The five hegemons lived in the spring and autumn periods of the Zhou dynasty. the hegemon bestowed royal powers in military ventures. Duke Huan of Qi, Duke Wen of Jin and King Zhuang of Chu were the first three hegemons, Duke Song and Duke Qin the other two. Duke Huan reformed Qi to centralize its power structure. Others followed.
This slogan became the justification for such endeavours: ‘supporting the king, and expelling the barbarians’ In 643 BC, five of Duke Huan’s sons contended for the throne, badly weakening the state so that it was no longer regarded as the hegemon.
The five hegemons were the powerful rulers of the Chinese states of the spring and autumn period of Chinese history. They are:
Duke Huan of Qi
Duke Wen of Jin
King Zhuang of Chu
The three listed above are widely referred to in contemporary text and are rarely disputed. The last 2 are often disputed, it is alternated between
Duke Mu of Qin
Duke Xiang of Song
King Helu of Wu
King Goujian of Yue.