- Linnarsson, Magnus, 1977-
Unfaithful and expensive – but absolutely necessary : Perceptions of mercenaries in Swedish war policy, 1621–1636
Ingår i: Revue d'histoire Nordique. - 1778-9605. ; :18, s. 51-73
- This article examines the Swedish State Council’s descriptions and perceptions of mercenaries between 1621 and 1636. The survey shows that the Council described the mercenaries as unfaithful, unreliable and expensive. In its discussions, conscripted Swedish troops are said to be better than hired mercenaries. The State Council’s perception of mercenaries confirms a paradox in military history. During the period examined, mercenaries constituted a considerable part of fighting forces, not least in the Swedish army. This study, therefore, shows how an ideal of soldier recruitment collided with political reality. In so doing, this article also reviews British political scientist Sarah Percy’s thesis of a norm against the use of mercenaries. Percy has argued that such a norm has put restrictions on the use of mercenaries since the Middle Ages. A review of the Swedish source material found that this norm existed on a discursive level, but that it did not have any real impact on troop recruitment during the period studied.