Military Review

Military pensions: what has changed over the past century

Remuneration for military work and mortal risks in military affairs have always been thought of. Leaders, consuls, monarchs and other rulers at the same time viewed this as a necessary condition for the preservation of their life, power and wealth. The warriors themselves rightly believed that their military service, wounds and disability should be financially compensated by the power for which they exposed themselves to mortal risks and deprivations. Thus, certain principles of remuneration were gradually developed, which were then transformed into various types of pension systems.

Basic principles and conditions of military pensions

The basic principles of military pension have been formed and honed over the centuries. Gradually, a fairly clear-cut basis of this system has been established, and it has been preserved until the modern historical period. Of course, all this was not called a military pension, since the very name of this material reward appeared much later. But, in fact, remuneration in old age for many years of dedication and service actually performed the basic functions of pension provision. To some extent, such forms of individual material remuneration for military labor existed even thousands of years before Christ in the armies of the ancient civilizations of China, Babylon, Macedonia, Egypt, Assyria, and some others.

Initially, in the armies of antiquity material reward for long service was issued in kind in the form of land plots, items made of precious metals and natural precious stones, herds of animals and even slaves. However, over time, the sources of such remuneration became increasingly scarce, which ultimately led to the emergence of cash payments.

It is also noteworthy that it operates in almost all modern countries, of course, taking into account historical, national, religious and cultural characteristics of specific states.

We list the main of these principles and conditions:

- formation of a permanent (regular) army on the principles of volunteering or hiring;

- the establishment of certain periods of stay in the army, required to receive pension benefits (most often 20-25 years);

- the introduction of mass or universal pension payments in armies instead of individual incentives at the discretion of the monarch, ruler or authority;

- issuance of pension remuneration for military work in kind or in cash;

- Pension payments in a lump sum or in equal installments in all subsequent years after the end of the service in the ranks;

- setting a time limit for military service, depending on the position held, rank or rank (usually up to 60 years);

- formation of a system of benefits and advantages for military veterans, depending on the level of socio-economic development and other financial capabilities of a particular state.

Over time, pension conditions in the civilizations of the ancient world become an important condition for a man to enter military service. A prerequisite has always been that a warrior must be from among the indigenous people and free from slavery or any other bondage of people.

Pensioners of the ancient world

Ancient Greece was at the cradle of many European civilizations and states. In addition to the beginnings of ancient democracy, there were formed and the foundations of state care for the weak and elderly military people. At the same time, the main attention of the Athenian rulers and the ancient Greek elite was aimed at the development of culture, arts, crafts and trade. Military affairs were a prerequisite for all free citizens during wars and repelling hostile attacks. The rest of the time, the standing army was relatively few and was formed according to militia principles. This means that all men under the age of 60 should have had their own weapons and armor at home, so that, on the first signal of the danger of war, they must take their place in the phalanx or other military formation.

Material maintenance was provided only to soldiers who were crippled in battles and who lost their ability to work independently. Pension maintenance was issued taking into account the family composition of the military retiree. Pensions for injured veterans were usually determined on the basis of the average daily wage of an artisan.

In the army of ancient Greece, they served up to 60 years. Pension payments were assigned collectively, taking into account the military merits and the state of health of the veteran. There was a system of periodic re-examination of the need for pension benefits. Having missed the deadline, it was possible to completely lose the pension.

Spartans did not retire

The military lifestyle of the Spartans was formed during the existence of the Spartan kingdom. The Spartans almost continuously waged war with their neighbors in ancient Hellas, subjugating all new peoples and territories. The main goal - is getting military booty, most of which fell into the hands of the two kings who ruled Sparta. In this regard, the role of the warrior and the importance of the troops was of paramount importance for this militant ancient state. For military service under very harsh conditions, all the boys were trained and, on reaching 20 years, they joined the army.

It is no coincidence that the concept of "Spartan education" entered history as a symbol of physical and moral preparation in harsh conditions for any important task. Service was considered compulsory until the age of 60. Almost all Spartans had about 40 years of service in the ranks. Moreover, regardless of merit or age, everyone served on equal terms and participated in battles. This was not an easy matter, considering that weapon and the equipment of the warrior of that time weighed up to 30 kilogram.

Under the conditions of universal military service, no special benefits and advantages, except for well-deserved honor and respect, were allowed to veterans. The army was relatively small, but had extremely high stamina and courage in the battles. All the textbooks of ancient history included a description of the feat of three hundred Spartans, led by King Leonid. In a fierce battle with the enemy at Thermopylae, they died in battle, but did not retreat.

The honored peace was spent annually around 50 veterans from among those who lived to this day. They had to provide themselves with their work. In some cases, the state treasury took for its maintenance the most deserved or out of work as a result of wounds and injuries. Veterans were often recruited as mentors for military training for youth.

After nearly two centuries, weakened by wars, Sparta was captured by Roman legions.

Pension legionaries of ancient Rome

The presence of a standing army on the basis of volunteering and the compulsory pay for soldiers are considered important factors in the high fighting efficiency of the ancient Roman army. Previously, there were no such examples in history. Famous Roman rulers Guy Mari and Julius Caesar put a lot of effort to form an invincible army. Acquisition of legions of mercenaries from among the free Romans volunteers demanded considerable expenses of the treasury. At the same time, the monetary allowance and periodic additional incentive payments for legionaries and centurions were established. Along with cash payments, awards for military work also appeared for the first time. Certain privileges, advantages, or benefits began to be attached to award medals.

During the reign of Consul Guy Maria, for the first time in the world, retirement pensions were established for legionary veterans. At the end of the service, each legionary was provided with a material reward in the form of a plot of land. Later began to be paid pensions in cash. These benefits and benefits enjoyed only veterans. At the same time, the legionnaires retained all rights to trophies taken personally in battle, as well as to a part of the total military spoils. To become a veteran, the legionary needed to serve in the ranks of two decades. Then the total length of retirement service was extended to 25 years.

Later, the consul, and then the title of dictator Julius Caesar, secured the right of legionnaires to military pensions and significantly expanded veteran benefits and advantages. During his reign, troops began to pay cash bonuses after defeating the enemy. After a while, they began to receive additional incentive payments in the form of an increase to the salary at the accession to the throne of the new emperor and on other important occasions. Additional payments were required, among other things, to compensate for the losses of legionaries and centurions from a decrease in the volumes of military booty. Virtually all neighboring states have already been captured by Rome.

An important innovation was that legionnaires could now make personal savings while serving. Usually, the accumulations of legionaries were kept in a special money box of the standard-bearers of the cohort. Needless to say, the cash drawer was guarded as well as the banner and distinctive sign of a legion or cohort itself.

In accumulation, as a rule, legionnaires set aside half of the bonus and other one-time payments. Accumulated amounts were issued to the veteran in full only upon resignation. Thus began the beginnings of the pension savings system. The size of the accumulated money differed approximately 5 times for centurions (officers) and ordinary legionnaires. The Roman horsemen and the Praetorian Guard legionnaires had higher salaries and accumulations were much higher than in the army infantry.

Centurions in the army of ancient Rome were resigned later than ordinary legionaries - usually over the age of 60 years. In those days, constant wars and dangerous campaigns to live then these respectable years was a great success in life.

In the initial period of the formation of the ancient Roman pension system, the form of natural remuneration of veterans was widely used. Usually in this quality, allotment of land plots in sizes corresponding to official position and military merits was used. By tradition, the land plot was named after the owner-veteran and was part of the settlement of his cohort or legion.

The veterans had other privileges - exemption from taxes of the retiree himself, his wife and parents. In addition to the right to settle in any place of the empire, the former legionnaire could even voluntarily perform the duties of a priest. His house was freed from military standing. Benefits and benefits of veterans are constantly supplemented and changed. By the way, the very concept of "veteran" was introduced in the days of ancient Rome. It is derived from the Latin word meaning "old."

It is justly believed that the origins of all modern military pension systems of the world originate in ancient Rome. Many of the principles and conditions for obtaining a military pension of many centuries ago are still relevant and remain in one form or another in our day.
Photos used:
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. DimanC
    DimanC 26 March 2018 05: 43
    As N. Bonaparte used to say, who does not want to feed his army will feed someone else's ...
    1. Korsar4
      Korsar4 26 March 2018 08: 21
      At the same time, Murat recalls: "35 years old and not killed. Not a hussar."
  2. Olgovich
    Olgovich 26 March 2018 06: 16
    Usually used as allotment of land
    One consideration: this happened mainly in conquered countries, which served as a powerful force for the successful colonization of their Romans.
    A striking example is the colonization that took place on the territory of modern Rtsmyaniya ....
  3. ICT
    ICT 26 March 2018 06: 59
    Legionnaires put off half of the bonus and other one-time payments. The accumulated amounts were issued to the veteran in full only upon resignation.

    probably abuses were in full swing
    Quote: Olgovich
    One consideration: this happened mainly in conquered countries, which served as a powerful force for the successful colonization of their Romans.

    it’s closer to sunset, and of course in Italy it’s better than in Kamchatka
  4. verner1967
    verner1967 26 March 2018 07: 32
    Initially, in the armies of antiquity, material rewards for long service were issued in kind in the form of land plots, items made of precious metals and natural precious stones, herds of animals and even slaves.
    yeah, now a village and a shower of 30-40 serfs wouldn’t hinder retirement laughing
  5. parusnik
    parusnik 26 March 2018 08: 12
    A lot of things came from ancient Rome ...
  6. shuravi
    shuravi 26 March 2018 09: 31
    Quote: DimanC
    As N. Bonaparte used to say, who does not want to feed his army will feed someone else's ...

    Here is another wisdom, I don’t remember whose: If you do not care about the wounded and crippled soldiers, then following them seeing such a prospect will not go into battle.
  7. Palagecha
    Palagecha 26 March 2018 10: 00
    I did not understand, so what has changed in military pensions over the past century ??? !!!
    1. shuravi
      shuravi 26 March 2018 10: 38
      Quote: Palagecha
      I did not understand, so what has changed in military pensions over the past century ??? !!!

      Judging by the article does not understand. And as far as we are concerned, so far the best pension provision was during the USSR period.
      1. Palagecha
        Palagecha 26 March 2018 21: 36
        I would have a pension of 250 rubles ... For this money, I could drive any excellent student crazy ....
    2. BAI
      BAI 26 March 2018 17: 06
      Moved from nature to monetary value. But this is not in the article. This is m. will be continued.
      1. Cat
        Cat 26 March 2018 18: 20
        Quote: BAI
        Moved from nature to monetary value. But this is not in the article.

        Yeah! I would like to hear about the full monetary pension in the Middle Ages !!!
        1. 3x3zsave
          3x3zsave 26 March 2018 21: 24
          Vladislav, I'm trying here laughing to position ourselves as an awesome specialist in commodity-money relations of the Middle Ages (I really wonder how to match, and why do we live so sad. I’ll try to find out ...
      2. 3x3zsave
        3x3zsave 26 March 2018 21: 17
        This is unlikely. This is not Shpakovsky.
  8. Curious
    Curious 26 March 2018 13: 46
    If anyone is interested in the issue of "social protection" of the soldiers of ancient Rome, you can see There, although the author does not put the proud stigma of a “historian,” he deserves attention.
    1. Cat
      Cat 26 March 2018 18: 10
      Viktor Nikolaevich, I wonder where the author of the article took the age limit of "pensioners" at 60 years old?
      And even more surprised that in such a specialized article there is more than one reference to sources?
      1. 3x3zsave
        3x3zsave 26 March 2018 21: 11
        Vladislav, I, too, never make references to sources. This is a fat minus to me, as a history buff. Somewhere I heard, read, and reproduce, that’s how I am a scoundrel.
        1. Cat
          Cat 26 March 2018 22: 06
          Dear Anton, the key word characterizing us is “history buffs”! Unconditionally, we love her “capricious”, respect and even bow, but when we climb into her “intricacies and taunts” we do not mark our posts with a “stamp” - a historian! So if the Author suffered in "Jupiters", then it is necessary to comply. As the late D.A. Yagofarov used to say, "example = source link!" No link "minus one point"!
          To be honest, I was hooked by the categorical figure of "60 years."
          1. Curious
            Curious 26 March 2018 23: 37
            If you approach formally, then such a figure is on Wikipedia, and in Brockhaus with Efron. But on its own, without reference to the periodization of Roman history and a detailed analysis of the specifics of the military service of Rome, this figure is about nothing, since the number of various reforms and transformations in the Roman army is very large, therefore, to track all the changes even of such a narrow issue as "social protection of military pensioners of ancient Rome", one article is not enough.
            The Roman army is a kind of corporate community, a special social organism and a subject of political history.
            So here, if you respect the reader, you need a series of articles. Well, a list of references.
  9. Monarchist
    Monarchist 26 March 2018 17: 38
    Quote: Curious
    If anyone is interested in the issue of "social protection" of the soldiers of ancient Rome, you can see There, although the author does not put the proud stigma of a “historian,” he deserves attention.

    Not all who call themselves "historians" are historians; some non-historians know history better than "historians"
    1. Cat
      Cat 26 March 2018 18: 14
      Well, all Kamrad - “for this” all this fraternity with crusts will now be “banned” with a control “brain removal”! If ... what write in PM we will fight back together !!! soldier
      1. 3x3zsave
        3x3zsave 26 March 2018 21: 05
        They will not be banned, they are delayed on other resources, Mavrodi has died, how not to be noted “in love” for his comrade ?!
        1. Cat
          Cat 26 March 2018 22: 08
          I don’t know Anton, about the dead or good, or nothing. Itself is sometimes sinful, but it is necessary to strive for this truth.
          1. 3x3zsave
            3x3zsave 27 March 2018 22: 10
            The dead are different. "Sometimes they come back." I'm serious.