Alexander the Great VS Gwanggaeto the Great

Alexander the Great

Have you heard of Alexandria, a beautiful port city in the Mediterranean? This city was built by Alexander the Great(BC 356~BC 323), in his name as the King of Macedonia, who built a great empire over Greece, Persia and India.

Despite the fact that he ascended the throne quite young, at 20 years old, he was able to seize the regal power immediately to build an empire because of his father, Phillip IV. Phillip IV exerted the influence of Macedonia through military and diplomatic methods to surrounding city states to reinforce his sovereign power. He also trained his troops to be able to expand the territory.

Thanks to his father, Alexander the Great started to win battles with the Persian Empire which was a great empire at that time. Finally, he took possession of most of the Persian Empire to build his own empire. Unfortunately, his vast empire split into 3 countries when he died in 323, in Babylon, after his defeat in India. He only reigned for a short period of 13 years but his achievements are highly praised even today because of his prodigious tactics and the spread of Hellenistic culture which embraced the East and the West which affected generations to come until the 15th century.

Like Alexander the Great, who blended the Greek and Persian cultures in those times, there was a king in Korean history who also built an empire. He was Gwanggaeto the Great(374~412), the 19th king of Goguryeo. He also came to the throne very young at 18 years of age. Like Alexander the Great, his father, King Gogugyang and his uncle, King Sosurim established a foothold in politics, military and culture so he was able to expand his territory over vast Manchuria.

Gwanggaeto the Great

Therefore, as soon as he became the king, he attacked Baekje in the south to get the land, won a naval battle with ancient Japan and advanced to Inner Mongolia in the north. Inner Mongolia was used as a distribution base as a strategic region to hold China in check and stop people moving southward from the northern region. Likewise, he secured the distribution base by expanding the territory to develop the economy. A unique culture of Goguryeo flourished through cultural exchanges. Since then, he expanded the territory within the Korean Peninsula to keep Japan in check. He expanded to Liadong peninsula in the southernwest and the whole area of Manchuria in the north. In this way, he developed a vast territory stretching from the Korean Peninsula to Manchuria.

Then, Goguryeo had an influence on the relationship between Eastern and Western Asia through cultural exchanges with surrounding neighbors, Central Asia and India. The history of Gwanggaeto the Great has been passed on to this day with carvings on the gravestones of the royal tomb of Gwanggaeto the Great and Jungwon Goguryeo-bi(Jungwon Goguryeo Stele). With this, Koreans learn about foreign policy and the remarkable tactics of Gwanggaeto the Great.

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