The Art of War, by Lionel Giles, , at sacred-texts.com
The following are the oldest Chinese treatises on war, after Sun Tzŭ. The notes on each have been drawn principally from the # Ssŭ k‘u ch‘üan shu chien ming mu lu, ch. 9, fol. 22 sqq.
1. # Wu Tzŭ, in 1 chüan or 6 # chapters. By # Wu Ch‘i (d. B.C. 381). A genuine work. See Shih Chi, ch. 65.
2. # Ssŭ-ma Fa, in 1 chüan or 5 chapters. Wrongly attributed to # Ssŭ-ma Jang-chü of the 6th century B.C. Its date, however, must be early, as the customs of the three ancient dynasties are constantly to be met with in its pages. 1 See Shih Chi, ch. 64.
The Ssŭ K‘u Ch‘üan Shu (ch. 99, f. 1) remarks that the oldest three treatises on war, Sun Tzŭ, Wu Tzŭ and the Ssŭ-ma Fa, are, generally speaking, only concerned with things strictly military—the art of producing, collecting, training and drilling troops, and the correct theory with regard to measures of expediency, laying plans, transport of goods and the handling of soldiers 2—in strong contrast to later works, in which the science of war is usually blended with metaphysics, divination and magical arts in general.
3. # Liu T‘ao, in 6 chüan or 60 chapters. Attributed to # Lü Wang (or Lü # Shang, also known as # T‘ai Kung) of the 12th century B.C. 3 But
its style does not belong to the era of the Three Dynasties. 1 # Lu Tê-ming (550–625 A.D.) mentions the work, and enumerates the headings of the six sections, #, #, #, #, # and #, so that the forgery cannot have been later than the Sui dynasty.
4. # Wei Liao Tzŭ, in 5 chüan. Attributed Wei Liao (4th cent. B.C.), who studied under the famous # Kuei-ku Tzŭ. The #, under #, mentions a book of Wei Liao in 31 chapters, whereas the text we possess contains only 24. Its matter is sound enough in the main, though the strategical devices differ considerably from those of the Warring States period. 2 It has been furnished with a commentary by the well-known Sung philosopher # Chang Tsai.
5. # San Lüeh, in 3 chüan. Attributed to #, Huang-shih Kung, a legendary personage who is said to have bestowed it on Chang Liang (d. B.C. 187) in an interview on a bridge. 3 But here again, the style is not that of works dating from the Ch‘in or Han period. The Han Emperor Kuang Wu [A.D. 25–57] apparently quotes from it in one of his proclamations; but the passage in question may have been inserted later on, in order to prove the genuineness of the work. We shall not be far out if we refer it to the Northern Sung period [420–478 A.D.], or somewhat earlier. 4
6. # Li Wei Kung Wên Tui, in 3 sections. Written in the form of a dialogue between T‘ai Tsung and his great general # Li Ching, it is usually ascribed to the latter. Competent authorities consider it a forgery, though the author was evidently well versed in the art of war. 1
7. # Li Ching Ping Fa (not to be confounded with the foregoing) is a short treatise in 8 chapters, preserved in the T‘ung Tien, but not published separately. This fact explains its omission from the Ssŭ K‘u Ch‘üan Shu.
8. # Wu Ch‘i Ching, 2 in 1 chüan. Attributed to the legendary minister # Fêng Hou, with exegetical notes by # Kung-sun Hung of the Han dynasty (d. B.C. 121), and said to have been eulogised by the celebrated general, # Ma Lung (d. A.D. 300). Yet the earliest mention of it is in the #. Although a forgery, the work is well put together. 3
Considering the high popular estimation in which # Chu-ko Liang has always been held, it is not surprising to find more than one work on war ascribed to his pen. Such are (1) the # Shih Liu Ts‘e (1 chüan), preserved in the # Yung Lo Ta Tien; (2) # Chiang Yüan (1 ch.); and (3) # Hsin Shu (I ch.), which steals wholesale from Sun Tzŭ. None of these has the slightest claim to be considered genuine.
Most of the large Chinese encyclopaedias contain extensive sections devoted to the literature of war. The following references may be found useful:—
# T‘ai P‘ing Yü Lan (983), ch. 270–359.
# Wên Hsien T‘ung K‘ao (13th cent.), ch. 221.
# Yü Hai (13th cent.), ch. 140, 141.
# San Ts‘ai T‘u Hui (16th cent), # ch. 7, 8.
# Kuang Po Wu Chih (1607), ch. 31, 32.
# Ch‘ien Ch‘io Lei Shu (1632), ch. 75.
# Yüan Chien Lei Han (1710), ch. 206–229.
# Ku Chin T‘u Shu Chi Ch‘êng (1726), section XXX, esp. ch. 81–90.
# Hsü Wên Hsien T‘ung K‘ao (1784), ch. 121–134.
# Huang Ch‘ao Ching Shih Wên Pien (1826), ch. 76, 77.
The bibliographical sections of certain historical works also deserve mention:—
# Sui Shu, ch. 32–35.
# Chiu T‘ang Shu, ch. 46, 47.
# Hsin T‘ang Shu, ch. 57–60.
# Sung Shih, ch. 202–209.
# T‘ung Chih (circâ 1150), ch. 68.
To these of course must be added the great Catalogue of the Imperial Library:
l:3 See p. 174. Further details on T‘ai Kung will be found in the Shih Chi, ch. 32 ad init. Besides the tradition which makes him a former minister of Chou Hsin, two other accounts of him are there given, according to which he would appear to have been first raised from a humble private station by Wên Wang.
li:3 See Han Shu, #, ch. 40. The work is there called #. Hence it has been confused with the Liu T‘ao. The T‘u Shu attributes both the Liu T‘ao and the San Lüeh to T‘ai Kung.
li:4 #. Another work said to have been written by Huang-shih Kung, and also included in the military section of the Imperial Catalogue, is the # Su Shu in 1 chüan. A short ethical treatise of Taoist p. lii savour, having no reference whatever to war, it is pronounced a forgery from the hand of # Chang Shang-ying (d. 1121), who edited it with commentary. Correct Wylie's "Notes," new edition, p. 90, and Courant's "Catalogue des Livres Chinois," no. 5056.
lii:1 #. We are told in the # that the above six works, together with Sun Tzŭ, were those prescribed for military training in the # period (1078–85). See # Yü Hai, ch. 140, f. 4 r°.
lii:2 Also written # and # Wu Chi Ching.