Who was Sun Tzu?

Updated: 4/28/2022
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Sun Tzu was the author of The Art of War, an early but insightful primer on war, diplomacy and statecraft. He lived during the Axial Period, ca. 500 BCE and is thought to have been a general.

Also, during the 19th and 20th centuries, Sun Tzu's The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society, and his work has continued to influence both Asian and Western culture and politics.

Historians have questioned whether or not Sun Tzu was an authentic historical figure. Traditional accounts place him in the Spring and Autumn Period of China (722-481 BC) as a military general serving under King Helü of Wu, who lived c. 544-496 BC. Scholars accepting his historicity place his supposed writing The Art of War in the Warring States Period (476-221 BC), based on the descriptions of warfare in the text. Traditional accounts state that his descendant, Sun Bin, also wrote a treatise on military tactics, titled Sun Bin's Art of War. (Both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese writings, and some historians thought that Sun Wu was in fact Sun Bin until Sun Bin's own treatise was discovered in 1972.)

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Q: Who was Sun Tzu?
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