6th cent BCE
The legendary founder of Chinese Taoism (Daoism). Nothing is known of his life: the oldest biography (c.100 BCE) claims he held offical rank. He was first mentioned by Zhuangzi. Taoist tradition attributes their classic text, the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching ) to Laozi, but it was written in the 3rd-c BCE. By the 2nd-c CE, Taoists claimed he had lived more than once and had travelled to India where he became the Buddha. (Later he was claimed to have founded Manichaeism.) The Tang emperors (618-906) claimed descent from him.