Art of war by Sun Tzu

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By Sun Tzu

This version licensed by way of the Holden-Crowther enterprise for Asian Studies.

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Second, the addition of mythic figures, especially Charlemagne, into the narrative reveals the structural hieratism of the author’s view of the relationship between the individual and society. In The Song of Roland, the “rules” of social behaviour are assumed to be known to all characters in the text, Christian and Saracen alike. The opening verse points to the author’s familiarity – and the characters’ familiarity – with the conventions of knightly behaviour. The central conflict of the entire story is simple: Christian versus pagan, warrior against warrior, type against anti-type.

Never was victory more decisive, never was the liberation of an oppressed people more instantaneous and complete. We learn this from his biographer Suetonius; and, indeed, every ancient writer who alludes to the overthrow of Varus attests the importance of the blow against the Roman power, and the bitterness with which it was felt. (adapted from: The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: O. A. Koch, Varusschlacht (Battle of the Teutoburg Forest), 1909. Oil on canvas. Lippisches Landesmuseum, Detmold.

Surrounded by the flower of his army, Alexander madly buffeted the rushing current, and made rapid progress toward the enemy. At length the centre of the Persian cavalry began to give ground, and immediately the two wings were broken and put to flight. Alexander did not pursue them far, but turned about to attack the Persian foot, which was engaged with his infantry. The Persians who had received the first attack of the Macedonians with firminess, upon the arrival of Alexander and his cavalry, instantly turned and fled.

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