Mercenary

A mercenary, sometimes also known as a soldier of fortune or hired gun, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, that joins a military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military.[1][2] Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. Beginning in the 20th century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. The Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured service personnel of the armed forces.[3] In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap.

Leonardo da Vinci's Profilo di capitano antico, also known as il Condottiero, 1480. Condottiero meant "leader of mercenaries" in Italy during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

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