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Far East Kingdoms

East Asia

 

Silla (Korea)
57 BC - AD 935

The Korea of the late classical and early medieval periods was for the most part divided into 'Three Kingdoms', although others also existed. Largely (but not entirely) contained within today's South Korea, a widespread tribal confederation emerged in the last few centuries BC. The Jin confederacy formed out of several more minor tribal confederations or primitive states. In the second century BC this fractured into what are known as the Samhan confederacies, an umbrella term for a total of three confederacies which occupied the central and southern regions of the Korean peninsula. All three emerged during the confusion of the collapse of Wiman Choson and all three claimed to be the true successors of the Jin confederacy (according to the History of the Later Han).

Out of the Samhan confederacies, the 'Three Kingdoms' of Baekje, Gaya, and Silla emerged, although not entirely directly in most cases. Despite the fact that they replaced the preceding confederacies rather than evolving directly from each of them, the 'Samhan' term remained in use regarding them. It was even appropriated by the later Goryeo dynasty to refer to all of Korea. The Tang Chinese frequently referred to the collective Korean kingdoms as 'Samhan'. The northern kingdom of Koguryo became a 'Samhan' kingdom too, despite being located outside the former confederacy's territory.

Silla (pronounced she-lla) emerged in or around the first century BC, initially as a collection of six villages under the title of Seorabeol. Starting off as part of the Jinhan confederacy, Silla became the longest-lasting of any of the Korean kingdoms. The modern territory which formed Silla today is part of South Korea, and even now Silla is referred to as the millennium kingdom because it lasted (officially) from 95 BC to AD 935. It was ruled by the Bak, Seok, and Kim dynasties, using various titles, including isageum, maripgan, wang (widely used elsewhere in Korean kingdoms to mean 'king'), and yeowang. Names shown below are in their twentieth century forms first, followed by more recently revised interpretations (if these exist).

Kyongju was its capital. The city was famous for its wide streets which were laid out in a grid. All the houses, palaces, and (following its adoption) Buddhist temples had tiled roofs, a sign of wealth and sophistication. Lesser houses would still have had thatched roofs. Decorated roof tiles started to become widespread around AD 688, when this small Korean kingdom, with support from Tang China, conquered the last of the other Korean kingdoms and gained territory which stretched somewhat to the north of modern Pyongyang, although it never gained the far northern lands which had been the formation zone of early Korean culture.

Kyongju became the capital of the unified Korean kingdom rather than just Silla alone - known generally as Unified Silla. This unity ushered in an age of prosperity and cultural unity in the Korean peninsula, with the rich and famous no doubt emulating Chinese symbols of wealth and power. Now Silla had to balance the requirements of maintaining the unified kingdom against Chinese ambitions to control Korea directly.

South Korea's flag

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from the BBC Radio 4 series, A History of the World in 100 Objects, Part 4 Korean Roof Tile - The Silk Road and Beyond (AD 400-700), broadcast on 31 December 2012, from Pacific northeast Asia in prehistory: hunter-fisher-gatherers, farmers, and sociopolitical elites, C Melvin Aikens (WSU Press, 1992), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), from Records of the Three Kingdoms, Chen Shou (third century text which covers the period AD 184-220 and which combines individual histories of China's 'Three Kingdoms'), from History of the Later Han, Fan Ye (fifth century compilation of older texts which covers the history of the Later Han dynasty of China), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and Academic Kids Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

57 BC - AD 4

Pak Hykkose / Bak Hyeokgeose

Founder figure for Silla. Ruled Seorabeol.

57 BC

Bak Hyeokgeose (Bak, Pak, or Park) is the progenitor of all of Korea's Park clans. Park remains a common family name in today's South Korea. His title is kosogun (in older twentieth century works) or geoseogan, is used to refer to a king in the Jinhan confederacy of which his small state is part.

The legend regarding his founding of Silla states that he is born of an egg (a common tool in the legendary founding of Korea's southern kingdoms). It seems that he is born into one of six villages which consists of refugees from Koguryo. He is adopted by Chief Sobeolgong of the village of Goheo and, once he has grown, the chiefs of all six villages elect him their king, with the early polity being known as Seorabeol.

AD 4 - 24

Namhae Ch'ach'aung / Chachaung

Son. 'Chachaung' is a title, possibly meaning 'shaman'.

AD 12

The state of Koguryo revolts against regional Chinese domination during the early days of the Xin dynasty. These Koreans are not the only ones to spot the fact that a relatively weak emperor now rules the Chinese empire to their west. The early Sillans also twice repel Chinese intrusions in this period.

Map of Xin China c.AD 9-23
The map of China remained largely the same as it had been at the end of the Early Han period, with their conquests in northern Vietnam enduring and control of the north-western corridor towards Gaochang being expanded only a little (click or tap on map to view full sized)

23 - 36

Emperor Wang Mang faces a rebellion in China by clan members of the former ruling Han. Despite the emperor's superior number of troops, the rebels manage to breach the walls and the usurper emperor dies soon after. It takes another thirteen years before Han imperial descendant Liu Xiu can fully reunite the country as Emperor Kuang-wu Ti of the Late Han dynasty.

24 - 57

Yuri Isagum

Son. First of the rulers to use isageum ('king').

24

It is Yuri who converts the six clans of the kingdom - for each of the six villages - into six administrative divisions. The kingdom faces raids and external pressure from the remnants of Chinese dominance in Korea, and from Baekje and the Mahan, and then from the rising Gaya confederacy.

57 - 80

Sok T'arhae Isagum / Talhae

Uncle-in-law and chosen successor. Japanese?

63 - 64

The young city state of Baekje is constantly expanding its network of fortresses, partially to increase its territory but also as part of an ongoing process to ward off attacks by tribal barbarians from the north. Having established the fortress of Nangjagok in AD 63, requests are sent to the equally young state of Silla to arrange a meeting. When Silla ignores the requests, Baekje launches the first attack against a now-hostile opponent. Its forces are repelled. Further attacks over the years see border fortresses frequently swapping hands.

80 - 112

Pak P'asa Isagum / Pasa 'the Great'

Son of Yuri. Dominated Gaya.

91

Dramatic changes in the superiority of the northern barbarians on Chinese borders is now taking place. Having been chased out of the Tarim Basin in AD 73, the Xiongnu are forced to flee into the Ili river valley region in this year, close to the gateway into Central Asia. The nomadic Xianbei rapidly expand to fill the void between Buyeo in the northern reaches of Korea to the River Ili which is dominated by the Wusun.

Map of East Asia AD 100
Late Han China continued to pressure the Korean states, especially to the north of the Korean peninsula, with Buyo seemingly accepting Han vassal status in AD 49 (click or tap on map to view full sized)

102 - 108

Pasa secures control of rival city states in the form of Apdok (modern Gyeongsan), Eumjipbeol (now northern Gyeongju), and Siljikgok (now Samcheok). Six years later, in AD 108, he gains control of the states of Biji (now Hapcheon), Chopal (now Changwon), and Dabeol (now Pohang).

112 - 134

Chima Isagum / Jima

Son. Established relations with Wa. Died without an heir.

134 - 154

Ilsong Isagum / Ilseong

Son (or grandson) of Yuri?

145

Ajan Gilseon is discovered to be plotting against Ilseong. He flees to Baekje which refuses to return him. A general war is the result, for the first time in a generation. The Sillan soldiers eventually withdraw due to a lack of supplies.

154 - 184

Adalla Isagum / Adalla

Son. Dethroned in a civil war? Last of the Pak kings.

174 -184

Records cease for the kingdom in this period. The fate of Adalla is unknown, but his successor is not a member of the Pak clan. Instead it is the first ruler in a line from the Seok clan. Adalla has been reported as expanding the kingdom quite considerably during his reign, but this could instead be the early signs of a civil war between the two clans. One of Beolhyu's earliest acts as king is to conquer the chiefdom (state) of Somun-guk (in what is now Uiseong).

184 - 196

Sok Porhyu Isagum / Beolhyu

First ruler from the Seok clan. Descended from Talhae?

196 - 230

Naehae Isagum / Naehae

Grandson.

230 - 247

Chobun Isagum / Jobun

Brother of Naehae's queen.

247 - 261

Ch'omhae Isagum / Cheomhae

Brother.

c.250

Silla by now is an established state in its own right, having also conquered the small state of Gammun-guk (near today's Gimcheon) in 231, but it probably still stands only as the strongest city state within the Jinhan confederacy. That changes as the third century draws to an end and Silla becomes increasingly powerful and independent, and increasingly dominant over the remaining Jinhan city states.

Map of Three Kingdoms China AD 220-263
In AD 220 the Late Han Chinese empire was officially transferred to the Wei or Cao Wei dynasty, and their opponents simply had to respond (click or tap on map to view full sized)

262 - 284

Kim Mich'u Isagum / Michu

Brother of Jobun's queen. First of the Kim clan kings.

284 - 298

Sok Yurye Isagum / Yurye

Son of Jobun.

c.290s

Records for this period are limited, but several invasions are recorded as having been launched from the Wa state (Japan at the crossover point between the Yayoi period and the Kofun period) This would be during the reign of legendary Japanese emperor Keikō, but no historical ruling structure is known for the Japanese islands at this time.

298 - 310

Kirim Isagum / Girim

Grandson or great-grandson of Jobun. Renamed state?

310 - 356

Hurhae Isagum / Heulhae

A Seok son of General Uri, and grandson of Naehae.

313

The Western Jin are finally driven out of Korean territory when the last of their commanderies, that of Liaodong, falls to Koguryo. The kingdom now rules the entirety of northern Korea, opposed only in the far south by Baekje and Silla. In this same year Silla concludes a marriage alliance with the Wa kingdom (Japan).

346 - 347

The alliance with the Wa kingdom (Japan, presumably under the legendary emperor, Chūai) breaks down in 346. According to early myth Chūai is ordered by a kami (a spirit) to invade Korea. He refuses and the kami later engineers his death during a battle (on Japanese soil). His successor in 347 is Ōjin who apparently is not shy of invading Silla. The attempt is reputedly a major one, with the Sillan capital of Seorabeol (now Gyeongju) being besieged. The invasion is repulsed with heavy casualties and further invasions of Silla follow.

356 - 402

Kim Naemul Maripkan / Naemul

Nephew of Michu. First ruler to use maripgan ('king').

369

The former city state member of the Mahan confederacy, Baekje, now conquers the last remnants of the confederacy. Much of its former territory in northern and central South Korea is absorbed by the kingdom.

391 - 491

It is Gwanggaeto of Koguryo and his immediate successor, Jangsu, who push their kingdom's boundaries to their greatest extent. It encompasses the entire northern half of the Korean peninsula and extends into what is now China. Wedged into the southernmost third of modern Korea's territory are the three subjugated states of Baekje, Gaya, and Silla.

Map of Sixten Kingdoms China AD 350
By the early fourth century AD China had fractured once again, with the north splintering into the 'Sixteen Kingdoms of the Five Barbarians' and the Jin imperial dynasty having retreated south of the River Huai to retain their claim of imperial superiority in the form of the Eastern Jin (click or tap on map to view full sized)

402 - 417

Silsong Maripkan / Silseong

Great-nephew of Michu. Tried to kill Nulji, but tables turned.

417 - 458

Nulchi Maripkan / Nulji

Son of Naemul.

458 - 479

Chabi Maripkan / Jabi

Son.

475

King Gaero of Baekje has been testing his strength against Koguryo, launching a surprise assault on the city of Cheongmongnyeon in 469. Now Koguryo strikes back. King Jangsu launches an attack which overruns Baekje's defences in just seven days. The capital is captured and Gaero is captured and then murdered. Silla sends an army of ten thousand men but it arrives too late to affect the outcome. The support does, however, cement the alliance between the two southern states.

479 - 500

Soji Maripkan / Soji

Relationship unknown. End of dynasty.

500 - 514

Chijung Wang / Jijeung

Great-grandson of Naemul. First to use wang ('king').

503

Possibly to dispel any confusion about its rising status as a regional power, the Jinhan city state of Saro (Saro-guk or Seorabeol) now officially adopts the name 'Silla', although this act is also dated to 308 under Girim.

The other Jinhan states around this time are Bulsa (now the city of Changnyeong), Geun-gi (now either Pohang or Cheongdo), Gijeo (now Andong), Gunmi (now Sacheon), Horo (now Sangju), Juseon (now Gyeongsan), Mayeon (now Miryang), Nanmirimidong or Mirimidong (also now Miryang), U-yu (now either Cheongdo or Yeongdeok), Yeodam (now Gunwi), and Yeomhae (now Ulsan).

514 - 540

Pophung Wang / Beopheung

Relationship unknown. Accepted Buddhism.

540 - 576

Chinghung Wang / Jinheung

Nephew or grandson. Greatly expanded the state.

551 - 552

The formation of the Göktürk khaganate, to the immediate north-west of Korean territories, on the steppes of Mongolia, seems not to impact upon affairs in the Silla kingdom or upon the Koguryo state to the north. Instead, the Göktürk empire focuses its attention primarily on Sui China and on expanding across the steppeland towards Europe.

Map of Central Asia AD 550-600
As was often the case with Central Asian states that had been created by horse-borne warriors on the sweeping steppelands, the Göktürk khaganate swiftly incorporated a vast stretch of territory in its westwards expansion, whilst being hemmed in by the powerful Chinese dynasties to the south-east and Siberia's uninviting tundra to the north (click or tap on map to view full sized)

However, Koguryo's increasingly bitter internal feuding over the succession allows the Tuchueh nomads to capture several northern border strongholds. Both Baekje and Silla have also spotted an opportunity to strike back, launching attacks in 551. Baekje goes first, attacking forts in the fertile and strategically important Han river valley in central Korea.

Having exhausted its efforts for little reward, its supposed ally, Silla, now 'offers' assistance. Silla defeats the strained fortress defenders and captures the entire river valley for itself. Seong of Baekje, incensed at this betrayal, gets himself killed in battle against Silla in 553. This gives Silla direct access to the Yellow Sea and trade with China which will prove vital to its development.

562

The kingdom conquers the remaining cities of the Gaya confederacy. The primary reason is the support given by the Gaya cities to Baekje in the recent war between the two major kingdoms.

576 - 579

Chinji Wang / Jinji

Son. Suffered losses to Baekje. Confined and died.

579 - 632

Chinp'yong Wang / Jinpyeong

Grandson of Jinheung.

632 - 647

Queen Sondok Yowang / Seondeok

Dau. Bore the title yeowang ('queen'). Faced down rebellion.

647 - 654

Queen Chindok Yowang / Jindeok

Cousin. Bore the title yeowang ('queen').

654 - 661

(T'aejong) Muyol Wang / Muyeol

Grandson of Jinji.

660 - 663

The Tang Chinese invade and conquer the kingdom of Baekje as part of their efforts to weaken Koguryo. Empress Saimei of Baekje's close ally and trading partner in Asuka Japan fully intends to launch an invasion of Silla, which is assisting the Chinese. An army which is made up of Japanese and Baekje troops is assembled and departs soon after the unexpected death of the aging empress. Defeat in battle in 663 forces the Japanese to abandon the attempt and Baekje is no more.

South Korean film, The Great Battle, 2019
The Tang assault on Koguryo's borders between 645-647 looked set to succeed until a siege of the fortress of Ansi City turned into a heroic defence, as recreated in this South Korean film, The Great Battle (2019) - it delayed the kingdom's fall by a generation

661 - 668

Munmu Wang / Munmu

Son. Descended from Suro of Gaya. Formed Unified Silla.

667 - 676

China, with assistance from Silla, conquers Koguryo in 667-668, effectively giving it domination over the whole of the Korean peninsula. Koreans still rule locally though, with Munmu of Silla now able to claim that he governs an expanded and Unified Silla, with much of the state's wealth and political strength being located in the south of the peninsula.

Unified Silla (Korea)
AD 668 - 889

Founded as a united collection of villages in the mid-first century BC, the small Korean state of Seorabeol (early Silla) quickly solidified its position. It was part of the Jinhan confederacy at first, but it gradually subjugated the city states of the confederacy until it ruled the south-eastern corner of the Korean peninsula.

The capital was at Kyongju, famous for its wide streets which were laid out in a grid. All the houses, palaces and (later) Buddhist temples had tiled roofs, a sign of wealth and sophistication. Lesser houses would still have had thatched roofs but these were highly unlikely to be found in the more affluent central areas of the city (thatch being a constant fire hazard in any ancient city, of course). Tiled houses stood in long rows, once decorated roof tiles had started to become widespread - from around AD 688, when this small Korean kingdom, with support from Tang China, conquered the last of the other Korean kingdoms and gained territory which stretched somewhat to the north of modern Pyongyang. Silla, however, never gained the far northern lands which had been the formation zone of early Korean culture.

Having gained control of the Korean peninsula, the now unified kingdom of Silla retained Korea's wealth and political strength in the south. All of the aristocrats from the defeated areas of Korea - Koguryo and Baekje - were brought to Kyongju and no doubt wanted to create their own houses and estates in which they could preserve the lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. Korean political unity ushered in an age of prosperity and cultural unity in the peninsula, with the rich and famous no doubt emulating Chinese symbols of wealth and power. Now Silla had to balance the requirements of maintaining the unified kingdom against Chinese ambitions to control Korea directly.

South Korea's flag

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information by Jane Portal (Matsutaro Shoriki Chair, Art of Asia, Oceania and Africa, Museum of Fine Arts Boston), from the BBC Radio 4 series, A History of the World in 100 Objects, Part 4 Korean Roof Tile - The Silk Road and Beyond (AD 400-700), broadcast on 31 December 2012, from Pacific northeast Asia in prehistory: hunter-fisher-gatherers, farmers, and sociopolitical elites, C Melvin Aikens (WSU Press, 1992), from Pre-Modern East Asia: A Cultural, Social, and Political History, Volume I: To 1800, Patricia Ebrey & Anne Walthall (Cengage Learning, 2013), from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984, supplied by Michael Welles, but excluding Koguryo), from History Of Korea, Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), and from External Links: Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and New World Encyclopaedia, and Academic Kids Encyclopaedia, and History of Manchuria, and Kings of Korea (in Korean), and Korea Information - History (Korean Cultural Center NY), and Enacademic.)

668 - 681

Munmu Wang / Munmu

Ruler of Silla (from 661) who created Unified Silla.

668

With Koguryo's defences having crumbled and Tang China and Silla having grabbed the remnants, the conflicts do not end. Chinese occupation of the north is resisted, with the result that forced migrations are imposed on large numbers of people, shifting them to regions around the Yangtze in China. Silla moves as much as possible of Koguryo's wealth and nobility south into its own core territory.

Tang dynasty goods via the Silk Road
The Tang dynasty prospered greatly from the flow of goods which came in via the burgeoning Silk Road, and some of that prosperity would have reached conquered and occupied Koguryo, despite the unwillingness of the former kingdom's people to be dominated

Tang control of the north is temporarily perpetuated through its 'Protectorate General to Pacify the East', first under a Tang general, and then under Bojang, the final, puppet, king of Koguryo. He is removed in 681 for fomenting rebellion, however. The protectorate comes under consist attack by Korean elements within its terrotory.

670

Eager to break away from Tang influence, Munmu agrees to support and ally with the refounded Koguryo. He grants Prince Anseung a pocket territory close to today's Iksan City, near the former Baekje capital of Buyeo. This is known as the kingdom of Bodeok. His plan is that Anseung will be his shield against an expected direct Tang attack from the east.

675 - 677

The Tang attack Silla, defeating its forces in battle. Munmu sends a notice of apology to the Chinese imperial court, which buys him some relief. Almost immediately the Tang are diverted into moving troops to the west to deal with a threat from Tibet, and Silla is able to go back on the offensive. The Tang, stretched on two fronts, are forced to relocate the protectorate's capital in 676, moving it away from Silla to the city of Liaoyang. It is moved again in 677.

681 - 692

Sinmun Wang / Sinmun

Son. Strengthened central authority.

681 - 683

Sinmun has to put down the serious 'Kim Heumdol Revolt' while still mourning the death of his father. The eponymous leader of the revolt is Sinmun's own father-in-law. Some senior military figures may also be involved, but either way it gives Sinmun the opportunity to cleanse the royal court of some of its more awkward figures.

Several other such plots are also uncovered over the next two years, and all are dealt with. Unfortunately, one of these involves General Daemun, a relative of Prince Anseung of Bodeok. The result is that the now-mistrusted Anseung is forced to relocate to Silla's capital while the kingdom of Bodeok is terminated.

692 - 702

Hyoso Wang / Hyoso

Son. Died without producing a male heir.

698

The kingdom of Barhae is declared by its founder, Dae Joyeong. Its location encompasses much of central and northern Koguryo but it stretches far to the north to incorporate just about all of the territories of Korean cultural development and the semi-legendary state of Old Choson. Now ruled entirely by two major states, along with intrusive Chinese domination, Korea is a major player in trade at the far end of the Silk Road.

Marco Polo on the Silk Road
Marco Polo's journey into China along the Silk Road made use of a network of east-west trade routes which had been developed since the time of Greek control of Bactria

702 - 737

Songdok Wang / Seongdeok Daewang

Brother. Given the title daewang ('great king').

721

Disturbed by the resurgence of the Korean north under the rulers of Barhae, Seongdeok builds a great wall on the northern border of Silla. Elements of the wall can still be seen in today's South Hamgyǒng Province in North Korea. Continuing raids by Japanese pirates also result in the building of a large fortress near the Sillan capital.

737 - 742

Hyosong Wang / Hyoseong

Son. Reigned during a golden age of peace.

742 - 765

Kyongdok Wang / Gyeongdeok

Brother. A great builder.

756

This is the point at which the 'Protectorate General to Pacify the East', largely covering the territory of Koguryo which remains out of Silla's hands, is abandoned. Formal abandonment probably takes place in 761, after the Tang have recovered from the brief rebellion by General An Lushan and his Greater Yen dynasty.

765 - 780

Hyegong Wang / Hyegong

Son. Acceded aged 8. Effeminate & dissolute. Killed.

780

On the throne from the age of eight, Hyegong has not become the guiding, constructive ruler that his immediate predecessors have been. His dissolute lifestyle and overtly effeminate presentation dismays his subjects and encourages rebellion. The fourth of these sees rebels storm the palace and kill both Hyegong and his queen. With no offspring to succeed him, the crown goes to a distant relative who traces his descent from the fourth century Sillan king, Naemul.

The royal tomb of King Naemul of Silla
The royal tomb of King Naemul, progenitor of so many of Silla's later rulers, is a large mound of 2.2 metres in diameter and 5.3 metres height, located on the northern hill of Gyeongju's Confucian school

780 - 785

Sondok Wang / Seondeok

Distant relative. Died with no heir.

785 - 798

Wonsong Wang / Weonseong

A relative, details not known.

798 - 800

Sosong Wang / Soseong

Grandson. Ruled for 19 months. Died unexpectedly.

800 - 809

Aejang Wang / Aejang

Son. Murdered during coup by Heondeok.

809 - 826

Hondok Wang / Heondeok

Uncle. Usurper.

826 - 836

Hungdok Wang / Heungdeok

Brother. m dau of Soseong. Died with no heir.

836 - 838

Huigang Wang / Huigang

Grandson of Weonseong. Committed suicide after a rebellion.

838

Despite the kingdom enjoying a long period of peace and prosperity, the royal succession has faced a series of problems. Deaths without heirs, court manoeuvring, and occasional rebellions have ensured an uneven occupation of the throne. Now Huigang is driven to suicide by such a rebellion. Its instigator, a relative who takes the throne as King Minae, is himself murdered by solders after about a year in command.

Shutterstock photo of a Unified Silla temple
Numerous structures which can be attributed to Silla still survive in South Korea, such as this one which is known as Seokguram Grotto

838 - 839

Minae Wang / Minae

Great-grandson of Weonseong. Rebellion leader. Killed.

839

Sinmu Wang / Sinmu

Cousin to Heungdeok. Killed by illness after 3 months.

839 - 857

Munsong Wang / Munseong

Son. Faced several rebellions.

857 - 861

Honan Wang / Heonan

Uncle. Brother of Sinmu. Died childless.

861 - 875

Kyongmun Wang / Gyeongmun

Grandson of Huigang.

875 - 886

Hon'gang Wang / Heongang

Son. Died without a legitimate male heir (but see 897).

886 - 887

Chonggang Wang / Jeonggang

Son of Gyeongmun.

887 - 889

With the death of Jeonggang, Silla's decaying stability now heads on a downward spiral towards ultimate decay. The kingdom has been wracked by multiple minor rebellions, succession crises, and court intrigues. The accession of the near-powerless Queen Jinseong, sister of Jeonggang, does little to arrest the decline, unlike the highly successful two former queens of Silla. With the end of the 'Unified Silla' period, the 'Later Silla' period begins.