Warfare in Ancient China


Mark Cartwright
published on 21 August 2019
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Chinese warfare involved perhaps the largest and most technologically advanced armies in the ancient world. Chariots, cavalry, swords, bows and crossbows were all staple features of the battles which raged as rulers forever struggled to dominate this huge country and defend its borders against threatening neighbours. This collection examines in detail the weapons, armour, fortifications and strategies employed in such martial-obsessed periods as the Warring States period and the War of the Eight Princes. We will also look at perhaps the greatest manual on warfare ever produced, The Art of War by Sun-Tzu (5th century BCE) and certainly the most impressive tomb ever dedicated to warfare, that of Shi Huangdi (r. 221-210 BCE) and his massive terracotta army.

…in battle one engages with the orthodox and gains victory through the unorthodox…One who employs strategic power [shih] commands men in battle as if he were rolling logs and stones…Thus the strategic power of one who excels at employing men in warfare is comparable to rolling round boulders down a thousand-fathom mountain.

(The Art of War)



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About the Author

Mark Cartwright
Mark is a history writer based in Italy. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at WHE.

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