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Medieval Mercenaries: The Business of War

Medieval Mercenaries: The Business of War
by William Urban

List Price: $39.95 
Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN: 1853676977
Publisher: Greenhill Books
Publish Date:  November 27, 2006 

New in Print

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 minimum concern for the morals, ethics or cause of the paymaster. But within these confines we discover a surprising array of fighting-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. Shocking, informative and hugely entertaining, Medieval Mercenaries is a compelling account of the business of war in the age of chivalry.

About the Author:

William Urban is the Lee L. Morgan Professor of History at Monmouth College, Illinois. He is the author of numerous works, including the highly acclaimed The Teutonic Knights.
Terry Jones, best known for his part in Monty Python's Flying Circus, is also a distinguished medieval historian.

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