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Aristocratic Coalition Rule and the Yŏn Kaesomun Coup

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines the framework of the aristocratic coalition regime that was established in Koguryŏ in the second half of the sixth century and saw the nation through to the end. Sources indicate that armed confrontation could ensue when the election did not go a certain way, leaving doubts as to whether this was a temporary post-coup phenomenon or a long-term institution. Questions may also be raised as to the status of the king once the coalition had assumed power in the second half of the sixth century. The coup, engineered by Yŏn Kaesomun, erupted in a spasm of violence and bloodshed in 642. The chapter examines the late Koguryŏ political history. Political power can be largely divided into coercive and authoritative aspects. After the mid-sixth century, the power of the throne in Koguryŏ clearly showed limits in terms of its coercive capacity.

Keywords: aristocratic coalition regime; Koguryŏ political history; post-coup phenomenon; Yŏn Kaesomun



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