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English: Silla iron armor, Three Kingdoms of K...

English: Silla iron armor, Three Kingdoms of Korea, 3rd century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What the Bones Tell: The Royal Caste in Ancient Korea

In ancient Korean history, Silla in the southeastern region was one of The Three Kingdoms of Korea. In the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – A.D. 935) The Bone-Rank System was in place by the sixth century. The Bone-Rank System determined how close a noble person of royal blood was to assuming imperial power. The system also defined the lesser nobles within the caste system. A person who was from the “sacred bone” were considered full members of the royal family on the male and female side. Their rank was Seonggol. At one time only the Seonggol could become a king or queen of the Silla Dynasty. The second hereditary rank was the “true bone,” or Jingol. The Jingol could trace their royal lineage on only one side of their family. Of lesser status of the Bone-Rank System included the royal nobility who served the imperial family. You could identify a person’s position within the royal family and the Bone-Rank System by the colors they wore. After 654 sacred and true bone caste members could ascend the throne. The Silla Dynasty remained in power for centuries. After this shift in Bone-Rank ascendancy, a more diverse hereditary line of the Silla rulers were able to, among other things, solidify power.


Korea’s Three Kingdoms, http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/583379