With the following two contributions the International Review of Social History hopes to focus scholarly attention on a rather neglected theme: the labour conditions of the ordinary foot soldiers in rebel armed forces. Although quite disparate in time, social setting, and method, both articles deal with the position and circumstances of common soldiers; both study these soldiers during a period of civil war; and both deal with rebel forces that were ultimately to emerge victorious and eventually be transformed into a regular army. Erik Swart's contribution on the soldiers in the army of the northern Netherlands is set in the late sixteenth century, just after the start of Holland's war of independence. Within a couple of years, the military underwent a comprehensive process of professionalization. The consequences for ordinary soldiers were far reaching: lower wages, fewer privileges, fewer rights, and an obligation to carry out digging work and other forms of manual labour. By contrast, their predecessors (the Landsknechts) had enjoyed a significantly higher status, with a system of organization not much different from that of nineteenth-century trade unions.