In the process the Swiss cantons themselves entered the business of supplying

In the process the swiss cantons themselves entered

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1919: 10). In the process, the Swiss cantons themselves entered the business of supplying soldiers for pay (Corvisier 1976: 147). Like other exporters of mercenaries, Switzerland already had a substantial number of poor, mobile, semi-proletarianized and late-marrying highlanders who became attractive candidates for military service away from home (Braun 1960). Mercenaries, Swiss and otherwise, displaced armies of clients and citizen militias. On a small scale, mercenaries had played their part in European wars for centuries. From the time of the crusades, freebooting soldiers from north of the Alps had sold their services to princes, actual and aspiring, all through the Mediterranean. When no one employed them, they extorted and pillaged on their own account (Contamine 1984: 1 58). During the fourteenth century, Italian city-states started employing small bodies of hired troops. As it acceler- ated its forcible annexation of adjacent territory in the 1 320S, for example, Florence began relying regularly on mercenary cavalry. In the 1380s, democratic Florence engaged - or bought off - the great English mercenary Sir John Hawkwood, who had been pillaging Tuscany since the end of a war between Milan and the papacy left his company jobless. Hawkwood had previously served England, Savoy, Milan, Pisa and the papacy. Unfortunately for Florentine democrats, Hawkwood backed the oligarchy in their successful rising of 1382; Hawkwood "was accorded the rare favor of Florentine citizenship together with a pension for life and exemption from taxation; and when he died in 1 394 the grateful government not only honored him with a splendid funeral at public expense, but also commemorated his services by having him painted on the wall of the inner fa(jade of the cathedral mounted on horseback in full panoply of war" (Schevill 1963: 337). Today's tourists still see the curiously secular mural. In Venice, that great maritime power, the resident nobility long provided its own military commanders on sea and land; they recruited their soldiers and sailors, furthermore, largely from the Venetian population. But by the end of the fourteenth century Venice, like its Italian neighbors, was hiring mercenary captains, condottieri, who recruited their own troops and fought the city-state's wars for a handsome price. Since a condotta was a contract to make war for a particular sovereign, condott;ere meant, essentially, contractor. The German word Unternehmer conveys the same commercial tone. The condott;eri were the oilmen of their time, shifting allegiances from deal to deal and sometimes accumulating great wealth; when the mercenary entrepreneur Bartolomeo Colleoni died in 1475, his fortune was "comparable to the riches of the leading banker of the age, Cosimo de'Medici" (Lane 1 973a: 233). By 1625 Wallenstein, Duke of Friedland, ran his own domain of 2,000 square miles and used it as a supply base for troops he deployed - at a profit - on behalf of the