Writer of the world's oldest military treatise, Sun Tzu wrote stratagems over 2,500 years ago that are still pertinent today.
What has been established though historical references in the text itself is that The Art of War was probably written between 505 and 496 BC, but the first direct reference to Sun Tzu was made nearly four centuries later. Therefore, an attempt to reconstruct even the outline of Sun Tzu's life must be based almost wholly on conjecture.
Sun would have lived near the end of the Chinese epoch know as the Spring and Autumn Period (770–475 BC). He was born into a military family from the northeastern state of Chi. There he may have entered the army and gained the honorific title Sun after showing great ability during an attack on the neighboring state of Ju. When civil war broke out in Chi, Sun Tzu fled south and entered the service of Ho Lu, King of Wu. From his own text we know that he was appointed general, successfully attacked the Chu three times, and prepared for battle with the state of Yueh. Ultimately, Yueh was able to crush Wu, the territory of which was incorporated into Yueh, probably after the death of Sun Tzu.
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