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By Matthew Trundle

This booklet offers a close photo of the lifetime of those Greek mercenaries, examining who they have been and from what component of society they got here. It explores their motivations, their relationships and connections, either with one another and people with whom they served, and indicates how mercenaries have been recruited, paid and maintained. Matthew Trundle reports a number of facts, together with Xenophon's particular account of ways over 10000 Greeks attempted and did not determine the Persian prince Cyrus on his brother's Imperial throne, the fragments of a fourth century play in regards to the first ever soldier of fortune, and inscriptions prohibiting Athenians from taking carrier with their neighbours. the result's a clean examine the importance of mercenaries in historical Greek society, economic climate and politics, and their half within the strategy that formed the good Empire of Alexander the good and the Hellenistic international.

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The sources demonstrate a steady growth in the use of misthos for payment to Athenian citizens throughout the fifth century. At the same time there would no doubt have been a growth in the acceptance of the term misthophoros. Its use appears, therefore, in Thucydides who was writing in 431 BC and later, but not in Herodotus whose subject matter, at least, predates 479 BC. The Athenians at Potidea received misthos in 428 BC 18 I M AG E S A N D S O U RC E S (Thuc. 4). The Great Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) acted as a catalyst in the movement of Athenian citizen-farmers away from incomes derived from their land towards state income generated by the Athenian Empire (see Humphreys 1979: 14, 16–17, 24).

Nevertheless, there are a good number of references to mercenaries during the Peloponnesian War (Thuc. 3). Their presence should not be underestimated. Mercenaries were part of the extra-polis network of relationships, usually personal and usually aristocratic in nature. Thucydides could have ignored them entirely as many extra-polis relationships were formed through personal and aristocratic ties. Gregory Crane (1996: 147) noted that ‘Thucydides shapes the content and language of his history in such a way as to minimize all personalized ties to immediate family or to extended kin’.

They also check the identity of their new recruits. 13 The ambiguity of the figure of the mercenary is perhaps responsible for the enduring personal fascination that accompanies the lack of public 25 I M AG E S A N D S O U RC E S respect. The Roman gladiator presents an interesting parallel. Gladiators were pariahs on the one hand, but magical and alluring on the other. Their blood was believed to cure epilepsy and Roman society found them enthralling (Barton 1993: 12–15). Contemporary perceptions have to a large extent been formed by the popular treatment of mercenary service in films and such books as The Dogs of War (Forsyth 1974), Who Dares Wins (Geraghty 1980) and The Wild Geese (Carney 1977).

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