New wars, old wars, and medieval wars: European mercenaries as state actors in Europe and North Africa, CA. 1100-1500

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Medieval European mercenaries are often seen as impediments to state formation because European monarchies found them expensive and difficult to control. By taking a broader comparative approach to their deployment that encompasses North Africa, I show that these soldiers could serve as effective agents of state power. Abandoning the mercenaries is sometimes represented as a positive break with the medieval past that accelerated European progress into the modern political order of states and standing armies. From a comparative point of view, however, this transition looks more like a gradual retreat from a system for organizing violence that continued to function well in other parts of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-52
Number of pages20
JournalMediterranean Studies
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Europe
  • Mercenaries
  • Middle Ages
  • New Wars
  • Non-state actors
  • North Africa
  • Old Wars
  • State formation

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