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date: 04 December 2022

mercenaries, Greek and Hellenisticlocked

mercenaries, Greek and Hellenisticlocked

  • John F. Lazenby


For there to be mercenaries, three conditions are necessary—*warfare, people willing to pay, and others to serve. Warfare existed almost throughout Greek history, and there were probably also always those whom love of adventure, trouble at home, or poverty made willing to serve. Alcaeus's (1) brother, Antimenidas, and *Xenophon (1) himself are, perhaps, examples of the first; the latter's comrades, the Spartans *Clearchus (1) and Dracontius, of the second. But in the heyday of the city-state, when military service was the duty of all citizens, mercenaries usually only found employment with tyrants or with near eastern potentates. *Psammetichus I of Egypt, for example, used *Carians and *Ionians to seize power around 660 bce, and Pabis of Colophon and Elesibius of *Teos were among those who carved their names on the statue of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel, while serving Psammetichus II.There was probably always also a market for specialist troops like Cretan *archers and Rhodian *slingers, particularly when warfare became more complex.


  • Ancient Economy

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