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Indeed, the name itself of the equites even, has been frequently changed, and that too, in the case of those who only owed their name to the fact of their service on horseback. Under Romulus and the other kings, the equites were known as "Celeres,"1 then again as "Flexuntes,"2 and after that as "Trossuli,"3 from the fact of their having taken a certain town of Etruria, situate nine miles on this side of Volsinii, without any assistance from the infantry; a name too which survived till after the death of C. Gracchus.

At all events, in the writings left by Junius, who, from his affection for C. Gracchus, took the name of Gracchanus,4 we find the following words—"As regards the equestrian order, its members were formerly called 'Trossuli,' but at the present day they have the name of 'Equites;' because it is not understood what the appellation 'Trossuli' really means, and many feel ashamed at being called by that name."5—He6 then goes on to explain the reason, as above mentioned, and adds that, though much against their will, those persons are still called "Trossuli."

1 According to Livy, B. i. c. 15, the Celeres were three hundred Roman knights whom Romulus established as a body-guard. Their name, probably, was derived from the Greek κέλης, a "war-horse," or "charger," and the body consisted, no doubt, of the patricians in general, or such of them as could keep horses. Another origin assigned to the appellation is "Celer," the name of a chieftain, who was a favourite of Romulus. The adjective "celer," "swift," owes its origin, probably, to the title of these horsemen.

2 A title derived, possibly, as Delafosse suggests, "a flectendis habenis," from "managing the reins."

3 Called "Trossum" or "Trossulum," it is supposed. The remains of a town are still to be seen at Trosso, two miles from Montefiascone in Tuscany. The Greek word τρωξαλλὶς, a "cricket," and the Latin "torosulus," "muscular," have been suggested as the origin of this name. Ajasson suggests the Latin verb "truso," to "push on," as its origin.

4 See the end of this Book.

5 From the ambiguous nature of the name, it being in later times an expression of contempt, like our word "fop," or "beau." In this latter sense, Salmasius derives it from the Greek τρυσσὸς, "effeminate."

6 This concluding passage is omitted in most editions.

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