The Pope’s choice to hire Swiss mercenaries was no accident. The Swiss soldiers had a reputation of being invincible thanks to their courage, their noble intentions and their proverbial loyalty. The great Roman historian Tacitus noted many centuries ago: "The Helvetians are a nation of men of war and its soldiers are well known for their fighting qualities." For this reason, the Swiss cantons, who allied themselves with one country and then again with another, played a significant role in European politics. In 1512 they decided as an ally of Julius II, the fate of Italy, and the Pope honoured them with the title "The guardians of the freedom of the Church”. At that time, when mercenaries were common, a highly defensive people lived in the Central Alps. The first Swiss cantons were overpopulated with their approximately 500,000 inhabitants. Due to the difficult economic situation at that time, there was great poverty. The only way out of this situation was emigration and the most lucrative work was the mercenary service.
15,000 men were available for this service, organised and controlled by the small federation of cantons ".This federation regulated the recruitment of men of war, and received wheat, salt or favourable trading conditions in return. The Swiss regarded the mercenary service as a temporary one, lasting only during the summer months and, therefore, only participated in brief major campaigns. They then returned home and lived off their pay and loot through the winter. They were the best soldiers of their time, who had invented a clever tactic movement strategy without cavalry and only little artillery that was superior to all others. Therefore, they were hired by both France and Spain. They formed an impenetrable semi-flexible wall, studded with iron. It is almost impossible to understand the wars in Italy, without taking these mercenaries into account. Already in the 13th and 14th century, after the Swiss independence, many soldiers did military service in Germany and Italy, and because the cantons could not prevent this type of emigration, they tried to at least keep it under control.