Reply To: Mercenaries and Slave Soldiers

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Hans Hellinger

Yes it is also related to the issue of so much of the historiography that was emphasized in the last 200 years being that of the Church, or the princely administrations and their courtiers, and later of Absolute Monarchs. So we rarely look at things from the point of view of the burghers and almost never of the peasants.

From the burghers point of view, the Hausmachtpolitik (“Game of Thrones”) of some princely family was pretty pointless. Endless bloodshed which could only made some douchebag more powerful. Mercenary service was tempting work but obviously not done for any cause or idealistic concept of patriotism when selling your sword to a prince. Of course, “mercenary” armies were also recruited by towns for self defense or by landfrieden to keep the general peace, repel invaders and so forth. Here the notion of what counts as a mercenary becomes fuzzier. I think there were actually many gradations.

But even in the purely “mercenary” sense, Germanic and West-Slavic mercenaries did seem to remain pretty loyal so long as they were paid, which is an improvement over a lot of the Condottiere.