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King Saban


King Saban
Saban succeeded his father, King Gusu, in 234. But his rule didn’t last long. His name “Saban” means “half of a grain of sand,” indicating that his time on the throne was quite short.” It seemed that he was only a teenager when he became king. Probably for that reason, he was too young to exercise royal authority, and this led to a rebellion and the dethronement of the boy king.

It appears that Saban was not the son of his father’s first wife, although he was the eldest son. That means he was not the legitimate, main line of descent. Obviously, the royal family and court officials were displeased with that. It is easy to guess that it was difficult for the young king who was not born from the legal queen to gain legitimacy after he became king. Conflict inevitably erupted between the king’s supporters and opponents. As a result of the bitter confrontation, the king was eventually deposed.

It is believed that the next king, Goi, usurped the throne. If he had not overthrown Saban, he would have returned the crown to Saban, the original owner, when he was old enough. Even if Saban died before Goi, he would have let Saban’s son become the next king. But Goi did not. Rather, he handed over the throne to his own son. This shows that Goi deliberately expelled Saban from the palace and sat on the throne himself.

It is recorded in The History of the Three Kingdoms that King Goi is the second son of King Gaeru and the younger brother of King Chogo. But this is technically impossible, given their reigning years and Goi’s age. Therefore, it is assumed that the record was either written incorrectly or fabricated. King Goi probably found it necessary to claim to his royal lineage from the previous kings in order to justify his kingship.

Due to Goi’s coup, King Saban was forced to relinquish his crown, after only a few days on the throne. The incident had huge repercussions on Baekje’s royal court, contributing to a power struggle surrounding the line of succession to the throne. There is no record about Saban’s family or his later years. It seems the ill-fated young king was killed after he was dethroned.

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