Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sun Tzu on Salt Marshes

For a variety of reasons, Sun Tzu is on my mind this evening. As most of my regular readers[1] know, my favourite bit is a slightly obscure, outdated and specific passage. So here it is; Sun Tzu The Art of War Chapter XI, Lines 7&8

7. In crossing salt-marshes, your sole concern should be to get over them quickly, without any delay.

8. If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you should have water and grass near you, and get your back to a clump of trees. So much for operations in salt-marshes.

So much for operations in salt-marshes indeed. Similarly my favourite out-of-context verses of the Bible are Leviticus 11, verses 9-12

9These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

10And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

11They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

12Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

(God and/or Moses is quite insistent on this topic, and it gets repeated in Deuteronomy 14 verses 9&10. It also explains why Lobsters and Prawns aren't kosher)

[1] All four of you