The Yü Lan again reads 倍 for 背. Tu Mu quotes T‘ai Kung as saying: “An army should have a stream or a marsh on its left, and a hill or tumulus on its right.”
so that the danger may be in front, and safety lie behind.
Wang Hsi thinks that 後生 contradicts the saying 視生 in § 2, and therefore suspects a mistake in the text.
So much for campaigning in flat country.
10. These are the four useful branches of military knowledge
Those, namely, concerned with (1) mountains, (2) rivers, (3) marshes, and (4) plains. Compare Napoleon’s “Military Maxims,” no. I.
which enabled the Yellow Emperor to vanquish four several sovereigns.
Mei Yao-ch‘én asks, with some plausibility, whether 帝 is not a mistake for 軍 “armies,” as nothing is known of Huang Ti having conquered four other Emperors. The Shih Chi (ch. I ad init.) speaks only of his victories over 炎帝 Yen Ti and 蚩尤 Ch‘ih Yu. In the 六韜 it is mentioned that he “fought seventy battles and pacified the Empire.” Ts‘ao Kung’s explanation is, that the Yellow Emperor was the first to institute the feudal system of vassal princes, each of whom (to the number of four) originally bore the title of Emperor. Li Ch‘üan tells us that the art of war originated under Huang Ti, who received it from his Minister 風后 Fêng Hou.
11. All armies prefer high ground to low
“High ground,” says Mei Yao-ch‘ên, “is not only more agreeable and salubrious, but more convenient from a military point of view; low ground is not only damp and unhealthy, but also disadvantageous for fighting.” The original text and the T‘u Shu have 好 instead of 喜.
and sunny places to dark.
12. If you are careful of your men,
Ts‘ao Kung says: 向水草可放牧養畜 “Make for fresh water and pasture, where you can turn out your animals to graze.” And