Augustus' Relationship with the Equites

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Re-organisation of the equestrian order

During the period of the late republic, there had been much hostility between the senate and the equites, particularly regarding the control of the courts. Augustus wished to solve this by creating new positions for equites where they would not interfere with the interests of the senate. He also ensured that the senate consisted of able individuals and those from the lower classes, including veteran centurions, so that the equestrian class did not consist merely of wealthy men. 

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Qualification for membership

In order for equites to qualify for membership, candidiates had to be honourable individuals. Candidates were approved and chosen by the princeps, as he oversaw all of the senatorial roles. Augustus also introduced a monetary qualification of 4 000 000 sesterces. 

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Positions available for equites

The administration of Rome, Italy and the provinces was divided between the princeps and the senate. There were many new posts opening which were new to the republican government, some of which included assisting the princeps. The senate would have been offended if they were asked to assist the princeps as they were considered his equal. Therefore, Augustus opened these posts to the equestrian order. Equites were the perfect candidates for such administrative roles as they were experienced in banking, business and tax collecting - all administrative roles which were common in the organisation of the provinces.

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Revived military aspect

Augustus wanted to revive the ancient link between the military and the equites (a class which originated as knights). Therefore, he re-emphasised the fact that young ambitious members who wished to pursue a career in administration had to have military experience. 

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