The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Eranos – Erato – Eratosthenes

222

EEANOS——ERATOSTHENES.

of campaigns not exceeding ten. Their service expired, they passed into the first censorial class. The senators alone among the equites were, in earlier times, allowed to keep their equus publicus, their name on the roll, and their rights as equites unimpaired. But of this privilege the senators were deprived in the time of the Gracchi. The number of the equites equo piiblico re­mained the same, as no addition was made to the sum expended by the state on the horses. Young men of property sometimes served on their own horses (equo prlv&tri) without any share in the political privileges of the equites. After the Second Punic war the body of equites gradually lost its mili­tary position, and finally ceased to exist as a special troop. In the 1st century b.c. the members of the equestrian centurice only served in the c6hors prcetoria of the general, or in the capacity of military tribunes and prcefecti of cohorts.

The wealthy class, who were in posses­sion of the large capital which enabled them to undertake the farming of the public revenues, and who consequently had the opportunity of enriching themselves still further, had long enjoyed a very influential position. In 123 B.C. the lex iudlcldna of Gaius Gracchus transferred to the possessors of the equestrian census (400,000 sestertii, or about £3,500) to right to sit on juries, which had previously belonged exclusively to mem­bers of the senate. Thus an ordO (quester or third order, standing between the senate and the people, was formed, which began to play an important part in politics. Its members were called equites even if they were not enrolled in the centurice equitum. The contests between the senate and the equites for the exclusive right to sit on the juries, continued with varying fortunes until the end of the Republic. Augustus allowed the ordo equester to continue in existence as a class in possession of a cer­tain income ; but the old fiscal and judicial system came to an end, and the ordo accord­ingly lost all its former importance. On the other hand, the equites proper rose into a position of great consideration. They were divided into six turnus, headed by an imperial prince as princeps iuventutis. True, they had no further standing as a corporation: but the emperor employed them in a variety of confidential posts. The title eques equo ] publico was necessary for the attainment of the office of military

1 The state did not actually provide the horse.

tribune, and for a number of the most important military posts. The power of conferring or withdrawing the title came at length to rest with the emperor alone.

The review of the equites, which used to take place every five years, now became a mere ceremony, and was united by Augustus with the ancient annual parade (transvcctlo) of the 15th July. The equites, in full uniform, rode through the Forum to the Capitol, past the temple of Mars or HSnos.

After the transference of the seat of government to Constantinople, the turmae equitum sank into the position of a city corporation, standing between the senate and the guilds, and in possession of special privileges. The insignia of the equites were a gold ring and a narrow purple border on the tunic (see tdnica). At the trans-vectio they wore the tr&b&a, a mantle adorned with purple stripes, and crowns of olive. From 67 b.c. the fourteen first rows were assigned to them hOnOris causa,.

ErinSs. The Greek term for an organized club or society, for the purposes of feast­ing and amusement, whose members were called Sranistas. Sometimes it would be formed in connexion with the worship of particular deities. Sometimes, again, the object of an eranos would be mutual assist­ance by advances of money. The govern­ment encouraged these clubs, because their corporate character made it easier to settle with expedition any legal proceedings arising out of their affairs. Trials of this kind, for refusal to pay subscriptions, or to repay loans, had to be settled within a month.

Erito. See muses.

Eratosthenes. A Greek savant, born at Gyrene in 275 b.c. He completed his philo­sophical education at Athens, where he made his first public appearance as a lecturer on philosophy. His learning won him such a reputation that Ptolemy III (Euergetes) invited him in 247 b.c. to Alexandria, and made him librarian there in the place of Calllmachus. He is said to have died, after nearly losing his eye-sight, by voluntary starvation in 195 b.c. He was a master of science in all its branches— history, geography, geometry, astronomy, philosophy, grammar and poetry. As a writer he treated an astonishing variety of subjects, and won thereby the name of PentctthlSs (or master in the five great exercises of the arena). It is said that he was the first person who assumed the name of PhilGlogos, or friend of science. His

Pages
About | First | Index

221

222

223
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.