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 li, 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.
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. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your
3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State
will not be equal to the strain.
4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor 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.
5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness
has never been seen associated with long delays.
6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from
7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of
war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying
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.
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
12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be
afflicted by heavy exactions.
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
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.
18. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one's own
19. In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy
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.