29. (T’aejong) Muyól Wang: (654-661)
One of the most famous stories of Hwarang warriors is the martyrdom of Kwanch’ang, the son of General P’umil, who died in the wars of unification.
Samguk Sagi 47:437. Translation: Peter H. Lee: Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol.I, Columbia University Press, New York, 1993. p.104-105.
"Kwanch’ang (or Kwanjang) was the son of General P’umil of Silla. His appearance was elegant and he became a Hwarang as a youth and was on intimate terms with others. At the
age of sixteen he was already accomplished in horseback riding and archery. A certain commander (taegam) recommended him to King Muyól (654-661).
When, in the fifth year of Hsien-ching, kyongsin (660), the king sent troops and, together with a Tang general, attacked Paekche, he made Kwanch’ang an adjunct general. When the two
armies met on the plain of Hwangsan (now Nonsan), P’umil said to his son, "You are young, but you have spirit. Now is the time to render brilliant service and rise to wealth and honor. You must show dauntless courage."
"I shall," Kwanch’ang replied, mounting his horse and couching his lance. He galloped into the enemy line killing several of the foe. Outnumbered, he was taken a prisoner and brought to the Paekche general, Kyebaek. Kyebaek had Kwanch’ang’s helmet removed. Kyebaek was greatly moved by the youth and valor of his captive and could not bring himself to kill him. He said with a sigh, "Silla has marvelous knights. Even a youth is like this – how much stronger must their soldiers be?" He then let Kwanch’ang return alive.
Upon returning, Kwanch’ang remarked, "Earlier when I attacked the enemy’s position I could not behead the enemy general, nor capture their standard. This is my greatest regret. In my second attack I will be sure to succeed." He scooped up water from a well and drank; he then rushed upon the enemy line and fought desperately. Kyebaek caught him alive, beheaded him, and sent back the head, tied to the saddle of his horse.
General P’umil took his son’s head and, wiping the blood with his sleeve, said, "He saved his honor. Now that he has died for the King’s cause, I have no regrets."
The three armies were moved by this and strengthened their resolve. Beating drums and shouting war cries, they charged the enemy lines and utterly routed the Paekche forces. King Muyól conferred the posthumous title of kúpch’an (Rank 9) on Kwanch’ang and had him buried with full rites. Toward funeral expenses the king sent thirty rolls each of Chinese silk and cotton and one hundred sacks of grain.
"In order to praise his heroism and loyalty, the people initiated this dance lamenting the premature death of the knight. This dance seems to have been popular in the Koryo and Yi dynasties. The Chungbo munhon pigo ("Korean Encyclopaedia") from 1770 (and 1908) adds that the sword dance was performed together with the Ch’óyong dance in later times."
Lee, Peter H. (I, Hak-su): Korean Literature: Topics and Themes, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1965. p.83-84.
This is probably the reason why this dance and accompanying hyangga poem is sometimes wrongly included in the Hwarang material (see for instance Rutt, Richard: The Flower Boys of Silla, in: Transactions of the Korean Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Vol 38, October 1961 p.51-52).
Changch’un-nang and P’arang:
Samguk Yusa. Translation Tae-hung Ha and Mintz, Samguk Yusa, Legends and History of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea, Yonsei University Press, Seoul, 1972. p.92
"At the battle of Hwang-san (now Yonsan) between Silla and Paekche, two Hwarang named Changch’un-nang and P’arang were killed.
When King Muryól attacked Paekche in a later battle, the two warriors appeared to him in a dream and said, "We offered our lives for king and country in a former battle. Though we are now only pale ghosts, we wish to join Your Majesty’s army to defend the fatherland forever, but, being overshadowed by Su Ting-fang, the T’ang general, we have to follow behind him all the time. We beg you to give us a small unit of crack troops so that we may attack the enemy and fight for a swift victory."
The King was deeply moved by their patriotic spirit even in death. He ordered a memorial service to be held with a solemn Buddhist rite and erected Chang-úi Temple in Puk-Hansanju (near modern Seoul) to the memory of their gallant souls".
General Kim Yongyun and Kim Humch’un:
Samguk Sagi vol. 47. Own translation: Samguk Sagi (ha), translated into korean by Yi, Pyong-do, Samguk Sagi: Wonmun-P’ton, Kug’ok-p’yon, Seoul: Uryu Munhwasa, 1980, p.366-367.
"Kim Yóngyun was the son of Pae’gun and grandchild of the famous Silla general Kim Humch’un.
Kim Yóngyun became a Hwarang during King Chinp’yóng (579-632). His benevolence (in) and virtue was deep and his integrity was so thick that he easily won the hearts of many people. During the reign of King Munmu (661-681) he became prime minister and filled the office with honor.
In the 7. year of King Muyól (660 AD) the king of T’ang China, King Kao Chung (650-684), ordered the great chinese general Su Ting-Fang to conquer Paekche. General Humch’un received the kings order went out together with 50.000 specially chosen soldiers, among them was also Kim Yusin.
When they, in the 7. month, arrived at the field of Hwangsan (now Yónsan) they meet the famous Paekche general Kyebaek. The battle did not go well for Silla so general Humchún called his son Pae’gun to him and said, "To a person who serve his king, loyalty and sincerity is most important, and to a son filial piety (hyo do) is the most important. When one meets danger, then to let go of one’s life, is both complete loyalty and complete filial piety". Pae’gun said, "That is true" and then he went into the middle of the rebel forces stronghold where it was almost certain he would be killed. There he fought hard until he died.
Kim Yóngyun was thus born and raised in a family which had been famous for generations. He was known as a man with good and strong morals. During King Sinmun (681-692) a bad obber from Koguryo was hiding in the city of Podók and was rebelling. The king ordered that he be stopped.
When Yóngyun was about to leave he told all the people who had gathered, "When I leave this time I cannot give ill fame to my clan and my friends".
The troops traveled until they were 7 li to the south of Podók, they lined up the soldiers and waited.
Somebody said, "These people can be compared to a swallow under the heaven (difficult to catch). When these bad characters are like a swallow who wants to build its nest on top of the heaven blanket (sky) and the fish who plays in the soup pot (i.e. it’s impossible for the rebels to get away). Eventhough one fights 10.000 times and then are killed he’ll have but one day left to live. Like the old saying goes: one should not run after an exhausted thief. But just step back a little and wait until the opponent
is extremely exhausted and then attack. Then the swords blade will not be stained with blood and it is possible to capture them alive."
Several of the generals thought that the speech sounded plausible and considered to retreat for a while. But Yóngyun alone would not retreat and wanted to fight right away. Someone from the group said, "How to save the lives of many of our generals and how to save the group from death? That which he said earlier I consider true, later we’ll find convenient opportunity to win the battle. But if only you advances at once, wouldn’t that be wrong?" Yóngyun said, "To get close in a battle array is not courage. The Book of Rites says: To advance and not retreat, that is the only honorable action for a common soldier. Since a man of spirit/a great man can decide to face any action by his own free will, surely there is no need to follow other people." Then he rushed towards the enemy soldiers where he fought until he died.
When the king heard the story he became very sad and said while the tears ran, "He had nighter father nor son. I praise his loyalty and high principles". Later he posthumously awarded him with ranks and further gave him many generous rewards".