Talk:Mercenary

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Removing link to prostitution[edit]

Prostitutes provide sexual services for money. Mercenaries kill people for money. I don't really see a connection. TheoryOfPractice (talk) 18:16, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

new section[edit]

I added a new sections about some typical prejudices against mercenaries, might be good if someone would spellchack them (rembember, non-native speaker here). Gmb (talk) 21:52, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Historically, though, what you added isn't really that true. There are plenty of examples of well-known and respected mercenary companies extorting their bosses. (Even in teh modern world, you see it with Blackwater, etc.) Also, plenty of easy victories were lost due to mercenaries stopping to loot instead of following up. Researcher (talk) 23:28, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Which historical examples would that be? Gmb (talk) 11:39, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Have you ever read about the medieval condottieri? Researcher (talk) 00:04, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes. And also about the german Landsknechte and the swiss Reisläufer, and about just anybody else who carried arms at some time or another in europe. I`m a student of historical science, with european military history as my specialization ;)
Please note that I wrote that the believe is mostly! wrong. Of course there are lots of examples of mernearies deserting, looting, etc, but popular history tends to exaggerate those negative examples. And the condottieri are actually a good example for my thesis: As soon as they encountered the Landsknechte, they were all but wiped out and disappeared from the european battlefields. More later, I`m writing from a netbook right now. Gmb (talk) 17:29, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Mercenary mutiny[edit]

Should we add a bit about the mercenaries in Africa and their various mutinies? ArchieGoodwin (talk) 22:58, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

The free market, the perfect way to find loyal war-wagers...... ?[edit]

The paragraph by Gmb from a few years ago contradicts the preceding paragraph that says "Machiavelli wrote that a mercenary, having no allegiance, will eventually hold the prince who employs him hostage for increasing amounts of money."

"The widely held image of the notoriously undisciplined, cowardly mercenaries who roam the land looting, raping, and murdering, however, is (mostly) wrong. A mercenary is a businessman, first and foremost, and as such is dependent on someone to hire him. So those mercenaries whose behavior does not advance the goals of an employer would be driven off the market (or into the ground) by those who aren't."

To me the above is just another repetition of a free-market believer's core tenet, and reflects the usual subtext of assuming that players in a market cannot or do not influence the market. Machiavelli's point is that mercs stand to push the employer around, but the above quote just denies that with no explanation why armed hard-men wouldn't have a problem with bullying some foppish royal. Or why someone who kills for money will only do that under orders, they would never kill another merc who is standing in the way of personal profit. Mercs wouldn't organise or unionise, etc..

94.197.122.74 (talk) 14:54, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

It's not a matter of bullying some foppish royal: what Machiavelli is talking about is that the mercenaries will realise they're the ones who decide if that prince stays in power or not: he needs them but they have no need of him, and so they can name their price, and change it as they wish. This is contrasted with maintaining a standing army with presumed loyalty to their birthplace, who won't actively screw said place over just to line their pockets (Machiavelli was apparently not particularly familiar with how many states have been overthrown by their own militaries).
But the reality is that the dislike of mercs stems from it being a form of social mobility: kings and princes weren't so stupid as to give mercs a salary, they paid them in a nice lump sum of land and noble title or as much pillage as they could carry home. But your nobles don't want nobility turning into a meritocracy, so they play up instances of mercs being disloyal, as do the mercs you just made into nobles because hey, no sense leaving the ladder up for other people to climb.
The assertion that they have no loyalty is also dubious, since they'd only be willing to work for people they thought could pay them, and would probably be killed if they switched sides as an example to others. Plus no small number of mercs are expatriate citizens who are fighting for a cause, just not for free. Nog Bogmire (talk) 08:33, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

An example[edit]

Should some mention be made of this chap: a probability approaching his age that he is the longest lived such. Anna Livia (talk) 22:55, 27 April 2020 (UTC)