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On this page: Ep – Equiria – Equites


Ivfii. ]2; Plin. Ep. x. 3 ; Walter, Gcschwhte des Rom. Rcchts, § 141, 2d ed.)

EP.ULUM JOVIS. [epulones.]

EQUIRIA, horse-races, which are said to have been instituted by Romulus in honour of Mars, and were celebrated in the Campus Martins. (Festus, s. v. ; Varro, Ling.* Lot. vi. IB, 'There were two festivals of this name ; of which one was celebmted a. d. HI. Cal. Mart., and the other prid. Id. Mart. (Ovid, Fast. ii. 859, iii. 519.) If the Campus Martks was overflowed by the Tiber, the races took place on a part of the Mons Coelius, which was called from that circum­stance the Martialis Campus. (Festus, s. <y. Mart. Campus.}

EQUITES. The Roman Equites were origin­ally the horse-soldiers of the Roman state? and did not form a distinct class or or do in the common­wealth till the time of the Gracchi. Their insti­tution is attributed to Romulus, who caused 300 equites, divided into three centuries, to be elected by the curiae. Each of the old Roman tribes, the Ramnes, Titles., and Luc&res was represented by 100 equites, and consequently each of the 30 curiae by 10 equites ; and e?«;ch of the three cen­turies bore the name of the tribe which jt repre­sented. The three centuries were divided into 10 turmae, each consisting of 30 men; every turma contained 10 Ramnes, 10 Titles, and 10 Luceres ; and each of these decuries was commanded by a •decurio. The whole body likewise bore the- name of Celeres, who are erroneously regarded by some writers simply as the body-guard of the king. The commander of the 300 eqaites was called Triounus Celerum. (Dionys. ii. 13 ; Varr. L. L. v. 91, ed. Mliller ; Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 9 ; Festus, s.v. Celeres ; Liv. i. 13, 15.) [c'eleres.]

To the three hundred equites of Romulus,, ten Alban turmae were added by Tullus Hosfcilius. (Liv. i. 30.) There- were consequently now 600 equites ; but as the number of centuries was not increased, eaeh of these centuries contained 200 men. Tarquiiaiius Priscus, according to Livy (i. 36), wished to establish some new centuries of horsemen, and to call them by his own name, but gave up his intention m consequence of the opposi­tion of the augur Attus Navius, and only doubled the number of the centuries. The three centuries which he added were called the Ramnes, Titienses,, and Luceres Posteriores, The number ought there­fore now to be 1200 in all, which number is given in many editions of Livy (/. c.), but is not found in any manuscript. The number in, the manuscripts is different, but some of the best manuscripts have 1800, which has been adopted by most modern editors. This number, however, is opposed to Livy's previous account, and cannot be supported by the statement of Plutarch (Rom. 20), that after the union with the Sabines, the equites were in­creased to 600 ; because the original 300 are spoken of as the representatives of the three tribes ; where­as, according to Plutarch's account, the original 300 ought only to represent the Ramnes. If therefore we adopt Livy's account that there were originally 300 equites, that these were increased to 6'00 by Tullus Hostilius, and that the 600 were doubled by Tarquinius Priscus, there were 1200 in the time of the last-mentioned king, being divided into three centuries of Ramnes., Titles, and Luceres, each century containing 200 priores and 200 pos-teriores.



The complete organization of the equites Livy (i. 43) attributes to Servius Tullius. He says that this king formed (scripsif) 12 centuries of equites from the leading men of the state (ex primoribns civitatis) ; and that he also made six centuries out of the three established by Romulus. Thus, there were now 18 centuries. As each of the 12 new centuries probably contained the same number as the six old centuries, if the latter contained 1200 men, the former would have contained 2400, and the whole number of the equites would have been


The aceount, however, which Cicero (De Rep. ii. 20) gives is quite different. He attributes the complete organization of the equites to Tarquinius Priscus. He agrees with Livy in saying that Tar­quinius Priscus increased the number of the Ram­nes, Tiisienses, and Luceres, by adding new cen­turies under the name of Ramnes, Titienses, and Luceres secundi (not, however, postericres, as Livy states ; compare Festus s. v. Sex Vestae) ; but he differs from him in stating, that this king also doubled their number after the conquest of the Aequi. Scipio, who is represented by Cicero as giving this account, also,says that the arrangement of the equites, which; was made by Tarquinius Priscus, continued unchanged to his day (r. c. 129). The account,, which Cicero gave of the equites in the coustitmtion of Servius Tullius, is unfortunately lost, and! the only words which re­main aore duodemginti censu maodmo; but it is diffi­cult to conceive in what way he represented the division of the 18 centuries in the Servian consti­tution,, after he had expressly said that the orga­nization of the body by Tarquinius Priscus had continued unchanged to the time of Scipio. The number of equites in this passage of Cicero is open to much doubt and dispute. Scipio states, accord­ing to the reading adopted in all editions of the " I>e Republica," that Tarquinius Priscus increased the original number of the equites to 1200, and that he subsequently doubled this number after the- conquest of the Aequi ; which account would make the whole number 2400, which number cannot be correct, since if 2400 be divided by 18 (the number of the centuries), the quotient is not a complete mmiber. The MS., however, has QD AC€C, which is interpreted to mean mille ac ducentos/ but instead of this,, Zumpt (Ueber die Romisclien Rittev und den Ritterstand in Rom, Berlin, 1840) proposes to read QODCCC, 1800, justly remarking,, that such a use of ac never occurs in Cicero. This reading would make the number, when doubled, 3600, which agrees with Livy's view, and which appears to have been the regular number ©f equites in the flourishing tma-es of the republic.

Both Livy and Cicero agree in stating- that each of the equites received a horse from the state (eqtius publicus), or money to purchase one, as well as a sum of money for its annual support; and that the expense of its support was -.defrayed by the orphans and unmarried females'; since, says Nie~ buhr (Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 461), " in a military-state it could not be esteemed unjust, that the women and the children were to contribute largely for those who fought in behalf of them and of the common wealth." According to Gains (iv. 27) the purchase-money for a knight's horse was called aes equestre, and its annual provision aes liordearium. [AES HoRDEARitfM.] The former amounted, ac­cording to Livy (i. 43), to 10,000 asses, and the

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