The 36 Strategies

Use A Forgotten Strategy To Surprise Originally


Raise A Corpse From The Dead

Means that you have to re-use a forgotten or unused institution, technology, method or strategy to launch an original surprise attack to your enemy and that leads to victory.

Take an institution, a technology, or a method that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose. Revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose or to reinterpret and bring to life old ideas, customs, and traditions.

The powerful is beyond exploitation, but the weak needs help. Exploit and manipulate the weak for they need you more than you need them.


Han Dynasty China

When the emperor Huidi died in 188 BC he left no heir.

His mother, the empress Lu, bought a child several years before his death and had her daughter-in-law pretend that it was her own. To cover her tracks the empress had the boy's natural mother executed. After the emperor's death, the empress had this boy installed on the throne with herself as regent.

However, within two years the boy, after learning that his true mother had been executed, was heard to say: "When I become emperor I will know what to do." When the empress's spies reported the words spoken by the young emperor she had him murdered and another puppet set in his place.

The empress ruled a prosperous empire for eight years through the six successive child emperors that she installed on the throne before dying of a mysterious illness. Rumor said her death was the result of a curse from one of her late husband's concubines, who was horribly mutilated and tortured according to the empress's precise instructions. The empress Lu is remembered in Chinese history as one of three notorious 'dragon ladies' who had seized the imperial throne.


Towards the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, the allied forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan defeated Cao Cao's army in the Battle of Chibi. Liu Bei seized part of the regions under the control of Jingzhou Prefecture.

Jingzhou was barren after many years of warfare. Liu Bei felt that he needed to expand his base. Cao Cao also decided to expand his base, he launched an attack on Hanzhong which was defended by Zhang Lu.

Yizhou administrator Liu Zhang whose state was bordered by Hanzhong became very worried. Liu Bei and Liu Zhang were scions of the Han dynasty and Cao Cao's enemy. Liu Zhang thought that it was best to seek Liu Bei's help.

Liu Zhang despatched Fa Zheng to seek Liu Bei's help. Fa Zheng told Liu Bei, "Liu Zhang is weak, incompetent and unpopular with many officials. I hope you'll take this chance to sieze Yizhou. Zhang Song and I will help you secretly.". Liu Bei was pleased.

Under the pretext of fighting Zhang Lu, Liu Bei entered Yizhou's territory and obtained much supplies and reinforcements. Liu Bei also took the opportunity to improve the people's lot and win their support.

Liu Bei's military advisor Pang Tong told him, "Pretend to return to Jingzhou then find a pretext to sieze Baisui Pass and use it as a base to attack Yizhou."

After two years of warfare, Liu Bei conquered the territory in today's Sichuan and built his power base.


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