Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, was born 551 B.C. in Chueh, in the state of Lu, a component part of the existing province of Shantung. The name Confucius is Latinised from Kung Futsze, Kung being the family name of royal descent. While only three years of age Confucius was left with his mother in poor circumstances, his father dying then. At the age of seventeen he became an inspector of the public corn stores, and at nineteen he married, his progeny being a son and two daughters. In 517 B.C. he began his career as a teacher, and in the same year visited the capital, where he fell in with Lao-tze, the founder of Taoism. After returning to Lu, and another short absence therefrom occasioned by some revolutionary disturbances, he at length, under Duke Ting, became in 501 B.C. governor of the town of Chung-too, where the effects of his sagacious administration soon became apparent. This led to higher appointments, and as minister of crime he became the practical ruler of Lu, with the result that it was the best governed state in China. This stirred up the envy of the rulers of neighbouring states, and means were sought to compass the downfall of Confucius. This was accomplished by playing upon Duke Ting, his chief, who in consequence gave himself up to dissolute courses, and became estranged from his great counsellor. Confucius accordingly left Lu in 497 B.C., and with a band of disciples sojourned in many different states. He rejected the offers of princes to settle in their kingdoms, strictly adhering to the condition that he should be free to carry out his own ideas of government. In 495 B.C. Duke Ting died, and his successor, in the tenth year of his reign, recalled Confucius, who, however, never again assumed the reins of government as before. He has left no work by his own hand expounding his moral and social systems. He revised, however, the ancient writings which comprise the canonical works of Confucianism, viz. the Yih-king, the Shu-king, the Shi-king, the Le-king, and the Chun-tsien; and is said to have written the Chun Chiu, an enumeration of the historical events of Lu from 722 B.C. to 481 B.C. Of himself there are copious details in the Confucian Analects, a compilation from the reminiscences of his disciples. His teaching has ever had a great influence upon the Chinese, who still honour him as a deity. The law enjoins that to him there shall be erected in every prefecture, sub-prefecture, district, and market-town, a temple, and twice a year the Emperor pays homage to Confucius. Yet at the close of his career Confucius regretted that his life had been a failure. The representative of the descendants of Confucius enjoys thereby the title of duke, large estates, and ranks next to the members of the imperial house.