THE Art of War
Translated from the chinese by:
LIONEL GILES, M.A.
[This is the basic text of Sun Tzu on the Art of War. It was extracted from
Mr. Giles’ complete work as titled above. The commentary itself, which,
of course includes this work embedded within it, has been released as
suntzutxt (or suntzuzip). This is being released only as an adjunct to that
work, which contains a wealth of commentary upon this text.]
I. LAYING PLANS
Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is
a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into
account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions
obtaining in the field.
(1) The Moral Law;
(4) The Commander;
(5) Method and discipline.
The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their
ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by
Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.
Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open
ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence,
courage and strictness.
By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the
army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the
officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army,
and the control of military expenditure.
These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them
will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military
conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:--
(1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?
(2) Which of the two generals has most ability?
(3) With whom lie the adv