Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(823 words)

Desertion is the military offense of absenting oneself without leave from one's unit (Martial law). The term is not yet found in military law (War, law of) of the classical mercenary armies in the early modern period, but rather a whole series of related concepts, circumscribed as deserting the flag, abandoning one's post, etcetera. The spectrum ranged from plundering without due authority, to fleeing under fire, to collective withdrawal as a form of strike. Such actions, most of which involved only temporary absence, indicate the lability of early modern military …

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Sikora, Michael, “Desertion”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018251>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626

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