1st Edition

Military Diasporas Building of Empire in the Middle East and Europe (550 BCE-1500 CE)

Edited By Georg Christ, Patrick Sänger, Mike Carr Copyright 2023
    416 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    416 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Military Diasporas proposes a new research approach to analyse the role of foreign military personnel as composite and partly imagined para-ethnic groups.

    These groups not only buttressed a state or empire’s military might but crucially connected, policed, and administered (parts of) realms as a transcultural and transimperial class while representing the polity’s universal or at least cosmopolitan aspirations at court or on diplomatic and military missions. Case studies of foreign militaries with a focus on their diasporic elements include the Achaemenid Empire, Ptolemaic Egypt, and the Roman Empire in the ancient world. These are followed by chapters on the Sassanid and Islamic occupation of Egypt, Byzantium, the Latin Aegean (Catalan Company) to Iberian Christian noblemen serving North African Islamic rulers, Mamluks and Italian Stradiots, followed by chapters on military diasporas in Hungary, the Teutonic Order including the Sword Brethren, and the Swiss military. The volume thus covers a broad band of military diasporic experiences and highlights aspects of their role in the building of state and empire from Antiquity to the late Middle Ages and from Persia via Egypt to the Baltic.

    With a broad chronological and geographic range, this volume is the ideal resource for upper-level undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars interested in the history of war and warfare from Antiquity to the sixteenth century.



    Georg Christ and Patrick Sänger

    1 Military Diasporas in an Achaemenid Perspective

    Hilmar Klinkott, Kiel

    2 Immigrant Soldiers and Ptolemaic Policy in Hellenistic Egypt (Late Fourth Century–30 BCE): Reflections on a Military Diaspora and Its Components

    Patrick Sänger

    3 Syrian Recruits and Units in the Roman Army: A Military Diaspora?

    Nathanael Andrade

    4 Participants in the Emperor’s Glory: The Statues for Generals in Late Antique Rome

    Mariana Bodnaruk

    5 The Persian and Arab Occupations of Egypt in the Seventh Century

    Lajos Berkes

    6 Alexios, Emperor of the Diasporas? Komnenian Revolt of 1081 and the Foreign Military Groups in Byzantium
    Roman Shliakhtin

    7 The Catalan Company as a Military Diasporic Group in Medieval Greece

    Mike Carr & Alasdair Grant

    8 Christian Expatriates in Muslim Lands: The Many Roles of Aragonese Mercenaries in Medieval Northern Africa

    Nikolas Jaspert

    9 Professional Turks or Military Diaspora? The Mamluks and Dynamics of Ethnicity in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria

    Julien Loiseau

    10 Stradioti: A Balkan Military Diaspora in Early Modern Europe

    Nicholas C. J. Pappas

    11 Military Auxiliaries in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Hungary: Nomads vs. Crusader Knights

    László Veszprémy

    12 Medieval Queens and the Diaspora of Escort, Conquest, the Crusades and Military Orders

    Christopher Mielke

    13 Encountering the Heathen on the Baltic Frontier: The Order of the Sword Brethren and the Teutonic Order in Thirteenth-Century Livonia

    Verena Schenk zu Schweinsberg

    14 A Military Diaspora in Medieval Christendom: The Teutonic Order

    Mark Whelan

    15 The Cold Winter Campaign of 1511: Swiss Military Autonomy and Heteronomy during the Transalpine Campaigns

    Anna Katharina Weltert and Georg Christ



    Georg Christ is a senior lecturer in medieval and early modern history at the University of Manchester, UK, and a general staff officer in the Swiss Army. His work focuses on relations between Venice and the Mamluk Empire including the role of diasporas in transmediterranean connectivity.

    Patrick Sänger is professor of ancient history at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany. His research focuses on the administrative, legal, and social history of the Hellenistic and Roman world with a specific interest in Egypt and in migration and integration issues.

    Mike Carr is a lecturer in late medieval history at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and a leading specialist on the history of papal trade policies and crusading in the late medieval Mediterranean.