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By Sun Tzu

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Adapted from: The Battle Roll by E. Perce) Albrecht Altdorfer, The Battle of Alexander at Issus, 1529. 3 cm. Alte Pinakothek, Munich. 39 Battle of Arbela (Battle of Gaugamela) (October, 331 BCE) Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves to the enemy’s purpose. By persistently hanging on the enemy’s flank, we shall succeed in the long run in killing the commander-in-chief. (Sun Tzu, Ch. 11, 60-61) Alexander spent the night before the Battle of Arbela in consultation with the diviner Aristander, and in sacrificing to the god Fear.

Roman Turtle Formation, detail of a casting of Trajan’s Column. 5 cm (diameter). The National Museum of Romanian History, Bucharest. Photographer: Cristian Chirita. 46 (adapted from: The Battle Roll by E. Perce) 47 48 Battle of Alesia (September, 52 BCE) To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy’s attack and remain unshaken – this is effected by manoeuvers direct and indirect. (Sun Tzu, Ch. 5, 3) Labienus, when neither the ramparts or ditches could check the onset of the enemy, informs Caesar by messengers of what he intended to do.

Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared. (Sun Tzu, Ch. 11, 29) At the age of one-and-twenty, Clovis found himself at the head of the Salian Franks, whose central position was at Tournesis, or Tournay. Rome yet retained within her feeble hold a district independent of the barbarians, of which the governor was Syagrius, and the chief city Soissons. Two such neighbours could not long retain their relative position. On the one side was a community in the last stage of decadence, without patriotic spirit, moral strength, or martial skill; on the other, a young society, trained to war and rapine as the main object of its being, and uniting to the energy of youth contempt for its foe and the confidence inspired by victories already won.

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