Art of War in Ancient China

627 Words3 Pages
Art of War in Ancient China

The overarching vision of history is one of shift in the prevailing

fundamental values forming the guiding principle of the ruler’s

governance of its subject over the three dynastic periods. This

vision of history direct our focus to the fundamental values that

government relied on—benevolence, virtue, righteousness etc—and the

major trend of characterized this historic development is the drastic

decline of virtue.

In the two passages, the different policies of ancient regimes—choice

of location and timing of announcing oath at war, utilization of

weapon’s sharpness, demonstration of execution, and use of reward and

punishment—are used to illustrate the shift in the prevailing

fundamental values the ruler relied on for governance and war.

Accordingly, I organized the information in the 2 passages into a

table. Base on the table, it is evident that the decline in

fundamental value' class='brand-secondary'>value of virtue is the prevailing trend. The narrative of

the decline in manifested values of governance goes back to the

antiquity, the period when virtue of the people is respected and made

manifest by the ruler. The people’s will to fight is sought out from

the people’s goodness, psychology and sprit is not manipulated. Shun

marked the height of virtue as neither reward and punishment is used.

The subsequent regimes give the rise of other prevailing values over

virtue. Hsia’s ruler rectified virtue by the use of weapon, but the

period is marked by height of instruction as reward is used to make

eminent the good; Shang rulers relied solely on righteousness, and the

the sole use of punishment, p...

... middle of paper ...

...heir intentions and await the


The shang relied on righteousness, so they first use the sharpness of


The Shang carried out executions in the market place to overawe the


The hsang imposed punishment but did not grant rewards

(height of awesomeness)

Chou (1045-256 B.C.)

King Wu of the Chou waited until the weapons were about to clash and

the swore his oath in order to stimulate the people’s will to fight.

The chou relied on force, so they fully utilized the sharpeness of

their weapons.

Granted rewards in court and carried out executions in the marketplace

to encourage gentlemen and terrify the common man.

Used both rewards and punishment. Virtue declined.

Conclusions about qualities of virtue

Kings of all three dynasty manifested virtue in the same way.
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