Confucius ( September 28, 551 – 479 BC) was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history.
The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. His followers competed successfully with many other schools during the Hundred Schools of Thought era only to be suppressed in favor of the Legalists during the Qin Dynasty. Following the victory of Han over Chu after the collapse of Qin, Confucius's thoughts received official sanction and were further developed into a system known as Confucianism.
Confucius is traditionally credited with having authored or edited many of the Chinese classic texts including all of the Five Classics, but modern scholars are cautious of attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. Aphorisms concerning his teachings were compiled in the Analects, but only many years after his death.
Confucius's principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children and of husbands by their wives. He also recommended family as a basis for ideal government. He espoused the well-known principle "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself", the Golden Rule.
Confucius is also a traditional deity in Daoism.
Confucius' family and personal name respectively was Kong Qiu ( Kǒng Qiū). His courtesy name was Zhongni ( Zhòngní). In Chinese, he is most often known as Kongzi ( Kǒng Zǐ, literally "Master Kong"). He is also known by the honorific Kong Fuzi ( Kǒng Fūzǐ, literally "Grand Master Kong"). In the Wade–Giles system of romanization, the honorific name is rendered as "K'ung Fu-tzu". The Latinized name "Confucius" is derived from "Kong Fuzi", and was first coined by 16th-century Jesuit missionaries to China, most probably by Matteo Ricci.
Within the Analects, he is often referred to simply as "the Master" ( Zǐ). In 1 AD, Confucius was given his first posthumous name, the "Laudably Declarable Lord Ni" . In 1530, he was declared the "Extremely Sage Departed Teacher" . He is also known separately as the "Great Sage" , "First Teacher" , and "Model Teacher for Ten Thousand Ages" .
According to tradition, three generations before Confucius' time, his ancestors had migrated from the Song state to the Lu state. Confucius was a descendant of the Shang dynasty Kings through the Dukes of Song.