Civilization Wiki

BackArrowGreen Back to Leaders (Civ6)

"A flower without fragrance draws notice, but not interest."

Seondeok (c. 595~610 – 17 February 647) was queen of Silla from 632 until her death, known for her patronage of science, art and religion, as well as for forging an alliance with China that secured Silla's superiority over its rival kingdoms and led to the unification of Korea after her death. She leads the Koreans in Civilization VI: Rise and Fall.

For Korea, the pursuit of Science Science has many benefits, in addition to being the most technologically advanced civilization in the world.


Queen Seondeok, the stars reveal you lead Korea to greatness. Build Seowons to educate your people, for the secrets of the world are theirs to uncover. For those who would steal your knowledge, treat them to a rain of rocket propelled fire from your Hwacha. Reach for the heavens, shrewd queen, and your people will reach with you.


Seondeok's unique agenda is Cheomseongdae. She focuses on increasing her empire's Science Science output and dislikes civilizations with low Science Science output.

Her leader ability is Hwarang. It provides her cities with an established Governor +3% Culture Culture and +3% Science Science for each promotion that Governor has.

Detailed Approach[]

Korea's unique science District District, the Seowon, is going to be your most powerful asset, so completing the Writing technology early is essential in getting ahead of the competition. Plan its location carefully to take advantage of its benefits. Isolate the Seowon away from other districts to maximize the Science Science boost and gain additional Food Food and Science Science yields by placing Farms and Mines adjacent to this district. Combining these two benefits strategically will greatly improve your city output. Don't ignore Culture Culture advancement, as gaining Governors to place in your cities provides an additional yield boost to your empire. You are very likely to want to appoint a Governor for each of your primary cities.


Seondeok is voiced by Seungwon Lee. She speaks Korean. She also refers to Korea as "Hanguk," which is an anachronism: this name did not enter widespread use until the 20th century and nowadays is typically used by South Koreans. During her time, she'd probably have used "Samguk."


Codename Quote (English translation) Quote (Korean) Notes
Agenda-based Approval Your mastery of creation's secrets is the envy of my people. (lit. "My people greatly envy you for mastering the mysteries of creation.") 내 백성은 창조의 신비를 통달한 당신을 매우 부러워합니다.

Nae baekseong-eun changjo-ui sinbi-reul tongdalhan dangsin-eul mae'u bureoweohamnida.

Agenda-based Disapproval While others reach for the heavens, you claw at the dirt. (lit. "You are digging while others are moving towards the sky.") 다른 이들이 하늘을 향해 나아갈 때에 당신은 땅을 파고 있습니다.

Dareun ideur-i haneur-eul hyanghae na'agal ttae-e dangsin-eun ttang-eul pago isseumnida.

Attacked Your defeat shall be swift … your people, forgotten. This I have foreseen. (lit. "I foresee that your defeat will be swift and your nation will be forgotten.") 내가 예견하노니, 당신의 패배는 빠르고 민족은 잊혀질 것입니다.

Nae-ga yegyeonhanoni, dangsin-ui paebae-neun ppareugo minjog-eun icheojil geosimnida.

Declares War The stars predict your defeat. You cannot argue with the heavens. (lit. "The stars foretell your defeat. Heaven cannot be denied.") 별들이 당신의 패배를 예견합니다. 하늘의 뜻은 거절할 수 없습니다.

Byeoldeur-i dangsin-ui paebae-reul yegyeonhamnida. Haneur-ui tteus-eun geojeolhal su eopsseumnida.

Defeated I foresaw my own end, but not that Korea would share my fate. (lit. "I foresaw my death, but Korea's fate would be different.") 나는 내 죽음을 예견했지만, 한국의 운명은 다를 것입니다.

Na-neun nae jugeum-eul yegyeonhaetjiman, Hangug-ui unmyeong-eun da-reul geosimnida.

This alludes to her actual historical prophecy as to her own death, mentioned as one of the three key prophecies Seondeok made in Samguk yusa.
Greeting I, Seondeok of Korea, acknowledge you. Our meeting was foreseen. 나, 한국의 선덕여왕은, 당신을 인정합니다. 우리의 만남은 예견되었습니다.

Na, Hangug-ui Seondeong-yeowang-eun, dangsin-eul injeonghamnida. Uri-ui mannam-eun yegyeon-dwe'eosseumnida.

Quote from Civilopedia A flower without fragrance draws notice, but not interest. (lit. "Unscented flowers get attention, but they don't get interest.") 향이 없는 꽃은 주목은 받지만, 관심을 받을 수 없습니다.

Hyang-i eomneun kkoch-eun jumog-eun batjiman, gwansim-eul bad-eul su eopsseumnida.

The quote references an event described in the Samguk yusa (written in Classical Chinese, which was used by literate Koreans at the time of its composition), a collection of Korean myths and legends, in which Seondeok, after receiving a painting of three peony flowers alongside peony seeds from Emperor Taizong of China, correctly predicted that the flowers would have no scent, because the painting did not depict any butterflies or bees flying around the flowers. Thus, peonies came to represent Seondeok's wisdom and insight.


Delegation: Please accept our delicious yukpo. The soy keeps the beef tender and flavorful.

Player Accepts a Delegation: Excellent!

Accepts a Delegation: We are grateful to receive your delegation. We welcome the gifts you provided.

Refuses a Delegation: Korea is wary of receiving a gift until we know the intentions of its benefactor.

Accepts Declaration of Friendship: Korea gladly accepts your declaration. I was about to ask the same of you.

Refuses Declaration of Friendship: I cannot accept your declaration. To do so would cause more trouble for Korea than it's worth.

Requests Declaration of Friendship: I feel I must declare Korea's friendship with your people. With your agreement, of course.

Player Accepts Declaration of Friendship: How wonderful.

Player Rejects Declaration of Friendship: It is not to be, then.

Accepts Trade Deal: An appealing offer. Korea shall agree.

Refuses Trade Deal: Thank you, but I cannot agree.

Denounced by Player: Korea has done nothing to deserve your vile insults! But now, perhaps we shall.

Denounces Player: You are the ocean's offal—your stink clings to everything you touch.

Invitation to Capital: I will provide directions to our capital, should you reciprocate.

Invitation to City: You must visit our capital. Our seowon are the finest examples of scientific and political thought.

Civilopedia entry[]

It is no easy feat to claim the throne, even during times of peace. In the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla, it wasn’t unheard of for women to hold positions of power, but Seondeok became the first woman to rule over the kingdom as queen. Her fifteen-year reign saw a prolific, highly accomplished sovereign who paved the way for other women to rule the kingdom—including her cousin, Chindok.

Seondeok’s father, King Jinpyeong, had no male heirs. Of his daughters, Jinpyeong chose Seondeok as his successor due to her intuitive nature—one she demonstrated at an early age. As the apocryphal story goes, Jinpyeong received a gift of peony seeds from China. The box containing the seeds bore a painting of the flowers in bloom. A very young Seondeok noticed and commented that the flowers were pretty, but it was too bad they had no smell. When Jinpyeong asked why she thought that, Seondeok explained that if the flowers did smell sweet, the painting would have butterflies and bees, too. As it happened, the flowers in bloom lacked smell.

Jinpyeong's death led to Seondeok's coronation in 632. Although some of Silla’s nobility were dissatisfied following a queen rather than a king, her proven cleverness and clear choice as heir helped quell their grumbling. Beyond this, the bone rank system (analogous to the concept of “royal blood”) dictated that were they to deny her coronation, they would have to upend the entirety of Sillan aristocracy.

Seondeok’s immediate priority as queen was bettering the lives of the Sillan people by establishing effective welfare policies for her most impoverished citizens. Heavy investment in schools saw the kingdom’s knowledge of arts and sciences flourish. She established the Cheomseongdae, an astronomical observatory, in Silla’s capital. Buddhism was already Silla’s state religion, but Seondeok’s rule saw Buddhism further integrated into the government and society as a whole. Numerous Buddhist temples underwent restoration, and Silla broke ground on many new temples.

Despite the numerous internal advances, Queen Seondeok’s rule was not a peaceful one. Constant internal rebellions and contentious struggles with the neighboring kingdoms of Goguryeo and Baekje threatened her reign. By carefully playing politics, she was able to navigate the ever-changing, aggressive, and often violent political landscape of the Korean kingdoms. Queen Seondeok made alliances where needed, altering them when the situation called for it. When Baekje became a problem in 641 CE, she sought the help of Goguryeo. When negotiations failed, Seondeok sent an army of 10,000 to recover her imprisoned diplomat.

Seondeok’s ability to balance negotiations with a threat of force helped her gain an alliance with the Chinese Tang Dynasty when Goguryeo and Baekje united to attack Silla. Her alliance with the Tang Dynasty was one of her greatest political feats. Seondeok not only managed to convince the Tang Dynasty to give Silla military assistance, but she rejected their demand that she stand down as queen and allow a Tang prince to rule in her stead.

Until her death in 647, Queen Seondeok served the Silla kingdom as an adaptable queen whose intellect protected her people during a difficult time of conquest. By playing her enemies against one another, she ensured her kingdom would survive and thrive. Though she would not live to see a united Korean peninsula, Seondeok’s skillful parley sowed the seeds for the defeat of the Baekje and Goguryeo forces by 668.


  • Seondeok appears in the Rise and Fall announcement trailer.
  • Seondeok's appearance in the final version of the game is different from her appearance in the early builds and promotional materials, which depicted her with darker skin and a rounder face.
  • A YouTube video posted by 2K Asia states that Seondeok was voiced by Yuri Seo. This has resulted in some uncertainty about who actually voiced the character.
  • Seondeok's leader ability is named after the Flowering Knights of Silla, while her leader agenda references the "star-gazing tower" in Gyeongju, which was constructed under her reign.




Civilization VI- Rise and Fall – First Look- Korea

First Look: Korea

Related achievements[]

Advanced Seminar in Astrophysics
Advanced Seminar in Astrophysics
As Seondeok, build a Spaceport district next to a Seowon
A reference to Cheomseongdae, a star-gazing tower in Gyeongju, South Korea.
From Peonies to Doricheon
From Peonies to Doricheon
Win a regular game as Queen Seondeok
A reference to Korean tales of Queen Seondeok, one involving a peony, which depicted the qualities of Seondeok being queen, and another of her foretelling her death and being buried in the Buddhist heaven of Doricheon.

See also[]

External links[]

Civilization VI Leaders [edit]
Abraham Lincoln1Alexander1Amanitore1Ambiorix1Bà Triệu1Basil II1Catherine de Medici (Magnificence Catherine1) • Chandragupta R&F-OnlyCleopatra (Ptolemaic Cleopatra1) • Cyrus1Dido GS-OnlyEleanor of Aquitaine GS-OnlyElizabeth I1Frederick BarbarossaGandhiGenghis Khan R&F-OnlyGilgameshGitarja1GorgoHammurabi1Harald Hardrada (Varangian Harald Hardrada1) • Hojo TokimuneJadwiga1Jayavarman VII1João III1John Curtin1Julius Caesar1Kristina GS-OnlyKublai Khan1Kupe GS-OnlyLady Six Sky1Lautaro R&F-OnlyLudwig II1Mansa Musa GS-OnlyMatthias Corvinus GS-OnlyMenelik II1MontezumaMvemba a NzingaNader Shah1Nzinga Mbande1Pachacuti GS-OnlyPedro IIPericlesPeterPhilip IIPoundmaker R&F-OnlyQin Shi Huang (Unifier Qin Shi Huang1) • Ramses II1Robert the Bruce R&F-OnlySaladin (Sultan Saladin1) • Sejong1Seondeok R&F-OnlyShaka R&F-OnlySimón Bolívar1Suleiman GS-Only (Muhteşem Suleiman1) • Sundiata Keita1Tamar R&F-OnlyTeddy Roosevelt (Bull Moose Teddy1Rough Rider Teddy1) • Theodora1Tokugawa1TomyrisTrajanVictoria (Age of Steam Victoria1) • Wilfrid Laurier GS-OnlyWilhelmina R&F-OnlyWu Zetian1Yongle1
1 Requires DLC

R&F-Only Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.