'Medieval Mercenaries puts the events of the 14th century into a vivid historical context. He provides an astonishingly clear overview of the subject of mercenaries with tremendous authority and wit. It makes a thrilling read.' - TERRY JONES Groundbreaking work on the Middle Ages' soldiers of fortune Explores the period's surprising variety of mercenaries Meticulously researched and engagingly written 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. 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. 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. WILLIAM URBAN is the Lee L. Morgan Professor of History at Monmouth College, Illinois, USA. He is the author of numerous works, including the highly acclaimed The Teutonic Knights. TERRY JONES, formerly a member of the Monty Python troupe, holds a degree in medieval studies and presents the History Channel's Medieval Lives.
Publisher: Greenhill Books
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 617 g
Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 27 mm
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