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MercenariesThe History of a Norm in International Relations$
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Sarah Percy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199214334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214334.001.0001

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The Origins of the Norm against Mercenary Use, 1100–1600

The Origins of the Norm against Mercenary Use, 1100–1600

(p.68) 3 The Origins of the Norm against Mercenary Use, 1100–1600

Sarah Percy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the early origins of the norm against mercenary through three major cases of mercenary use, broadly covering the period that runs from the 12th century through to the 16th century. It looks at mercenaries in France and England from the 12th to the 14th century, with a particular focus on the routiers and écorcheur of 14th-century France. It also discusses Swiss mercenaries from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Finally it looks at Italian mercenaries during the same period. The military enterpriser system in the German states during the Thirty Years War is also considered. These four cases show that the anti-mercenary norm ultimately led to a major shift away from mercenary use by the end of the 17th century. Rulers brought the mercenary trade entirely under the control of the state, eliminating the independent, entrepreneurial mercenary from the international stage. After the 17th century, states bought and sold units of mercenaries or allowed the recruitment of individual mercenaries on their territory under strict licence.

Keywords:   anti-mercenary, mercenary, norms, France, England, Switzerland, Germany, Italy

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