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Mid-Sixth-Century Political Shifts: How the Han River Valley Was Lost

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Chapter Summary

A monument was erected in 568, which was fifteen years after the seizure of the Han River Valley, thus indicating that Koguryŏ's 'emergency' was a long, drawn-out crisis. When considering the nature of this crisis, it is worth looking at two passages from Samguk Sagi relating to the year 551 when Koguryŏ was deprived of the Han River Valley. In the part titled Biography of Kŏch'ilbu there is this quote from the Ven. Hyeryang describing Koguryŏ's strife-ridden politics: 'Today our country is in political disarray, with pervasive destruction and darkness'. This chapter refers to these passages to cast light on what caused the sea change in the Han River Valley. It examines the reasons on the Koguryŏ side for its loss of the Han River Valley in the mid-sixth century, these being internal division and the pressure exerted by Northern Qi and Tujue on its northwest frontier.

Keywords: Biography of Kŏch'ilbu; Han River Valley; mid-sixth century; Northern Qi; Samguk Sagi; Tujue



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