Confucius, also known as Kong Qiu or Kongzi, was a philosopher, teacher, and political figure who lived in China during the period of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. He was born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu, which is now part of modern-day Shandong province in China.
Confucius was born into a family of minor nobility and received a traditional education in the classics and etiquette. As a young man, he worked as a minor government official, but he soon became disillusioned with the corruption and moral decay he witnessed in the ruling class.
Confucius began to travel extensively throughout China, seeking out wise men and scholars who could help him understand how to live a virtuous life and govern society justly. He spent many years studying and teaching, and he eventually became one of the most influential philosophers in Chinese history.
Confucius believed that individuals and society could be transformed through education and moral cultivation. He taught that people should strive to live in harmony with one another and with the natural world, and that individuals should cultivate virtues such as honesty, compassion, and respect for others.
Confucius also believed that government officials had a duty to serve the people and govern justly. He taught that leaders should lead by example, and that they should be virtuous and wise in order to govern effectively.
Although Confucius never held a high-ranking government position, he was highly respected by many of the rulers and officials of his time. His teachings became the foundation of the Confucian school of thought, which had a profound influence on Chinese culture and society for centuries to come.
After his death in 479 BCE, Confucius became revered as a great sage and teacher. His teachings were collected and compiled into a book called the Analects, which remains one of the most important works of Chinese philosophy and literature to this day.