A follower of Zhou

子曰:「周監於二代,郁郁乎文哉!吾從周。」
Confucius said: “The Zhou dynasty modeled itself upon the two previous dynasties. What a great civilization! I am a follower of Zhou.”

With civilization collapsing around him as multiple states and factions within them fought for control of China, Confucius looked to the beginnings of the Zhou dynasty in the 11th century BC as the model for restoring stability and culture to the country.

His particular hero was the legendary Duke of Zhou, who helped his elder brother King Wu overthrow the preceding Shang Dynasty and then established a new feudal system for governing the country that, according to the legend at least, ushered in a golden age of economic and cultural riches.

When his brother died soon after assuming power, the duke took over as regent and successfully defended the new dynasty against attacks from the supporters of the Shang before handing back power to his nephew when the boy came of age. To learn more about the significance of the Duke of Zhou, check out this article on the BBC website here.

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