Born in the state of Lu, China, in 551 BC, Confucius was an ancient Chinese philosopher and teacher.
Confucius was born into a family, which was part of a growing middle class of people, called “Shi”. The “Shi” weren’t part of the nobility and were neither considered as peasants. Confucius’ father was a soldier and had died when Confucius was just 3 years old. The rest of Confucius’ childhood was spent in poverty as he was raised by his mother.
Confucius had developed his own philosophy which he had taught to others, his philosophy was known as Confucianism. Although he taught his philosophy to many people his ideas did not become popular until years after his death, when they became the basic philosophy which the Chinese culture was based around for more than 2000 years. Some of the basic ideas of Confucianism are:
- To treat other kindly
- To have good manners and to follow daily rituals
- To have good morals and ethics
- Family is important and ancestors are to be respected
- A man should have the qualities of integrity, righteousness, altruism, goodness and loyalty
- One should practice moderation in all things
Death and Legacy
Confucius died of natural causes in 479 BC. Confucianism became the state philosophy of the Chinese culture during the Han Dynasty. Confucius’ teachings were the basis of the government’s civil service exams. Confucianism was liked by the government because it taught to respect authority and that a strong central government would be effective and important. Confucianism remained an integral part of the Chinese culture up until the 20th century.