Sunzi

Sunzi
or Sun-tzu

flourished 4th century BC

Chinese military strategist.

A general who served the state of Wu late in the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BC), he is traditionally regarded as the author of the earliest known treatise on war and military science, The Art of War, though it was more likely written early in the Warring States period (475–221 BC). A systematic guide to strategy and tactics, it discusses various maneuvers and the effect of terrain, stresses the importance of accurate information about the enemy's forces, and emphasizes the unpredictability of battle and the need for flexible responses. Its insistence on the close relationship between political considerations and military policy influenced modern strategists, notably Mao Zedong.

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▪ Chinese strategist
Wade-Giles romanization  Sun-tzu , also spelled  Sun Tzu , personal name  Sun Wu 
flourished 5th century BC

      reputed author of the Chinese classic Bingfa (The Art of War), the earliest known treatise on war and military science.

      Sunzi, a military strategist and general who served the state of Wu near the end of the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC), is traditionally considered the author of The Art of War, but the work is more likely to have been written early in the Warring States period (475–221 BC), at a time when China was divided into six or seven states that often resorted to war with each other in their struggles for supremacy.

      The Art of War is a systematic guide to strategy and tactics for rulers and commanders. The book discusses various maneuvers and the effect of terrain on the outcome of battles. It stresses the importance of accurate information about the enemy's forces, dispositions and deployments, and movements. This is summarized in the axiom “Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat.” It also emphasizes the unpredictability of battle and the use of flexible strategies and tactics. The book's insistence on the close relationship between political considerations and military policy greatly influenced some modern strategists. Mao Zedong and the Chinese communists took from The Art of War many of the tactics they utilized in fighting the Japanese and, later, the Chinese Nationalists.

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Universalium. 2010.


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