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474

EQUITES.

"be qualified by his fortune to possess one, and to be a senator. The number of judices, who were required yearly, was chosen from this class by the praetor urbamis. (Klenze, Lex Servilia^ Berl. 1825.) As the name of equites had been originally ex­tended from those who possessed the public horses to those who served with their own horses, it now came to be applied to all those persons who were qualified by their fortune to act as judices, in which sense the word is usually used by Cicero, Pliny {H. N. xxxiii. 7) indeed says that those persons who possessed the equestrian fortune, but did not serve as equites, were only called judices, and that the name of equites was always confined to the possessors of the equi publici. This may have been the correct use of the term ; but custom soon gave the name of equites to the judices chosen in accordance with the Lex Sempronia.

After the reform of Sulla, which entirely de­prived the equestrian order of the right of being chosen as judices, and the passing of the Lex Au-relia (b.c. 70), which ordained that the judices should be chosen from the senators, equites, and tribuni aerarii, the influence of the order, says Pliny, was still maintained by the publicani (Plin. //. N, xxxiii. 8), or farmers of the public taxes. We find that the publicani were almost always called equites, not because any particular rank was neces­sary in order to obtain from the state the farming of the taxes, but because the state naturally would not let them to any one who did not possess a considerable fortune. Thus the publicani are-frequently spoken of by Cicero as identical with the equestrian order {Ad Ait. ii. 1. § 8). [pub­licani.] The consulship of Cicero and the active part which the knights then took in suppressing the conspiracy of Catiline, tended still further to increase the power and influence of the equestrian order ; and K from that time," says Pliny (l.c.\ " it became a third body (coiyus) in the state, and, to the title of Senatus Populusque Romanus, there began to be added Et Equestris Ordo."

In B. c. 63, a distinction was conferred upon them, which tended to separate them still further from the plebs. By the Lex Roscia Othonis, passed in that year, the first fourteen seats in the theatre behind the orchestra were given to the equites (Liv. Epit. 99) ; which, according to Cicero (pro mut. 19) and Velleius Paterculus (ii. 32), was only a restoration of an ancient privilege ; which is alluded to by Livy (i. 35), when he says that special seats were set apart in the Circus Maximus for the senators and equites. They also possessed the right of wearing the Clavus Augus­tus [clavus] ; and subsequently obtained the privilege of wearing a gold ring, which was origi­nally confined to the equites equo publico.

The number of equites increased greatly under the early emperors, and all persons were admitted into the order, provided they possessed the requisite property, without any inquiry into their character or into the free birth of their father and grand­father, which had always been required by the -censors under the republic. Property became now the only qualification ; and the order in conse­quence gradually began to lose all the consideration which it had acquired during the later times of the republic. Thus Horace {Ep.i. 1. 58) says, with lio small degree of contempt, —

Si quadringentis sex septem milia desunt, Plebs eris.

EQUITES.

Augustus formed a select class of equites, con-sisting of those equites who possessed the property of a senator, and the old requirement of free birth up to the grandfather. He permitted this class to wear the lotus davus (Ovid. Trist. iv. 10. 35) ; and also allowed the tribunes of the plebs to be chosen from them, as well as the senators, and gave them the option at the termination of their office to remain in the senate or return to the equestrian order. (Suet. Aug. 40 ; Dion Cass. liv. 30.) This class of knights was distinguished by the special title illust'res (sometimes insigties and splendidi} equites Romani. (Tacit. Ann. xi. 4, with the note of Lipsius,)

The formation of this distinct class tended to lower the others still more in public estimation, In the ninth year of the reign of Tiberius an at­tempt was made to improve the order by requiring the old qualifications of free birth up to the grand­father, and by strictly forbidding any one to wear the gold ring unless he possessed this qualification. This regulation, however, was of little avail, as the emperors frequently admitted freedmen into the equestrian order. (Plin. H. N, xxxiii. 8.) When private persons were no longer appointed judices, the necessity for a distinct class in the community, like the equestrian order, ceased entirely ; and the gold ring came at length to be worn by all free citizens. Even slaves, after their manumission, were allowed to wear it by special permission from the emperor, which appears to have been usually granted provided the patronus consented. (Dig. 40. tit. 10. s. 3,) [annulus.]

Having thus traced the history of the equestrian order to its final extinction as a distinct class in the community, we must now return to the equites equo publico, who formed the eighteen equestrian centuries. This class still existed during the latter years of the republic, but had entirely ceased to serve as horse-soldiers in the army. The cavalry of the Roman legions no longer consisted, as in the time of Polybius, of Roman equites, but their place was supplied by the cavalry of the allied states. It is evident that Caesar in his Gallic wars possessed no Roman cavalry. (Caes. Bell. Gall. i. 15.) When he went to an interview with Ariovistus, and was obliged to take cavalry with him, we are told that he did not dare to trust his safety to the Gallic cavalry, and therefore mounted his legionary soldiers upon their horses. (Id. i. 42.) The Roman equites are, however, frequently men­tioned in the Gallic and civil wars, but never as common soldiers ; they were officers attached to the staff of the general, or commanded the cavalry of the allies, or sometimes the legions. (Id. vii. 70 ; Bell. Civ. i.77, iii. 71, &c.)

After the year B. c. 50, there were no censors in the state, and it would therefore follow that for some years no review of the body took place, and that the vacancies were not filled up. When Augustus however took upon himself, in b. c. 29, the prae-fectura inorum, he frequently reviewed the troops of equites, and restored, according to Suetonius {Aug. 38), the long-neglected custom of the solemn procession {transvectio} ; by which we are probably to understand that Augustus connected the review of the knights {recognitio} with the annual proces­sion {transvectio) of the 15th of July. From this time these equites formed an honourable corps, from which all the higher officers in the army (Suet. Aug. 38, Claud. 25) and the chief niagis-

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