By John France
Mercenaries have continually had a bad press. Theirs is among the world's oldest professions, however the very observe has profoundly unfavorable connotations of infidelity and ruthlessness. but when they have been like this, have been they so various from infantrymen?
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Extra resources for Mercenaries and Paid Men: The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages
They are only interested in money; they are incompetent soldiers useful only for the more sordid aspects of warfare; they are dishonest, and oppressive if given power; but in particular they stand outside the network of relationships between king-duke, magnates and knights. They were not necessarily loyal either, despite owing their living to fulfilling short-term military contracts efficiently. We find this slander outside the Marshal biography, but deriving from the same generation. 7 But perhaps the key thing they do not share with their betters is the professed respect of a nobleman for the defenceless in society.
15 Chanson d’Aspremont, ed. L. Brandin 2 vols (Classiques français du moyen âge, 1923–4) 1. ll. 2212–23. 16 HWM 1. ll. 5060–6. 17 Carmen elegiacum de Waleranno comite Mellenti, in, Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard, ed. R. Howlett 4 vols (Rolls Series, 1886–89) 2. 768. 18 A. ), Cligés, Classiques français du moyen âge (Paris, 1957), 11. 188–213. 19 Alan of Lille, Anticlaudianus, trans. J. Sheridan (Toronto, 1973), 185. 20 L’abbaye Toussaint d’Angers des origines à 1330. Étude historique et cartulaire, ed.
Cligés, Classiques français du moyen âge (Paris, 1957), 11. 188–213. 19 Alan of Lille, Anticlaudianus, trans. J. Sheridan (Toronto, 1973), 185. 20 L’abbaye Toussaint d’Angers des origines à 1330. Étude historique et cartulaire, ed. F. Comte (Société des Études Angevines, 1985), 148. 21 H. d’Arbois de Jubainville, Histoire des ducs et des comtes de Champagne 6 vols (Paris, 1861), 3. 312. 22 Richard W. Kaeuper, Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe (Oxford, 1999), 198, points out the link between Largesse and Prowess as noble virtues, the latter enabling the former, and therefore finds Chrétien’s comments unconvincing because he regards Prowess as the principal chivalric quality.