Sun Wu (simplified Chinese: 孙武; traditional Chinese: 孫武; pinyin: Sūn Wǔ), style name Changqing (長卿), better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi (simplified Chinese: 孙子; traditional Chinese: 孫子; pinyin: Sūnzǐ; pronounced [swə́n tsɨ̀]), was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed and most likely to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as an author of The Art of War and through legend. 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 BCE) as a military general serving under King Helü of Wu, who lived c. 544—496 BCE. Scholars accepting his historicity place his supposed writing The Art of War in the Warring States Period (476–221 BCE), 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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