"Fromme Knechte" und "Garteteufel": Söldner als soziale Gruppe im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert

Title"Fromme Knechte" und "Garteteufel": Söldner als soziale Gruppe im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHuntebrinker, Jan Willem
Number of Pages451

In this masterful work, the author shows how the military system in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was subject to profound change as the feudal armies of knights during the Middle Ages had become pure mercenary armies. Thus, warrior status was no longer linked to a social origin, and traditional ideas about the legitimacy and the social location of the military came into question. Huntebrinker systematically differentiates between external and intenral perspectdive of life in these armies. Based on 54 contemporary illustrations, the author shows convincingly that these by no means showed reality, but rather relied on common stereotypes. Huntebrinker also uses “inside views” to shed light on norms and their transgression in the social and legal context of mercenaries. Often "deviant behaviors" such as mutinies or fights took place in the context of complex negotiation processes. For women, marriage or partnership with mercenaries could also hold opportunities and risks, as a group of field post letters shows. By explaining "Conflicts and Cultures" in the respective internal and external perspective, Huntebrinker refutes general ideas of a "life-world antagonism" between "civil" and "military", and that these living environments were more permeable than often assumed. Nevertheless, there is no reason for romanticization: consciously waged terror against the civilian population was part of the calculation of the economy of violence, and brawls with outsiders delimited the mercenary class.

Translated Title"Pious Servants" and "Garteteufel": Mercenaries as a Social Group in the 16th and 17th Centuries
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