The Three Kingdoms of Korea

Richard D. McBride II


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Reaktion Books
1 July 2024
ISBN: 9781789148756
256 pages

From the publisher

Sheds new light on the history and legacy of Korea’s Three Kingdoms period.

Korea’s Three Kingdoms period is a genuine ‘lost civilization’, during which ancient realms vied for supremacy during the first millennium CE. Nobles from this period’s feuding states adopted and adapted Buddhism and Confucianism through interactions with early medieval Chinese dynasties. In the mid-seventh century, with the assistance of the mighty Chinese Tang empire, the aristocratic Silla state ultimately unified the Three Kingdoms by conquering the militaristic northern kingdom of Koguryŏ and the culturally sophisticated state of Paekche.

Weaving together legends of founding kings, tales of wars and political intrigue and narratives of fascinating individuals – including flower boys, wise monks, loyal scholars and virtuous women – this exploration sheds new light on a foundational period that continues to shape Korean identity today.