Silla (668–935, Hangul: 후신라; Hanja: 後新羅;
RR: Husilla, Korean pronunciation: [huː.ɕil.la]) or
Silla (Hangul: 통일신라; Hanja: 統一新羅,
Korean pronunciation: [tʰoːŋ.il.ɕil.la]) is the name often
applied to the Korean kingdom of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of
Korea, after it conquered
Goguryeo in the 7th century,
unifying the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula.
Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country, and its
metropolitan capital of
Seorabeol (modern name Gyeongju) was the
fourth-largest city in the world at the time. During its
heyday, the country contested with Balhae, a Goguryeo–Mohe kingdom,
to the north for supremacy in the region. Throughout its existence,
Silla was plagued by intrigue and political turmoil, mainly by
the rebel groups in conquered
Goguryeo territories, leading
Later Three Kingdoms period in the late 9th century.
Despite its political instability, Later Silla's culture and arts
flourished. Through close ties maintained with the Tang dynasty,
Confucianism became the principal philosophical
ideologies of the elite as well as the mainstays of the period's
architecture and fine arts. Its last king, Gyeongsun, ruled over the
state in name only and submitted to
Wang Geon of the emerging Goryeo
kingdom in 935, bringing the
Silla dynasty to an end.
Although traditionally considered the first unified Korean state,
modern Korean historians argue that the subsequent
Goryeo kingdom was
in fact the first truly unified state of the Korean nation.
3.1 Woodblock printing
4 See also
Main article: North South States Period
Modern Korean historians began to criticize the traditional view of
Silla as the unification of Korea. According to this
Goryeo is considered the first unification of Korea,
Balhae still existed after the establishment of "Unified Silla",
despite occupying territory north of the Korean peninsula.
Main article: Silla
In 660, King Munmu ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim
Yu-shin, aided by Tang forces, defeated General
Gyebaek and conquered
Baekje. In 661, he moved on
Goguryeo but was repelled. King Munmu was
the first ruler ever to look upon the south of the
Korean Peninsula as
a single political entity after the fall of Gojoseon. As such, the
Silla kingdom is often referred to as Unified Silla. Unified
Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it fell to
Goryeo in 935.
Silla carried on the maritime prowess of Baekje, which acted
Phoenicia of medieval East Asia, and during the 8th and
9th centuries dominated the seas of
East Asia and the trade between
China, Korea and Japan, most notably during the time of Jang Bogo; in
Silla people made overseas communities in China on the
Shandong Peninsula and the mouth of the Yangtze River.
Silla was a golden age of art and culture, as
evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa, Seokguram, and Emille Bell. Buddhism
flourished during this time, and many Korean Buddhists gained great
fame among Chinese Buddhists and contributed to Chinese
Buddhism, including: Woncheuk, Wonhyo, Uisang,
Musang, and Kim Gyo-gak, a
Silla prince whose
Mount Jiuhua one of the Four Sacred Mountains of
Silla and the Tang maintained close ties. This was evidenced
by the continual importation of Chinese culture. Many Korean monks
went to China to learn about Buddhism. The monk Hyech'o went to India
Buddhism and wrote an account of his travels. Different
new sects of
Buddhism were introduced by these traveling monks who had
studied abroad such as Son and Pure Land Buddhism.
Silla conducted a census of all towns' size and population, as
well as horses, cows and special products and recorded the data in
Minjeongmunseo (민정문서). The reporting was done by the leader of
A national Confucian college was established in 682 and around 750 it
was renamed the National Confucian University. The university was
restricted to the elite aristocracy.
Woodblock printing was used to disseminate Buddhist sutras and
Confucian works. During a refurbishment of the Pagoda That Casts No
Shadows, an ancient print of a Buddhist sutra was discovered. The
print is dated to 751 CE and is the oldest discovered printed material
in the world.
List of Korea-related topics
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the relatively dangerous waters on the eastern fringes of the world,
they performed the same functions as did the traders of the placid
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considerable significance but one which has received virtually no
attention in the standard historical compilations of that period or in
the modern books based on these sources. . . . While there were limits
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Koreans along the eastern coast of China,
there can be no doubt of their dominance over the waters off these
shores. . . . The days of Korean maritime dominance in the Far East
actually were numbered, but in Ennin's time the men of
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