1. Sun Tzu (also known as Sun Wu, first half of 5th century B.C.) Sun Tzu is undoubtedly one of the most influential military philosophers of ancient Asia (544 – 496 BC). [i] Scholars debate Sun Tzu’s life period between the Zhou Dynasty or the Warring States Period. [ii] Based on his title “Tzu,” he was considered a master in his craft and was the military advisor of King Helu. [iii] Sun Tzu’s military philosophy was an indirect approach to achieving victory. In contrast to a direct absolute war approach, Sun Tzu believed psychological warfare and economic pressure was the best strategy for a warrior to achieve victory in War. [iv]
  2. SunTzu’s Art of War Modern discoveries believe the Art of War was written during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). [v] The Art of War’s principle philosophy is to take advantage of indirect strategies in War instead of conventional means unless the conventional means are favored based on circumstances. Sun Tzu’s philosophy models modern-day unconventional or guerrilla warfare strategies. The principles of the Art of War were studied by Mao Zedong and other communist Chinese leaders. The English translation finally reached the western world in the early nineteenth century and is now required reading in military universities and war colleges worldwide. [vi]
  3. Kautilya (c.350-c.275 B.C.) Kautilya was the key advisor to the Indian King Chandragupta Maurya (c. 317-293 B.C.E.). [vii] Kautilya wrote his book Arthasastra with the intent of guiding a king on how to rule. Kautilya is most famous for his foreign policy known as the Mandala theory. [viii] The Mandala theory stipulates that the immediate neighboring country is an enemy, but the neighboring countries’ enemies are considered an ally.
  4. Arthasastra Arthasastra is considered one of the greatest political books written in the ancient world. Written long before the birth of Christ, its philosophy makes Machiavelli’s The Prince look harmless. [ix] Similar to Thomas Hobbes, Kautilya believed the goal of his political science was power. For Kautilya, the control of behavior and thoughts of subjects and enemies is a manifestation of power. [x] The Arthasastra was considered a lost source until its rediscovery in the early twentieth century. Since its rediscovery, Arthastastra’s English translations have become relevant to political realism and is comparable to Machiavelli’s The Prince. [xi]
  5. Miyamoto Musashi (1584 – 1645) Miyamoto Musashi was born to Samurai parents during the Warring States Period around 1584 in the Harima province of Honshu, Japan. [xii] His father trained Musashi at an early age in the art of Kenjitsu. Known for his reputation as an excellent swordsman, Musashi killed his first person by the sword at thirteen. [xiii] Musashi fought in different wars and various battles, eventually becoming a ronin with 60 dueling victories by age 29. [xiv] Eventually, Musashi abandoned metal swordplay for a wooden two-handed style he mastered and called “Two Heavens, One Style.” Musashi lived the rest of his days in a cave where he wrote his military philosophy, “The Book of Five Rings.” [xv]
  6. Bushido Bushido was a “complex Japanese warrior code that evolved throughout the medieval era in Japan and one that directed the moral and psychological development of the samurai warrior and their training in both martial arts and strategy.” [xvi]
  7. The Book of Five Rings The Book of Five Rings was written in 1645 as a practical guide on how a practitioner of swordsmanship should act in a particular situation. [xvii] The Book of Five Rings is not a military strategy of being a great commander like Arthashastra and The Art of War. Nevertheless, Musashi believed that the book’s mastery of cognitive techniques is applicable from individual combat to combat between massive armies. [xviii]
  8. Aeneas Tacticus (mid-4th century B.C.) Aeneas is the name of the author of the Paliorketika, given as an educated guess by historians. Historical editors of the Paliorketika added the name Tacticus to Aeneas to distinguish him from other Greek Aeneas and imply the author as a military tactician. [xix] It is not sure that General Aeneas is the actual author of the Paliorketika. [xx]
  9. Paliorketika Very little is written in the Paliorketika to confirm the assumed author of the writing. The Paliorketika explores “operational security and siege warfare, how to protect a threatened city from internal treachery, surprise assaults, prolonged sieges, how to perform offensive action outside of your city walls . . . how to garrison a city, set up watches, operate a gatehouse, smuggle or import arms, create signals and secret messages, institute martial law, as well as how to handle mercenaries in your employment.”[xxi]
  10. Renatus Flavius Vegetius (late 4th century) Very little is known about his life, but Vegetius is known as a high ranking Roman Soldier with extensive experience apparent to his book. [xxii] Vegetius states that the purpose of his book is to “collect and synthesize from ancient manuscripts and regulations the military customs and wisdom that made ancient Rome great.” [xxiii] He wrote his treatise “De Ri Militari” between 384 and 389 when Rome declined due to barbarization.
  11. The Military Institutions of the Romans Di Ri Militari was presented as a military manual concerning “strategy, tactics, logistics, and matters relating to command, control, communication, and intelligence.” [xxiv] De Ri Militari became one of the most influential military manuals of the historical West used by modern military commanders and theorists. [xxv]
  12. Emperor Maurice (582 – 602) Emperor Maurice reigned for two decades as a Roman Emperor (582 – 602). In 602, Maurice’s reign was cut short, overthrown, and killed. One of Maurice’s most significant accomplishments was the Byzantine Army’s restructuring and its reforms written in the Strategikon, one of the most important medieval period publications. [xxvi]
  13. The Strategikon The purpose of the Strategikon was to serve as a manual to train the mounted troops of the Byzantine army. Military analyst and government consultant Charles C. Peterson writes the Strategikon applies in today’s military organizations and its philosophies to Sun Tzu’s Art of War. [xxvii] The Strategikon consists of 12 chapters of instructions on how commanders can train and maneuver their Soldiers on the offensive with excellent efficacy.[xxviii]
  14. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527) Niccolo Machiavelli was born in Florence on May 03, 1469. Both of his parents were of the old nobility of Florence. In his youth, he lived through the great power of Lorenzo De’ Medici. Machiavelli first entered public office when the Medici fell from power and Florence became a Republic, but he lost his office when the Medici returned to power. [xxix] Machiavelli’s experiences gave him a unique insight into the art of statecraft and War. He wrote two books, The Art of War and the Prince. Through his writings, Machiavelli’s legacy transcends into the modern-day, and those who make intentions to practice his philosophy are given the adjective of Machiavellian. In particular, the Art of War was a favorite of many of the greatest military philosophers, such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Carl von Clausewitz. [xxx]
  15. Machiavelli’s The Art of War and the Prince The Prince is a book written by Niccolo Machiavelli and dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli expresses the purpose of the book is to express the attributes of a ruler and hopes his instructions may help the Prince see Italy to a successful resolve over its political distress. [xxxi] Written after The Prince was Machiavelli’s The Art of War. In fictional dialogue format between four men and a real mercenary who served the papacy, Fabrizio Colonna. In the Art of War, Machiavelli communicates his sentiments regarding the military’s nature as the foundation of his military philosophy. [xxxii]
  16. Sebastian le Prestre de Vauban (1633 – 1707) Sebastian le Prestre de Vauban was an engineer who developed a plan to build new fortresses along France’s frontiers and reinforce existing fortresses. Vauban plans successfully built 37 new fortresses and improved up to 300 fortresses before being promoted to Marshal of France and finally retiring in 1703. [xxxiii] Resulting from Vauban’s extensive military engineering talent, currently, twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites commemorate Sebastian le Prestre de Vauban’s legacy. [xxxiv]
  17. Maurice de Saxe (1696 – 1770) Maurice de Saxe was the son of Saxony and Polish King Augustus II. During the Spanish Succession war, he was enrolled as an officer in the Saxon Infantry at the age of 12. Maurice de Saxe had an extraordinary military career. King Loui, the XV, promoted him to Marshal General, which gave Maurice de Saxe command of all the French Armies; honor was given to only five others in French history besides Maurice de Saxon. [xxxv]
  18. Reveries on the Art of War Marshal de Saxe’s Reveries of the Art of War is a 32 chapter book written in 1732. Remarkably, he wrote his book during a thirteen-night span while being bedridden with a fever. [xxxvi] Marshal de Saxe had an enlightenment worldview that inclined him to believe that reason should guide War and all human endeavors. His reveries gave instructions of a wide variety of military tactics and troops’ training, which became standard operating procedures in all Europe. His fascination with military technology improved precision and manufacturing throughout the early half of the nineteenth century. [xxxvii]
  19. Frederick II the Great of Prussia (1740 – 86). Frederick became King in 1740 after succeeding Marshal de Saxon as Commander in the War of Polish Succession. He was an important influence on the Generalship of Napoleon Bonapart. Napoleon considered Frederick the II as a military and political mentor. [xxxviii] The Nazi Regime attempted to justify their actions and compare Hitler to Frederick because of the similar German territories’ expansion. Today, postwar Germany and most of the world recognizes Frederick the II as a military genius. [xxxix]
  20. The King of Prussia’s Military Instructions to His Generals In 1747, Frederick wrote his military treatise, “The King of Prussia’s Military Instructions to His Generals.” The title is a description of the content and context of the book. The advice in the book is in context with Prussia and how to best deal with its enemies. [xl]
  21. Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831) Carl von Clausewitz was the son of a Prussian retired Army officer. He began his military training at the age of twelve as an officer cadet. [xli] In 1806 he suffered becoming a prisoner of war by the French Army. Clausewitz served with distinction between 1813 to 1814 as a liaison officer between the Prussian and Russian armies and rose to Brigadier General’s rank. After the Napoleonic Wars, Clausewitz served as President of the Prussian War College, where he wrote his seminal work, On War, until his death of Cholera in 1831. [xlii]
  22. Clausewitz’s On War Clausewitz’s On War focus’s on conventional warfare between states. The book was written between 1816 and 1830. It is an extensive volume of eight books and numerous chapters in each book. [xliii] Significantly, Clausewitz conveys the relationship between politics and war-making. The political detail made On War a substantial addition to military theory in the “Age of National Warfare.” [xliv] On War has been an immense influence on many governments and countries’ militaries. In the United States, the 1984 Weinberger Doctrine is modeled after the ideas of Carl von Clausewitz. [xlv]
  23. Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840 – 1914) Alfred Thayer Mahan served in the Union Navy as a naval officer during the Civil War. After many military endeavors and rising through the ranks, Mahan was appointed as an instructor at the Naval War College. He strongly advocated for the United States to establish a powerful navy to match its robust growing economy. [xlvi] The United States, Europe, and Japan welcomed Mahan’s ideas, and Mahan influenced their naval doctrines against the Russians. [xlvii] 
  24. The Influence of Sea Power Among History, 1660 – 1783 Mahan’s seminal work, “The Influence of Sea Power,” is a culmination of his ideas and lectures and precisely conveys his critical sea control and command of the sea concept. Command of the sea doctrine influenced the United States to restructure its battle fleet, making it possible for merchant ships to travel freely while pressing enemy ships to stay at a port or relative non-threatening distance. [xlviii] One of Mahan’s sea control’s core concepts is to pressure the enemy to battle offshore, preventing any assault from reaching U.S. lands. [xlix]
  25. Julian Corbett (1854 – 1922) Julian Corbett was the son of a land developer. He became a lawyer until 1882 when he switched careers to become a writer of historical novels. [l] He became the leading intellectual for the Royal Navy, writing naval history and strategy. He modeled his theories after Clausewitz but differentiated between land and naval warfare writing his seminal work “Some Principles of Maritime Strategy.” [li] Four of Corbett’s ideas continue to influence today’s militaries, including; “controlling lines of communication, understanding the political, economic, and financial dimensions of waging war, the partnership between civilian and military policymakers in devising appropriate strategies to protect the national interests, efficient strategies, and tactics designed to win wars while preserving costly assets.” [lii]

[i] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Before Organized Military Philosophy: War Celebrated in Poem,” accessed January 31, 2021.

[ii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “ Military Philosophy in Ancient China: Sun Tzu (Traditional Life Dates, 544 – 496),” accessed January 31, 2021.

[iii]  Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “ Summery of Sun Tzu’s Art of War,” accessed January 31, 2021.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Roger Boesche, “Kautilya’s Arthasastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India.” The Journal of Military History 67, no. 1 (01, 2003): 9-38. Accessed January 31, 2021.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Military Philosophy in Ancient India: Kautilya (350 – 275 BC),” accessed January 31, 2021.

[xii] Bian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Military Philosophy in Medieval Japan: Myamoto Mushashi (1584 – 1685),” accessed January 31, 2021.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Summary of Miyamoto Mushashi’s Book of Five Rings (written 1645),” accessed January 31, 2021.

[xvii] Bian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Military Philosophy in Medieval Japan: Myamoto Mushashi (1584 – 1685),” accessed January 31, 2021.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Kai Broderson, “Aeneus Tacticus” accessed January 31 2021.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Classical Military Philosophy in Hellenic Greece: Aeneas Tacticus (fourth century BC), accessed January 31, 2021.

[xxii] Renatus Vegetius Flavius, “Epitoma Rei Militari” In Encyclopedia of Warrior Peoples & Fighting Groups, edited by Paul K. Davis, and Allen Lee Hamilton. 3rd ed. Grey House Publishing, 2016. Accessed January 31, 2021.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Classical Military Philosophy in Late Imperial Rome: Flavius Vegetius Renatus (fourth century AD), accessed January 31 2021.

[xxv] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Summary of Vegetius’ De Re Militari (written 384-389 AD)” accessed January 31 2021.

xxvi Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Medieval Military Philosophy in Byzantium: Emperor Maurice of Byzantium (582 – 602)” accessed January 31, 2021.

xxvii Charles C. Petersen, “Maurice’s Strategikon Forces.” Hampton Roads Military History (Online) 2, (Winter, 2008): 2-7- Byzantine Lessons for Today’s Armed. Accessed January 31, 2021.

[xxviii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Medieval Military Philosophy in Byzantium: Emperor Leo the VI of Byzantium (886 – 912), accessed January 31 2021.

[xxix] Niccolo Machiavelli, Marriot, W.K.. “The Project Gutenburg ebook of the Prince” accessed January 31 2021

[xxx] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “ Summary of Niccolo Machiavelli’s Art of War (1521) accessed January 31 2021.

[xxxi] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “ Summary of Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince (1521) accessed February 03 2021.

[xxxii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “ Summary of Niccolo Machiavelli’s Art of War (1521) accessed February 03 2021.

[xxxiii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “ Military Philosophy in the “Age of Luis the XIV” Sebestian le Prestre, Maruis de Vauban (1633 – 1707) accessed February 03 2021.

[xxxiv] Ibid.

[xxxv] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Military Philosophy in Enlightenmnet France: Herman Maurice de Saxe, Marsha de Saxe,” (1696 – 1750) accessed February 03 2021.

[xxxvi] Brian Todd Carey, MILG304 “Summary of Marshal de Saxe’s Reveries of the Art of War (1757)” accessed February 3, 2021.

[xxxvii] Ibid.

[xxxviii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Summary of Frederick the II “the Greats” The King of Prussia Military Instructions to His Generals (1747)”  accessed February 3, 2021.

[xxxix] Ibid.

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Military Philosophy in the Wake of Napoleon: Carl von Clausewitz (1770 – 1831)” accessed February 3, 2021.

[xlii] Ibid.

[xliii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Summary of Clausewtiz’s On War (1832)” accessed February 3, 2021.

[xliv] Ibid.

[xlv] Ibid.

[xlvi] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “The Origins of Modern Naval Theory: Alfred Thayer Mahan (1814 – 1914) accessed February 3, 2021.

[xlvii] Ibid.

[xlviii] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “Summary of Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power on History (1890)” accessed February 3, 2021. 

[xlix] Ibid.

[l] Brian Todd Carey, MILH304 “The Origins of Modern Naval Theory: Julian Corbett (1854 – 1922)” accessed February 3, 2021.

[li] Ibid.

[lii] Ibid.

Bibliography

Boesche, Roger. “Kautilya’s Arthasastra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India.” The Journal of Military History 67, no. 1 (01, 2003): 9-38. Accessed January 31, 2021.

Broderson, Kai. “Aeneus Tacticus” accessed January 31 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Before Organized Military Philosophy: War Celebrated in Poem,” accessed January 31, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “ Military Philosophy in Ancient China: Sun Tzu (Traditional Life Dates, 544 – 496),” accessed January 31, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Military Philosophy in Medieval Japan: Myamoto Mushashi (1584 – 1685),” accessed January 31, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Summary of Miyamoto Mushashi’s Book of Five Rings (written 1645),” accessed January 31, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Classical Military Philosophy in Hellenic Greece: Aeneas Tacticus (fourth century BC), accessed January 31, 2021

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Classical Military Philosophy in Late Imperial Rome: Flavius Vegetius Renatus (fourth century AD), accessed January 31 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Summary of Vegetius’ De Re Militari (written 384-389 AD)” accessed January 31 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Medieval Military Philosophy in Byzantium: Emperor Maurice of Byzantium (582 – 602)” accessed January 31, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Medieval Military Philosophy in Byzantium: Emperor Leo the VI of Byzantium (886 – 912), accessed January 31 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “ Summary of Niccolo Machiavelli’s Art of War (1521) accessed January 31 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “ Summary of Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince (1521) accessed February 03

Carey, BrianMILH304 “ Military Philosophy in the “Age of Luis the XIV” Sebestian le Prestre, Maruis de Vauban (1633 – 1707) accessed February 03 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Military Philosophy in Enlightenmnet France: Herman Maurice de Saxe, Marsha de Saxe,” (1696 – 1750) accessed February 03 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Summary of Marshal de Saxe’s Reveries of the Art of War (1757)” accessed February 3, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Summary of Frederick the II “the Greats” The King of Prussia Military Instructions to His Generals (1747)”  accessed February 3, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Military Philosophy in the Wake of Napoleon: Carl von Clausewitz (1770 – 1831)” accessed February 3, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Summary of Clausewtiz’s On War (1832)” accessed February 3, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “The Origins of Modern Naval Theory: Alfred Thayer Mahan (1814 – 1914) accessed February 3, 2021.

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “Summary of Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power on History (1890)” accessed February 3, 2021

Carey, Brian. MILH304 “The Origins of Modern Naval Theory: Julian Corbett (1854 – 1922)” accessed February 3, 2021.

Flavius, Renatus Vegetius, “Epitoma Rei Militari” In Encyclopedia of Warrior Peoples & Fighting Groups, edited by Paul K. Davis, and Allen Lee Hamilton. 3rd ed. Grey House Publishing, 2016. Accessed January 31, 2021.

Machiavelli, Niccolo. W.K. Marriot “The Project Gutenburg ebook of the Prince” accessed January 31 2021

Petersen, Charles. “Maurice’s Strategikon Forces.” Hampton Roads Military History (Online) 2, (Winter, 2008): 2-7- Byzantine Lessons for Today’s Armed. Accessed January 31, 2021.

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