Landsknechte. “Companions of the country.” French: “lansquenets.” Mercenary infantry originally formed in the late 15th century from petty war bands (“Knabenschaften”) of wild youths. These were unemployed older apprentices overflowing from the highly restrictive Guilds, or other surplus young males produced by a time of demographic expansion. Such “lads” (“Knechte”) waged private wars that usually […]

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