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The Practical and Economic Background to the Greek Mercenary Explosion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2009

Extract

For all its swashbuckling image, classical mercenary soldiering was, on the whole, as subject to the discipline of practical economics as less glamorous-sounding pursuits. Current economic and political considerations dictated whether and why a citizen would become a mercenary; what and how he would be paid; what negotiating power he possessed; whether a ruler would use mercenaries or his own citizenry to fight his wars, and the necessity for a recruiting centre or ‘mercenary market’ where prospective employers and employees could meet and strike a bargain.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1984

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References

1. Quoted by Parke, H. W., Greek Mercenary Soldiers (Oxford, 1933), p. 232Google Scholar. The quotation concerns two brothers who, when orphaned, sold most of their property to provide marriage portions for each of their two sisters, then.… ‘We ourselves…’.

2. While the information we have mainly concerns Attica, there is no indication that conditions elsewhere were greatly different.

3. Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. v, pp. 13, 22.

4. Rostovtzeff, M., Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World (Oxford, 1941)Google Scholar.

5. ‘Peace was understood in a negative form, simply as an absence of war’, (Garlan, Y., War in the Ancient World, (London, 1975), p. 17)Google Scholar. ‘Between 431 and 346 there were only thirty-two years in which no major war was being waged in Greece’ – Beloch, quoted by Parke, , op. cit., p. 228Google Scholar.

6. Diodorus (13.8.5) mentions that more than twenty thousand assembled at Olympia to hear Alexander's messenger proclaim their return.

7. Rostovtzeff, , op. cit., p. 99Google Scholar.

8. Tarn, W. W., Hellenistic Civilization (London, 1930), pp. 98, 103, 110Google Scholar; CAM. v. pp. 24ff.; Glotz, G., Ancient Greece at Work (New York, 1926), p. 237Google Scholar.

9. Tarn, , op. cit., p. 121ffGoogle Scholar.

10. Griffiths, G. T., The Mercenaries of the Hellenistic World (Cambridge, 1935), p. 297Google Scholar.

11. Parke, , op. cit., p. 233Google Scholar.

12. Ibid., p. 234.

13. Griffiths, , op. cit., p. 313Google Scholar.

14. Ibid., p. 278.

15. Finley, M. I., Ancient Sicily (London, 1968), p. 46Google Scholar.

16. Rostovtzeff, , op. cit., pp. 137–8Google Scholar.

17. Siculo-Punic tetradrachms, Finley op. cit., plate 7.3.

18. Parke, , op. cit., p. 115Google Scholar, quoting Plato's Seventh Letter from Syracuse.

19. Griffiths, , op. cit., p. 281Google Scholar, quoting Theocritus 14.52.

20. Garlan, , op. cit., p. 97Google Scholar; Griffiths, , op. cit., p. 283Google Scholar.

21. Xen. Hell.6.5.11; 7.3.4; Polybius, 33.16.12ff. Griffiths, , op. cit., pp. 256 and 259Google Scholar.

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