Two Unexpected Ways in Which Mercenaries Affected Ancient Battles
This hadn’t occurred to me until I was reading a volume of ancient military history.
This hadn’t occurred to me until I was reading a volume of ancient military history. Mercenaries and allies — the distinction was sometimes hazy — were essential to most militaries throughout time. And they wanted their pay. That meant bringing along cash money, usually in chests, to pay them and keep them in the fight.
So capturing the foe’s treasure chests was a major goal in a battle, because it had two major consequences. First, you got rich. Second, the enemy was unable to pay some of his fighters, and that tended to reduce his fighting capability. Indeed, sometimes mercenaries might even change sides — following the money, as the saying goes.