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Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Way [Tao] to survival or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analysed (Sawyer, 2007, 157)

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War

One of the most influential texts in history, it has been used by military strategists for over 2,000 years and admired by leaders from Napoleon to Mao Zedong.

Cartwright, Mark. “The Art of War.” World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 18 Jul 2017. Web. 29 May 2024.

475 BCE-221 BCE

The Art of War is divided into 13 chapters or pian which cover different aspects of warfare from planning to diplomacy. The work is not shy on the use of deception which runs through many of the suggested stratagems. Still, the book is not a glorification of warfare, and an important point, raised several times in the work, is that actual combat only results from the failure of other strategies to defeat the enemy and is always an undesirable waste of men and resources.

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china | east asia

How far back?

Point in Timeline | 500 BCE - 500 CE

2020 | Present