] put the figure at 20,000, stating that there were only 100,000 Tang soldiers used total. The modern Chinese historian Bo Yang has speculated that the Yeon had the records altered so that he could claim credit for Yang Manchun's victory over Tang.[6] Joseon Sangosa was written by Sin Chaeho, and describes the ancient history of Korea. ... We dont have an article called Samguk sagi Start this article Search for Samguk sagi in. ... [Jiu] Tang Shu, [Old] Book of Tang (also, [Chiu] Tang shu), is the first classic work about the Tang Dynasty. ... Xin Tang shu, New Book of Tang (also, Hsin Tang shu), is a classic work of history about the Tang Dynasty edited by Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072 CE) and Song Qi (998-1061) of the Song dynasty. ... Zizhi Tongjian (traditional Chinese character: 資治通鑑; simplified Chinese character: 资治通鉴; pinyin Zīzhì Tōngjìan, Wade-Giles Tzu-chih tung-chien) is known to be a important Chinese history text of annual chronology. ... Bo Yang (柏楊, born 1920) is a Mainlander-born writer based in Taiwan. ... Yang Manchun is the name given to the Goguryeo commander of Ansi Castle in the 640s. ...


Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c Some Chinese and Korean sources stated that his surname was Yeongae (연개/淵蓋) and personal name was Somun (소문/蘇文), but the majority of sources suggest a one-syllable surname and a three-syllable personal name.
  2. ^ Samguk Sagi, vol. 21[1].
  3. ^ Book of Tang, vols. 3, 199[2].
  4. ^ New Book of Tang, vols. 2, 220[3].
  5. ^ Zizhi Tongjian, vols. 197, 198.
  6. ^ Bo Yang Edition of the Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 47.

We dont have an article called Samguk sagi Start this article Search for Samguk sagi in. ... [Jiu] Tang Shu, [Old] Book of Tang (also, [Chiu] Tang shu), is the first classic work about the Tang Dynasty. ... Xin Tang shu, New Book of Tang (also, Hsin Tang shu), is a classic work of history about the Tang Dynasty edited by Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072 CE) and Song Qi (998-1061) of the Song dynasty. ... Zizhi Tongjian (traditional Chinese character: 資治通鑑; simplified Chinese character: 资治通鉴; pinyin Zīzhì Tōngjìan, Wade-Giles Tzu-chih tung-chien) is known to be a important Chinese history text of annual chronology. ...

See also

Preceded by
Yeon Taejo
Daedaero of the Eastern Province of Goguryeo
642 - 665
Succeeded by
Yeon Namsaeng
Preceded by
Eulji Mundeok
Magniji (Prime Minister) of Goguryeo
642 - ?
Succeeded by
Yeon Namsaeng
Preceded by
'None'
Dae Magniji (Grand Prime Minister) of Goguryeo
642 - 665
Succeeded by
Yeon Namsaeng

  Results from FactBites:
 
» Yeon Gaesomun » Korean Drama (255 words)
Yeon Gae Somun is the general who killed the penultimate King of Goguryeo, Yeongnyu, in 642.
After General Yeon put Yeongnyu’s nephew Bojang as his puppet on the throne following his coup d’etat, he tried with little success to calm down Yeon’s two sons in trying to gain power, and started repressing Buddhism (the Kingdom’s official religion) in favour of Taoism.
This entry was posted on Friday, July 7th, 2006 at 7:32 am and is filed under All, Year 2006.
Yeon Gaesomun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1491 words)
Yeon is remembered most for a series of overwhelming military victories over the invading Tang Chinese forces under Taizong--often considered the greatest Chinese monarch and himself a talented general--and his son Gaozong.
Yeon Gaesomun was the first and eldest son of Yeon Taejo, the Mangniji of Goguryeo during the reigns of Kings Pyeongwon of Goguryeo and Yeongyang of Goguryeo.
Yeon Gaesomun's 642 coup d'etat came as the culimnation of a lengthy power struggle within the Goguryeo aristocracy between those who favored a policy of appeasement toward the Tang China and those hard-liners who advocated military confrontation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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