Medieval Mercenaries

The Business of War

William Urban

The Middle Ages were a turbulent and violent time, when the fate of nations was most often decided on the battlefield, and strength of arms was key to acquiring and maintaining power. In this benchmark work, William Urban explores the vital importance of the mercenary to the medieval power-broker, from the Byzantine Varangian Guard to fifteenth-cen
Date Published :
January 2016
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Language:
English
Illustration :
b&w plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781848328549
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9.21 X 6.14 inches
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+
In stock
$24.95

Overview
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The Middle Ages were a turbulent and violent time, when the fate of nations was most often decided on the battlefield, and strength of arms was key to acquiring and maintaining power. Feudal oaths and local militias were more often than not incapable of providing the skilled and disciplined warriors necessary to keep the enemy at bay. It was the mercenary who stepped in to fill the ranks.

A mercenary was a professional soldier who took employment with no concern for the morals or cause of the paymaster. But within these confines we discover a surprising array of men, from the lowest-born foot soldier to the wealthiest aristocrat the occasional clergyman, even. What united them all was a willingness, and often the desire, to fight for their supper.

In this benchmark work, William Urban explores the vital importance of the mercenary to the medieval power-broker, from the Byzantine Varangian Guard to fifteenth-century soldiers of fortune in the Baltic. Through contemporary chronicles and the most up-to-date scholarship, he presents an in-depth portrait of the mercenary across the Middle Ages.

About The Author
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William L Urban is an internationally recognised authority on the history of European warfare. He served as L Morgan Professor of History and International Studies at Monmouth College (Illinois). For several years he was editor of the Journal of Baltic Studies. He has written some two dozen scholarly books including The Teutonic Knights (2003) and Small Wars, and their Influence on the Nation State (2016)

REVIEWS
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"Mercenary armies were a common thing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In this fascinating book based on contemporary chronicles and the latest research, William Urban tells the tumultuous story of soldiers of fortune at the service of various rulers. swarming anecdotes, the book offers an immersion into the complex and precarious world of professional soldiers whom war was primarily a matter of profit. It provides many individual portraits of mercenaries and studies their presence in works of writers as well known as Geoffrey Chaucer or Arthur Conan Doyle."

- Pretorien, No. 40

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