Free company

A free company or free lance was a late medieval army of mercenaries acting independently of any government, and thus "free". They were not called "free" because their services were gratis, rather they sold their services to the highest bidder. They regularly made a living by plunder when they were not employed. The term "free company" is most applied to those companies of soldiers which formed after the Peace of Brétigny during the Hundred Year's War and were active mainly in France, but it has been applied to other companies, such as the Catalan Grand Company and companies that worked abroad, in Italy and the Holy Roman Empire. The White Company of John Hawkwood is probably the most famous free company, active in Italy in the latter half of the fourteenth century.

References

*Carr, A. D. (1968/9), "Welshmen and the Hundred Years' War", "Welsh History Review"/"Cylchgrawn Hanes Cymru", 4, pp. 21–46.
*Severus, Alexander (1941), "The Fetish of Military Rank", "Military Affairs", 5, pp. 171–176.
*Showalter, Dennis E. (1993), "Caste, Skill, and Training: The Evolution of Cohesion in European Armies from the Middle Ages to the Sixteenth Century", "Journal of Military History", 57(3), pp. 407–430.
*Rowe, B. J. H. (1932). "John Duke of Bedford and the Norman 'Brigands'." "The English Historical Review", 47(188), pp. 583–600.


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