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‘The Capitalisation of Foreign Mercenaries in Louis XIV’s France’

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This article examines the political, social, economic and human 'capital' that commanders of foreign forces brought into the service of Louis XIV of France when they took service under the Bourbon banner. It reveals how different mercenary formations enjoyed different financial settlements with the French government, and that this reflected a variety of factors. It also stresses the very different 'returns' to their capital that military enterprisers pursued in French service and received from the Sun King and his military system. While accumulation of 'capital' did drive some mercenary officers, others were seeking survival in exile or were driven at least in part by ideological motivations that cannot be encapsulated in material sociological explanations.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDie Kapitalisierung des Krieges. Kriegsunternehmer im Spätmittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit / The Capitalisation of War. Military entrepreneurs in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period
EditorsMatthias Meinhardt, Markus Meumann
Place of PublicationMünster/Berlin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015

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ID: 14552526