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Financial powers of Equites in Roman empire in 1-2

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    Posted: 07 Jun 2020 at 04:26
I'm delving into the subject of how significant the role of Equities was in Roman business and finances in 1-2 centuries AD.

I initially scavenged the following 3 sources:
Eck, Werner (2000): Emperor, Senate & Magistrates.
Talbert, Richard (1996): The Senate and Senatorial and Equestrian Posts.
Berry, D. H. 2003. "Eqvester Ordo Tvvs Est: Did Cicero Win His Cases Because of His Support for the Eqvites?" The Classical Quarterly 53, no. 1: 222–34. doi:10.1093/cq/53.1.222.

But they seem to contain not enough details. I'd appreciate more recommendations of info sources
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2020 at 13:34
You might get a membership on academia.edu  It is a social networking site for academics and scholars. (individuals post articles and papers on it).   There are two levels of membership, free and paid, with more whistles and bells (features) for subscribing members.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2020 at 20:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2020 at 22:27
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

You might get a membership on academia.edu  It is a social networking site for academics and scholars. (individuals post articles and papers on it).   There are two levels of membership, free and paid, with more whistles and bells (features) for subscribing members.  

Yeah, I know, that's a perfect place to find something. You can find me there too
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2020 at 21:09
Originally posted by Vanuatu Vanuatu wrote:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00076791.2019.1656719?needAccess=true&journalCode=fbsh20


Mommsen gives an interesting account of Gaius Gracchus's administrative reform that concerned the Equites. Basically, Equites became extremely rich since that time, perhaps often richer than senators
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vanuatu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2020 at 18:43
A unique opportunity arose for redistribution of wealth upon the death of King Attalus III of Pergamum in 133 BCE. When the king left his fortune to the people of Rome, Tiberius proposed using that money to purchase and distribute land to the poor. To pursue his agenda, Tiberius attempted to seek re-election to the tribune; this would be an illegal act. Tiberius did, in fact, receive enough votes for re-election—but the event led to a violent encounter in the Senate. Tiberius himself was beaten to death with chairs, along with hundreds of his followers.After Tiberius Gracchus was killed during the rioting in 133, his brother Gaius (154–121 BCE) stepped in. Gaius Gracchus took up the reform issues of his brother when he became tribune in 123 BCE, ten years after the death of brother Tiberius. He created a coalition of poor free men and equestrians who were willing to go along with his proposals.

In the mid 120s, the three main sources of Rome's grain outside Italy (Sicily, Sardinia, and North Africa) were disrupted by locusts and drought, impacting Romans, civilians, and soldiers. Gaius enacted a law that provided for the construction of state granaries, and a regular sale of grain to the citizens, as well as feeding the hungry and homeless with state-owned grain. Gaius also founded colonies in Italy and Carthage and instituted more humane laws surrounding military conscription.


Why were these guys so determined to help the poor? 

Was it more to do with diminishing the power of the Equites or social ideology?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2020 at 22:19
Originally posted by Vanuatu Vanuatu wrote:

Why were these guys so determined to help the poor? 

Was it more to do with diminishing the power of the Equites or social ideology?

Because they were plebs fed up with mistreatment by patricians. They tried to strengthen the class of equites financially because they viewed it as opportunity to build a strong opposition against the senators. 


Edited by Novosedoff - 12 Jun 2020 at 02:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2020 at 21:21
The class struggles were a thing of the past by the late republic. The poor were fobbed off increasingly by panem et circuses which would become a major political strategy for the top dogs of the Principate though not everyone was so generous (Tiberius was loathed by the public because he wouldn't pay for entertainment).

As the Principate got under way more and more opportunities for equites arose and that meant financial rewards were there to be competed for, not just among themselves, bu againstt the patricians who had previously gotten all the best jobs, or nearly all of them at least. For some Caesars, this was a matter of convenience - and trust - or more often, a ploy to offset the traditional prestige of the Senate which gradually weakened under this sort of bullying and denial until they became essentially a ritual component of Roman politics during the Dominate. The Senate survived the fall of the West by at least a century.


Edited by caldrail - 18 Aug 2020 at 21:23
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Novosedoff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2020 at 09:28
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

The class struggles were a thing of the past by the late republic. The poor were fobbed off increasingly by panem et circuses which would become a major political strategy for the top dogs of the Principate though not everyone was so generous (Tiberius was loathed by the public because he wouldn't pay for entertainment).

As the Principate got under way more and more opportunities for equites arose and that meant financial rewards were there to be competed for, not just among themselves, bu againstt the patricians who had previously gotten all the best jobs, or nearly all of them at least. For some Caesars, this was a matter of convenience - and trust - or more often, a ploy to offset the traditional prestige of the Senate which gradually weakened under this sort of bullying and denial until they became essentially a ritual component of Roman politics during the Dominate. The Senate survived the fall of the West by at least a century.

Given that the whole Roman elite (incl. the equites) comprised a measly 1% of the empire's population,  the rise of equites could barely contribute to alleviation of social tensions. Equites served more for the purpose of political consensus as economically independent elements within the society. In fact, as Principate got under way, senators' sons became a significant force within the class of equites, thereby diminishing the independence of the class. 

The below page mentions that some of the elite could possess fortunes exceeding 100 mln sesterces. To give better understanding of how significant the amount was it is worth reminding that Cicero purchased his luxury house in Rome in credit for 3.5 mln. sesterces. Later in the time of Augustus (the one who established the Principate) a person could acquire a senator's seat only if he held 1 mln. sesterces along with property in Rome.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Aug 2020 at 21:01
Nonetheless the equites were increasingly given official posts as the Principate continued. They were effectively forming an alternative source of governmental positions under the direction of the Princeps rather than the Senate. 
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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