Are there any ancient/historical examples of organized philanthropy/humanitarian groups or independent armies that fought primarily for benevolent purposes?

Today my curiosity has taken me down this rabbit hole reading through the pages of Google trying to find any notable story or article that describes what essentially would have been an ancient or slightly less than ancient version of a Red Cross, United Nations, Save the Children organization, or any independent paramilitary group that abstained from typical political/religious based engagements and focused mostly on being protectors against human abuses, genocide, crimes against humanity, etc. (I know that might be a long shot) I can’t imagine that people coming together with the desire to be of benevolent service to others, particularly in foreign places of famine, natural disaster, disease or war, is entirely a new and modern concept. Logistically and practically it would have been more difficult, but surely not impossible, and the optimist in me wants to believe that the world back then wasn’t so harsh that there weren’t people whose possess the same will as some do today to want to make a difference.

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What do you think?

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