Confucianism is a system of ideas, rites, customs, and rules to live by that has been shaping Chinese society since the sixth century B.C. Confucianism was developed by Kong Qiu (551-479 B.C.), more commonly known as K'ung-tzu or Kong Fuzi; ("Master Kong"), later Latinized as "Confucius". He was a wise man that educated his disciples so that they could live an exemplary life. With their doctrine Confucius and his followers established a tradition of thought that over time spread throughout the vast Chinese empire and Eastern Asia. This short introduction describes the fundamental themes of Confucian thought and its historical evolution: from its emergence in the classical age, through its evolution and the reactions it caused during the long imperial era, up to its rejection in the republican period and its resurgence in the contemporary world.
Tiziana Lippiello teaches Classical Chinese at the Ca' Foscari University in Venice.