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Scholar, philosopher and political sage, Confucius lived in the so-called 'Spring and Autumn Period' of the sixth century BC, when China was wracked by warfare between rival feudal states. In response he developed a system of social and political behaviour that he hoped would create harmony and peace throughout the land. His teachings attracted a large number of pupils, yet were largely ignored by the rulers of China's various kingdoms. However in the years after his death his philosophy grew ever more influential, eventually becoming the foundation for Chinese government, education and social structure, as well as being embraced by the rulers of neighbouring Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Beyond its profound effect on the culture and history of East Asia, Confucianism has also exerted a powerful fascination for western thinkers and philosophers. Meher McArthur's accessible and thoughtful biography not only traces the outline of her subject's life, but also examines why Confucius and his teachings are still relevant today.