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The details of Confucius’s life are murky, especially given the chaos surrounding the declining Zhou period in the 490s and 480s BCE. It is important to take into account the impact of ... More

The Art of War  

Sun Tzu

The Warring States era (464 to 221 BCE) was a crucial turning point in Chinese history. During this time, the many effectively independent states into which China had become divided were at ... More

The Book of Lord Shang (Shang Chun Shu)  


This collection of sayings and reports attributed to Lord Shang (d. 338 BCE) may have been compiled by later officials, but its vision of a centralized bureaucracy was emulated at many ... More

Book Of Mencius (MENGZI)  


A later student of Confucian doctrine, Master Meng (ca. 371–289 BCE) spread the teachings of the master, while also making his own distinctive contributions. Having traveled throughout ... More

Excerpts from the Book of Odes (Shi Jung)  


Over 300 poems of various lengths were anthologized and transmitted by Confucius in the early fifth century BCE. Philosophers of the Confucian school cherished the Odes and cited them ... More

Selections from the Analects  

Followers of Confucius

Traditional versions of the Confucius’s life say that he was born in the sixth century B.C.E., and was an itinerant political advisor. He was, technically speaking, a failure in his ... More

“Selections on Legalism”  

Han Fei-tzu

Although Han Fei-tzu (d. 233 BCE) began his studies as a Confucianist, he was a protégé of Hsun Tzu, one of Confucius’s more cynical successors. Thus Han Fei-tzu switched to Legalism, which ... More

The Zuo Commentary (Zuozhuan)  


The Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunqiu), a chronicle covering the years 722–483 BCE and composed at the court of Lu (the home state of Confucius), was acknowledged even at the time to be ... More