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Mercenaries and Paid Men: The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages (History of Warfare) Hardcover – 15 Jan 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Brill (15 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9004164472
  • ISBN-13: 978-9004164475
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,040,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER on 12 Sep 2013
Format: Hardcover
Mercenaries and Paid Men: The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages, ed. John France, Brill, 2008, 415pp

This is an interesting and readable collection of essays on the subject of `The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages', which were presented at a conference held at the University of Wales, Swansea, in 2005. It is volume #47 in the series History of Warfare from the publishers, Brill of Leiden.

As with any collection, readers will find a number of items of greater and lesser interest, depending on their own areas of study.

From the end of the Editor's Introduction:
"What this conference served to show was the complexity of the military profession in Medieval Europe. The exigencies of a limited agricultural economy prohibited the creation of regular armies. Short-term armies were made up of many different kinds of people enjoying complicated relationships with their commanders. We may talk of the army of this king or that, but most soldiers probably saw themselves as being the men of a whole host of lesser captains and lords. The greater army was a composite of retinues and hirelings, and though the overall commander's money held the whole thing together like a cement, it was less a monolith than a network of complicated relationships. In these circumstances we might do well to regard mercenary as a term of art, a paradigm to which some approximated more than others, but which, in itself, had little contemporary reality."

The Contents are -
P001: Introduction - John France
P015: William Marshal and the Mercenariat - David Crouch
P033: Revisiting Mercenaries under Henry Fitz Empress, 1167-1188 - John D.
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Mar 2013
Format: Hardcover
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Superb collection of studies on medieval mercenaries 13 Mar 2013
By JPS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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. The second set includes articles seeking to determine whether the Early Hungarians in the 9th century were mercenaries (Charles Bowlus) and whether it is possible to come up with a cross-cultural typology of mercenaries that would allow the Mamluks to fit in (Stephen Morillo).

Finally, there are also a couple of fascinating articles on the origin of money-fiefs in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and whether their holders would qualify also as mercenaries, and on then Anglo-Flemish Treaties where the latter agreed in advance to supply significant numbers of mounted warriors on demand, provided the Kings of England would pay for them.

To avoid spoiling it for those who may be tempted to buy this worthwhile book, I will refrain from mentioning which types of soldiers qualified as mercenaries and which did not, according to the authors. Suffice to say that the concept of mercenary across the whole period remained a rather elusive one, partly because the warrior ethos of the nobility implied that it was somewhat unflattering to fight primarily for money, as opposed to fighting "for a cause" or serving under the banners of their liege lords.

This is a superb collection of studies which is well worth five stars, assuming you focus on its contents only (and do not think too much about its price).
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