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China at the Time of Confucius
Confucius lived during the era known as the Spring and Autumn period (722-479 BCE). The name derives from the annals, recorded each spring and autumn during these years, of significant events in Confucius' home state of Lu. Lu was one of the several feudal states into which the former territories of the Zhou dynasty (1050-771, also known as the Western Zhou) had split. The Zhou dynasty (known after 771 BCE as the Eastern Zhou dynasty) held nominal control over these states until the mid-third century BCE.

Irene Bloom :: The Zhou dynasty had conquered China in the middle of the eleventh century, just about the year 1050, before the Common Era. But by the time of Confucius in the sixth and fifth centuries, the Zhou had essentially lost its control, and China was divided up into congeries of contending feudal states warring with one another for power and control. Confucius lived in this very difficult time, a time of a great deal of tension.

Wm. Theodore de Bary :: Well, in Confucius' time, the old order was breaking down, tradition was being challenged. The traditional privileges and rights of the ruling class were being questioned.