By John Duncan
The Origins of the Choson Dynasty presents an exhaustive research of the constitution and composition of Korea's valuable officialdom in the course of the transition from the Koryo dynasty (918-1392) to the Choson dynasty (1392-1910) and gives a brand new interpretation of the historical past of conventional Korea.
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Additional info for The Origins of the Choson Dynasty
98 The Koryosa “Monograph on Geography” gives a similar brief administrative history of each locale, often providing information not found in the Samguk sagi. For example, the Koryosa entry for Kobu Prefecture offers the following information regarding Poan and Puryong counties: Poan County was originally Paekche’s Hullyangmae County; King Kyongdok changed the name to Huian County, and brought it in and subordinated [naesok] it to Kobu Prefecture. The Koryo changed it to the current name and kept it subordinate .
The Local Sociopolitical Order The problem the Koryo dynasty faced in the countryside had its genesis in the Silla system of regional governance. In the early centuries before unification, Silla’s local administration appears to have been based on traditional tribal territorial boundaries and political structures. After unification, however, Silla found itself in possession of a greatly expanded realm, some of which was populated by potentially hostile peoples. The initial Silla response to this challenge was to dispatch True Bone aristocrats accompanied by military forces to important locales (mostly in newly conquered territory) designated as lesser capitals (sogyong) or protectorates (ch’onggwan, later chu).
Yet even as the era of military rule put an end to civil officials’ domination of government, it did not bring about a revival of royal authority. It is difficult to discern significant institutional trends during the chaotic years immediately following the 1170 coup, a time when various generals were vying 29 The Koryo Political System for dominance. But once Ch’oe Ch’ung-hon (1149–1219) seized power in 1196 and established some semblance of order, the military began to create a number of extrainstitutional entities through which they ruled the country.
The Origins of the Choson Dynasty by John Duncan