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Mercenaries and Paid Men: The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages (Smithsonian History of Warfare)

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-9004164475
ISBN-10: 9004164472
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This stimulating collection of conference papers illustrates the changing nature of military history today. The combination of Whig and Puritan history that made mercenaries into representatives of the bad old days is disappearing. Historians are looking at them again, some wanting to understand how the process of recruiting foreign (or more local) warriors worked in social, economic, and political terms; some recognizing that Machiavelli's contemporaries had good reasons for ignoring his ideas; and some even seeing mercenaries as a step toward national armies" Reviewed by William Urban in H-HRE, H-Net Reviews. May, 2009.URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=22832

About the Author

John France, BA.PhD. (Nottingham) is Professor of Medieval History at Swansea University. He has published extensively on medieval military history, especially on the crusades. His Victory in the East is the military history of the First Crusade.
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Product Details

  • Series: Smithsonian History of Warfare (Book 47)
  • Hardcover: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Pub (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9004164472
  • ISBN-13: 978-9004164475
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,127,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book is a collection of 21 studies on "Mercenaries and Paid Men" during the middle Ages, with an introduction from John France, the author of a superb book on medieval warfare, among other publications.

The purpose of this book, which is derived from the proceedings of a conference held at the University of Wales (Swansea) in July 2005, is to examine "the Mercenary Identity in the Middles Ages". It is also to determine what it meant to be a mercenary and to what extent and how mercenaries could be defined. To achieve this, the numerous articles put together in this volume attempt to "tackle" the issue through numerous angles, considering soldiers of fortune from Merovingian armies right up to the 16th and early 17th century mercenaries in Ireland.

Among others, the book includes articles on the mercenaries at the time of Henry II "Fitz Empress" and an assessment (by David Crouch) to determine whether William Marshal qualifies as a mercenary or not. There is also an interesting article by Richard Abels distinguishing between household men, mercenaries and Vikings in Anglo-Saxon England and others on mercenaries in Spain during the 14th century and serving with the Teutonic Order during the early 15th century, plus another one on de Da Varano family as condottiere princes.

Two sets of articles stand out, showing to what extent the participants of this conference thoroughly investigated the topic. The first set includes "special" troops and covers engineers and miners in the Holy Land and soldiers of fortune in the fleets of Charles of Anjou, King of Sicily.
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