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The Equestrians of Ancient Rome

A basic summary of the Equestrians and their status in the Ancient Roman Empire.

During the time of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, there was a particular rank of people who were aristocrats, businessmen and soldiers. They rode horses, and were highly respected. These people were, the Equestrians.

Recruitment

To be recruited, Equestrians must go through a survey that checks his citizenship and wealth

They had to be a citizen of Rome, although they could be from any land Rome had conquered.

The amount of wealth potential recruits needed to have varied, depending on the current ruler’s decision. This can range from 40,000 to 120,000 denarii.

Rights & Responsibilities

Being an Equestrian meant they had many responsibilities and more rights.

The Equestrians were the lower of the two aristocratic ranks. The upper were the Patricians.

They had the right to vote in the Senate, although they had less time and opportunity to be heard.

They were businessmen, aristocrats, and were part of the Roman Army as the Cavalry.

Privileges

Because of their high status, Equestrians had many privileges, just as much as their responsibilities.

For Example: Equestrians were given priority seating at entertainment functions and public events, including the Colosseum. Because of their rank, they sat just behind the Patricians.

They were given access to horses for free, at the expense of the general public; and

They were also allowed to wear a toga, a type of gown, and an aureus, or gold right. This was a great honour during those times.

Social Status

The Equestrians were the more wealthy citizens of Rome. They were highly respected, only second to the Patricians, and were more trusted by the Emperor than their higher counterparts during the time of the Roman Empire, due to the fact that they have a lesser influence on other people, and that they were less wealthy, which meant it was almost impossible to control a large amount of people.

For Example, Patricians, who were very rich and influential, could have many people under his command. This is because Patricians can only come from very rich and powerful families in Rome.

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