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Confucius was born in 551 BC in the Chinese state of Lu. His birth name was K'ung Ch'iu but the name Confucius is actually a Latinized version of the Chinese K'ung-fu-tzu, which he took later in life, and meant Master / Teacher K'ung.

He was a descendant of the house of Shang, which ruled China between the 17th and the 12th century BC. Confucius' father died when he was 3 years old and his mother raised him in poverty. After the age of the 15 he set his mind on studying and at the age of 17 he employed himself in book-keeping and watch-care of animals, agricultural production and state parks.

He got married when he was 20 and had two daughters and one son. His mother died by the time he was 23 and then Confucius retreated from public activities for a three-year period to mourn.

At about the age of 30 he began teaching, while always acquiring further knowledge through studying, and by the age of 35, he had a significant number of students. After the age of 50 Confucius became active in politics and was appointed minister of Justice in the State of Lu and later on he served as prime minister.

He governed the state in such a way that the community flourished, something that competing neighbouring states viewed with worry, fearing the rise of power of the Lu state. However, Confucius had to resign after 4 years, probably due to differences of opinion in State-management with the nobility in Lu.

He then travelled to other States for a period of approximately 13 years where he sought to shift people of authority towards more rightful and virtuous ways of management, in an effort to implement his dominant idea of spreading virtuousness. He seldom achieved his target, as most leaders were not so open to his advice and some were even hostile. Confucius put himself at risk on several occasions during his travel period.

At the age of 68 he was called back in the state of Lu, where internal problems were brewing, however he did not assume any governmental position, rather he continued teaching. Confucius died at the age of 72, which was considered a number of great significance in Chinese culture, and his disciples mourned for many years after his death. His tomb was later turned into a great cemetery that has been expanded over time and is in very good condition for almost two and a half millennia.

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