Bloody Violent History Artwork


45 minutes

Dogs of War

1. Yemen in the 60s 2. Mercenaries in the ancient world 3. Medieval mercenaries 4. Nineteenth Century 5. Twentieth century 6. Today

Mercenaries are once again in the news. And Russian use of the Wagner Group in Ukraine has raised everyone’s interest. Yet mercenaries go back a long way, and even a pharaoh used hired help to defeat an aggressor on his boarders. In the Middle Ages, there was the White Company who helped Florence achieve prominence and dominate the surrounding region. There were too the famed pikemen of Switzerland, who were employed by France and the German states to defeat all adversaries on the battlefield. In Constantinople, the Varangian Guard helped secure the future of the city state’s rulers.

But there is always the risk that the paid foreigner will change sides, and throughout history mercenaries have been used to under mine regimes and mount palace coups. In the 1960s and 1970s, Africa became the hub for such ventures, and money and blood diamonds were often the key and catalyst for such escapades. Mercenaries were made famous by the likes of Mad Mike Hoare and captured in best selling thrillers such as Fredrick Forsyth’s The Dogs of War.

So it goes,

Tom Assheton & James Jackson

Reading reference:

The Dogs of War by Fredrick Forsyth read by David Hartley

See also:

YouTube: BloodyViolentHistory

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