Silla was among three kingdoms Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje, in Korea, and was deemed one of the longest surviving dynasties in the history of Asia (Peterson, 5). Originally, the Silla dynasty was founded by king HyeokgeosePark- who is also viewed as being the originator of the Park Korean family name. However, Park’s dynasty was to see the clan from Gyeongju Kim seized hold of power for the majority of its 992 historical background. Silla initially began as chiefdom in the once allied Samhan confederacies in China. The dynasty’s progress saw the chiefdom conquer the other two kingdoms, Goguryeo, and Baekje in 668 AD (Peterson, 18).

Shifting of Power

The clan from Park’s lineage managed to hold on to the Silla dynasty for three generations before being ousted by an organized coup from members of a clan from the Seok lineage. In the course of the reign of the first Seok king, Talhae of Silla, the presence of Kim’s clan in Silla is identified in form of a tale that describes the birth of Kim Alji in a golden box that is later found Hogong (Kim, 32). The clans from both Seok and Park lineage are in constant warfare as each try to get hold of power but are both overthrown Kim’s clan in the midst of the war. The clan from Kim managed to hold on to power over Silla for many generations through sole rule with the Seok and Park clan deemed as nobility.


During the period when the three kingdoms were still proto dynasties, the southern and central city states were segmented into three Samhan confederacies. Silla started out as Saro-guk miniature state with twelve jinham confederacies, six clans and six villages. In accordance with records from Korea, king Park Hyeokgeose is considered Silla’s founder in present day Gyeongju around 57 BC (Peterson, 25). Tales assert that Hyeokgeose hatched from an egg laid by a white horse. When he turned thirteen, six clans established Saro and submitted to Hyeokgeose as king.

Early Period

Silla already existed as chiefdom in the second century in the southeastern Korea as a distinct state. Its influence expanded over to the neighboring chiefdoms in Jinham. However, Sila was probably the greatest loose federation city state by the third century (Kim, 36). In the west, Baekje organized itself to form a kingdom through overtaking the confederacy in Mahan. Towards the southwest of Korea, the confederacy in Gaya was progressively overtaking Byeonhan, and Goguryeowas growing into threatening power by destroying the final commander from China.

Later Period

Silla allied with Tang Dynasty from China later in the seventh century. 660 saw Silla subjugate Baekje and eight years later, Silla conquered northern Goguryeo through General Kim Yu-Shin under the then king Munmu. The following decade saw Silla engage in endless warfare as the dynasty attempted to create Tang colonies by expelling Chinese forces to finally establish its rule throughout Korea as far as modern Pyongyang (Peterson, 42). Silla’s middle period witnessed its end through king Hyegong’s assassination in 780. The remaining years after the kings death saw kingship in Silla reduced to just a figure head as aristocratic families grew independent of central management. Thereafter, it was decided that Kingship would only reside in King Wonseong’s House.

Rise and Fall

Silla’s final hundred and fifty years were ones filled with civil war and threatening upheaval as kingship was only reduced to a mere figurehead as powerful aristocratic families began to dictate proceedings as they began to gain power outside the royal court and capital. The end of this period is referred to as “Later Three Kingdoms” saw brief emergence of kingdoms Goguryeo and Baekj. These two kingdoms characterized military forces that capitalized on their historical backgrounds that led to Silla submitting to Goryeo later on (Peterson, 84).


With the time at which this civilization existed, it has been hard to establish exactly what their culture involved. However, there are some Silla tombs found in Gyeongju center. These tombs were constructed in stone chambers surrounded by soil mounds suggesting that this civilization practiced sculpturing (Pak, 24). More so, jewels and gold crowns were found in the tombs to suggest Silla had a culture of smelting gold and exonerating high authorities.


Works Cited

Kim, Chong-sun. “Silla Economy and Society.” Korean Studies. 28.1 (2005): 75-104. Print.

Pak, Ch’ŏn-su. “Kaya and Silla in Archaeological Perspective.” Early Korea. 1 (2008): 113-153. Print.

Peterson, Mark, and Phillip Margulies. A Brief History of Korea. New York, NY: Facts On File, 2010. Print.

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