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Citizenship and State-Sponsored Physical Education: Ancient Greece and Ancient China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2009


In ancient Greece and ancient China, small states engaged in intense military competition and incessant warfare. In such contexts, there was naturally much emphasis on the training of soldiers. One might have expected state-sponsored physical education to develop as a by-product of the need to train soldiers, but the historical record shows that ancient Greek states placed far more emphasis on physical education compared to their counterparts in ancient China. This essay attempts to (partly) explain the divergent outcomes with reference to the idea of citizenship. The first part outlines the practice and philosophy of state-sponsored physical education in ancient Greece and ancient China and addresses the question of why the two ancient civilizations should be compared in this respect. The main body of the article discusses the political differences between ancient Greece and ancient China that help to explain the different outcomes regarding state-sponsored physical education. The last part ends with some normative reflections that may be relevant for present-day societies.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Notre Dame 2004

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We are most indebted to E. Bruce Brooks for his detailed and extremely helpful comments on an earlier draft. Thanks are also owed to comments and suggestions by Andrew Brennan, Chris Bobonich, Ian Holliday, Victoria Tin-Bor Hui, Li Qiang, and the editors and referees for The Review of Politics. Earlier versions of this essay were presented at Beijing University, the City University of Hong Kong and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and we are very grateful for helpful responses from members of the audience.

1. Our main concern is the period characterized by small, autonomous and politically dynamic city-states in ancient Greece. This period ends roughly with Alexander the Great's victory over the Greek city-states [c. 335 B.C.E.].

2. We use quotes because the pre-Qin states cannot be described as the culturally unified state of “China” (zhongguo). The “cultural unity” of China owes much to the destruction of local records by the first emperor in 213 B.C. E., a deliberate act of policy aimed at extinguishing local loyalties (Elvin, Mark, The Pattern of the Chinese Past [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1973], pp. 2122Google Scholar), though the process of cultural assimilation of non-Sinitic peoples via war and conquest had begun earlier, as far back as the Spring and Autumn period. For stylistic reasons, we drop the quotes around “China” from hereon.

3. The point at which Chinese states clearly existed and functioned as an interstate system, begins with the effective elimination of Zhou power in 771 B.C.E. The date for the transition between the Spring and Autumn and Warring States period is a matter of controversy. 403 B.C.E. is the officially recognized date for the tripartite division of Jin, although this had taken effect much earlier. We rely on a very rough starting date of 500 B.C.E.

4. While small by today's standards, states in ancient China were larger than Greek city-states.

5. Aristotle, Politics 1337b 1, ed. and trans. Barker, Ernest (London: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 335Google Scholar.

6. In the case of ancient China, unfortunately, the historical record is relatively limited. Most of it comes from an elite theoretical stratum (court advice and its dissents) and there are few private documents, secular state papers, and ritual texts.

7. The Greek practice of citizenship may also have helped to generate other innovations. G. E. R. Lloyd argues that the development of generalized skepticism and of critical inquiry directed at fundamental issues in science (and philosophy) can most likely be explained by the social and political context of ancient Greece, namely, the experience of radical debate and confrontation in small-scale, face-to-face societies (Lloyd, , Magic, Reason and Experience: Studies in the Origin and Development of Greek Science [London: Gerald Duckworth and Co., Ltd., 1999], p. 232)Google Scholar.

8. Britannica CD 2000 Deluxe Edition, Entry “Physical Education.”

9. See Mechikoff, Robert A. and Estes, Steven G., A History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Education, 3rd ed (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2002), p. 48Google Scholar; and Golden, Mark, Sport and Society in Ancient Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 8895Google Scholar; Dongkyu, Kim, The World History of Physical Education (Kyungsan: Young Nam University Press, 1999), pp. 9598Google Scholar.

10. See Homer, , The Iliad, trans. Hammond, Martin (London: Penguin Books, 1987), chaps. 4, 8Google Scholar and Homer, , The Odyssey, trans. Rieu, E. V. (London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1991), chap. 23Google Scholar.

11. There were four major sporting competitions: the Olympic games, the Pythian games, the Isthmian games and the Nemean games (see Golden, , Sport and Society in Ancient Greece, pp. 1011)Google Scholar. These competitions had diverse games that were identical with physical education subjects in the gymnasium.

12. Women were excluded from the Olympic games even as spectators (except for the priestess of Demeter). They could, however, take part in other sporting competition games, with the difference that female athletics had a unique ethos that stressed health and beauty rather than rivalry (see Golden, , Sport and Society in Ancient Greece, pp. 125–30)Google Scholar.

13. Even critics of Sparta's emphasis on physical fitness do not question the goal of Olympic glory. For example, Aristotle criticizes the Spartans for excessive early physical training on the grounds that this actually reduces, rather than increases, the likelihood of Olympic victories: “The bad effects of excessive early training are strikingly evident. In the lists of Olympic victors there are only two or three cases of the same person having won in the men's events who had previously won in the boys′; and the reason is that early training, and the compulsory exercises which it involved, had resulted in loss of energy” (Aristotle, Politics 1339a 8)Google Scholar.

14. Plutarch, Plutarch's Lives, Lycurgus 82Google Scholar.

15. See Golden, , Sport and Society in Ancient Greece, p. 47Google Scholar.

16. Every important Greek city had at least one publicly funded gymnasium, which illustrates the significance of physical education in ancient Greece.

17. The gymnasiarch was elected among men between thirty years old and sixty years old and was expected to carry out the gymnasiarchal law of Zeus, Ge, Helios, Apollo, Hercules, and Hermes (Joo-Hwa, Kim. “A Sport Archeological Study on the Gymnasiarchal Law of Beroea,” Korean Journal of Physical Education History 6 (2000)Google Scholar.

18. See Mechikoff, and Estes, , A History and Philosophy of Sport and Physical Education, p. 51Google Scholar. On the practice of infanticide in ancient Greece, see Edwards, Martha L., “The Cultural Context of Deformity in the Ancient Greek World: ‘Let There Be a Law That No Deformed Child Shall Be Reared,’” The Ancient History Bulletin 10.3–4 (1996): 7992Google Scholar.

19. See Donggyu, Kim, The World History of Physical Education, p. 99Google Scholar.

20. According to Plutarch, physical education for women in Sparta also was justified in terms of its benefits for childbearing: “He [Lycurgus] made the young women exercise their bodies by running and wrestling and throwing the discus and the javelin, so that their offspring would have a sound start by taking root in sound bodies and grow stronger, and the women themselves would be able to use their strength to withstand childbearing and wrestle with labor pains. He freed them from softness and sitting in the shade and all female habits, and made it customary for girls no less than boys to go naked in processions and to dance naked while young men were present and looking on” (see

21. Plato, however, argued (in apparent contrast to the dominant Athenian justification) that the point of physical education should not be to develop the body as an end in itself, but rather that the cultivation of the body should be seen as another means to develop the soul (Republic 410c).

22. See Barker, , The Politics of Aristotle, Appendix IV, p. 384Google Scholar.

23. The Shiji is a “universal” history of the known world covering the period from the earliest times (the era of the mythical “Yellow Emperor”) to the reign of Emperor Han Wudi (156–87 B.C.E.).

24. The Sunzi bingfa is often regarded as the oldest military treatise in the world, but it was compiled over a long period of time and the exact dating of this work is a matter of great controversy (see The Art of War, trans. Sawyer, Ralph D., pp. 157–62)Google Scholar

25. See Shiji, King Wen section. The Shiji, however, presents a controversial account of history. The Shiji may be projecting later ideals into the early Zhou for the purpose of providing a linear account of Chinese history (with the ideal situation represented as the actual past situation).

26. See The Book of Rites (Liji).

27. Donggyu, Kim, The World History of Physical Education, p. 44Google Scholar.

28. Creel, H. G., The Origin of Statecraft in China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 256–57, 255Google Scholar. Creel contrasts the (less-than-positive) Chinese attitude toward military matters with the Western Roman's Empire glorification of warfare, but a similar contrast can be drawn with the ancient Greeks.

29. Note, however, that this claim rests on the assumption that the Shiji accurately describes the past. According to E. Bruce Brooks, it is possible, if not likely, that such practices never existed in the mythical Zhou. If his suggestion is correct, this would also explain the apparently counterintuitive phenomenon described in the previous sentence (i.e., it would not be the case that physical education became less prominent in the Warring States period because it would not have been prominent in the Zhou period either). In any case, we do not need to defend the historical argument that state-sponsored physical education actually declined in importance during the Warring States period. What matters for our purpose — what needs to be explained — is that state-sponsored physical education was surprisingly de-emphasized during the Warring States period, particularly in comparison to ancient Greek societies that were also engaged in incessant warfare and similarly depended on trained soldiers from the lower classes.

30. The Commander in Chief of Wu executed two of the king's most beloved concubine-commanders that had disobeyed orders during military practice. The female soldiers were subsequently punctilious in following orders and this led to military victory.

31. Confucius's father furthered his career by means of great individual feats since he was a great weightlifter as well as a military commander (see Brooks, E. Bruce and Brooks, A. Taeko, The Original Analects [New York: Columbia University Press, 1998], p. 268)Google Scholar. But by the mid-to-late Warring States period, individual prowess came into disrepute because mass coordination was the basis of the new army. In Sunzi's The Art of War, the prowess ethic of the warrior had been completely replaced by the colder skills of the operations manager and intelligence chief (see E. Bruce Brooks' website,

32. This period's intellectual legacy has dominated the philosophical, political, and social debates of East Asia to this day, much as ancient Greek philosophy has influenced Western thinking.

33. The Analects of Confucius: A Philosophical Translation, trans. Ames, Roger T. and Rosemont, Henry Jr., (New York: Ballantine Books, 1998)Google Scholar, 15.1 (modified). Here and elsewhere, the translations of classical Chinese have been modified to our own style and vocabulary.

34. According to the periodization of The Analects in The Original Analects, this would not have been the historical Confucius because The Analects was written over a period of time and only the earliest layers come close to representing the historical Confucius. Brooks's theory about the transmission of The Analects remains controversial, however, as critics argue that it lacks support from historical and/or archaeological evidence.

35. Xunzi, trans. Knoblock, John, vol. II (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), 15.1d, 222–3Google Scholar.

36. William James famously contrasted the “tough-minded” Xunzi with the “tender-minded” Mencius.

37. Xunzi, , 15.d, 223–4Google Scholar.

38. Benny Josef Peiser reviews the evidence for competitive sporting competitions in early China, but he argues that it is difficult to establish the precise chronology because most modern publications which trace the origins of Chinese sports such as archery, wrestling, charioteering, and soccer rely on mythological traditions and legends that have been revealed as unhistorical fabrications (Peiser, “Western Theories about the Origins of Sport in Ancient China,”

39. See Dongkyu, Kim, World History of Physical Education, p. 48Google Scholar and Lewis, Mark Edward, Sanctioned Violence in Early China (Albany: State University of New York, 1990), pp. 146–48Google Scholar.

40. Zhao, Duke (12th year), Zuo's Commentary (Hunan: Hunan Publishing House, 1996), p 1159Google Scholar.

41. Bodde, Derk, Chinese Thought, Society, and Science: The Intellectual and Social Background of Science and Technology in Pre-modern China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1991), p. 293Google Scholar. Bodde does note that this account of archery in preimperial China draws on later sources and may have been idealized to some extent.

42. We use quotes because classical Chinese philosophy did not distinguish between the private and the public. The “private” realm of the family, for Confucian thinkers, has political implications (see, e.g., The Analects, 1.2)Google Scholar. The point here is that systematic physical education was not considered to be an important task of the state in ancient China, beyond training for soldiers.

43. Note, however, that the use of the term “body” may be misleading in the ancient Chinese context (see Hall, David L. and Ames, Roger T., Thinking Through Confucius [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987], p. 20)Google Scholar.

44. Derk Bodde does draw an interesting comparison between organized sports in ancient Greece and ancient Rome: in Rome, the prime purpose of organized sports was the amusement of the spectator rather than the physical and moral wellbeing of the participant (as in Greece) (Bodde, , Chinese Thought, Society and Science, p. 301)Google Scholar.

45. But different regions spoke different dialects — see

46. See Jarde, A., The Formation of The Greek People (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 239Google Scholar.

47. For example, Plato argued that inter-Greek fighting should be regarded as “civil strife” rather than “warfare,” with the implication that ‘“[O]ur citizens ought to behave in this [relatively humane] way to their enemies; though when they are fighting barbarians they should treat them as the Greeks now treat each other [i.e., brutal].’ ‘Then let us lay it down as a law for our Guardians, that they are neither to ravage land nor burn houses’” (Plato, Republic, 2nd ed., trans. Lee, Desmond [London: Penguin Books, 1987], 471b-c)Google Scholar. Of course, Plato was recommending rather than describing, and whether or not cultural commonality actually limited the conduct of intra-Greek warfare is a separate question.

48. The Pan-Hellenic league was more of a confederacy of independent states.

49. Aristotle, Politics 1275bGoogle Scholar.

50. Ibid., 1275 a-b.

51. Land became concentrated in fewer and fewer hands in Sparta, which led to a decline in the number of citizens. In 480 B.C.E., about 7000 Spartans owned enough land to qualify as citizens; by 371 B.C.E. it had fallen to a couple of thousand, and by the third century B.C.E. to just a few hundred (we are grateful to Ian Morris for this information). According to Aristotle, poor Spartan citizens who could not contribute their quota to common meals were debarred from sharing in constitutional rights {ibid., 1271a).

52. On the practice of deliberation in oligarchies, see Lloyd, G. E. R., Magic, Reason and Experience, p. 261Google Scholar.

53. Plato, Republic 423bGoogle Scholar. In the Laws, Plato argued that the number of households in the state should be limited to 5040 households (737 e ff). Aristotle argued that the state should not be too large because the citizens of a state must know one another's characters in order to give decisions in matters of disputed rights and to distribute the offices of government according to the merit of candidates (Politics 1326 b 13Google Scholar).

54. Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey show this military composition, with two great charioteering soldiers (Alexandros and Menalaos) engaging in a one-on-one fight. (Homer, , The Iliad, Book 3: pp. 325370, 49–50Google Scholar.) These works are retrospective, however, and may not accurately reflect chariot warfare at the time.

55. Hornblower, Simon, “Creation and Development of Democratic Institutions in Ancient Greece,” in Democracy: The Unfinished Journey 508BC to AD1993, ed. Dunn, John (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 4Google Scholar.

56. This is not to deny that there were internal attempts at unification, but these did not succeed. Pericles famously summoned every city-state's delegate to Athens for the purpose of launching a Pan-Hellenic league based on the Athenian political system, but other city-states rejected this overture. “Unification” was only achieved by the force of an outside power, monarchical Macedonia.

57. See Plutarch, , Plutarch's Lives, trans. Driden, John and rev. Clough, Arthur Hugh (London: Dent, 1921), Pelopidas, p.438Google Scholar.

58. Ibid, Solon, p. 136.

59. See Homer, , The Odyssey, Book 8, pp. 145150, 110Google Scholar. The Phaeacian people insulted Odysseus since he refrained from demonstrating his physical ability while young competitors were racing, wrestling, jumping, throwing, and boxing in front of him. But he eventually overwhelmed those people by throwing a discus far beyond anybody else. On the ancient Greek valuation of athletic glory, see also Homer, , The Iliad, Book 23Google Scholar (Funeral Games for Patroklos).

60. These states may have been as culturally diverse in the Spring and Autumn era, but a process of cultural assimilation took place (including the suppression of non-Sinitic populations in the state of Lu). The increasing cultural homogeneity may partly explain (along with other factors, such as the massive resource expansion program) the growing commitment to the ideal of unification during the Warring States period.

61. We are using the term “monarch” in the Aristotelian sense. The formal title King was reserved for the successor Zhou rulers.

62. The independent Chinese states had a cultural memory of single overlordship, namely the Zhou situation, which could be invoked (and mythologized) as the Golden Age of peace and harmony. In contrast, the earlier unified Greek phase of history, namely Mycenaean history, has been effectively blotted out in subsequent Greek history.

63. Jianxiong, Ge, Putianzhixia (1989), p. 37Google Scholar.

64. See Lewis, Mark Edward, “Warring States Political History,” in The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C., eds. Loewe, Michael and Shaughnessy, Edward L. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)Google Scholar.

65. See also Victoria Tin-Bor Hui's (unpublished) article, “Rethinking the Hobbesian Metaphor for International Politics: Comparing the Hobbesianess of the Ancient Chinese and Early Modern European Systems”. Hui argues that Qin's eventual domination of other states can be explained by the relative strength of coercive mechanisms vis-à-vis countervailing mechanisms in the processes of international competition. Where coercive capabilities are more limited, as in Early Modern Europe, attempts at domination are less likely to be successful.

66. Note, however, that the dating of the Han Fei Zi is a matter of controversy, much of it may have been composed under the aegis of (later) Han political theorists.

67. Mencius, trans. Lau, D. C. (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1984), 7B.1 (modified)Google Scholar.

68. Chan, Joseph, “Territorial Boundaries and Confucianism”, in Boundaries, Ownership, and Autonomy, eds. Miller, David and Hashmi, Sohail H. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), p. 96Google Scholar. This is not to deny, however, that classical Confucians also provided practical, morally-informed guidance in a non-ideal political world of competing states. Even Mencius — who is considered to be the most “tender-minded” of the Confucians — argued that it may be justifiable to fortify territorial boundaries between states, for example when a small state is attacked by a larger one (1B.13).

69. See, e.g., The Analects of Confucius, 12.19, 16.1Google Scholar and The Works of Mencius, 1A.6, 4A.4, 4A.10. 4A.14Google Scholar.

70. Lao Tzu's description of the ideal state — “Make your state small, make your people few” — is the obvious exception (quoted in Ames, Roger T., The Art of Rulership: A Study of Chinese Political Thought [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994], p. 6)Google Scholar. See also Graham, A. C., Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1989), pp. 6970Google Scholar.

71. Some early Warring States societies, however, did have the functional equivalents of constraints on the power of the state — see Hui, Victoria Tin-Bor, “The Emergence and Demise of Nascent Constitutional Rights: Comparing Ancient China and Early Modern Europe,” Journal of Political Philosophy 9, no. 4 (2001)Google Scholar. Moreover, some societies did allow for social mobility — e.g., low-ranking persons (other than slaves) could aspire to land ownership, through social merit rather than paterfamilial decree.

72. On the contrast between tianming and liberal-democratic values, see Yuankang, Shi, “Tianming yu Zhengdangxing” (The Mandate of Heaven and Political Legitimacy) in Zhengzhi Lilun Zai Zhongguo (Political Theory in China), eds. Chan, Joseph and Manto, Lo (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 2001)Google Scholar.

73. Note that there were also non-Confucian ideas regarding the workings of Heaven in the Warring States period. We chose to focus on the Mencian ideas of Heaven because they are closest — yet still far apart — from the Greek idea of democracy.

74. The Analects of Confucius, 13:19Google Scholar (modified).

75. Even moral universalists such as Plato defended such ideas (see note 47).

76. The Analects of Confucius, 14.2Google Scholar (modified; Ames and Rosemont translate “ju” more controversially as “wordly comforts” rather than “settled home”). See the discussion in Shils, Edward, “Reflections on Civil Society and Civility in the Chinese Intellectual Tradition”, in Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity, ed. Wei-ming, Tu (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), p. 70Google Scholar.

77. The Analects of Confucius, 4.11Google Scholar (modified). See also 4.1, 15.10, 18.2.

78. The Analects, 18.3Google Scholar, 18.4, see also Mencius, 7A.32.

79. Bruce Brooks has cast doubt on this standard account (see note 34), but whatever the historical facts this ideal served to inspire subsequent Confucians (including Mencius, who moved from state to state, looking for opportunities to put his political ideals into practice).

80. The elite military class was most likely self-educated in these skills (as opposed to being educated by the state).

81. The chariot had many defects as a fighting machine, according to Creel, H. C. (The Origin of Statecraft in China, 262271Google Scholar) which may help to explain the transition to infantry. See also Sawyer, Ralph D., The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993), pp. 364–65Google Scholar.

82. Lewis, , “Warring States Political History,” p. 621Google Scholar (Lewis actually dates the infantry army transition to the Spring and Autumn period). In the same vein, David A. Graff notes that “the aristocratic chariot warfare of the seventh century BC was profoundly different from the conflicts waged by disciplined mass armies of infantry four centuries later” (Graff, , Medieval Chinese Warfare, 300–900 [London: Routledge, 2002], p. 17)Google Scholar. However, E. Bruce Brooks argues that we do not have enough evidence to speak of “the end of the dominance” of the warrior elite (more likely, the class or its social successors continued to provide the officer corps, and that the expansion of the army, not the totality of the army, was made up of infantry of lower social status).

83. Lewis, , “Warring States Political History,” p. 621Google Scholar.

84. While military service could lead to social advancement under certain states' rules, this would be an instrumental reason for valuing military service, which is not the same as being motivated by patriotism and civic pride (as in the Greek case).

85. In the early Warring States period, military service did arguably lead to quasi-citizenship status for the lower social orders. By the mid-Warring States period, however, the growth of autocratic states meant that there was no need for social negotiation and states could simply compel obedience, with attendant (negative) implications for the “social benefits” of military service.

86. Millett, Paul, “The Economy” in Classical Greece, ed. Osborne, Robin, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 39Google Scholar.

87. Proximity to the sea also led to the development of marine warfare in ancient Greece (absent from ancient China), which in turn made the knowledge of swimming necessary for Athenians. The ability to swim well was a reason for ethnic pride and the image of drowning enemies recurs in celebrations of victory (Hall, Edith, “Drowning by Nomes: The Greeks, Swimming, and Timotheus' Persians” in The Birth of European Identity: The Europe-Asia Contrast in Greek Thought 490–322 B. C., ed. Khan, H. A. [Nottingham: University of Nottingham, 1994], 2 (1993): 44)Google Scholar. Greek literature, however, says very little about swimming as such, most likely because it was never formally performed at public games in ancient Greece (ibid, p. 52).

88. Hatzfeld, Jean, History of Ancient Greece (New York: Norton & Company, 1966), p. 121Google Scholar.

89. Jarde, A., The Formation of The Greek People, p. 253Google Scholar

90. Slaves from the hinterlands ensured that most Greek citizens did not have to do the hard labor themselves.

91. Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1959), p. 27Google Scholar.

92. Strong, Tracy B., Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration, expanded edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 194Google Scholar.

93. Marx, Karl, Capital, Vol. 3Google Scholar, in The Marx-Engels Reader, ed. Tucker, Robert (New York: Norton, 1978), p. 441Google Scholar.

94. See Yu-Lan, Fung and Bodde, Derk, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy (New York: Macmillan, 1961), pp. 2527Google Scholar.

95. Once again, these sources are controversial and this particular story may be a myth.

96. See Hui, Victoria Tin-Bor, “The Emergence and Demise of Nascent Constitutional Rights,” p. 383Google Scholar. This was succeeded in Han dynasty (B.C.E. 202— A.D.E. 220), Qin's successor, as “a farm cultivated by the militia” [in Qin, when peasants were conscripted, they abandoned their farming activities and needed to obtain food from others, but under the new system, soldiers in remote areas also grew their own food].

97. Historical evidence for this claim is lacking, however.

98. Mencius, , Mencius, VIB.15Google Scholar. Mencius, however, opposed the idea that rulers were expected to continue to engage in production once they assumed their political posts (“There are those who use their minds and there are those who used their muscles. The former rule; the latter are ruled. Those who rule are supported by those who are ruled” [IIIA.4]). The context for this famous passage clearly shows that Mencius was trying to counter the view that “a good and wise ruler shares the work of tilling the land with his people” (Ibid), but unfortunately Mencius has been read to argue for a strict division of labor between intellectuals and peasants (a view that was explicitly challenged to disastrous effect during the Cultural Revolution).

99. The Analects of Confucius, 13.18Google Scholar (modified). It could be argued Confucius' view is similar to that of Socrates in the Euthyphro (Socrates criticizes Euthyphro for prosecuting his own father on a charge of murder). The point of this dialogue, however, is not to affirm the value of filial piety, but rather to expose the moral/ intellectual vacuity of the socially-respectable theologians of his day (and perhaps to shed light on Socrates' state of mind just before his trial). In any case, Socrates' own personal life — i.e., neglecting his own family members for the sake of the pursuit of “truth” — seems rather far removed from the Confucian emphasis on care for family members.

100. See Chaibong's, Hahm paper “The Family vs. the Individual: The Politics of Marriage Laws in Korea,” in Confucianism for the Modern World, eds. Bell, Daniel A. and Chaibong, Hahm (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 337–42Google Scholar.

101. See Mencius's comparison of benevolence (ren) with archery: “an archer makes sure his stance is correct before letting fly the arrow, and if he fails to hit the mark, he does not hold it against the victor. He simply seeks the cause within himself” (2A.7). See also The Analects, 3.7Google Scholar.