Eight scholar-officials

周有八士:伯達、伯适、仲突、仲忽、叔夜、叔夏、季隨、季騧。
The Zhou Dynasty had eight scholar-officials: Boda, Boshi, Zhongtu, Zhonghu, Shuye, Shuxia, Jisui, and Jigua.

Book 18 of the Analects finishes on an enigmatic note. Nobody knows who these men were or what they did to merit being included in such a list of presumably exemplary scholar-officials.

Some commentators suggest that the list consists of two sets of four brothers because the family names of Bo (伯), Zhong (仲), Shu (叔), and Ji (季) respectively mean: eldest brother, second brother, young brother, and youngest brother. An alternative translation would thus be :

The Zhou Dynasty had eight scholar-officials: elder brothers Da and Shi; second brothers Tu and Hu; younger brothers Ye and Xia; and youngest brothers Sui and Gua.

Other commentators suggest that the list consists of four sets of twins born to the same mother because the names of each pair of twins rhymed with each other in ancient Chinese.

Go figure!

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