The Art of War (Sun)/Section II

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II. 作戰篇.

  1. 孫子曰凡用兵之法馳車千駟革車千乘帶甲十萬千里饋糧則內外之費賓客之用膠漆之材車甲之奉日費千金然後十萬之師舉矣

II. Waging war.

1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand mile, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.


  1. 其用戰也勝久則鈍兵挫銳攻城則力屈
  2. 久暴師則國用不足
2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped.

The Yü Lan omits ; but though 勝久 is certainly a bold phrase, it is more likely to be right than not. Both in this place and in § 4, the T’ung Tien and Yü Lan read (in the sense of “to injure”) instead of .

If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.


  1. 夫鈍兵挫銳屈力殫貨則諸侯乘其幣而起雖有智者不能善其後矣
  2. 故兵聞拙速未睹巧之久也
4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardour damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

Following Tu Yu, I understand in the sense of “to make good,” i.e. to mend. But Tu Mu and Ho Shih explain it as “to make good plans” — for the future.

5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.


  1. 夫兵久而國利者未之有也
  2. 故不盡知用兵之害者則不能盡知用兵之利也
  3. 善用兵者役不再籍糧不三載
  4. 取用於國因糧於敵故軍食可足也
6. There is no instance of a country having benefitted from prolonged warfare.

7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.

9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.


  1. 國之貧於師者遠輸遠輸則百姓貧
  2. 近於師者貴賣貴賣則百姓財竭
  3. 財竭則急于丘役
10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.

11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people's substance to be drained away.

12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions.


  1. 力屈財殫中原內虛於家百姓之費十去其七
  2. 公家之費破車罷馬甲冑矢弩戟楯蔽櫓丘牛大車十去其六
13, 14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while Government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.


  1. 故智將務食於敵食敵一鍾當吾二十鍾𦮼秆一石當吾二十石
  2. 故殺敵者怒也取敵之利者貨也
  3. 故車戰得車十乘已上賞其先得者而更其旌旗車雜而乘之卒善而養之
15. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy's provisions is equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise a single picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one's own store.

16. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards.

17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.


  1. 是謂勝敵而益强
  2. 故兵貴勝不貴久
  3. 故知兵之將民之司命國家安危之主也
18. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one's own strength.

19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people's fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.