A sum of money (aes equestre) was given to each eques for the purchase of two horses (one for himself and one for his groom), and a further sum for their keep (aes hordearium); hence the name equites equo publico.
The origin of these equites equo privato dates back, according to Livy (v.
These equites equo private had no vote in the centuries, received pay in place of the aes equestre, and did not form a distinct corps.
Thus, at a comparatively early period, three classes of equites may be distinguished: (a) The patrician equites equo publico of the sex suifragia; (b) the plebeian equites in the twelve remaining centuries; (c) the equites equo private, both patrician and plebeian.
The equites remained' at home, or only went out as members of the general's staff, their places being taken by the equites equo p y ivato, the cavalry of the allies and the most skilled horsemen of the subject populations.
The equites equo privato were abolished (according to Herzog, not till the reign of Tiberius) and the term equites was officially limited to the equites equo publico, although all who possessed the property qualification were still considered to belong to the "equestrian order."
For the equites equo publico high moral character, good health and the equestrian fortune were necessary.