Landsknechte, etching by Daniel Hopfer, c. 1530

The German Landsknechts, sometimes also rendered as Landsknechte (singular Landsknecht, pronounced [ˈlantsknɛçt]), were mercenary soldiers who became an important military force through late 15th- and 16th-century Europe. Consisting predominantly of German mercenary pikemen and supporting foot soldiers, they achieved the reputation for being the universal mercenaries of early modern Europe.[1][2]


German Landsknechts

The Germanic compound Landsknecht (earlier Lantknecht, without fugen-s) combines land "land, country", here in the sense of "lowlands" and knecht "servant, vassal", here in the sense of "foot-soldier". The compound Lantknecht was used during the 15th century for bailiffs or court ushers. In its application to mercenaries, it is first recorded in the 1480s and intended to indicate soldiers of the lowlands of Swabia as opposed to the "highlander" Swiss mercenaries.

As early as 1500, the term was re-etymologized as Lanzknecht, suggesting a derivation from Lanze "lance; pike". The modern term Landser is possibly based on Landsknecht, as is the name of the French card game Lansquenet.

The more common English-language plural form is Landsknechts, but the original German form Landsknechte is also in use. Since it is a common noun, it may also be written with lower-case "l", landsknechts (though in German it is always capitalized).

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Landsknecht
العربية: لاندسكنيشت
català: Lansquenet
čeština: Lancknecht
Deutsch: Landsknecht
Ελληνικά: Λάντσκνεχτ
español: Lansquenete
euskara: Landsknecht
français: Lansquenet
Frysk: Lânsfeint
Bahasa Indonesia: Landsknecht
italiano: Lanzichenecchi
עברית: לאנדסקנכט
Latina: Landsknecti
lietuvių: Landsknechtai
norsk: Landsknekt
polski: Landsknecht
português: Lansquenete
русский: Ландскнехт
српски / srpski: Ландскнехти
svenska: Landsknekt
Türkçe: Landsknecht
українська: Ландскнехт
Tiếng Việt: Landsknecht
中文: 國土傭僕