|Who is it?||Renowned Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher|
|Birth Place||Qufu, Chinese|
|Died On||479 BC (aged 71–72)\nLu, Zhou Kingdom|
|Main interests||Moral philosophy, social philosophy, ethics|
|Notable ideas||Confucianism, Golden Rule|
|Literal meaning||(given name)|
|TranscriptionsStandard MandarinHanyu PinyinGwoyeu RomatzyhWade–GilesIPAWuSuzhouneseYue: CantoneseYale RomanizationIPAJyutpingSouthern MinHokkien POJTâi-lôMiddle ChineseMiddle ChineseOld ChineseBaxter (1992)Baxter–Sagart (2014)||Transcriptions Standard Mandarin Hanyu Pinyin Kǒngzǐ Gwoyeu Romatzyh Koongtzyy Wade–Giles K'ung-tzŭ IPA [kʰʊ̀ŋ.tsɨ̀] Wu Suzhounese Khòn-tzỳ Yue: Cantonese Yale Romanization Húng-jí IPA [hǒŋ.tsǐː] Jyutping Hung-zi Southern Min Hokkien POJ Khóng-chú Tâi-lô Khóng-tsú Middle Chinese Middle Chinese khúwng tsí Old Chinese Baxter (1992) *khongʔ tsɨʔ Baxter–Sagart (2014) *kʰˤongʔ tsəʔ KǒngzǐKoongtzyyK'ung-tzŭ[kʰʊ̀ŋ.tsɨ̀]Khòn-tzỳHúng-jí[hǒŋ.tsǐː]Hung-ziKhóng-chúKhóng-tsúkhúwng tsí*khongʔ tsɨʔ*kʰˤongʔ tsəʔ|
|Hanyu Pinyin||Kǒng Qiū|
|Gwoyeu Romatzyh||Koong Chiou|
|Yale Romanization||Hung Yau|
|Hokkien POJ||Khóng Khiu|
|Middle Chinese||Kúwng Kjuw|
|Baxter (1992)||*khongʔ tsɨʔ|
|Baxter–Sagart (2014)||*Kʰˤongʔ Kʷʰə|
|TranscriptionsStandard MandarinHanyu PinyinGwoyeu RomatzyhWade–GilesIPAWuRomanizationHakkaRomanizationYue: CantoneseYale RomanizationJyutpingSouthern MinHokkien POJMiddle ChineseMiddle ChineseOld ChineseBaxter–Sagart (2014)||Transcriptions Standard Mandarin Hanyu Pinyin Kǒng Qiū Gwoyeu Romatzyh Koong Chiou Wade–Giles K'ung Ch'iu IPA [kʰʊ̀ŋ tɕʰjóu] Wu Romanization Khon Chieu Hakka Romanization Kung Hiu Yue: Cantonese Yale Romanization Hung Yau Jyutping Hung Jau Southern Min Hokkien POJ Khóng Khiu Middle Chinese Middle Chinese Kúwng Kjuw Old Chinese Baxter–Sagart (2014) *Kʰˤongʔ Kʷʰə Kǒng QiūKoong ChiouK'ung Ch'iu[kʰʊ̀ŋ tɕʰjóu]Khon ChieuKung HiuHung YauHung JauKhóng KhiuKúwng Kjuw*Kʰˤongʔ Kʷʰə|
Confucius is widely recognized as a highly esteemed Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher whose net worth is estimated to be around $700,000 in the year 2023. Known for his profound teachings and influential philosophies, Confucius left a lasting impact on Chinese culture and society. His teachings revolved around the concept of moral values, emphasizing the importance of respect, filial piety, and harmonious relationships. Confucius’ wisdom and influence have since extended far beyond his lifetime, making his name synonymous with intellectual brilliance and profound insights.
The works of Confucius were first translated into European languages by Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century during the late Ming dynasty. The first known effort was by Michele Ruggieri, who returned to Italy in 1588 and carried on his translations while residing in Salerno. Matteo Ricci started to report on the thoughts of Confucius, and a team of Jesuits—Prospero Intorcetta, Philippe Couplet, and two others—published a translation of several Confucian works and an overview of Chinese history in Paris in 1687. François Noël, after failing to persuade Clement XI that Chinese veneration of ancestors and Confucius did not constitute idolatry, completed the Confucian canon at Prague in 1711, with more scholarly treatments of the other works and the first translation of the collected works of Mencius. It is thought that such works had considerable importance on European thinkers of the period, particularly among the Deists and other philosophical groups of the Enlightenment who were interested by the integration of the system of morality of Confucius into Western civilization.
Confucius's family, the Kongs, have the longest recorded extant pedigree in the world today. The father-to-son family tree, now in its 83rd generation, has been recorded since the death of Confucius. According to the Confucius Genealogy Compilation Committee, he has 2 million known and registered descendants, and there are an estimated 3 million in all. Of these, several tens of thousands live outside of China. In the 14th century, a Kong descendant went to Korea, where an estimated 34,000 descendants of Confucius live today. One of the main lineages fled from the Kong ancestral home in Qufu during the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s and eventually settled in Taiwan. There are also branches of the Kong family who have converted to Islam after marrying Muslim women, in Dachuan in Gansu province in the 1800s, and in 1715 in Xuanwei city in Yunnan province. Many of the Muslim Confucius descendants are descended from the marriage of Ma Jiaga (马甲尕), a Muslim woman, and Kong Yanrong (孔彦嵘), 59th generation descendant of Confucius in the year 1480 and are found among the Hui and Dongxiang peoples. The new genealogy includes the Muslims. Kong Dejun (孔德軍) is a prominent Islamic scholar and Arabist from Qinghai province and a 77th generation descendant of Confucius.
The attackers retreated after realizing that they would have to become rebels against the state and their lord. Through Confucius's actions, the Bi officials had inadvertently revolted against their own lord, thus forcing Viscount Ji Huan's hand in having to dismantle the walls of Bi (as it could have harbored such rebels) or confess to instigating the event by going against proper conduct and righteousness as an official. Dubs (1949) suggests that the incident brought to light Confucius's foresight, practical political ability, and insight into human character.
Despite repeated dynastic change in China, the title of Duke Yansheng was bestowed upon successive generations of descendants until it was abolished by the Nationalist Government in 1935. The last holder of the title, Kung Te-cheng of the 77th generation, was appointed Sacrificial Official to Confucius. Kung Te-cheng died in October 2008, and his son, Kung Wei-yi, the 78th lineal descendant, had died in 1989. Kung Te-cheng's grandson, Kung Tsui-chang, the 79th lineal descendant, was born in 1975; his great-grandson, Kung Yu-jen, the 80th lineal descendant, was born in Taipei on January 1, 2006. Te-cheng's sister, Kong Demao, lives in mainland China and has written a book about her experiences growing up at the family estate in Qufu. Another sister, Kong Deqi, died as a young woman. Many descendants of Confucius still live in Qufu today.
In 2013 a DNA test performed on multiple different families who claimed descent from Confucius found that they shared the same Y chromosome as reported by Fudan University.
Under the succeeding Han Dynasty and Tang dynasty, Confucian ideas gained even more widespread prominence. Under Wudi, the works of Confucius were made the official imperial philosophy and required reading for civil Service examinations in 140 BC which was continued nearly unbroken until the end of the 19th century. As Mohism lost support by the time of the Han, the main philosophical contenders were Legalism, which Confucian thought somewhat absorbed, the teachings of Laozi, whose focus on more spiritual ideas kept it from direct conflict with Confucianism, and the new Buddhist religion, which gained acceptance during the Southern and Northern Dynasties era. Both Confucian ideas and Confucian-trained officials were relied upon in the Ming Dynasty and even the Yuan Dynasty, although Kublai Khan distrusted handing over provincial control to them.
The name "Confucius" is a Latinized form of the Mandarin Chinese "Kǒng Fūzǐ" (孔夫子, meaning "Master Kong"), and was coined in the late 16th century by the early Jesuit missionaries to China. Confucius's clan name was "Kǒng" (孔; Old Chinese: *kʰˤoŋʔ), and his given name was "Qiū" (丘; OC: *kʷʰə). His "capping name", given upon reaching adulthood and by which he would have been known to all but his older family members, was "Zhòngní" (仲尼; OC: *N-truŋ-s nrəj), the "Zhòng" indicating that he was the second son in his family.