The capitalisation of foreign mercenaries in Louis XIV’s France

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article examines the political, social, economic and human 'capital' that commanders of foreign forces brought into the service of Louis XIV of France when they took service under the Bourbon banner. It reveals how different mercenary formations enjoyed different financial settlements with the French government, and that this reflected a variety of factors. It also stresses the very different 'returns' to their capital that military enterprisers pursued in French service and received from the Sun King and his military system. While accumulation of 'capital' did drive some mercenary officers, others were seeking survival in exile or were driven at least in part by ideological motivations that cannot be encapsulated in material sociological explanations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDie Kapitalisierung des Krieges / The capitalisation of war
Subtitle of host publicationKriegsunternehmer im Spätmittelalter und in der Frühen Neuzeit / Military entrepreneurs in the late Middle Ages and the early modern period
EditorsMatthias Meinhardt, Markus Meumann
Place of PublicationMünster
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783643301086
ISBN (Print)9783643101082
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameHerrschaft und soziale Systeme in der Frühen Neuzeit
ISSN (Print)2198-1574


  • War
  • Mercenaries
  • Louis XIV
  • France
  • Early modern history


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