Monday, October 22, 2007

Sun Tzu; The Art of War, Chapter 4 "Tactical Advantages; Defense & Offense"

Thermopylae is a good example for Sun Tzu's chapter on tactical advantages, both offensive and defensive.

One's defeat is his own to give.

But, one's victory is his opponent's to give.

The Creator has granted each individual the power of self defeat (our free will), but not the power of self elevation (glorification). These are essentially the same terms for us as they were for Jesus.


This is a brief quote about Leonidas and the Battle of Thermopylae from another blogger. It appears to be accurate from the sources that I checked. Also, I watched the History Channel special, which was a run-up to the theatrical release of a Hollywood movie named "300", from early 2007. The quote is hyperlinked if you want to read the full post.
The Persians continued via a land march to the Pass of
Thermopylae, where they were faced by 300 Spartans and 8700 Greek soldiers from
allied cities. These were an advance force representing the Greek cities,
because troops from the other cities were occupied and could not assemble in
time. Xerxes demanded the surrender of the Greek force, proclaiming that
the Persian arrows would fill the sky. The king of the Spartans replied
"Good, then we'll fight in the shade."


The Sun Tzu chapter on tactical disposition, which is under consideration in my latest styled presentation, really addresses how 300 Spartans could effectively hold 1.7 million Persians for three days.

Leonidas' force, of about 1300 strong, killed 20,000 of Xerxes' Persian warriors.

Leonidas was prepared in mind and deed, for the epic battle. Leonidas was defeated only by Leonidas' own forces, whom he had sent to guard a little known pass called the "path of Anopaea".

Consider this inscription from the banner for the Greek 15th Infantry Brigade, with the words of Leonidas inscribed upon it. "This number is good enough" These are the words of Leonidas, when he was asked how he could hope to defeat the vast Persian forces.

Yet, Leonidas had one caveat "...the entire Greece does not have so many soldiers [as Xerxes Persian force], but depending on how we fight this number is enough."

The caveat defeated him.

I wonder about the power that God has granted humans. I believe that Sun Tzu has accurately given the boundaries for our failure or success.

Mr. Tzu makes a good case for an objective standard of who will be victorious and who will go down to defeat.

Nevertheless, Leonidas eventually won the war over Xerxes, even if he fell at Thermopylae, because Greece would not allow themselves to be conquered and the King from the east, left the islands with much less Persian blood and much less Persian treasure.

2 comments:

D.S. Martin said...

The implications of this chapter are important.
I have evaluated the Leonidas "defeat" and I no longer believe that he was defeated.

Is Leonidas' death synonymus with his defeat?

Is Jesus' death synonymus with his defeat?

Xerxes lost his campaign to Greece, and that was Leonidas' goal. Leondias died, the pass at Thermopylae changed hands to the Persians, but even so, the Greeks never gave Xerxes his victory.

Leondias and Jesus are quite similar in their startegic philosophies.

The Persians were incredulous that Leonidas and the Greeks brushed out their hair and shined their armour and were primping before the final battle. But, Xerxes did not understand that Leonidas' Spartans were preparing their bodies for burial. These men were giving their lives freely. They, however, were not giving Xerxes a victory.

Jesus' body too, was prepared in advance for His burial, by Mary, the sister of Lazurus, and Judas was incredulous that Mary would waste perfume on the Lord.

Jesus stated plainly in Jn 10:18
No one can take my life from me. I lay down my life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given me this command.”
Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997 . Tyndale House: Wheaton, Ill.

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