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William Marshal and the mercenariat

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Chapter Summary

The History of William Marshal, which records his life and many of its hero?s opinions, is a marvellous window on the Angevin court in the later years of the twelfth century. His principal source was the Marshal himself, who told his children and followers many anecdotes of those days, but also we have the preserved recollections and memoirs of at least two of his principal household knights in the 1180s and 1190s, the bannerets John of Earley, his sometime ward, and John Marshal of Hockering, his nephew. Mercadier is given much the same off-hand treatment by the Marshal biography. A composite view of mercenary captains emerges from the Marshal biography. The other quality on which the mercenary captains were attacked was their lack of social responsibility.

Keywords: mercenary; William Marshal



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