History of Europe

Retirement, an invention of the Romans.

The great military success of Rome was due to the great work in the field of engineering, to the pacts, the occasional betrayal... and, above all, to the legions. Organized, disciplined military structures, with great mobility (they could travel 50 km/day) and maneuverability. They were made up of Roman citizens who voluntarily enlisted at the age of 20 and after spending four months of hard training they had to remain in active service for 25 years. In times of war it was compulsory and in extreme cases the recruitment age was lowered.

When these “veterans” completed their years of service, they were licensed (emeritus ) and received a plot of land or an amount of money, equivalent to twelve years' pay at the time of Emperor Augustus. On many occasions, cities were founded to settle retirees, such as Emérita Augusta, today Mérida, which was founded by Augusto when he discharged the veterans of the V and X legions after the Cantabrian wars. On other occasions, it was the legion camps themselves that formed stable population nuclei, as in the case of León, which was founded on the Legio camp. VII.

Image:Raffaele Caruso

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