As promised, I made this thread for those of us that like to get our history nerd on at times. From time to time I'll drop some knowledge nuggets from the random things I have and like to study, summarized thusly from the last thread I jacked:
@seher said: My areas of focus were ancient to medieval Asia and medieval Europe, largely military but also some religious persecution/heretical sects.
I have decided, however, in the interests of keeping things civil on my employer's forums, that I won't touch on things in the realm of politics and/or religion that have a bad tendency on the internets to cause heated arguments, even when begun with the purest of intentions.
I'm going to start off answering Lena's question about books on early Renaissance mercenaries, with a little background for those of you that don't know a lot on the subject. The background will, by necessity, be brief and very simplified; just ask if there's something you'd like me to elaborate on. To keep it Telltale, this is going to move into a discussion about Machiavelli and how, in actuality, he's a little like Harry Moleman.
So, to start, mercenaries. As most people know, Italy was where the Renaissance started and that put them in a strong position of leadership in darn near everything that we associate with the period. Most importantly for this topic, a lot of city-states, most notably Florence, Milan and Genoa, became incredibly wealthy. This great wealth gave the people the ability to hire people to fight their wars so they didn't have to, time fighting would be time that they weren't making money of course. So, for a period of approximately 150 years, Italian warfare was dominated by the condottieri (from condotta, or, contract).
There are some books on the subject, of varying degrees of scholarship. The two best are:
MERCENARIES AND THEIR MASTERS: Warfare in Renaissance Italy
Mercenary Companies and the Decline of Siena
Both authors are excellent scholars and pretty good reads as well.
There was and is a lot of debate about whether the condottieri system was a good or a bad thing. Machiavelli absolutely hated the system and wrote a lot about his feelings.
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