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On the Art of War


SUN TZU ON THE ART OF WAR
THE OLDEST MILITARY TREATISE IN THE WORLD
Translated from the Chinese with Introduction and Critical Notes
BY
LIONEL GILES, M.A.
Assistant in the Department of Oriental Printed Books and MSS. in
the British Museum
First Published in 1910
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To my brother Captain Valentine Giles,
R.G. in the hope that a work 2400
years old may yet contain lessons worth
consideration by the soldier of
today this translation is affectionately
dedicated.
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Preface to the Project Gutenberg Etext —————————————
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When Lionel Giles began his translation of Sun Tzu's ART OF WAR,
the work was virtually unknown in Europe. Its introduction to Europe
began in 1782 when a French Jesuit Father living in China, Joseph
Amiot, acquired a copy of it, and translated it into French. It was not a
good translation because, according to Dr. Giles, "[I]t contains a great
deal that Sun Tzu did not write, and very little indeed of what he did."
The first translation into English was published in 1905 in Tokyo by
Capt. E. F. Calthrop, R.F.A. However, this translation is, in the words
of Dr. Giles, "excessively bad." He goes further in this criticism: "It is
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