|57 BCE - 935 CE|
|Capital||Gyeongju (Geumseong, then Seorabeol)|
|Common languages||Old Korean|
|Religion||Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shamanism|
o 57 BCE - 4 CE
o Introduction of Buddhism
o Campaigns of King Jinheung
o Handover to the Goryeo
o 7th century
o 8th century
|Today part of||South Korea|
Silla or Shilla (57 BCE[note 1] - 935 CE) (Korean: ; Hanja: ; RR: Silla Korean pronunciation: [?i?.?a]) was a Korean kingdom located on the southern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula. Silla, along with Baekje and Goguryeo, formed the Three Kingdoms of Korea.
Founded by Hyeokgeose of Silla, of the Park family, the Korean dynasty was ruled by the Gyeongju Gim (Kim) (?, ?) clan for 586 years, the Miryang Bak (Park) (?, ?) clan for 232 years and the Wolseong Seok (?, ?) clan for 172 years. It began as a chiefdom in the Samhan confederacies, once allied with Sui China and then Tang China, until it eventually conquered the other two kingdoms, Baekje in 660 and Goguryeo in 668. Thereafter, Later Silla occupied most of the Korean Peninsula, while the northern part re-emerged as Balhae, a successor-state of Goguryeo. After nearly 1,000 years of rule, Silla fragmented into the brief Later Three Kingdoms of Silla, Later Baekje, and Taebong, handing over power to Goryeo in 935.
Until its founding as a full-fledged kingdom, Silla was recorded using several hanja combinations to phonetically approximate its native Korean name, including (, Saro), (, Sara), (?) ([?], Seona[beol]), (?) ([?], Seoya[beol]), (?) ([?], Seora[beol]), and (, Seobeol).
In 504, Jijeung of Silla standardized the characters into (), which in Modern Korean is pronounced "Silla".
One etymological hypothesis suggests that the name Seorabeol might have been the origin of the word Seoul, meaning "capital city", and also the name of the present capital of South Korea, which was previously known as Hansung or Hanyang. The name of the Silla capital may have changed into its Late Middle Korean form Syeo-beul (), meaning "royal capital city," which might have changed to Syeo-ul () soon after, and finally resulted in Seoul ( seo-ul) in the Modern Korean language.
The name of either Silla or its capital Seorabeol was widely used throughout Northeast Asia as the ethnonym for the people of Silla, appearing as Shiragi in Japanese and as Solgo or Solho in the language of the medieval Jurchens and their later descendants, the Manchus, respectively. In the modern Mongolian language, Korea and Koreans are still known as (Solongos), which seems to be an alteration of Silla influenced by the Mongolian word for "rainbow" (? solongo).
Silla was also referred to as Gyerim (, ), literally "chicken forest," a name that has its origins in the forest near the Silla capital. Legend has it that the state's founder was born in the same forest, hatched from the egg of a cockatrice (Korean: gyeryong, , , literally "chicken-dragon").
During the Proto-Three Kingdoms period, central and southern Korea consisted of three confederacies called the Samhan. Silla began as Saro-guk, a statelet within the 12-member confederacy known as Jinhan. Saro-guk consisted of six villages and six clans.
According to Korean records, Silla was founded by Bak Hyeokgeose of Silla in 57 BCE, around present-day Gyeongju. Hyeokgeose is said to have been hatched from an egg laid from a white horse, and when he turned 13, six clans submitted to him as king and established Saro-guk (also called Seona)[who?].
In various inscriptions on monuments on the 13th king Munmu of Silla, it is recorded that King Munmu's ancestry is Xiongnu , crown prince Kim Il-je. He was captured by West Han dynasty and got a recognition, became a prime minister(tuhu) Jin Midi. According to several historians, it is possible that this unknown tribe was originally of Koreanic origin in the Korean peninsula and joined the Xiongnu confederation. Later the tribes ruling family returned to Korea from Liaodong peninsula where they thrive, and after coming back to the peninsula they got married into the royal family of Silla. The first generation ancestor was Soho Geumcheon(Shaohao) This is inscription on a monument of 'Daetango Kim clan 's grave stone/. AD.864) She was Shilla's person, granddaughter of Kim Choong-eui who moved to Tang and lived in Xian. Haplo group Y-DNA C group is in moderate frequencies in Korea. Silla's C2e-Z1338, originated in East Asia. Korean C2e and C2b L1373, Chingis Khan's group was seperated 30,000 years ago.
There are also some Korean researchers that point out that the grave goods of Silla and of the eastern Xiongnu are alike, and some researchers insist that the Silla king is descended from Xiongnu. The Korean public broadcaster KBS has produced a documentary about this subject. However, The earliest record of Kim Il-je is the 'Monument of King Munmu./'.(AD.682) According to this, it has been seven generations since Kim Il-je left the Xiongnu and defected to the Han Dynasty, so, it is logically unreasonable to associate this with the Haplogroup Y-DNA C group. This Xiongnu hypothesis is not an opinion of the mainstream academia, but an opinion of a minority. Considering the situation of the era when the Monument of King Munmu was created, it is presumed to be propaganda created for friendship with China & northerner and the legitimacy of the dynasty.
Sarah Nelson(2020) have found Tungusic language speakers drive into Kangwon peninsula in BC.3000.  That is a place where Mac nation was originally founded.
Talhae of Silla (57-80) was the son-in-law of Namhae of Silla (4-24). According to the Samguk Sagi, Seoktalhae was the prince of Yongseongguk() or Dapana(?), located 1,000-ri(?), northeast of Japan. Following the will of Namhae of Silla, he became the fourth king of Silla. One day, he found a low peak next to Mt. Toham() and packed it with his own house, and he buried charcoal next to the house of a Japonic official named Hogong(), who lived there, and deceived him that his ancestors were blacksmiths, but the Hogong family took their home. Hogong was tricked into handing over his house and property to the Seoktalhae. Given that the claim that his ancestors lived there was convinced by the Silla people of the time, it could be a symbol of the process of Japanese-speaking people on the peninsula inheriting the Silla throne. During this period, Kim Al-ji, the ancestor of Gyeongju Kim, was adopted by Talhae of Silla. 
The territory outside the capital was greatly conquered during the period of Pasa of Silla (80-112). As soon as he ascended the throne, he ordered officials to encourage agriculture, silkworm farming and train soldiers. There was a territorial dispute between the Eumjipbeol and Siljikgok, and the two countries first asked Pasa of Silla to mediate, pasa of Silla was handed over to King Suro of Gimhae, who was the local leader at the time. King Suro instead resolved the territorial issue and ruled in favor of Eumjipbeol. However, King Suro sent an assassin to kill the head of the six Silla divisions, who hid in the Eumjipbeol while the assassin was escaping, and King Tachugan() protected the assassin. In response, Pasa of Silla invaded Eumjipbeol in 102 and Tachugan surrendered, and the Siljikgok and Apdok, which were frightened by Silla, also surrendered. Six years later, it entered the inland area and attacked and merged Dabulguk, Bijigukuk, and Chopalguk. 
During the Naehae of Silla period (196-230), the Eight Port Kingdoms War(? ?) broke out to determine hegemony in the southern part of the peninsula. In 209, when the eight small nations(?) in the Nakdong River basin attacked the Silla-friendly Alla-guk, the prince of Alla-guk asked Silla for a rescue army, and the king ordered Crown Prince Seok Uro to gather his troops and attack the eight kingdoms. Crown Prince Seok uro saved Alla-guk and rescued 6,000 of the pro-Silla Gaya people who had been captured and returned to their homeland. Three years later, three countries among Eight Kingdoms(?), Golpo-Guk, Chilpo-Guk, and Gosapo-guk, will launch counterattacks against Silla. A battle took place in Yeomhae, the southeastern part of the capital, and the war ended when the Silla king came out to fight against it, and the soldiers of the three kingdoms were defeated.  
By the 2nd century, Silla existed as a distinct state in the southeastern area of the Korean peninsula. It expanded its influence over neighboring Jinhan chiefdoms, but through the 3rd century was probably no more than the strongest city-state in a loose federation.
To the west, Baekje had centralized into a kingdom by about 250, overtaking the Mahan confederacy. To the southwest, Byeonhan was being replaced by the Gaya confederacy. In northern Korea, Goguryeo, a kingdom by about 50 CE, destroyed the last Chinese commandery in 313 and had grown into a threatening regional power.
Naemul of Silla (356-402) of the Gim clan established a hereditary monarchy and took the royal title of Maripgan (; ). However, in Samguk Sagi, Naemul of Silla still appears as a title of Isageum (; ). He is considered by many historians as the starting point of the Gyeongju Gim (Kim) dynasty, which lasted more than 550 years. However, even when Gim monopolized the throne for more than 500 years, the worship of the founder Bak Hyeokgeose continued.
In 377, Silla sent emissaries to China and established relations with Goguryeo. Facing pressure from Baekje in the west and Japan in the south, in the later part of the 4th century, Silla allied with Goguryeo. However, after King Gwanggaeto's campaign, Silla lost its status as a subordinate country. when Goguryeo began to expand its territory southward, moving its capital to Pyongyang in 427, Nulji of Silla was forced to ally with Baekje.
By the time of Beopheung of Silla (514-540), Silla was a full-fledged kingdom, with Buddhism as state religion, and its own Korean era name. Silla absorbed the Gaya confederacy during the Gaya-Silla Wars, annexing Geumgwan Gaya in 532 and conquering Daegaya in 562, thereby expanding its borders to the Nakdong River basin.
Jinheung of Silla (540-576) established a strong military force. Silla helped Baekje drive Goguryeo out of the Han River (Seoul) area, and then wrested control of the entire strategic region from Baekje in 553, breaching the 120-year Baekje-Silla alliance. Also, King Jinheung established the Hwarang.
or from a word related to Middle Korean marh meaning "stake, post, pile, picket, peg, pin (of a tent)".
The second element, gan (Hangul), is generally believed to be related to the Middle Korean word han (Hangul) meaning "great, grand, many, much", which was previously used for ruling princes in southern Korea, and may have some relationship with the Mongol/Turkic title Khan.
In the 7th century Silla allied itself with the Chinese Tang dynasty. In 660, under Muyeol of Silla (654-661), Silla subjugated Baekje. In 668, under King Munmu of Silla (King Muyeol's successor) and General Gim Yu-sin, Silla conquered Goguryeo to its north. Silla then fought for nearly a decade to expel Chinese forces on the peninsula intent on creating Tang colonies there to finally establish a unified kingdom as far north as modern Pyongyang. The northern region of the defunct Goguryeo state later reemerged as Balhae.
Silla's middle period is characterized by the rising power of the monarchy at the expense of the jingol nobility. This was made possible by the new wealth and prestige garnered as a result of Silla's unification of the peninsula, as well as the monarchy's successful suppression of several armed aristocratic revolts following early upon unification, which afforded the king the opportunity of purging the most powerful families and rivals to central authority. Further, for a brief period of about a century from the late 7th to late 8th centuries the monarchy made an attempt to divest aristocratic officialdom of their landed base by instituting a system of salary payments, or office land (jikjeon, , ), in lieu of the former system whereby aristocratic officials were given grants of land to exploit as salary (the so-called tax villages, or nog-eup, , ).
By the late 8th century, however, these royal initiatives had failed to check the power of the entrenched aristocracy. The mid to late 8th century saw renewed revolts led by branches of the Gim clan which effectively limited royal authority. Most prominent of these was a revolt led by Gim Daegong that persisted for three years. One key evidence of the erosion of kingly authority was the rescinding of the office land system and the re-institution of the former tax village system as salary land for aristocratic officialdom in 757.
In Jinjin and Silla, the king was referred to as Gan, and during the Unified Silla Period, the title "Gan" was also used as Chungji Jagan and Agan.
The middle period of Silla came to an end with the assassination of Hyegong of Silla in 780, terminating the kingly line of succession of Muyeol of Silla, the architect of Silla's unification of the peninsula. Hyegong's demise was a bloody one, the culmination of an extended civil war involving most of the kingdom's high-ranking noble families. With Hyegong's death, during the remaining years of Silla, the king was reduced to little more than a figurehead as powerful aristocratic families became increasingly independent of central control.
Thereafter the Silla kingship was fixed in the house of Wonseong of Silla (785-798), though the office itself was continually contested among various branches of the Gim lineage.
Nevertheless, the middle period of Silla witnessed the state at its zenith, the brief consolidation of royal power, and the attempt to institute a Chinese style bureaucratic system.
The final century and a half of the Silla state was one of nearly constant upheaval and civil war as the king was reduced to little more than a figurehead and powerful aristocratic families rose to actual dominance outside the capital and royal court.
The tail end of this period, called the Later Three Kingdoms period, briefly saw the emergence of the kingdoms of Later Baekje and Taebong, which were really composed of military forces capitalizing on their respective region's historical background, and Silla's submission to the Goryeo dynasty.
|True Bone||Sixth Head||Fifth Head||Fourth Head|
From at least the 6th century, when Silla acquired a detailed system of law and governance, social status and official advancement were dictated by the bone rank system. This rigid lineage-based system also dictated clothing, house size and the permitted range of marriage.
Since its emergence as a centralized polity Silla society had been characterized by its strict aristocratic makeup. Silla had two royal classes: "sacred bone" (seonggol, , ) and "true bone" (jingol, , ). Up until the reign of King Muyeol this aristocracy had been divided into "sacred bone" and "true bone" aristocrats, with the former differentiated by their eligibility to attain the kingship. This duality had ended when Queen Jindeok, the last ruler from the "sacred bone" class, died in 654. The numbers of "sacred bone" aristocrats had been decreasing for generations, as the title was only conferred to those whose parents were both "sacred bones", whereas children of a "sacred" and a "true bone" parent were considered as "true bones". There were also many ways for a "sacred bone" to be demoted to a "true bone", thus making the entire system even more likely to collapse eventually.
The king (or queen) theoretically was an absolute monarch, but royal powers were somewhat constrained by a strong aristocracy.
The "Hwabaek" (,) served as royal council with decision-making authorities on some vital issues like succession to the throne or declarations of war. The Hwabaek was headed by a person (Sangdaedeung) chosen from the "sacred bone" rank. One of the key decisions of this royal council was the adoption of Buddhism as state religion.
Following unification Silla began to rely more upon Chinese models of bureaucracy to administer its greatly expanded territory. This was a marked change from pre-unification days when the Silla monarchy stressed Buddhism, and the Silla monarch's role as a "Buddha-king". Another salient factor in post-unification politics were the increasing tensions between the Korean monarchy and aristocracy.
The early Silla military was built around a small number of Silla royal guards designed to protect royalty and nobility and in times of war served as the primary military force if needed. Due to the frequency of conflicts between Baekje and Goguryeo as well as Yamato Japan, Silla created six local garrisons one for each district. The royal guards eventually morphed into "sworn banner" or Sodang units. In 625 another group of Sodang was created. Garrison soldiers were responsible for local defense and also served as a police force.
A number of Silla's greatest generals and military leaders were Hwarang (equivalent to the Western knights or chevaliers). Originally a social group, due to the continuous military rivalry between the Three Kingdoms of Korea, they eventually transformed from a group of elite male aristocratic youth into soldiers and military leaders. Hwarang were key in the fall of Goguryeo (which resulted in the unification of the Korean Peninsula under Unified Silla) and the Silla-Tang Wars, which expelled Tang forces in the other two Korean kingdoms.
Silla is known to have operated crossbows called the Cheonbono () that was said to have had a range of one thousand steps and a special pike unit called the Jangchang-Dang () to counter enemy cavalry. In particular, Silla's crossbows were prized by Tang China due to its excellent functions and durability. Silla would later employ special crossbow units against its Korean counterparts such as Goguryeo and Baekje, as well as the Tang Dynasty during the Silla-Tang War. The pike unit, called Changchangdang that would later be known as the Bigeum Legion (?) as part of the Nine Legions () and which was consisted of Silla folks, had a special purpose to counter the Göktürks cavalries operated by the Tang army during the Silla-Tang War.
In addition, Silla's central army, the Nine Legions (), were consisted of Silla, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Mohe people. These nine legions aimed at defending the capital became complete in formation and compilation after Silla unified the Three Kingdoms. Each Legions were known for their representative colors marked on their collars and were constituted by different groups. The Golden, Red, and Dark Blue Legion employed Goguryeoans while the Blue and White Legion accepted Baekje folks into their ranks. The Bigeum (also Red in color), Green, and Purple Legion were formed by Sillan people whilst the Black Legion took dispersed Mohe refugees into their fold that came along with Goguryeo refugees after the Fall of Goguryeo.
Silla is also known for its maritime prowess shown by the navy backed with master shipbuilding and seamanship. The boats employed were usually called 'Shillaseon()', which had an international reputation for its solid durability and effective capabilities that were said to 'enable men surf across the biggest of waves' amongst the Chinese and Japanese according to the Shoku Nihon Koki. During the Silla-Tang War, the Silla navy under the command of general Shideuk defeated the Tang Navy 22 times out of 23 engagements in Gibeolpo, today's Seocheon County. Jang Bogo, a prominent maritime figure of Silla, was also famous for his navy based on the Cheonghaejin Garrison.
A significant number of Silla tombs can still be found in Gyeongju, the capital of Silla. Silla tombs consist of a stone chamber surrounded by a soil mound. The historic area around Gyeongju was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000. Much of it is also protected as part of Gyeongju National Park. Additionally, two villages near Gyeongju named Hahoe and Yangdong Folk Village were submitted for UNESCO heritages in 2008 or later by related cities and the South Korean government. Since the tombs were harder to break into than those of Baekje, a larger number of objects has been preserved. Notable amongst these are Silla's elaborate gold crowns and jewelry.
The massive Bronze Bell of King Seongdeok the Great of Silla is known to produce a distinctive sound. Cheomseongdae near Gyeongju is the oldest extant astronomical observatory in East Asia but some disagree on its exact functions. It was built during the reign of Queen Seondeok (632-647).
Muslim traders brought the name "Silla" to the world outside the traditional East Asian sphere through the Silk Road. Geographers of the Arab and Persian world, including ibn Khurdadhbih, al-Masudi, Dimashiki, Al-Nuwayri, and al-Maqrizi, left records about Silla.
The current descendants to the Silla dynasty fall under the Park name. Family records since the last ruler have been provided, but these records have yet to be fully verified.
Centuries after Buddhism originated in India, the Mahayana Buddhism arrived in China through the Silk Route in 1st century CE via Tibet, then to Korea peninsula in 3rd century during the Three Kingdoms Period from where it transmitted to Japan. In Korea, it was adopted as the state religion of 3 constituent polities of the Three Kingdoms Period, first by the Goguryeo (Gaya) in 372 CE, by the Silla in 528 CE, and by the Baekje in 552 CE. Buddhism was introduced to Silla in 528. Silla had been exposed to the religion for over a century during which the faith had certainly made inroads into the native populace. The Buddhist monk Ado introduced Silla to Buddhism when he arrived to proselytize in the mid 5th century. The Samguk yusa and Samguk sagi record following 3 monks among the first to bring Buddhist teaching, or Dharma, to Korea: Malananta (late 4th century) - an Indian Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to King Baekje of Baekje in the southern Korean peninsula in 384, Sundo - a Chinese Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Goguryeo in northern Korea in 372, and Ado - a Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Silla in central Korea. However, according to legend, the Silla monarchy was convinced to adopt the faith by the martyrdom of the Silla court noble Ichadon, who was executed for his Buddhist faith by the Silla king in 527 only to have his blood flow the color of milk.
The importance of Buddhism in Silla society of the late early period is difficult to exaggerate. From King Beopheung and for the following six reigns Silla kings adopted Buddhist names and came to portray themselves as Buddhist-kings.
By the time of the 7th century, Buddhism in Korea reached its golden age with the advent of prominent, elite scholar-monks such as Wonhyo, Uisang, and Jajang that influenced East Asian philosophy and played pivotal roles in laying key ideas within East Asian Buddhism like Essence-Function. With the support of the government, massive temples like the Temple of the Golden Dragon, Temple of the Buddhist Realms and hermitages like Seokguram were built across the nation. Buddhist ideals and practices permeated the people's daily lives regardless of class and the court, as well as the government, actively promoted Buddhism as a symbol of patriotism in times of invasions. The main assessment is that relics and temple ruins related to Silla found today were ahead of their time and surpassed those of Goryeo and Joseon in terms of size and extravagancy. Many Sillan monks whom were part of the elite caste chose to expand their experience and knowledge by studying abroad in Tang China or travelling far west to India. Hyecho, known for his travelogue "An Account of Travel to the Five Indian Kingdoms", was one of the many Korean monks that ventured to territories west to China yet to be visited by Koreans at that time.
Silla's strong Buddhist nature is also reflected by the thousands of remnant Buddhist stone figures and carvings, mostly importantly on Namsan. The international influence of the Tang Dynasty on these figures and carvings can be witnessed in the hallmarks of a round full form, a stern expression of the face, and drapery that clings to the body, but stylistic elements of native Korean culture can still be identified.
Korea's and Iran's long-running relationship started with cultural exchanges date back to the Three Kingdoms of Korea era, more than 1600 years ago by the way of the Silk Road. A dark blue glass was found in the Cheonmachong Tomb, one of Silla's royal tombs unearthed in Gyeongju. An exotic golden sword was found in Gyerim-ro, a street also located in Gyeongju. These are all relics that are presumed to be sent to Silla from ancient Iran or Persia through the Silk Road. Other items uncovered during the excavation[which?] include a silver bowl engraved with an image of the Persian goddess Anahita; a golden dagger from Persia; clay busts; and figurines portraying Middle Eastern merchants.
It was only during the Goryeo Dynasty during King HyeonJong's reign when trade with Persia was officially recorded in Korean history. But in academic circles, it is presumed that both countries had active cultural exchanges during the 7th century Silla era which means the relationship between Korea and Iran began more than 1,500 years ago. "In a history book written by the Persian scholar Khurdadbid, it states that Silla is located at the eastern end of China and reads 'In this beautiful country Silla, there is much gold, majestetic cities and hardworking people. Their culture is comparable with Persia'. Samguk Sagi-- the official chronicle of the Three Kingdoms era, compiled in 1145--contains further descriptions of commercial items sold by Middle Eastern merchants and widely used in Silla society. The influence of Iranian culture was profoundly felt in other ways as well, most notably in the fields of music, visual arts, and literature. The popularity of Iranian designs in Korea can be seen in the widespread use of pearl-studded roundels and symmetrical, zoomorphic patterns.
An ancient Persian epic poem, the Kushnameh, contains detailed descriptions of Silla. Former South Korean president Park Geun-hye said during a festival celebrating Iran and Korea's 1,500 years of shared cultural ties, "The Kushnameh, that tells of a Persian prince who went to Silla in the seventh century and got married with a Korean princess, thus forming a royal marriage."
History of the Northern Dynasties Volume 94, History of Silla
- ,,?,? ?,,,....,
- Silla is a descendant of the Jinhan confederacy. Its land is in the southeast of Goguryeo and it is an old land, (once held by) the Lelang Commandery of Han dynasty. It is called Jinhan or Qinhan. According to Xiangyun (), its founders were fugitives who arrived to avoid hardship during the Qin dynasty. Mahan gave their eastern land to them and settled those Qin people there. Therefore, this is called Qinhan. Their language and name are similar to Chinese.
Samguk Sagi volume 1
- ? ? ?
- The location of Jinhan is east of Mahan. Traditionally, they are fugitives who came to Korea of old, to avoid hardships of the Qin dynasty. And Mahan said they gave them their eastern land.
Ri Zhi Lu Volume 29
- The location of Jinhan is east of Mahan. They are fugitives who came to Korea to avoid the hardship of the Qin dynasty. Mahan said they gave their eastern land to them. They set up castle fences and their language is similar to the one in Qin dynasty. It is also called Qinhan.