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Origin of the Chumong Legend and the Principality of Kyeru

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Chapter Summary

On the origin of Koguryŏ, various records indicate that it was founded by Chumong and his band of followers who migrated from Puyŏ. Legend recounts the tale of Chumong from birth, youth and persecution to his relocation and career as a nation-builder. The Koguryŏ Annals in Samguk Sagi do give the year of foundation by Chumong as 37 BCE, but there are historical records pointing to an entity known as Koguryŏ prior to that, which means its origin is not found solely in the Chumong legend, but traditionally refers to the rise of the royal house of Kyeru. This chapter examines the factuality of the first established Chumong legend and whether it is a fabrication borrowed after the end of the fourth century from the Tongmyŏng legend of Puyŏ or if Puyŏ was indeed the place of origin of Chumong and of the Kyeru group.

Keywords: Chumong legend; Kyeru group; Puyŏ; Samguk Sagi

10.1163/9789004262690_003
/content/books/b9789004262690s003
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