BRIGANDS, a name 'first given during the imprisonment of King John in Paris (1358) to the mercenaries who held the city, and whose misbehavior rendered them obnoxious. Frois sart applied it to a kind of irregular foot sol diery, from whom it was transferred to simple robbers. It is now used especially of such of these as live in bands in secret mountain or forest retreats. In this sense the pest has been common to most countries by whatever name the robbers may have been known — whether the escaped slaves and gladiators of Rome, the pre-Islamite brigands of Arabia, English out laws and highwaymen, German robber nobles, the later banditti of Mediterranean countries and of Mexico, American stage-coach robbers, Australian bushrangers or the dacoits and hill robbers of Asia. It has ever flourished under weak or corrupt governments, and patriotism at times has swelled its ranks, always largely recruited from those disposed readily to Join in any political movement, and has transformed them into guerrilla companies, who have car ried on a bitter warfare against the invader. Such Spanish bands harassed the French dur ing the Peninsular War; in Italy the Austrian troops were frequently engaged in expeditions against the banditti led by the daring Bellino 0/1 Passatore'), and in Greece the Klephts rendered brave and worthy service in the war of independence. In Cuba, in 1888, political dis content was made the excuse for the brigandage then rampant in the island, where four prov inces were on this account declared in a state of siege. Religious persecution also has en couraged brigandage; in Bosnia, which has always produced the most perfect specimens of bandits, it was formerly very common, the un happy Christians, who were reduced by the Turks to the condition of serfs, frequently tak ing to the mountains in despair, and then wreaking vengeance on their oppressors. Gen
erally speaking, in countries with a notably scanty population, which is yet in many districts as notably overcrowded, brigandage will be found still in existence. Vigorous steps have been taken during the last 50 years to repress the practice, and in some countries with signal success. In Greece, organized companies of brigands, as distinguished from bands of high way robbers, fortuitously collected, have dis appeared; and, in Italy, the chiefs with whom princes made treaties are found only in history. Nevertheless, brigandage is by no means obso lete. In Hungary, where it has flourished from time immemorial, and where even the free towns in the 15th century enrolled companies for or ganized rapine, and thus raised it to the height of an institution, it has found a stronghold in the shades of the Balcony Forest, whose swine herds are said to be in league with the biStyars, and even do an occasional stroke of business on their own account. In Sicily it is to be feared that this is still the only trade which really prospers in the island (see MAFIA) ; and the bands that infest the Turkish frontier are notoriously dangerous to the wayfaring mer chant and the defenseless tourist. In 1887 spe cial attention was attracted by the boldness of brigands in the Pyrenees, Tuscany, Serbia, Macedonia, Asia Minor and Mexico.