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Confucius descendant dies

Kung Te-Cheng, a 77th-generation descendant of the philosopher Confucius, died recently at the age of 88. Confucius lived 2500 years ago, so that allows an average of 32.5 years per generation, which I guess is reasonable if you are talking about high-status men.

277 is roughly 1.5 x 1023. Estimates of the world population of humanity in 500 BC range from 100 million to 200 million. I submit that we are all descended from Confucius by one route or another; the late Mr Kung is unusual only in that his male-line descent was apparently well recorded.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC)
Is it odd that I find myself very, very glad that he has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?
Oct. 30th, 2008 09:39 am (UTC)
Considering the damage Confucianism did, with its 'abject submission to authority' thang - I wonder if things would have been better if he were not around in the first place for him to have progeny.

Then again, someone would probably have come up with the idea...
Oct. 29th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
Getting back to Confucius by any means possible is one thing - a bit like tossing a coin 77 times and not losing it down a crack. Getting back on male line only might be more like tossing the coin 77 times, and it coming up heads each time.

(Am I a bad man for deciding that females would be tails, and therefore males would be heads?)

The most impressive case I've encountered was meeting Umberto Frescobaldi, who counted himself the 21st generation winemaker in his family, his chilldren the 22nd. But then the Frescobaldis have only been at it since the early 14th century.
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC)
I'm sure Confucius would have been pleased with a list kept that long and detailed...
Oct. 29th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
I can trace things back to the 1600s with no trouble on the Patrilineal side; the records say I can trace it back to the late 1400s if I want to buy some of the long-stretch conclusions of the 1890s genealogist. (I'm very sure of the 1600s part, in short.)

I sometimes joke with my ethnically Chinese daughter that her ancestors and my ancestors used to whale at each other 17,000 years ago; an ancestor around 1800 on my Mom's side was a Cherokee Indian.
Oct. 30th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
2, 4, 4, 8, 14, 20, ... [1] This is, of course, a rather extreme case and (given the difference between 100 million and 2^77) certainly does not refute your thesis - but the general principle does need to be remembered when doing these calculations (my own gut reaction is that we are probably not all descended from Confucius, but that our descendents in 77 generations' time almost certainly all will be). [1] Assuming that I've counted correctly - and if I've counted an item once, I haven't counted it again
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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