Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Mercenary
(3,515 words)

1. Concept and characteristics

A mercenary (from Latin mercenarius, “hired for pay,” from merces “wages,” “reward”) is a soldier who fights for money (cf. French mercenaire; German Söldner, from Sold, MHG solt, “wage,” from the Italian soldo, “coin”, “recompense”; War). Unlike native recruits, who served on the basis of an obligation to their ruler that was effectively public service (Conscription), the merce…

Cite this page
Rink, Martin, “Mercenary”, 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 18 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_027634>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801



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