Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > Ancient History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Ancient History Ancient History Forum - Greece, Rome, Carthage, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and all other civilizations of antiquity, to include Prehistory and Archaeology discussions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 29th, 2016, 11:15 PM   #1

History Craft's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: Romania
Posts: 1,706
Land distribution to roman veterans


Can someone explain to me how roman soldiers would receive land at the end of their career? Could they choose where? Did it have to be in the province where they served? Could they just receive it, sell it and move where they wanted? Did the sizes vary ? During what periods of roman history was this a practice? Would a roman soldier have a family by the time his career reached the end? How was the life of a roman soldier during that time? How wealthy would a roman veteran be at the end of his career (besides the received land)? How much land did they actually receive?


Also, can someone recommend me some good books on the life of roman soldiers?

Last edited by History Craft; April 29th, 2016 at 11:35 PM.
History Craft is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 30th, 2016, 12:41 AM   #2

caldrail's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 4,933
Blog Entries: 15

The location of land was often expedient rather than useful, depending on where land was available or what was to gain from colonising it. Some complaints were made that allocated land was poor and unsuited to agriculture from time to time. Typically the best time to obtain land was after a war or when a legion was disbanded. The amount doesn't seem to be legally defined and depended on sharing out the area among the numbers being awarded.

Veterans do seem to made a good go at their change of career though most would have struggled, especially those on poor land, and lets not forget that veterans were often encouraged to stay in service (one of the reasons the Pannonian Mutiny took place was that men were serving long after retirement age). Also, poor land or not, there were wealthier land owners waiting to profit from the veterans loss should things not work out.
caldrail is offline  
Old April 30th, 2016, 05:51 AM   #3
Scholar
 
Joined: Oct 2015
From: Virginia
Posts: 538

The allotment of land to discharged soldiers began with the enlistment of large numbers of proletarii by Marius. Before this, most legionaries were already land owners when they were conscripted, generally served for short terms and recieved no discharge bonus other than a share of booty. Augustus began the practice of providing a large cash award to retiring veterans, mainly because of the problems involved in providing a land allotment. So the distribution of land to veterans mostly took place in the first century BC (say 100BC - 30BC) and was a function of the economic and political problems of that era.

Distribution of land to veterans required a law be passed by the assembly. The law would determine the size of the allotments and provide for aquisition of the the land. Land could come from purchase, confiscation, or from "public land" already owned by the state. All of this caused problems. Political enemies would oppose the law in the senate or assembly, purchase of land would cause budget problems for the state and controversy over purchase price etc, confiscation would obviously be a problem for those whose land was being taken, and distribution of public land would both reduce state income and displace the tenants occupying it. All good reasons for Augustus to switch to a cash award.

The major distributions of land went to the large armies discharged at the end of the civil wars by Sulla, Caesar and Augustus. Sulla distributed Italian land confiscated from the losers in the civil war, Caesar established colonies on land aquired in the provinces, Augustus did both.
Dentatus is online now  
Old April 30th, 2016, 05:55 AM   #4

History Craft's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: Romania
Posts: 1,706

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dentatus View Post
So the distribution of land to veterans mostly took place in the first century BC (say 100BC - 30BC) and was a function of the economic and political problems of that era.

Distribution of land to veterans required a law be passed by the assembly. The law would determine the size of the allotments and provide for aquisition of the the land. Land could come from purchase, confiscation, or from "public land" already owned by the state. All of this caused problems. Political enemies would oppose the law in the senate or assembly, purchase of land would cause budget problems for the state and controversy over purchase price etc, confiscation would obviously be a problem for those whose land was being taken, and distribution of public land would both reduce state income and displace the tenants occupying it. All good reasons for Augustus to switch to a cash award.
So basically the practice stopped before year 1 AD ?
History Craft is offline  
Old April 30th, 2016, 05:56 AM   #5
Academician
 
Joined: Apr 2016
From: Colorado, USA
Posts: 81

The most common land grants given to retiring veterans were somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 acres/16 hectares. Forty acres made for a small family farm that allowed a family to feed itself and produce a small surplus to sell at market. The idea behind giving land at retirement was to allow the ex-soldier to feed himself for the rest of his life. It was the equivalent of a modern pension.

Prior to the early 3rd century, Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry and the term of enlistment was 20 or 25 years, so soldiers could not marry until they retired at near 40 years of age. Scholars have speculated that given the low standard of public health at the tiime, many men in their forties were no longer fit to work a farm. There are accounts of veterans sellng their land grants to wealthy men who consolidated dozens of small farms into large estates. This was certainly an option for veterans who had no interest in farming. The money might allow a veteran to start a business in a town. The cash awards mentioned Dentatus served the same function as selling one's land grant.

Last edited by CMAaron; April 30th, 2016 at 06:02 AM.
CMAaron is offline  
Old April 30th, 2016, 06:31 AM   #6

starman's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2014
From: Connecticut
Posts: 3,489

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMAaron View Post
Scholars have speculated that given the low standard of public health at the tiime

That's contrary to what I've heard. Archeologists have been very impressed by the high standards of oral hygiene among the people of Pompeii and Roman Britain. Add to that a sewer system and many bath buildings (also no tobacco nor most kinds of junk food).
It is true that life expectancy wasn't very high...
starman is offline  
Old April 30th, 2016, 06:52 AM   #7
Scholar
 
Joined: Oct 2015
From: Virginia
Posts: 538

Quote:
Originally Posted by History Craft View Post
So basically the practice stopped before year 1 AD ?
Usually...not always. Sometimes money was tight and land was available (thru conquest?) or cheap. In such cases land might be substituted.

In 5 AD Augustus set the discharge grant (praemia) at 3000 denarii...more than 13 years pay! (Dio lv.23).

Last edited by Dentatus; April 30th, 2016 at 06:59 AM.
Dentatus is online now  
Old April 30th, 2016, 07:27 AM   #8
Citizen
 
Joined: Apr 2016
From: england
Posts: 10

I think in terms of the land grant as a pension excavations have shown that the veterans often took land close to where they had served, this can be seen around Hadrian's wall where what seemed to be small retirement colonies seemed to have sprung up, due to the areas around the wall with the exception of Corbridge being sparsely populated and a fair way from larger settlements this makes the most sense as to their existence.
felixgallus is offline  
Old April 30th, 2016, 07:51 AM   #9

Frank81's Avatar
Guanarteme
 
Joined: Feb 2010
From: Canary Islands-Spain
Posts: 4,705

Quote:
Originally Posted by History Craft View Post
So basically the practice stopped before year 1 AD ?
A large scale settlement of veterans and colonists took place in Dacia after Trajan campaigns.
Frank81 is offline  
Old April 30th, 2016, 08:17 AM   #10

History Craft's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Sep 2015
From: Romania
Posts: 1,706

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank81 View Post
A large scale settlement of veterans and colonists took place in Dacia after Trajan campaigns.
Yeah, good point. The romanian word for ''old person / old being'' comes from the latin ''veteranus''.

Also, the romanian word for village comes from the latin word for fortification, and the romanian word for city (which comes from the latin civitatis) is synonymous with fortress.

Last edited by History Craft; April 30th, 2016 at 08:25 AM.
History Craft is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > Ancient History

Tags
distribution, land, roman, veterans



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Land Distribution before Homestead Act? mark87 American History 10 November 24th, 2015 08:15 PM
Distribution of forests in the ancient worlds Komodo Natural Environment 1 June 26th, 2015 07:23 PM
The Distribution of Power in the Early Modern World Guaporense General History 140 June 24th, 2012 08:55 AM
Red Land, Black Land. Is it a good book? Thessalonian History Book Reviews 3 August 22nd, 2011 01:04 PM
Production and distribution of Roman military equipment Sidmo001 Ancient History 2 January 9th, 2010 06:05 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.