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Raise a Corpse From the Dead


Disciplines > Warfare > The 36 Stratagems > Raise a Corpse From the Dead

Stratagem | History | Discussion | See also

This stratagem number: 14

This group: Stratagems for Attack
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Take something from the past and re-use it in some way.

This can include using variations on old ideas, bringing them up to date, adapting them to modern use or fitting them into a broader strategy.

Retired people can be brought back into action. Old regiments can be reformed. Institutions can be re-invigorated. Customs and traditions can be brought back. Anything that was once used, including symbols and memories of former glory can be pressed into service.

Associate yourself with older credible people and ideas. Make them your own to build your own image.


This is the fourteenth stratagem of thirty-six.

Group name

Stratagems for Attack

Alternative names

Borrow a Corpse to Return the Soul

Borrow a Corpse to Resurrect the Soul

Borrow a Corpse for the Soul's Return

Borrow a Corpse to Bring Back a Spirit

Borrow a Corpse to Raise the Spirit

Or even:

Bring Back the Old Ways

Reuse and Reinvigorate


The Empress Lu adopted a series of boys as her own in order that they may 'succeed' her dead husband and so keep her in power.

Puppet rulers have been used throughout history, where the nominal king or emperor is actually under the control of powerful generals or business people.

For many years, suits of armor fell out of use when ballistic weapons were able to pierce it. More recently, developments such as kevlar has seen an increase in military body armor.


In battle, strategies and tactics from recent wars may be expected, but older methods may have been forgotten or assumed to be no longer of value.

In business, plans and strategies which were shelved in the past may now be applicable. Old brands may also be revived, for example car marques of long-deceased companies from the 'golden age of motoring'.

The general principle of reuse is to find what works and ensure the knowledge and learning from this is continued rather than being rejected as 'old stuff'.

See also

Reflecting, Learning


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