History of the Three Kingdoms(三国史记)
Samguksagi is a book on the history of the Three Kingdoms—Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla—compiled by Kim Bu-sik and others around 1145 by the royal command of King Injong of Goryeo.
Structured in annalistic form, the book comprises twenty-eight volumes of “Bongi (Records) ”—ten on Goguryeo, six on Baekje and twelve on Silla and Unified Silla; nine volumes of “Ji (Treatises)”; three volumes of “Pyo (Chronological Tables)”; and ten volumes of “Yeoljeon (Biographies).” Samguksagi does not simply comprise historical records, and cites from folk narratives when relevant to the event being described. Folk narratives play a significant role in the biographical narratives in “Yeoljeon, ” ten volumes of which make up an important literary legacy. Three of the ten volumes are dedicated to Kim Yu-sin and the seven remaining ones narrate biographies of sixty-eight figures. The biographical format was borrowed from the Chinese history book Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) by Sima Qian, to offer a vivid and dynamic portrayal of the makers of history. Elements of folk narratives include Kim Yu-sin’s encounter with an elderly man while praying in Jungak cave, who trains him in supernatural methods, and Ondal’s biography, which mirrors motifs from the folk tale version. It is also notable that figures of lowly status were also included if their deeds deserved credit, including Maiden Seol and Wife of Domi; and traitors were also introduced to admonish their crimes, including Changjori, Gungye and Gyeon Hwon.
Samguksagi serves both as an official historical record and literary reference of great importance, a model publication providing a consistent and wellorganized account based on Confucian values and historical perspectives, written in a highly polished style.