Monday, May 4, 2009

Prisoners of war

Sunzi wrote in the Art of War (written in the 6th century BCE):

"Prisoners of war shall be treated well and cared for. This is called using the defeated enemy to increase (our own) strength."
卒善而養之是謂勝敵而益強。

The Southern Song (1127-1279) annotator Zhang Yu commented this passage thus:

"All soldiers taken prisoner must be cared for with magnanimity and good faith, so that they may be be used by us."
張預曰: 所獲之卒,必以恩信撫養之,俾為我用。

Source: 《孫子三論》

Translation of the two passages by me.

Hat tip: The Useless Tree