A Light in the East: A Korean TL

This is version 1.1. Version 0.0 can be viewed here, and 1.0 is here.

Because the title and posts made in 2010/11 were becoming irrelevant to the rest of the thread, I have decided to create a new thread instead. The relevant posts made in 2012 will be reposted here, with some minor adjustments. Also, for those of you who have not read my previous version, the PoD occurs in 395 AD, specifically post 11, although I would highly recommend reading the background information beforehand in order to understand the context.

Here's the first one:

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Although it is unknown when Buyeo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]부여[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]夫餘[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) was founded, it was probably established in some form around 200 BC [1]. It was located around Central and Northern Manchuria, with the Yak River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]약수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]弱水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [2] forming the northern border, although East Buyeo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]동[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-), which was a successor state, was probably located around Southern Manchuria or the Korean Peninsula. It's founder was King Dongmyeong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]동명왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東明王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [3], whose birth date is uncertain, but was probably around the 3rd century BC, and was born in the Takli Kingdom ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]탁리국[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]橐離國[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4]. According to myth, his mother conceived him through a light from the sky, and was born in the form of an egg. The ruler at the time thought that this was a bad omen, and placed it in a sty so that the animals would take care of it. However, the animals protected the egg, so the ruler returned it back to its mother. The boy grew up to become a skilled archer, which led the ruler to fear for his safety and attempt to murder him. As a result, Dongmyeong fled until he encountered the Ubal River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]우발수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]掩㴲水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [5], where he shot an arrow into the water. This caused the creatures to rise to the surface and form a bridge, allowing him to cross the river to the other side. He then founded Buyeo, which was later named North Buyeo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]북[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]北[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-) in order to distinguish it from the later established East Buyeo.

Buyeo's government, was controlled by four clans, collectively named the Sachuldo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]사출도[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]四出道[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). They were the Maga ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]마가[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]馬加[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Uga ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]우[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]牛[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-), Jeoga ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]저[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]猪[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-), and Guga ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]구[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]狗[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-), which were named after animals, and there were other lower-class ones as well. The term “ga” is probably cognate with “khan,” and is similar to some later Korean states' terms for rulers. The ruler maintained a seal that was labeled “Ye Wang Ji In,” ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]예왕지인[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]濊王之印[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) which was probably symbolic of his rule, and suggests that the populace was descended from Yemaek ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]예맥[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]濊貊[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) tribes. Around 250 AD, Buyeo's territory was about two thousand li, with roughly eighty thousand households, which translates to a population of 400,000. Every December, individuals in Buyeo celebrated Yeonggo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]영고[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]迎鼓[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which commemorated the foundation date, and hosted various rites and festivities across the country in order to mark the occasion. It's inhabitants maintained a sedentary lifestyle, and maintained a legal system that was influenced by that of Gojoseon and the Shang. The people were described as tall in stature, which suggests that they were well-fed. They also tended to wear white, and enjoyed songs and dancing. During times of war, the ruler used cows' hoofs for divination based on the pattern of cracks. Unlike Goguryeo, Buyeo tried to abstain from raids and invasions, and tended to maintain peace unless it was attacked by its neighbors [6].

It is assumed that when Gojoseon fell, some of its migrants were absorbed into Buyeo, causing some cultural transfers to take place. Although East Buyeo later split off during the 1st century BC, Goguryeo, under Daemusin, killed its ruler around 22 AD after numerous conflicts, causing North Buyeo to be cut off from Chinese contact [7]. Later, because of pressure from both Goguryeo and the Han, it married off a princess to a Han royal member. Although Buyeo paid tribute to the Han and Cao Wei, it also received clothing made with pieces of jade, from the Xuantu Commandery's ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]현도군[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]玄菟郡[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) storage, when the ruler died, suggesting that there was a complicated relationship between the two states. When war broke out between Goguryeo and Cao Wei in 244, the latter managed to reestablish direct contact with Buyeo. However, the permanent destruction of the Lelang Commandery ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]낙랑군[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]樂浪郡[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) in 313 eventually led to Buyeo's gradual decline under pressure from Goguryeo. Both East and North Buyeo would cease to exist in the 5th century, by attacks from Gwanggaeto and Jangsu, respectively [8].

[1] The Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji) mentions a Buyeo trader during the Qin Dynasty.

[2] OTL Helongjiang/Amur River. The capital was probably around modern-day Changchun, and the southern border was probably around what is now Liaoning.

[3] Later, Goguryeo attached this name, in the form of King Dongmyeongseong (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]동명성왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東明聖王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), to its founder, Jumong, and also adopted the myth after changing the placenames to the areas around Southern Manchuria. The Buyeo myth is not found in Korean texts, but it can be found in Chinese ones, such as the Records of the Three Kingdoms, which was composed during the 3rd century, and the Book of the Later Han (5th century).

[4] Referred to as the Goli Kingdom (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고리국[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]高離國[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which sounds similar to Go(gu)ryeo, in the Records of the Three Kingdoms. Both ethnonyms were probably taken from Tungusic or Mongolic languages.

[5] OTL Songhua River. The Buyeo version probably meant something similar to “Great River.”

[6] Most of the information in this paragraph is taken from the Records of the Three Kingdoms.

[7] Recorded in the Samguk Sagi (12th century).

[8] In OTL, Gwanggaeto destroyed East Buyeo in 410, and North Buyeo ceased to exist in 494, under Munja's reign. However, the upcoming POD will cause these events to occur earlier than in OTL.
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[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]홍익인간[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]弘益人間[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [1][/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Although it is uncertain when the villages which later became part of Gojoseon ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고조선[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]古朝鮮[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) eventually became consolidated, it is highly likely that the state became centralized around the 8th century BC, when mandolin-shaped daggers began to be produced. The occurrence of dolmens, or stone structures in the area, along with a code of laws ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]팔조법금[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]八條法禁[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), suggest that a reasonably complex society was already in place around the time. Its inhabitants celebrated the state's foundation every October, calling it Gaecheonjeol ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]개천절[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]開天節[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), meaning “opening of the sky” [2]. The initial capital, Heomdokhyeon ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]험독현[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]險瀆縣[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), was located around the Liao River [3], but events in China proper caused the Yan to compete within the region as well, causing Gojoseon to be pushed out of Liaoxi around the 4th century. As a result, the second capital, Wanggeomseong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]왕검성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]王儉城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4], was built. The Qin then invaded and temporarily seized Liaodong, although its fall allowed Gojoseon to reclaim the area up to the Pae River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]패수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]浿水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [5]. Around the 2nd century BC, Wiman ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]위만[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]衛滿[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) emigrated from the former region of Yan, and became the ruler by ousting King Jun ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]준왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]準王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), who fled to the south. In order to counter the threat from Han, he also allied with the Xiongnu. However, during his grandson's reign, the Han captured the capital in 108 BC, extinguishing the state. It was then split into four commandaries, although another state eventually began raiding them and expanding its influence soon after.

Similar to Gojoseon and Buyeo, it is uncertain exactly when Goguryeo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고구려[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]高句麗[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) was established, as sources disagree on when it first existed [6], but it was a branch of Buyeo that split off soon after its foundation. Jumong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]주몽[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]朱蒙[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), who founded Goguryeo around the 2nd century BC [7], was originally an adopted Buyeo prince. However, the other princes became jealous of his skill in archery [8], so he eventually left the region, crossing the Umsa River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]엄사수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]淹㴲水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [9], and fled to Jolbon ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]졸본[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]卒本[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), another Buyeo region [10], with Oi ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]오이[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]烏伊[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Mari ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]마리[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]摩離[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Hyoppo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]협보[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]陜父[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and other followers. Later, the capital was soon moved to Guknae Fortress ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]국내성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]國內城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and the Wina Rock Fortress ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]위나암성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]尉那巖城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) was built adjacent to it in order to protect it from invasions. The inhospitable environment, though, meant that it was forced to raid surrounding areas, which contributed to the fall of the Lintun Commandary ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]臨屯郡[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]임둔군[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and forced the Han to move the capital of Xuantu Commandary further north [11]. The roaming caused the people to lead a semi-nomadic way of life, and allowed it to expand more quickly than Buyeo had done, although it retained most of Buyeo's culture and traditions. Goguryeo also celebrated its foundation date every October, calling it Dongmaeng ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]동맹[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東盟[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). Around 250 AD, its territory was about two thousand li, and its population consisted of thirty thousand households, or a population of 150,000. It also adopted Chinese characters before the 3rd century AD [12].

By the 1st century AD, under Taejo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]태조대왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]太祖大王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [13], Goguryeo's government became centralized, and although it continued to raid its neighbors, such as Buyeo, Okjeo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]옥저[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]沃沮[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and the Dongye ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]동예[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東濊[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), it began to make systematic attacks in order to consolidate its territory and organize its holdings in order to administer them efficiently. The first serious confrontation occurred at the Battle of Jwawon ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]좌원 대첩[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]坐原大捷[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) in 172, in which the Xuantu Commandary, under Han control, invaded Goguryeo with a large force. In preparation, Goguryeo, under Prime Minister Myeongim Dapbu's ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]명림답부[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]明臨答夫[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) leadership, blocked the wells and withdrew food sources into the fortress. When the siege failed, ambushed troops attacked the Han forces as they started retreating, resulting in a complete victory. After the Han fell, Gongson Du, a warlord, took control of Liaoxi and Liaodong, which was retained by two successors, until Cao Wei and Goguryeo allied with each other to subjugate the state. However, Goguryeo began raiding the area soon after, causing Cao Wei to send troops to curtail Goguryeo's influence. The war that broke out in 244 caused Wina's destruction, and Goguryeo would not be mentioned in Chinese records for more than half a century.

However, Goguryeo rebuilt Wina as Hwando Mountain Fortress ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]환도산성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]丸都山城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and began to consolidate its holdings once again. Later, during Micheon's ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]미천왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]美川王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) rule, it took advantage of the civil war that occurred during the Jin dynasty by destroying the Lelang and Daifang ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]대방군[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]帶方郡[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) commandaries, permanently bringing an end to Chinese rule in Northeast Asia [14]. This did nothing to prevent further invasions, though, as the Former Yan invaded and destroyed Hwando again in 342, dug up Micheon's remains, and took the queen and several thousand prisoners as captives. Goguryeo's southward expansion also meant that it would come into conflict with Baekje, which had recently finished subduing the remaining Mahan statelets by expanding south.

[1] According to legend, this saying was supposedly uttered by Dangun Wanggeom [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif](단군왕검/檀君王儉), the first ruler of Gojoseon, when he founded the state, and is recorded in the Samguk Yusa. It roughly translates to “Broadly benefit humanity,” and is the current motto of South Korea.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][2] In South Korea, this event is celebrated as "National Foundation Day" on October 3rd in the Gregorian calendar. This event refers to when Hwanung [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif](환웅/桓雄), [/FONT]Dangun's father, descended from the sky onto the Taebaek Mountain (태백산; 太伯山), now known as Baekdu Mountain (백두산/白頭山).

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][3] The Records of the Grand Historian state that Gojoseon's original capital was located in Liaodong at the confluence of three rivers. The location is close to OTL Haicheng and Gaizhou, and the highest concentration of dolmens and mandolin-shaped daggers are around the mouth of the Liao River, the Liaodong peninsula, and the vicinity of Pyongyang. Only three of the eight laws, referenced by the Book of Han, remain extant today.

[4] Modern-day Pyongyang. The weapons and structures are each divided into two designs and periods, suggesting that the two centers existed around different time periods.

[5] It is unknown what this river corresponds to in OTL, although possibilities include a tributary of the Liao, and the Luan River.

[6] In OTL, the Samguk Sagi states that Jumong founded the state in 37 BC. However, in the same text, Bojang, the last ruler of Goguryeo, and Taizong, in the Old Book of Tang, state that Goguryeo existed for about 900 years. The Records of the Grand Historian also attached Goguryeo as the name for a specific region in Northeast Asia.

[7] Although the Samguk Sagi also states the founder as Dongmyeongseong, the Gwanggaeto Stele (5th century) simply mentions his name as Chumo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]추모[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]鄒牟[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which was probably another transcription of Jumong. The fact that Buyeo's foundation myth and a similar name appear in the Records of the Three Kingdoms suggest that Dongmyeongseong was a title that was attached in the 6th or 7th century.

[8] The stele mentions Chumo as a former Bukbuyeo prince, while the Samguk Sagi states that he was from Dongbuyeo. Jumong means “skilled archer” in the Buyeo language.

[9] Referred to as the Great Umli River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]엄리대수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]奄利大水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) in the stele, and the Umho River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]엄호수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]奄淲水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), among others, in other Chinese sources. It was probably a tributary of the Liao River.

[10] Currently Huanren County, within Liaoning.

[11] The Lintun Commandary ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]임둔군[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]臨屯郡[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) ceased to exist in 82 BC, and the Xuantu Commandary's capital was first moved in 75 BC.

[12] The Gwanggaeto Stele is carved in clerical script.

[13] The Samguk Sagi records Taejo's rule as from 53-146, although it is unlikely that he could have reigned for more than 90 years.

[14] In OTL, the Tang temporarily reestablished control, and the Ming was the first native dynasty to retain it for a significant amount of time. However, in this ATL, the Liaodong peninsula will remain under Korean control with some exceptions.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Although it is possible that Gojoseon controlled the southern portion of the peninsula either directly or indirectly after expanding from its base around the Liao River, a separate and independent entity, the Jin state ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]진국[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]辰國[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) came into existence around the 3-2nd centuries BC. However, the area later disintegrated into three states, collectively known as the Samhan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]삼한[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]三韓[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). They consisted of Mahan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]마한[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]馬韓[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Byeonhan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]변한[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]弁韓[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and Jinhan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]진한[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]辰韓[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). Each celebrated two major holidays in May and October, marking the beginning and end of the harvest, respectively. It is not known how consolidated they were as a whole, while a significant amount of the population is estimated to have arrived from Gojoseon. Regardless, by the 4th century, each had been taken over by entities which had started out as city-states around or shortly after the 1st century BC.

Although Baekje ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]백제[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]百濟[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) probably existed in some form around the 1st century BC, it did not fully subjugate Mahan until the 4th century. Its history is closely intertwined with Goguryeo, as noted from the foundation myths, along with its culture and language. According to one of the myths, Lady Ye ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]예씨[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]禮氏[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) had already conceived Jumong's son before he left for Jolbon. Jumong then married So-suhno ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]소서노[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]召西奴[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), the daughter of the chief in the area, who bore him two sons, Biryu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]비류[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]沸流[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) and Onjo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]온조[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]溫祚[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). However, Yuri ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]유리[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]琉璃[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Jumong's son through Lady Ye, found his father and identified himself by presenting a broken sword. The ruler's acceptance caused Biryu and Onjo to fear that they might be ignored and left out of important matters, so they decided to leave the region altogether with their mother. Both initially went south together with several thousand followers, but then separated around the Han River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]한수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]漢水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) to establish their own settlements in Michuhol ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]미추홀[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]彌鄒忽[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) and Wiryeseong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]위례성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]慰禮城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [1], respectively. However, Biryu's settlement did not yield much gains, causing him to relocate with his settlers to Michuhol, where his younger brother welcomed him warmly. However, he died within a few years, causing Onjo to take control over all of the settlers. The city later became known as Baekjeguk (-[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]국[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/-[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]國[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [2], or the nation of a hundred vassals, which did not actively start expanding outward from the Han River until the late 3rd century, then managed to subjugate more than 50 city-states by the early 4th century [3]. However, soon after its sudden expansion, it came into contact with Goguryeo, which had recently destroyed the Lelang Commandery.

Gaya ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]가야[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]加耶[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), on the other hand, gradually replaced Byeonhan's 12 city-states by establishing its own set of confederated city-states. According to myth, the nine wise men in Gujibong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]구지봉[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]龜旨峰[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) were in a dispute over who to elect as the chief. As a result, a voice from heaven ordered them to dance with the villagers and sing a song with lyrics concerning how they would boil a turtle if it did not stick its head out. After they did so, a decorated box that contained six golden eggs arrived from heaven. The first egg that hatched contained Kim Suro ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]김수로[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]金首露[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), who became the first ruler of Geomgwan Gaya ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]금관가야[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]金官伽倻[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4]. However, the country did not have a queen, so the ruler persuaded the people to wait for a sign from heaven, because he had originated from there. Eventually, a woman called Heo Hwangok ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]허황옥[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]許黃玉[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) from Ayuta ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]아유타국[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]阿踰陀國[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [5] arrived, and requested to meet the ruler, who decided to make her the first queen. For the state's duration, although the six individual cities coordinated closely with each other, they never managed to become anything more than part of a confederacy. However, it was the first southern state to develop and use iron weapons through raw materials found in the Nakdong River valley ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]낙동강[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]洛東江[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and maintained a unique culture until its demise.

Although Seorabeol ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]서라벌[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]徐羅伐[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [6] probably started centralizing and taking over Jinhan's 12 city-states slightly later than either Baekje or Gaya, it managed to become consolidated by the 4th century, during which the title of the ruler changed from Isageum ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]이사금[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]泥師今[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) to Maripgan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]마립간[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]麻立干[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). Its foundation myth was similar to that of Gaya's, in which the village of Seonabeol (-[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]나[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-/-[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]那[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]-) also had six respected members who were uncertain about picking the chief. However, one of them noticed a horse in the woods, and when he went closer, he noticed a huge egg. Intrigued by this, he split it, causing a baby boy to emerge. Because the egg resembled a gourd, he was assigned the surname Park ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]박[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]朴[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) and the name Hyeokgeose ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]혁거세[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]赫居世[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), meaning “bright world,” and was given the title Geoseogan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]거서간[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]居西干[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) after rising to power [7]. Soon after, an elderly woman noticed a dragon giving birth to a baby girl near the Alyeong Pond ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]알영정[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]閼英井[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and named her after it. However, she possessed a chicken's beak in place of her lips, until it fell off when the lady washed her in a stream, revealing her beauty. Alyeong was later brought to the palace, where she was made the first queen [8]. Another myth states that many decades later, supposedly during the reign of the fourth ruler, a rooster was crowing in a forest, so a minister was sent to investigate. He found a box emanating gold light tied to a tree branch near the rooster, and brought it back to the ruler. The box contained a baby boy as well, and he was named Kim Alji ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]김알지[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]金閼智[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), and the forest became known as Gyerim ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]계림[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]鷄林[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), another name for Seorabeol, after the rooster. His descendants would eventually rule the country beginning with Michu Isageum ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]미추이사금[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]味鄒泥師今[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) (262-284).

As the three states expanded their reaches, they began to establish relations with other ones outside the peninsula. Baekje, Gaya, and Seorabeol all had diplomatic relations with Japan, and although it is unknown what the relationships were, archeological evidence suggests that the peninsular states were probably more technologically advanced. In terms of individual relations, Seorabeol experienced frequent raids from its island neighbors, while Baekje and Japan probably established stable ties through marriages between royal families, and Gaya switched between alliances with Baekje and Seorabeol. Meanwhile, Baekje began cultivating relations with the Lelang Commandery occasionally through diplomatic and marital relations until the latter ceased to exist, and Seorabeol's artifacts suggest that its culture was influenced by those of Central Asian states, such as the Xiongnu, which was probably possible through contacts with the commandery. Its tombs are also distinctive from other states in that they were covered with earth, instead of piling rocks to form a structure.

[1] Presumably present-day Incheon and Seoul, respectively, in which the “hol” suggests that the former never became anything more than a village, and the “seong” indicating a walled city. The “Han” used for the river means “great,” and is used for its sound, not meaning.

[2] Although the Samguk Sagi claims that Baekje was originally called Sipje (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]십제[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif], [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]十濟[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) (ten vassals), and gained its official name soon after Biryu's death, this is probably apocryphal. The state was initially probably called Wirye(seong) after the main/capital city. In addition, it is possible that So-suhno, who was worshiped as a founder, originally established the foundations for Baekje, becoming the first Korean female ruler, but her second son, Onjo, later seized the throne in a coup. The basis for this is provided in the Samguk Sagi, which records that in 6 BC, an elderly lady transformed into a male, while So-suhno passed away later in the same year.

[3] The Records of the Three Kingdoms recorded 54 city-states in Mahan when Cao Wei invaded Goguryeo in 244, while it suggested that Byeonhan and Jinhan each had 12.

[4] Modern-day Gimhae, and functioned as the de facto capital.

[5] Assumed to be Ayodhya in Northern India, which is landlocked, although other suggestions include states in Japan or Thailand. If the myth has any basis in fact, it suggests that there were several maritime trading routes from India to Korea around the 1st-3rd centuries AD. Archeological excavations also suggest that Gaya adopted numerous cultural elements from that region.

[6] OTL Silla (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]신라[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]新羅[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). It did not adopt its official name until 503, although it had been occasionally used since 307, and the name that I have used to replace Silla is just one of many alternate names that existed in OTL. The city that it originated from is modern-day Gwangju.

[7] Again, the “gan” is cognate with khan, and the former two characters probably indicated what level the title was.

[8] This myth suggests that she was from a clan symbolized by a dragon or chicken totem.
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Although the Qin Dynasty ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]秦朝[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) became the first centralized Chinese state to wield power over its domains, it only lasted for 15 years before the country was torn apart again by civil war in 206 BC. This time, however, the disorder lasted for only four years, and was fought between only two major entities, namely the Chu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]楚[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) and the Han ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]漢[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). The Chu was led by Xiang Yu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]項羽[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), while the Han was under Liu Bang ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]劉邦[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), [1] a former peasant who had briefly served as a Chu general. Although Xiang Yu had several opportunities to reunify the country, Liu Bang managed to outmaneuver his opponent, ultimately founding the Han Dynasty, which would become the longest in Chinese history. During its existence, Chinese culture flourished as people from different parts of the country began creating inventions such as paper, water clocks, and seismometers, while developing mathematical and astronomical calculations, along with more advanced tools, weaponry, and construction materials. Meanwhile, the population increased to more than 55 million [2], and the state also began to expand in multiple directions, eventually managing to head into Central Asia, Vietnam, and Korea. However, it did not advance further into the Korean peninsula than the northwestern region, with fluctuating degrees of control, and it took more than 200 years to defeat the Xiongnu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]匈奴[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), during which the Han was initially subservient, and sent princesses for marriage in order to establish a stable peace. Its reach into Central Asia also helped it to establish the Silk Road, where numerous trading networks spanned Eurasia. However, after almost 400 years of rule, the state began to falter as regional warlords began to maneuver the rulers, turning the latter into puppets. As a result, soon after the Yellow Turban Rebellion ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]黃巾之亂[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) broke out in 184, the Han effectively collapsed after Cao Cao ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]曹操[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [3] took over most of the emperor's duties in 196, and the dynasty ceased to exist in name by 220 after the last ruler was removed from power. This time, however, the fragmentation would last for several centuries.

Because Cao Cao wrested power away from the Han, he was able to establish a stable base in North China, and by 208, he came close to eliminating all of his rivals. However, South China was another matter, and during that same year, he was forced to leave the region alone after the Battle of Red Cliffs ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]赤壁之戰[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), in which an alliance of about 50,000 troops, which were hastily put together, managed to defeat Cao Cao's army, numbering more than 200,000. The main reason for his defeat along the Yangtze River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]揚子江[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]長江[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) were gathering soldiers who did not have experience in naval operations, causing a loss in morale. He was also unable to effectively utilize naval strategy, causing him to fall into a trap set by the allied forces, in which they set fire ships loose and steered them toward the enemy. Although he died without making any significant territorial gains afterward, his son established the (Cao) Wei Dynasty ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]曹魏[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) in 220, which caused two states in the south, namely Shu (Han) ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]蜀漢[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) and (Eastern/Sun) Wu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]孫吳[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), to follow suit soon after. This situation would last for about 43 years before Wei eventually overran Shu, but it was in turn overthrown by Sima Yan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]司馬炎[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4] two years later, who established the Jin Dynasty ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]晉朝[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). He would then eventually go on to accomplish what Cao Cao failed to do by unifying China once again in 280, after almost a century of division. On the other hand, although Sima Yan was able to effectively use military tactics to unify the country, he was unable to select an able successor, which would become the basis for the Jin's downfall.

Shortly after the ruler's death, civil war broke out in 291 between eight princes, and continued for more than a decade before the Wu Hu uprising ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]五胡亂華[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which originated in Central Asia, swept through North China and pushed the Jin south of the Huai River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]淮河[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). Although the south was able to retain a relatively stable dynasty, the north became fragmented among numerous kingdoms established by northern nomads. The invaders then went through various degrees of sinicization, adopting some Chinese policies in order to govern the population, although they still used nomadic strategies in battle. Eventually, by 376, the ruler of (Former) Qin ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]前秦[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Fu Jian ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]苻健[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), who was of Di ethnicity ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]氐族[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), managed to unify most of North China once again. He then decided to invade the Jin in 383 with about several hundreds of thousands of troops [5], while the later prepared about 80,000 for defensive measures. In initial skirmishes, the Jin scored victories against the Qin, then spread its forces out in order to give the illusion of a large army. As a result, when both sides camped out on the banks of the Fei River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]淝水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [6], Fu Jian decided to attack the Jin army as it was crossing the river, and began making plans for a feigned retreat in order to lure them into the trap. However, the army as a whole was not informed of the strategy, so as the army, which was already low in morale, began withdrawing, the Jin attacked them from behind, causing the situation to turn into a rout. As a result, the Qin collapsed, fragmenting into various states, while the Jin managed to push the border back up to the Yellow River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]黃河[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), ensuring that the southern states would remain independent for over a century afterward.

[1] Posthumously known as Gaozu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]高祖[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) of Han.

[2] A census taken in 2 AD recorded 57,671,400 individuals.

[3] Assigned the title “Martial Emperor of Wei” (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]魏武帝[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) after his death.

[4] Posthumously named Emperor Wu of Jin (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]晉武帝[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which uses the same character “[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]武” [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]as Emperor Wu of Han and also as that of Cao Cao.

[5] The Book of Jin records about 870,000, although this is most likely an embellishment.

[6] Currently does not exist, although it was probably located close to the Huai River.
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]After 314, when Goguryeo took advantage of the chaos in China by destroying the Lelang and Daifang commanderies, it began to come into contact with the southern states on the peninsula, while dealing with states in Central Asia and North China. It then continued to consolidate power, although the process would be temporarily halted when the Former Yan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]前燕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) invaded Goguryeo and sacked Hwando once more. Although the ruler was barely able to escape from the capital, he ended up dealing with another threat to the south soon after. The opponent was Baekje, which had secured the Han River since the mid 3rd century, controlling trade routes in the region, and had finished conquering Mahan's city-states by the mid-4th century.

Both Goguryeo and Baekje, which shared a common bond in terms of language and culture, had gone through turbulent times until the 4th century. The Hae ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]해[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]解[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) clan [1], which had remained in power since Goguryeo's foundation, was able to produce rulers, such as Yuri and Daemusin, who militarily expanded the state from its base in Jolbon. However, other clans also made up a significant component of the aristocracy. As a result, a power shift took place around 53 AD, when Mobon ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]모본왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]慕本王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) was assassinated, causing the court to appoint an official from the Go ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]高[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) clan as the next ruler [2]. However, he declined, causing his son, who would be posthumously known as Taejo, to receive the position. Because of his young age, his mother temporarily ruled in his place, but after he took the throne, he managed to subjugate various tribes and centralize the government by reorganizing the duties of the ministers. Although he failed to conquer the Chinese commanderies, he succeeded in expanding the state in multiple directions, which would not be repeated until Micheon managed to vanquish Chinese rule in the peninsula.

On the other hand, Baekje would be caught in a similar feud for a longer period of time. Although Onjo's last name was probably Hae, he changed it to Buyeo in order to recognize his ancestry from that state. His descendants retained the throne until around 234, when Goi ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고이왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]古爾王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [3] usurped the throne from Chogo's ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]초고왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]肖古王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) son, as he was judged too young to rule. As a result, two of his descendants continued to rule the state, until Biryu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]비류왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]比流王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), a descendant of Chogo, came to power in 304, and managed to destroy the remaining Chinese commanderies in a joint invasion with Goguryeo. Although Gye ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]계왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]契王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), Goi's last ruling descendant, seized the throne soon after his death, his rule would only last for two years, causing Geunchogo ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]근초고왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]近肖古王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4], Biryu's son, to take over in 346. His rule would be similar to that of Taejo, as he managed to unify the numerous city-states in Mahan and brought Baekje to its apex by maintaining benevolent relations with Seorabeol and Gaya, establishing trade relations with Sima Jin and Japan, and successfully confronting Goguryeo.

Sayu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]사유[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]斯由[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [5] began to strengthen Pyongyang Fortress in 334 in order to prepare the southern defenses, then did the same with others within the area and around the capital for the next few years. In 339, when the Former Yan attempted to besiege Sinseong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]신성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]新城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), the ruler sent the crown prince in order to establish friendly relations. However, the Former Yan invaded again and destroyed Hwando and Guknae in 342, then dug up Micheon's remains and took the former and reigning queens as hostages. Sayu managed to recover and rebury his father's remains after sending his younger brother in the following year, although he would not recover the queens until 355. Meanwhile, the ruler decided to temporarily move the capital in 343 to Donghwang Fortress ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]동황성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]東黃城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) in Pyongyang, similar to what Dongcheon had done in 247 [6]. Although the Former Yan would continue to be a threat, Sayu decided to invade Baekje in 369 in order to control the area around the Han River as a strategic maneuver.

Meanwhile, Geunchogo began cultivating cordial relations with Seorabeol around 366. The effort was made in order to establish stable relations with other states in the region in case of a conflict with Goguryeo. He then began to conquer the remaining city-states within the southern region of Mahan, although he was forced to return north when Sayu invaded Chiyang ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]치양[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]雉壤[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [7]. Because a former Baekje general who had defected to Goguryeo managed to find his way back, the ruler was able to decipher Goguryeo's strategies, and repelled the enemy. In the same year, he began to reorganize his forces and began to fly a golden banner [8], while strengthening the fortifications around the capital. Two years later, he repelled a Goguryeo incursion by ambushing their forces, and made plans to invade Pyongyang Fortress later in the year.

After surrounding the fortress with an army of 30,000, Sayu was killed by a stray arrow, becoming the first and only Goguryeo ruler to be killed in battle. However, Baekje was unable to capture the fortress because of strong resistance, and although Baekje attempted to attack Pyongyang once more in 377, it failed again, and the two sides agreed to an uneasy truce as drought and famine suddenly struck. As a whole, however, Geunchogo was successful in his endeavors, as he managed to conquer what had been the Daifang commandery, secured control of the Han River, and began conducting trade relations with Sima Jin [9] and Japan, sending a scholar and a seven-branched sword to the latter [10]. He also directed Go Heung ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고흥[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]高興[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), a Baekje scholar, to compile a Seogi ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]서기[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]書記[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), describing Baekje's history, which was completed in 375. As a result, Baekje was able to achieve dominance over the western portion of the peninsula, until Gwanggaeto began to reverse the situation, beginning in 391.

[1] The character used to represent the surname was probably a phonetic transcription of the word “sun,” suggesting that the clan's origins were supposedly from heaven.

[2] Although the Samguk Sagi also states that the official was descended from Yuri, making it a family affair, it's also likely that the two were unrelated.

[3] Similarly to Taejo, the Samguk Sagi states that Goi was Chogo's (166-214) younger brother, but it's also likely that he was a relative of Chogo's wife. In Japanese records, Goi is indicated as the founder, suggesting that Baekje first came into contact with Japan during his reign, or that Baekje started centralizing around this time.

[4] The “Geun,” which means “recent,” was probably added later in order to distinguish him from his predecessor.

[5] Gogukwon's (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고국원왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]故國原王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) personal name. With some exceptions, Goguryeo rulers' posthumous names refer to where they were buried.

[6] Dongcheon temporarily relocated the capital to Pyongyang Fortress, which was presumably located near what is now Ji'an, Jilin, as the area around Pyongyang was part of the Lelang commandery at the time. It is possible that Donghwang Fortress was also located around Ji'an, as “Pyongyang” technically means “plain” and might not have been used to refer to a specific area at the time.

[7] Modern-day Paechon County, South Hwanghae.

[8] This signifies that the army had become centralized, and that Geunchogo considered himself as an equal of the Chinese emperors after defeating Goguryeo.

[9] There is a possibility that Baekje could have controlled several colonies in China proper, such as Liaoxi and possibly Shandong, but only Chinese records support this theory. As China was fragmented at this time, and there is no archeological evidence of Baekje settlements within the region, it is impossible to conclude to what extent Baekje's presence was in China.

[10] Although it is debatable exactly when both were sent to Japan, it was probably around the late 4th-early 5th century. Wani/Wangin, the scholar, is only recorded in Japanese sources, although they claim that he transmitted Chinese texts and other cultural items.

Baekje at its greatest extent after Geunchogo's death in 375.

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Although two major defeats from Former Yan and Baekje greatly weakened Goguryeo, the state was still able to recover by rebuilding the devastated fortresses and begin a long process of reconsolidating the military. After Gogukwon's death, Gubu ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]구부[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]丘夫[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [1] came to power, and began concentrating on consolidating the state once more. In 372, Fu Jian of Former Qin sent a Buddhist monk to Goguryeo, causing Gubu to accept it as the state religion soon after, although Buddhism had probably been transmitted several decades earlier [2]. He later began building temples in order to make the religion more widely known, while housing monks from abroad. He also established stable relations with Former Qin in order to facilitate trade between the two countries. Meanwhile, he established Taehak ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]태학[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]太學[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which was a Confucian institution intended to foster learning, and codified a set of laws, called Yulryeong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]율령[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]律令[/FONT]).
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As Former Yan had collapsed in 370 due to pressure from Former Qin, causing Goguryeo to seek ties with the latter, the state was not in threat of invasion from the west for a while. A few years later, Gubu resumed conflict with Baekje, as the border conflicts had not been settled. He successfully invaded Sugok Fortress ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]수곡성[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]水谷城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [3] in 375, and harassed Baekje's northern borders with small-scale conflicts. These actions eventually prompted Baekje to attack Pyongyang Fortress two years later with the intent of cutting off Goguryeo control around the Han River. However, both sides were plagued by natural disasters, causing an uneasy truce in 377 that would be maintained for almost a decade. As the state continued to suffer from drought, the Khitan took advantage in the following year by seizing a few villages. Because he had no male offspring, after Gubu passed away in 384, his younger brother, Iryeon ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]이련[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]伊連[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4], took over, and continued the conflicts against the state's neighbors.

Shortly after establishing itself in 384, Later Yan invaded in the following year, seizing Yodong (Liaodong) Fortress and invading Hyeondo (Xuantu), both of which Goguryeo had recently conquered five months earlier. Meanwhile, Goguryeo invaded Baekje in 386, which was returned when the latter did the same in 389 and 390, excerbating relations between the two countries. As a result, in the following year, Iryeon began to establish friendly relations with Seorabeol in order to compete with Baekje on a more favorable term. The treaty was concluded when Seorabeol's ruler sent his nephew, Silseong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]실성[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]實聖[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), in order to cement ties. Meanwhile, Goguryeo continued to build temples and sponsor Buddhism, which would influence Baekje and Seorabeol to do the same several decades later. However, the ruler would pass away in May of 391 [5], leading his son, Damdeok ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]담덕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]談德[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [6], who had been proclaimed crown prince in 386, to take the throne at age 17. Soon after, he selected Yeongnak ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]영락[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]永樂[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) (Eternal peace) as his era name, becoming the first Korean monarch to essentially declare himself as an emperor [7], specifically a [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Taewang[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]태왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]太王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [8].

From a young age, Damdeok was respected by the people as a whole. According to legend, before he was 10 years old, there was a tiger that suddenly entered the capital, causing many to run away. It then approached the prince's quarters, but instead of fleeing as well, he stared it down, causing the tiger to back away instead. This event eventually caused his father to teach him more about history and military issues in order to prepare him for the duties of a ruler. As a result, when Damdeok came to power, he began to focus on upgrading military equipment, developing plate armor and refined steel for weapons. He also reorganized the military formations in order to increase efficiency. After these efforts, he decided to attack Baekje first, because he had participated in a few conflicts against the state when he was a prince, and it posed the most significant threat to Goguryeo at the time. In July of 391, he invaded with a force of 50,000, successfully taking 10 fortresses, in part because Jinsa ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]진사왕[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]辰斯王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), the 16th [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Eoraha[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]어라하[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]於羅瑕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [9], had heard of Damdeok's skill in battle and decided not to retaliate.

However, in the following month, Baekje counterattacked in order to regain its lost fortresses, which failed as Goguryeo held firm. Damdeok then responded two months later by attacking Gwanmi Fortress ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]관미성[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]關彌城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [10], which was located on a cliff and was considered to be impregnable. As a result, Goguryeo decided to divide its forces into seven groups in order to more successfully assault the enemy. The fortress was then put under siege for twenty days, after which the inhabitants finally surrendered. As Baekje struggled to recover from its devastating losses, Jinsa died in November and was replaced by his nephew, Asin ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]아신왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]阿莘王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [11], who had been the son of Jinsa's predecessor. After praying to Dongmyeong [12] in a temple, he began to reorganize his forces, appointing one of his uncles, Jinmu, as a general, then resumed the conflicts against Goguryeo in 393. He first attempted to recapture Sugok Fortress in July, which held firm when Damdeok ordered the general in the fortress to stay inside until the invaders began to tire out. He then headed out to meet Baekje's forces in order to attack them from behind, forcing them to retreat. The defeat, however, did not deter Asin from raising forces in order to attack Goguryeo again in the following year.

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[1] Posthumously known as Sosurim ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]소수림왕[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]小獸林王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]).

[2] Archeological excavations of Goguryeo tombs have suggested that Buddhism had been transmitted by the mid-4th century.

[3] Located in modern-day Singae County, North Hwanghae.

[4] Posthumously known as Gogukyang (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]고국양왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]故國壤王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]).

[5] The Samguk Sagi suggests that he died in 392, but the Gwanggaeto Stele records his son's accession in 391.

[6] Posthumously known as Gwanggaeto (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]광개토태왕[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]廣開土太王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]). Unlike most Goguryeo rulers' names, this title refers to his accomplishments, and loosely translates into “Broad expander of territory.” The full version of his posthumous name is also the only extant one of any Goguryeo ruler. The Chinese and Japanese version is [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]好太王[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif].

[7] In the seven-branched sword that Baekje gave to Japan as a gift, “Tae” (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]태[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]泰[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) appears as possibly part of a Baekje ruler's era name, but as no Korean records present corresponding facts, this theory is limited to speculation.

[8] Although
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Taewang[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] might not necessarily be an equivalent of [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Huangdi[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]皇帝[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), the fact that Gwanggaeto was assigned both era and posthumous names, which are limited to emperors, and that he is specifically described in the Gwanggaeto Stele as a descendant of the Celestial Emperor, suggests that Goguryeo almost certainly intended for it to be used as an equivalent term.

[9] The Baekje term for a ruler.

[10] Located around what is now Incheon, although the exact location is unknown.

[11] The Samguk Sagi states that Jinsa died while hunting, although the Nihon Shoki suggests that Asin assassinated his uncle by essentially staging a coup. The conflict was also probably motivated by a power struggle between clans.

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][12] The founder of Buyeo. Not to be confused with Dongmyeongseong, the posthumous title for Jumong, who was the founder of Goguryeo.[/FONT]
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[8] Although
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Taewang[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] might not necessarily be an equivalent of [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Huangdi[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif] ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]皇帝[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), the fact that Gwanggaeto was assigned both era and posthumous names, which are limited to emperors, and that he is specifically described in the Gwanggaeto Stele as a descendant of the Celestial Emperor, suggests that Goguryeo almost certainly intended for it to be used as an equivalent term.

I may have mentioned this, but I should point out (this is not criticism, don't worry) that Huangdi was not always used as a title for rulers during this period. For example, Fu Hong, the father of Fu Jian, never took that title at all, preferring the title of Great Khan. His son established the Former Qin and started calling himself Heavenly King, or Tianwang, and taking the title of Huangdi seems like an afterthought a year later. Shi Li ruled for over a decade as Heavenly King before calling himself Emperor. When Shi Hu seized power, he called himself Heavenly King for three years before taking the title of Emperor. There area few other examples but I can't remember them. I remember reading speculation that this practice was connected to the shamanistic worship of the sky amongst Central Asian nomads or to their distaste for the titles of their Chinese subjects. Either way, is there any research about other reasons for the title of Great King? Could Kwanggaeto have chosen the title out of a break with local traditions, because of personal distaste for the title of Emperor, because his neighbors didn't think highly of that name either, etc? I certainly don't think he's choosing this title out of his sense of modesty.
So what's the PoD? Will the Koreans expand their culture significantly into North Asia? Will another Chinese dynasty besides the Sui unite the realms instead?
I like this timeline very much..;)

Thanks for the compliment. :D

I may have mentioned this, but I should point out (this is not criticism, don't worry) that Huangdi was not always used as a title for rulers during this period. For example, Fu Hong, the father of Fu Jian, never took that title at all, preferring the title of Great Khan. His son established the Former Qin and started calling himself Heavenly King, or Tianwang, and taking the title of Huangdi seems like an afterthought a year later. Shi Li ruled for over a decade as Heavenly King before calling himself Emperor. When Shi Hu seized power, he called himself Heavenly King for three years before taking the title of Emperor. There area few other examples but I can't remember them. I remember reading speculation that this practice was connected to the shamanistic worship of the sky amongst Central Asian nomads or to their distaste for the titles of their Chinese subjects. Either way, is there any research about other reasons for the title of Great King? Could Kwanggaeto have chosen the title out of a break with local traditions, because of personal distaste for the title of Emperor, because his neighbors didn't think highly of that name either, etc? I certainly don't think he's choosing this title out of his sense of modesty.

I see where you're coming from, although using nomadic rulers probably isn't exactly a good analogy, as they tended to retain their local customs as well. In terms of Gwanggaeto adopting Taewang as his title, he wasn't the first to do so, as his grandfather, Gogukwon, was also recorded with the same title in another stele created by Goguryeo. Scholars also generally acknowledge that Taewang continued to be used by succeeding rulers until the dynasty's downfall, but the actual reason for the usage remains murky due to the lack of extant compiled written records. As a result, we are forced to rely on stone inscriptions and assumptions based on the Samguk Sagi.

So what's the PoD? Will the Koreans expand their culture significantly into North Asia? Will another Chinese dynasty besides the Sui unite the realms instead?

This isn't a new timeline. I'm just reposting the relevant details from the second link provided in the first post after making minor adjustments, as I stated there, and you can feel free to go over and check the relevant post(s) if you don't feel like waiting for the next update.

Your last two questions are vague, and I haven't worked out the details yet, so I won't respond to them. Thanks for stopping by, though.
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]This post contains the PoD.

After coming to power in 391, Damdeok decided to initially focus on Baekje in his attempts to expand his state's territory [1]. As a result, he managed to conquer several strategic fortresses, including Gwanmi Fortress, which was located on a cliff, making it difficult to invade. Baekje also went through a regime change, in which the ruler was overthrown and replaced with his nephew, causing political instablity. Although both sides continued to clash, Damdeok continued to make steady gains, causing Asin to prepare more thoroughly for further battles. After three years of skirmishes, in August [2] of 394, Asin finally decided to take the offensive by attacking Goguryeo's recently captured fortifications located close to the border. This move was intended to cut off Goguryeo's fortresses around the area, freeing up Baekje's army and navy to assault Pyongyang, while preventing the opposition from surrounding Wirye Fortress.

Meanwhile, Goguryeo had been preparing for a Baekje counterattack by coming up with their own plans. Damdeok directed his men to build seven fortresses near the border in August of 393, and station troops there as well. As a result, without any knowledge of what had happened north of the border, Baekje set out into Goguryeo territory, but were suddenly ambushed along the Pae River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]패수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]浿水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [3]. After a fierce confrontation, Baekje was forced to retreat after 8,000 were either captured, injured, or deceased. Baekje's constant failures also began to shake the government's confidence in confronting Goguryeo, causing a decline in morale within the military. On the other hand, Goguryeo had recently finished analyzing the situations in neighboring regions. The other states in the peninsula were not major concerns, as the Eastern Ye had been assimilated, Seorabeol had constantly faced raids from Baekje, Gaya, and Japan, and Gaya had not managed to fully consolidate the government.

As a result, Goguryeo looked to the north, east, and west in order to prevent future threats. Soon after Beili (Biryeo) ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]碑麗[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4], a Xianbei state, had been established, Damdeok attacked it in September of 391, as it had consistently raided Goguryeo for decades. He also sought to recover most of the Goguryeo migrants who had been forcibly relocated to the area during Sosurim's rule, and returned after accomplishing both tasks, returning with around 10,000 Goguryeo refugees. During the ongoing conflict with Baekje, he also sought to create closer ties with the Mohe (Malgal) ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]말갈[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]靺鞨[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [5] tribes in eastern Manchuria, along with reinforcing control over Buyeo. Meanwhile, the Xianbei ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]鮮卑[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]),which had continuously attacked Goguryeo since its former existence as the Former Yan, was preoccupied with attempts to subdue the Northern Wei ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]北[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]魏[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which had been formerly a vassal. As a result, the conflict left Damdeok free to direct his attention to the south once more.

After making thorough preparations, in July of 395 [6], Goguryeo prepared to attack the Baekje fortresses north of the Ari River ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]아리수[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]阿利水[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [7] through a land and naval invasion consisting of 50,000 troops. Damdeok personally led an army division, while two other naval divisions attacked from the west after traveling through the river. The sudden assault was too much for Baekje, as the defenders were completely thrown off guard, and were forced to either surrender or abandon numerous fortresses [8]. However, Baekje continued to put up stiff resistance to the point where Goguryeo forces became fatigued, although they still managed to eventually surround the capital after crossing the river. In order to prevent further casualties, Damdeok sent a message to Asin, promising that he would withdraw if the Eoraha agreed to cease further conflicts. However, Asin refused the offer, stating that he would rather fight to the death rather than surrender in dishonor [9]. As a result, the siege began, during which fortresses to the south of the capital attempted to send reinforcements twice, but failed. Ultimately, the capital fell after 40 days, and Asin was taken prisoner as he attempted to flee from the ruins, finally bringing a temporary end to a 30-year stalemate.

[1] The conflict became severe to the point where the Gwanggaeto Stele consistently mentions Baekje as Baekjan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]백잔[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]百殘[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which was a derogatory term for Baekje.

[2] I forgot to mention this in my previous posts, but the months are taken from the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, which usually lags three to six weeks behind the Gregorian calendar in use today.

[3] Currently located in North Korea, and is known as the Ryeseong/Yeseong River.

[4] The locations of the cities that were taken during the incursion are disputed. The more likely assumption is that they were located close to the Liao River, in the eastern portion of what is now Inner Mongolia, but the issue is that the Xianbei probably controlled most of the tribes in the region at the time. As a result, the alternate interpretation is that Gwanggaeto actually traveled into what is now the central/western portion of Inner Mongolia in order to attack a post-Xiongnu state.

[5] The term probably encompassed a large amount of tribes across Manchuria, regardless of their culture, language, or ethnicity. Various sources suggest that by the 7th century, when most of the Goguryeo population still remained around its former territory, disparate Mohe tribes stretched from Baekdu Mountain to northern Manchuria. However, Goguryeo and Buyeo had already occupied most of southern and eastern Manchuria, respectively, by the 3rd century, which suggests that the Mohe in the respective regions had either been culturally assimilated, or were just local tribes.

This is the PoD. IOTL, according to the Gwanggaeto Stele, Goguryeo invaded Beili in 395, then attacked Baekje in 396 with the intention of surrounding Wirye Fortress. My opinion is that if Gwanggaeto had decided to attack a year earlier, then Asin would have been less prepared. Also, the earlier timing would also probably have led him to be more confident in defending the capital, causing him not to surrender before it was attacked, as occurred IOTL.

[7] Currently known as the Han River. Baekje referred to it as the Ukni River (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]욱리하[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]郁里河[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]).

[8] The Gwanggaeto Stele specifically states that about 58 fortresses and roughly 700 villages were conquered in 396. However, this is logistically impossible given the situation at the time, and although around 10-25 fortresses were probably taken during that year, most of them were most likely gradually conquered beforehand.

[9] It is important to note here that Asin was in a precarious situation. If he had agreed to end further conflicts, then he would have essentially surrendered to Goguryeo, as it had seized most, if not all, of the fortresses north of the capital. However, if he had continued to fight, he would have risked losing the capital, along with the Han River Valley, which would have been a huge blow to Baekje's morale.
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[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]After losing its capital and ruler, Baekje was forced to head south and install its capital in Ungjin ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]웅진[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]熊津[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [1]. As the crown prince, who had been selected in 394, was too young to rule, the court temporarily selected Asin's half brother, Buyeo Hong ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]부여홍[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]扶餘洪[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [2], who had been previously selected as the highest minister, to rule in his place. As Baekje had spent more than four centuries establishing its base along the Han River, and had only recently finished conquering the southern areas of Mahan by the mid-4th century, most of the population lost the hope that the government would effectively protect them. Meanwhile, some of the Goguryeo aristocracy moved south so that the newly conquered territories could be governed more efficiently. In addition, Seorabeol was shifting away from ties with Baekje, as it had been pressured for centuries by its neighbors, and sent tribute to Goguryeo in 396 in order to receive protection from further raids. However, Beili had continued to conduct raids, so later in that year, Damdeok decided to attack the state once more in order to re-establish dominance over it as a vassal [3]. In addition to successfully accomplishing this task by essentially sweeping through the state, he also brought a large amount of livestock, namely cows, horses, and sheep, to Goguryeo as a form of tribute.

Meanwhile, Tuoba Gui ([/FONT]
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]拓拔珪[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [4], the ruler of the Tuoba Wei ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]拓拔魏[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [5], began to attack Later Yan's vassals in order to expand its influence. In response, Murong Chui ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]慕容垂[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [6], the ruler of Later Yan, gave the crown prince, Murong Bao ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]慕容寶[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), command of about 80,000 troops, while giving about 20,000 to the ruler's younger brother. However, the Wei decided to withdraw on purpose in order to lure the enemy, and temporarily relocated the capital from Shengle ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]盛樂[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [7], which allowed the Yan to shift the balance of power once again by reinstalling control over its former tributaries. As the Yan began to advance deeper into Wei territory by entering the Ordos Desert after crossing the Yellow River, however, they began to stall due to weather conditions. Meanwhile, the Wei had managed to cut off messengers from Zhongshan ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]中山[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [8], the Yan capital, and forced them to state that Murong Chui had passed away.

However, the crown prince became suspicious, and although he decided to withdraw by late November, he began to plan for a potential Wei counterattack. On December 1st, adverse weather conditions caused the Yellow River to freeze, allowing Tuoba Gui to chase the Yan army with about 20,000 troops. By December 7th, they reached Canhe Slope ([/FONT]
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]參合陂[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), near the capital, and decided to conduct an ambush. They attacked the following day, but failed to notice that the Yan army was not at full strength. As a result, just as they were about to overwhelm the enemy, 30,000 soldiers, led by the ruler's brother, suddenly appeared from another direction [9]. The unexpected counterattack took the Wei army by surprise, and they were forced to make a hasty retreat, although 15,000 were left behind in the process. Although the Yan decided not to pursue the opposing forces, the Wei and Yan clashed months later, but the stalemate continued as neither was able to decisively defeat the other.

After temporarily pacifying the south and north, Damdeok decided to send tribute to both the Yan and the Wei as a form of courtesy, while analyzing the situation between and within the two states. A temporary alliance with the Yan was possible, but Goguryeo had considered it as an enemy for decades, not to mention that Goguryeo would be geographically cut off from North China if the Yan overwhelmed the Wei and took over the region. On the other hand, allying with the Wei would greatly aid in conquering the Yan, but the Wei would essentially control North China, and unless Goguryeo essentially unified everything east of the Liao River by then, the latter could potentially suffer from a two or three-way assault [10]. As a result, Damdeok decided to strengthen fortifications near the western border, and focused in another direction by continuing to analyze the situation in the southern part of the peninsula, along with the Japanese archipelago.

During Goguryeo's consolidation, Baekje also began to stabilize the government and began looking for ways to regain influence in the peninsula. In 397, Baekje sent diplomats and tribute to Goguryeo in order to free Asin as a hostage, while attempting to analyze the situation within the Goguryeo court. After the former ruler returned, however, he attempted to retake the throne, prompting strong dissent from the court, causing him to finally relent under the condition that his son would be installed as the next ruler. Later in the same year, Baekje resumed its antagonistic stance by allying with Gaya and Japan in order to raid Seorabeol [11]. In desperation, the latter sent a messenger to (South) Pyongyang in order to notify Goguryeo of its precarious situation, and Damdeok decided to formulate a plan and inform Seorabeol of its specific details. Eventually, in the following year, he decided to head south once more in order to scatter the alliance, while dealing a more fatal blow to Baekje.

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][1] Currently located in Gongju, South Chungcheong.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][2] As I stated before in a previous post, Buyeo was the surname of the Baekje royal family, while Heung was his name as a prince. He should technically be assigned a different name as the ruler, but I will not do so because I am unfamiliar with Baekje's royal naming procedures.[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][3] The Gwanggaeto Stele specifically mentions the term “[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]討” [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]in reference to attacking the Xianbei state, which was used only to refer to conflicts with a vassal at the time. The Samguk Sagi states that Gwanggaeto invaded in 391, while the Gwanggaeto Stele states that the event occurred in 395, and both incidents are assumed to have occurred.
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[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][4] Posthumously known as Emperor Daowu ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]道武帝[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]).[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][5] OTL Northern Wei. I realized that this state should probably be named as such because it will not unify Northern China in this scenario.
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[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][6] Posthumously known as Emperor Wucheng ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]武成帝[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]).[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][7] Modern-day Baotou, Inner Mongolia.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][8] Modern-day Baoding, Hebei. Canhe Slope was also located in this region.
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[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][9] IOTL, Murong Bao ignored the possibility that the Wei might follow his troops and attack him from behind. This caused the Yan to effectively lose influence in North China, and eventually move its capital back eastward into Longcheng ([/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]龍城[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), in what is now Chaoyang, Liaoning.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][10] The other two fronts would be in the south and east, as the three southern states could have formed an alliance, while Buyeo still remained independent. IOTL, Baekje first allied with Silla in 427, soon after Jangsu of Goguryeo moved the capital south to Pyongyang. Baekje then lost its capital in 475, and in 551, after corresponding with Silla, they attacked Goguryeo and drove it out of the Han River Valley.[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][11] This also essentially occurred IOTL, as Baekje, which had essentially surrendered to Goguryeo in 396, invaded Silla with its allies in 399, and Goguryeo sent troops in order to aid Silla in the following year.[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Although Goguryeo had managed to essentially subdue the other states on the peninsula by either defeating or allying with them, Baekje still managed to mount a counterattack by working together with Gaya and Japan in order to attack Seorabeol. The main reason for the belligerent stance was due to the fact that Goguryeo's expansions caused the southern states to lose access to most of the maritime trade routes between China and the Korean Peninsula. After initial victories, the counter-alliance managed to surround Geumseong ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]금성[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]金城[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), the state's capital, and besieged it for 10 days [1] before they were forced to retreat due to low supplies.

However, the situation became dire to the point where the ruler of Seorabeol, Naemul Maripgan ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]내물 마립간[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]奈勿麻立干[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), personally traveled to (South) Pyongyang, and in tears, sorrowfully requested Damdeok to save his state. The pleading and the ruler's steadfast allegiance to Goguryeo, stemming from ties with previous rulers, caused the Taewang to travel south with a force of 50,000 in order to aid his vassal and defeat the southern alliance. Instead of heading first to Baekje, however, he decided to strike into Gaya, because doing so would hinder Baekje and Japanese forces from linking together.

Gaya was probably the first state in the south to centralize, due to its strategic location in the Nakdong River Basin, which possessed an abundant amount of raw materials used to create iron. However it had solely produced plate armor ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]판갑[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]板甲[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), in opposition to Goguryeo's lamellar armor ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]찰갑[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]札甲[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which meant that an arrow would be much more fatal for Gaya troops [2]. Damdeok used the advantage to position light cavalry in the front in order to surround the enemy from left and right, then struck from the front with heavy cavalry, splitting the massed army into smaller groups in order to make it easier to attack. As a result, the disparity between the two states caused the less technologically advanced one to surrender within several days, and to gradually begin disintegrating from within [3], leaving Damdeok free to head to Baekje.

However, as Damdeok rode further into Baekje territory, he realized that unlike before, there were no signficant attempts to prevent him from reaching the capital. As a result, he reached Ungjin without major resistance, and sent a message, demanding to hear from Baekje's monarch. A few moments later, the gates opened, and the ruler, along with several courtiers, came out unarmed. After stopping directly in front of the Taewang, he suddenly lowered his position. Damdeok was mildly surprised to see the Eoraha kneeling before him [4], but he remained silent.

“I would like to beg for forgiveness, and I will quietly accept any punishment.” His voice was weak.

Damdeok responded calmly. “Why did you gather an alliance and strike Seorabeol?”

“Forgive me for my incompetence. I foolishly thought that Seorabeol would give in to our demands, but they remained adamant, so I decided to attack them along with Gaya and Japan, which had similar objectives as mine.”

“You already lost your capital. Weren't you afraid that Ungjin could be taken over as well?”

“It did cross my mind, but my brother's foolish decision had already cost us too much. I thought that doing anything to recover our pride would help the people as a whole.”

The Taewang asked in a criticizing voice. “Do you still not understand what you have done?”

There was silence.

“You would know better than anyone else in your state that the same blood runs within our veins. We are both descended from Jumong, our Great Ancestor, and his descendants managed to drive the Han Chinese out from the peninsula, while others founded a powerful state centered on the Ari River. My grandfather might have been assassinated then due to the intense competition between family members, but here we are now. The entire conflict between our states has solely been limited between our troops. Must we attempt to drag other states in as well?”

“I could not bear to see my people suffering from harsh conditions any longer, so I decided to take action. Nothing more.”

“Yes, but do you not see the whole picture? Our venerable ancestors (Gojoseon) fell to the Han Dynasty because of internal conflict between officials. Must we spill blood over and over again until the barbarians ravage and trample over our fields, shattering the peninsula into pieces? Do we need to exhaust ourselves until another takes over and crushes our states, causing a tragic end to our descendants [5]? Do you want our ancestors' efforts to have been in vain?”

“What-must I do then?” Buyeo Heong sputtered in a choked voice while looking down.

Damdeok spoke in a booming voice. “Join me.”

The Eoraha looked up in surprise.

“We must remain strong against our enemies. You and I, along with our ancestors, have fought over control of the peninsula, but we have finally reached a point in which we can put our differences aside, and look outward. We must remain united against the barbarians [6] surrounding the peninsula and defeat them so that they cannot recover. If they continue to raid our possessions, we must drive together into the Central Plain ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]中原[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [7] in order to establish a new presence within the world. Will you join me?”

There was no response.

“Do you want to open up a new world with me so that our people can prosper for ten thousand years [8]?”


“Stand up, and face me.” The kneeler did so.

“Remember this day, so that our descendants can state how and why our union occurred. We have become one, and I will discuss this issue with the other states in the peninsula as well in order to strive together for the greater good and become merely part of a greater whole. We will never forget that we are Han ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]한[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]韓[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) (Korean) [9].”

Damdeok turned to leave, and Buyeo Heung then bowed from a standing position until the Taewang had disappeared from the horizon.

“We may have won the first battle, but we have lost the war.” He sighed, but it was too late.

[1] The capital was besieged for five days IOTL. Its location is in present-day Gyeongju, South Korea.

[2] The former refers to large “plates,” while the latter concerns small flexible interlocking pieces that were tied together. Goguryeo horses were also covered in armor.

[3] IOTL, Silla was able to take advantage of this by conquering Gaya in 562.

[4] IOTL, Asin ended up surrendering in this manner in 396. Also, although the Gwanggaeto Stele does not specify, it records that a brother of the ruler was taken as hostage, which is essentially the reverse as the situation ITTL.

[5] The first scenario is similar to what occurred after Gojoseon fell, while the second scenario mirrors how Silla unified most of the Korean peninsula in 668/76.

[6] Although this viewpoint is speculation, Goguryeo's rulers essentially considered themselves descendants of heaven, and the states in North China at this time were founded by nomads who had recently originated from Central Asia. Meanwhile, the Japanese states were separated from Korea both geographically, and to an extent, culturally, so the assumption is reasonable.

[7] The area roughly corresponds to the northeastern part of China Proper, approximately between the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers.

[8] Language/cultural notes: I originally wanted to write something along the lines of “ . . . open up a new sky. . .” (
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]우리의 백성들이 만년 동안 풍성하게 살수 있는 목적을 위해서 나와 함께 합류하고 새로운 하늘을 열고싶어[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]?) as this approach would suit the situation better, but it doesn't quite have the same ring in English as it does in Korean. Also, in East Asia, 10,000 was often used as a figurative amount denoting a long period of time, possibly eternity.

[9] The first mention of this character being used to represent the Koreans as a whole occurs in the Gwanggaeto Stele. In addition, the stele provides the first recorded example of Korean, as a few Korean particles that do not make sense within a Classical Chinese context appear throughout as well.
[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]南船北馬[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]남선북마[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][1][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]Yeongnak ([/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]영락[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]永樂[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]) 6-11 (396-401) [/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif][2][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[/FONT]After riding triumphantly back into Guknae Fortress, Damdeok decided to temporarily declare a national holiday for a few months and let his people rest after the numerous campaigns. However, he alone returned to business, as Murong Chui had died in 396, leading the crown prince, Murong Bao, to take over. As Goguryeo had been the Yan's oldest enemy, the new ruler decided to focus on the east. Under his leadership, the Yan had crossed into Goguryeo's western border in 397 [3] and pillaged several villages and fortifications, while the Taewang had been busy in the south. The Yan managed to seize 700 li () [4] of territory, took over the Shin (신성/新城) and Namso Fortresses (남소성/南蘇城) [5], and moved about five thousand households into Yan territory. In response, the Goguryeo ruler initially made preparations by sending messengers to the Beili (Xianbei), Mohe (Malgal), Buyeo, Baekje, Gaya, and Seorabeol, asking them to provide supplies for the upcoming conflict. They all dully did so, and in 399, after mobilizing his troops, Damdeok decided to lead a force of 35,000 into the Liaodong Peninsula in order to confront Murong Bao.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[/FONT]However, instead of directly confronting the threat, the Yan ruler decided to retain the soldiers within the fortifications, and refrain from sending any additional reinforcements. The main reason for this decision was due to the fear of a Wei attack from the desert. Although the Wei was not in a position to conquer the Yan on its own, it had managed to ally with the Later and Western Qin (, 西秦) by 398, while keeping in contact with the Later, Northern, and Southern Liang (, , 南凉). The states involved in the alliance managed to combine troops in order to maintain a balance of power in North China, and prepare for a potential incursion from the Later Yan by protecting each other. There was also the threat of a potential revolt if Murong Bao left the capital, as many generals started to become weary of his vacillating stance when making decisions. As a result, although the Yan had preemptively attacked Goguryeo in order to avoid being caught between two groups of allies converging from the west and east, the incursion actually provoked the one in the east, allowing some breathing space for the western alliance.
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[/FONT]The conflict between the Yan and Goguryeo had lasted for over 150 years, during which Goguryeo had gradually expanded its domains within Liaodong [6], although the Yan managed to retain most of the Liaodong Peninsula in the south. Because of the state's proximity to Chinese and nomadic states in the west, Goguryeo fortresses were usually located in inhospitable places such as cliffs or mountains. The walls formed a crescent shape, and the unprotected side was surrounded by a river. However, the fortifications and geography were unable to prevent the Yan from overrunning border fortresses and sacking the capital. As a result, Damdeok decided to initially recover the lost territory, then attack Yan fortifications in order to seize control of the Liaodong Peninsula. These actions would not only cut off Later Yan's access to the sea, but also help Goguryeo control trade routes between China and Korea. Soon after Goguryeo recovered its lost territory, the ruler decided to attack Sujun Fortress (宿軍城) [7] in retaliation, but the gatekeeper decided to flee, surrendering the fortress without a fight. Finding the lack of resistance to be suspicious, Damdeok returned to the capital.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[/FONT]After carefully deliberating the various possibilities, Damdeok decided to attack the Later Yan directly in order to prevent future raids, and began making preparations for offensive maneuvers that would be carried out a few years later. However, his plans would be temporarily put on hold when Baekje and its Japanese allies suddenly attacked Daebang (Daifang) territory in 401, located between the two Pyongyang fortresses within the peninsula [8]. According to a Baekje messenger later sent by Buyeo Heung, the assault was directed by Asin, who was determined to score a major victory in order to clear his name. Although Goguryeo was caught by surprise, it managed to repulse the invaders, and Damdeok decided to plan a counterattack in order to intimidate Baekje and prevent it from carrying out further raids. In the same year, Damdeok led his forces in a surprise attack at night on Ungjin Fortress, catching the defenders off guard. After obtaining a promise that Baekje would send troops in order to aid future Goguryeo expeditions, Damdeok sailed to Seorabeol, then headed to Japan.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

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[1] This is a four-character idiom, and although the style originated in China Proper, it eventually spread to other states influenced by the Chinese culture and language, namely those in Central Asia, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. This particular phrase literally means "south boat north horse," and figuratively illustrates someone traveling busily among various locations. Although this saying originated from using boats to travel rivers in South China, and horses to cross mountains and deserts in North China, this also equally applies to the situation in Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula as well.

[2] As I stated earlier in a previous post, Yeongnak was Damdeok's era name, [/FONT]
and would have been used during his reign. I forgot to include this in my previous posts, but it is not particularly a major detail, and the only thing that people need to know is that IOTL, 391=Yeongnak 1, as it was the beginning of his reign, and that the system continues until 412=Yeongnak 22, which is when he passed away.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[3] IOTL, the attack occurred in 399, when Damdeok was away in the south, because Murong Sheng thought Damdeok had not shown him proper courtesy as the Yan ruler.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[4] Although the definition changed over time, a li was roughly 415.8 meters, so the length of the territory mentioned was around 293.16 kilometers, or about 182.1612 miles.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[5] The first is located in present-day Fushun, Liaoning, and the latter is located further east.[FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]

[6] Liaodong is technically a Chinese concept, and generally refers to land east of the Liao River and west of the Yalu. However, it is extremely unlikely that the Chinese domains (excluding the Yuan and Qing) expanded very far north, while Goguryeo took the opposite approach by starting from the north and making its way south until it managed to occupy the entire Liaodong Peninsula.
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[7] Near modern-day Beizhen, Liaoning. IOTL, this fortress was attacked in 401.
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[8] IOTL, the attack occurred in 404. After Jangsu conquered Wirye Fortress in 475, it was renamed as South Pyongyang Fortress ([FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]남평양[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]/[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]南平壤[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, sans-serif]), which makes it hard to distinguish between the original fortress located around Ji'an, Jilin, the one located in modern-day Pyongyang, and the one located in modern-day Seoul. To make matters worse, throughout history, there were several fortresses in the vicinity of Seoul, so it is unknown exactly where Wirye/South Pyongyang Fortress was located.[/FONT]
Hm, I see that this stuff is happening a few decades before the anti-Qin Vertical Alliance, which soon collapsed and was followed/overlapped by the Horizontal Alliance, which in turn led to beginning of Qin supremacy. Does Qin still unify China more or less the same as IOTL?

EDIT: I guess it does, should have read the earlier updates. The butterflies don't seem particularly present.
Hm, I see that this stuff is happening a few decades before the anti-Qin Vertical Alliance, which soon collapsed and was followed/overlapped by the Horizontal Alliance, which in turn led to beginning of Qin supremacy. Does Qin still unify China more or less the same as IOTL?

EDIT: I guess it does, should have read the earlier updates. The butterflies don't seem particularly present.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. The PoD occurs in 395 AD, in post 11 (footnote 6), while you seem to be referring to events before 221 BC, which is a difference of 500+ years. I included the background information because people generally don't know that much about East Asian history before 1000, not to mention Korean history.
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I'm not sure what you're talking about. The PoD occurs in 395 AD, in post 11 (footnote 6), while you seem to be referring to events before 221 BC, which is a difference of 500+ years. I included the background information because people generally don't know that much about East Asian history before 1000, not to mention Korean history.

That includes myself then. I didn't read very carefully, and assumed for some reason that when you mentioned Yan state you meant the one that existed in the pre-Qin dynasty era, and that 395 referred to BC. My bad.
That includes myself then. I didn't read very carefully, and assumed for some reason that when you mentioned Yan state you meant the one that existed in the pre-Qin dynasty era, and that 395 referred to BC. My bad.

That's fine, but try to be more careful from now on. The first sentence of post 4 is certainly relevant to your original query, but it had nothing to do with the PoD itself, and I didn't include the vertical and horizontal alliances because they weren't relevant to this timeline.

In addition, I specifically mentioned the Former and Later Yan in my earlier updates, which are not terms used to discuss the Yan state during the Warring States Period. Your assumptions also really don't make sense when you consider that when assuming "BC" dates, my updates start going backwards, which is strange.

I can see why you made your assumptions, though, so I edited posts 1 and 11 in order to make the PoD more clear for everyone else.

nice, informative tl.

Thanks for the complement. :D

It took me a while to peruse numerous primary/secondary resources translated into Korean from Classical Chinese, along with Korean documentaries and various articles on the Korean Wikipedia clarifying the historical situation at the time, so I'm glad that you liked the effort I put into my work.
The effort certainly shows- this stands as yet another example of the superiority of Pre-1900 (there is more quality research done on obscure topics, like Classical Korea, the Maya, or the Bronze Age, for better quality timelines).