Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/29

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xxvii
Introduction

and of course the 13 chapters must have been written earlier still. But at that time, and for several years after, down to the capture of Ying in 506, Ch‘u, and not Yüeh, was the great hereditary enemy of Wu. The two states, Ch‘u and Wu, had been constantly at war for over half a century,[1] whereas the first war between Wu and Yüeh was waged only in 510,[2] and even then was no more than a short interlude sandwiched in the midst of the fierce struggle with Ch‘u. Now Ch‘u is not mentioned in the 13 chapters at all. The natural inference is that they were written at a time when Yüeh had become the prime antagonist of Wu, that is, after Ch‘u had suffered the great humiliation of 506. At this point, a table of dates may be found useful.

BC.
514
Accession of Ho Lu.
512
Ho Lu attacks Ch‘u, but is dissuaded from entering Ying, the capital. Shih Chi mentions Sun Wu as general.
511
Another attack on Ch‘u.
510
Wu makes a successful attack on Yüeh. This is the first war between the two states.
509
Ch‘u invades Wu, but is signally defeated at 豫章 Yü-chang.
or
508
506
Ho Lu attacks Ch‘u with the aid of T‘ang and Ts‘ai. Decisive battle of 柏舉 Po-chü, and capture of Ying. Last mention of Sun Wu in Shih Chi.
505
Yüeh makes a raid on Wu in the absence of its army. Wu is beaten by Ch‘in and evacuates Ying.
504
Ho Lu sends 夫差 Fu Ch‘ai to attack Ch‘u.
497
勾踐 Kou Chien becomes King of Yüeh.
496
Wu attacks Yüeh, but is defeated by Kou Chien at 檇李 Tsui-li. Ho Lu is killed.

  1. When Wu first appears in the Ch‘un Ch‘iu in 584, it is already at variance with its powerful neighbour. The Ch‘un Ch‘iu first mentions Yüeh in 537, the Tso Chuan in 601.
  2. This is explicitly stated in the Tso Chuan, 昭公 XXXII, 2: 夏吳伐越始用師於越也.