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(brĭg`əndĭj) [Ital. brigare=to fight], robbery and plundering committed by armed bands, often associated with forests or mountain regions. Social and political demoralization, economic or political oppression, and racial or religious antagonisms may give rise to brigandage, especially if the area provides suitable hiding places for the brigands. Brigandage can flourish during the disintegration of a state, as the decline of the Roman Empire; at a time of major economic and social change, as at the end of the feudal ages; after a great war, in the early stages of frontier settlement, as in early California and in the Australian bush; or in national borderlands, as in Scotland. Some argue that when a strong centralized authority develops, or when a disciplined constabulary is organized, brigandage disappears or goes underground. Others argue that people held under intolerable economic subjection adopt brigandage as a means of retaliation. Under the latter conditions, the bandit is often protected by a sympathetic public opinion, and can become a popular hero, a symbol of resistance to tyranny. Thus supported, the brigand leader may extend his jurisdiction over a wide area, establishing a recognized authority. The lawless lives of brigands and highwaymen have often become legends. Stories of gallantry and heroism have gathered about many brigands, especially those who were the victims of social or political oppression, who were rebels rather than bandits. Ballads and folk tales have grown about brigands such as Dick Turpin, the highwayman; Hereward the Wake; Robin Hood; Stenka Razin, the Cossack; Fra Diavolo of Italy; and Jesse James of the United States.


See C. J. Finger, Highwaymen (1925, repr. 1970); D. Dolci, Outlaws (1961); C. Hibbert, Highwaymen (1968); E. Hobsbawm, Bandits (1969).

References in periodicals archive ?
In this essay, I use the terms brigandage and banditry interchangeably and as rough translations of the Chinese terms dao, zei, daozei, xiangma zei, and qiang dao.
This bulky core of the book is divided into five subsections that deal sequentially with the social background of brigandage, the activities of bandits, the values and ideals that such men espoused, the structure of the brigand gangs and, finally, the nature of their marginalization in the mainstream social, legal, and political order.
Pour se protreger, les revoltes les plus connus devaient vivre a part des villageois et, peu a peu, se voyaient obliges de recourir exclusivement au brigandage.
There is a quite marked continuity between the types of rural deviance and protest before 1810--primary among them the village riot and rural brigandage just mentioned--and those forms of popular violence and rebellion which came to be associated loosely with the cause of independence.
of New York at Binghamton), this is to ignore ongoing repressive violence from the Reign of Terror, ongoing guerilla struggle in western France, ongoing violence against priests, resistance to conscription, killing of gendarmes, and brigandage mixing traditional banditry and counter-revolution.
In a sense the odyssey of the ass is a journey into the causes of that decay, with the growth of brigandage and of misery in the countryside," in Apuleius 1960, 184 note 1.
The protagonist Margherita is a young woman of the Sicilian upper-class, who, like her mother, is forced to marry a member of the bourgeoisie, murders her husband, and follows her brother who has aligned himself with a peasant band of outlaws who oppose Italy's reunification The Risorgimento, brigandage, and importance of gender as it affects women's understanding of history are issues well-covered in Angela Jeannet's brief but pithy introduction to her excellent translation of the work.
Brown, "From Organic Society to Security State: The War on Brigandage in France, 1797-1802," Journal of Modern History 69 (December 1997): 661-695.
Brigandage was the only alternative for a group that did not want to become sedentary, but wanted instead to continue its nomadic lifestyle.
As elsewhere in Europe, it was not easy to distinguish between brigandage and resistance to the French--and it was not just the occupiers who tried to stamp out the bandits, but the Spanish themselves, who recognized that they undermined popular support for the war against Napoleon and made the task of the real partidas much tougher.
Nevertheless, Hippothous' life of brigandage does not detract from his fundamental status as a hero in the sense of one especially favored by the gods.
Brown assesses the process by which French "organic society" was replaced by the "security state" as a consequence of the Revolution of 1789 and the rise of Napoleon; "From Organic Society to Security Stare: The War on Brigandage in France, 1797-1802," Journal of Modern History 69 (Dec.