Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/15

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XIII
INTRODUCTION

To return to the elder Sun Tzŭ. He is mentioned in two other passages of the Shih Chi:

In the third year of his reign [512 B.C.] Ho Lu, King of Wu, took the field with 子胥 Tzŭ-hsü [i.e. 伍員 Wu Yüan] and 伯嚭 Po P‘ei, and attacked Ch‘u. He captured the town of Shu and slew the two prince’s sons who had formerly been generals of Wu. He was then meditating a descent on Ying [the capital]; but the general Sun Wu said: “The army is exhausted.[1] It is not yet possible. We must wait”....[2] [After further successful fighting,] “in the ninth year [506 B.C.], King Ho Lu of Wu addressed Wu Tzŭ-hsü and Sun Wu, saying: “Formerly, you declared that it was not yet possible for us to enter Ying. Is the time ripe now?” The two men replied: “Ch‘u’s general, 子常 Tzŭ-ch‘ang,[3] is grasping and covetous, and the princes of T‘ang and Ts‘ai both have a grudge against him. If Your Majesty has resolved to make a grand attack, you must win over T‘ang and Ts‘ai, and then you may succeed.” Ho Lu followed this advice, [beat Ch‘u in five pitched battles and marched into Ying] [4]

This is the latest date at which anything is recorded of Sun Wu. He does not appear to have survived his patron, who died from the effects of a wound in 496.

In the chapter entitled 律書 (the earlier portion of which M. Chavannes believes to be a fragment of a treatise on Military Weapons), there occurs this passage:[5]

From this time onward, a number of famous soldiers arose, one after the other: 咎犯 Kao-fan,[6] who was employed by the Chin State; Wang-tzŭ,[7] in the service of Ch‘i; and Sun Wu, in the service of Wu. These men developed and threw light upon the principles of war (申明軍約).


  1. I note that M. Chavannes translates 民勞 “le peuple est épuisé.” But in Sun Tzŭ's own book (see especially VII §§ 24—26) the ordinary meaning of is “army,” and this, I think, is more suitable here.
  2. These words are given also in Wu Tzŭ-hsü's biography, ch. 66, fol. 3 r°.
  3. The appellation of 囊瓦 Nang Wa.
  4. Shih Chi, ch. 31, fol. 6 r°.
  5. Ibid. ch. 25, fol. 1 r°.
  6. The appellation of 狐偃 Hu Yen, mentioned in ch. 39 under the year 637.
  7. 王子城父 Wang-tzŭ Ch‘eng-fu, ch. 32, year 607.