- What do Confucius and Sun Tzu expect from leaders? What is the proper behavior toward subordinates, and how do you know?
- How do Confucian ideals constrast with Daoist ideals? What seems to be the reason for the difference?
- What kind of behavior does society expect from its people, particularly in the Shi king (Book of Songs)? How do we know, based on the text?
- What is the definition of heroism in these works, based on the texts themselves?
- How would a Confucian hero be different from other ancient world heroes in other chapters, and why?
The dates of the selections in this chapter range from approximately the 500s B.C.E. to approximately the 200s B.C.E., which is mostly the Warring States Period in Chinese history (476-221 B.C.E.). During this time period, the different regions of Chine (each with separate ruler and tradition) fought to maintain independence and defend their borders. In 221 B.C.E., the Qin/Chin ruler finished the process of unifying China by the sword, becoming the first Emperor. These texts, therefore, predate the unification of China, and some of the advice offered (in particular in the works of Confucius) are meant to be seen in the context of multiple kingdoms; Confucius suggests leaving a kingdom and going elsewhere if the leadership is corrupt, which was no longer possible post-unification.
Thumbnail: Terracotta Mid-rank officer of the Terracotta Army in Xi'an. (David Castor).