Old Chinese (shànggǔ Hànyǔ 上古漢語), also called Archaic Chinese, refers to the form of Chinese spoken from the beginning of written records (around 1300 BC) until the 3rd century BC.
This second post is about Late Old Chinese, from 6th to 3rd century BC, the language spoken under the Eastern Zhōu dynasty — which includes the famous Warring States Period (戰國時代, 475-221). This latter period is the cradle of classical Chinese civilisation, and in particular of its language, called Classical Chinese (gǔwén 古文) or Literary Chinese (wényán 文言).
The following political and social philosophers epitomise Classical Chinese through their writings:
- Confucius (Kǒng Zǐ 孔子)
- Mencius (Mèng Zǐ 孟子)
- Micius (Mòzǐ 墨子)
- Zhuāng Zǐ (莊子)
- Xún Zǐ (荀子)
- Hán Fēi (韓非)
Literary Chinese is considered as the one and only "serious" language under all Imperial Chinese dynasties, up to the Qīng. See also p21 and p58 of the rule book.