Mercenaries in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

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About the Book

In medieval and Renaissance Europe, mercenaries—professional soldiers who fought for money or other rewards—played violent, colorful, international roles in warfare, but they have received relatively little scholarly attention. In this book a large number of vignettes portray their activities in Western Europe over a period of nearly 900 years, from the Merovingian mercenaries of 752 through the Thirty Years’ War, which ended in 1648. Intended as an introduction to the subject and drawing heavily on contemporary first-person accounts, the book creates a vivid but balanced mosaic of the many thousands of mercenaries  and Vikings who were hired to fight for various employers.

About the Author(s)

Hunt Janin is an American writer living in southwestern France. He has written numerous nonfiction and scholarly books on a range of subjects, including medieval history and cross-cultural studies.

Ursula Carlson is a professor emerita at Western Nevada College, Carson City, Nevada.

Bibliographic Details

Hunt Janin with Ursula Carlson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: appendices, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7274-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1207-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface  1
Introduction: An Overview of Medieval and Renaissance Warfare  5
I. Meeting the Warriors and the Tools of Their Trade  23
II. The ­Long-­Haired Kings  48
III. “Human thoughts are inclined to greed”  60
IV. “They went about in bands of thousands”  74
V. “All the foreign knights, bowmen, their attendants and the mercenaries”  84
VI. “An escort of galloglas armed with ­battle-­axes”  92
VII. “Drink thy blood, Beaumanoir”  104
VIII. “They were bold and warlike fellows”  116
IX. A Skeleton in Armor  132
X. “The Light of Italy”  142
XI. “Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous”  151
Conclusions  169
Appendices
1. Armor  175
2. Swiss Mercenaries  178
Chronology  181
Chapter Notes  185
Bibliography  195
Index  205