Unlike the royal palaces I have visited in Europe, Changdeokgung Palace, the royal palace in Seoul, is not a single building; it consists of many wooden structures scattered in a large area. There are Throne Hall, King’s Council Hall, King’s Residence, Queen’s Residence, etc. The Royal Secret Garden takes up almost 60% of Changdeokgung Palace. There are several small pavilions on the banks of the ponds, and a library. The kings were taught and studied there. Maybe many of them were very learned.

In Changdeokgung Palace, there is even Nakseonjae Hall, the place that King Heonjong, 24th king of Joseon, built for the concubine he really loved. It is said that the concubines vied with each other to win the king’s favors and reach high rank position.

While I was visiting the place, I recalled a friend of mine who was a teacher of Italian literature. At the time, he said to me,

“Remember this! Neither monarchy (one-man rule) nor democracy (people’s rule) has ever existed. What has always existed and still exists is just oligarchy (rule in the hands of a few men).”

Was it right? I think so.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

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