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Rings, as soon as they began to be commonly worn, distinguished the second order from the plebeians, in the same manner as the use of the tunic1 distinguished the senate from those who only were the ring. Still, however, this last distinction was introduced at a later period only, and we find it stated by writers that the public heralds2 even were formerly in the habit of wearing the tunic with the purple laticlave; the father of Lucius Ælius Stilo,3 for instance, from whom his son received the cognomen of "Præconinus," in consequence of his father's occupation as a herald. But the use of rings, no doubt, was the distinguishing mark of a third and intermediate order, between the plebeians and the senators; and the title of "eques," originally derived from the possession of a war-horse,4 is given at the present day as an indication of a certain amount of income. This, however, is of comparatively recent introduction; for when the late Emperor Augustus made his regulations for the decuries,5 the greater part of the members thereof were persons who wore iron rings, and these bore the name, not of "equites," but of "judices," the former name being reserved solely for the members of the squadrons6 furnished with war-horses at the public charge.

Of these judices, too, there were at first but four7 decuries only, and in each of these decuries there was hardly one thousand men to be found, the provinces not having been hitherto admitted to the office; an observance which is still in force at the present day, no one newly admitted to the rights of citizenship being allowed to perform the duties of judex as a member of the decuries.

(2.) These decuries, too, were themselves distinguished by several denominations—" tribunes8 of the treasury," "selecti,"9 and "judices:" in addition to whom, there were the persons styled the "nine hundred,"10 chosen from all the decuries for the purpose of keeping the voting-boxes at the comitia. From the ambitious adoption, however, of some one of these names, great divisions ensued in this order, one person styling himself a member of the nine hundred, another one of the selecti, and a third a tribune of the treasury.

1 The laticlave tunic. See B. viii. c. 73, and B. ix. c. 63.

2 "Præcones."

3 See the list of writers at the end of B. ix.

4 "Equus militaris."

5 See B. xxix. c. 8. The "Decuriæ" of "judices," or "judges," were so called, probably, from ten (decem) having been originally chosen from each tribe. As to the Decuriæ of the judices, see Smith's Diet. Antiq. pp. 531–2. The account given by Pliny is confused in the extreme.

6 "Turmæ." Squadrons of thirty "equites" or horsemen; ten of which squadrons were attached to each legion.

7 Before the time of Augustus, there were but three decuries.

8 A law introduced by Aurelius Cotta, B.C. 70, enacted that the Judices should be chosen from the three classes—of Senators, Equites, and Tribuni æarii, or Tribunes of the treasury, these last being taken from the body of the people, and being persons possessed of some property.

9 Members selected by lot.

10 "Nongenti."

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