Lex Arria Tullia de ordine equestri (Nova Roma)

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Codex Iuris Novae Romae


This lex is currently IN FORCE.

Approved by comitia centuriata
Yes: 24 No: 0 Abs.: 0
a.d. VI Kal. Ian. Q. Arrio (III) A. Tullia cos. MMDCCLXXIV a.u.c.


Based on the decree of the senate, following the principles of the senatus consultum de classibus et centuriis et tribubus, the Nova Roman people enacts this law with the intention to regulate the equestrian order of Nova Roma in the most Roman manner possible to the extant that it is practically capable of implementation in Nova Roma.

I. Membership in the equestrian order

The equestrian order consists of two actual grades of knighthood, the equites equo publico, the equites equo privato, and of a preliminary grade attached to the equites equo privato, termed tribuni aerarii equestres. Assignment to the ordo equester is either automatic (when done on the basis of census points) or made by a censorial decision. Thus citizens cannot decline this title, however the actual use of the title in civic life is left to each individual.

I.A. Equites equo publico

The equites equo publico or equites publici, the public equestrians, are the equestrians proper, knights who receive their dignity as an awarded title of distinction, granted by the collegial decision of the censores. The censores may, at their discretion, award this distinction to those assiduus citizens whom they consider the best of Nova Roma, who, in the censores’ judgment, greatly excelled in their service to Nova Roma or in service to the study and revival of Romanitas in general. Capite censi may not be enrolled by the censores into the equestrian order. The status of eques publicus can only be obtained as an award, and they are the only full members of the equestrian order.

I.A.1. Equites publici shall be assigned to the classes according to their census points. Equites publici with 400 or more CP shall be placed into the 6 equestrian centuries, but equestrian centuries must not have more members than the largest regular century of the First Class. Inclusion into the 6 equestrian centuries of Nova Roma shall be considered the highest honor among the equites equo publico and the censores shall select those equites publici who are the most meritorious and senior members of the equestrian order. The criterion of how many public equestrians must be allocated into each equestrian century will depend on the population density of the other centuries of First Class: no equestrian century may contain more citizens than any century in the First Class. If there are more equites publici than can be placed in the equestrian centuries, the censores shall decide which ones will remain in the regular First Class, and which ones will be allocated into the 6 equestrian centuries "supra classem,” as a special honor in addition to their distinction as equites equo publico.

I.A.2. If equites publici lose their assiduus status, they lose their knighthood immediately and automatically, which may be restored by the censores at their discretion upon subsequent return to assiduus status. If such a former public equestrian requests the restoration of his or her membership in the equestrian order, the censores may refuse the request only if they publish their reasoning for the refusal in an edictum, and the justification for the refusal must be a reason different from non-payment of taxes.

I.B. Equites equo privato

The equites equo privato or equites privati, the private equestrians, hold a status given automatically to those assidui who obtain 400 census points. Citizens can reach the status of eques privatus by accumulating census points either for their service and merit, or by contributing financially to the treasury of Nova Roma according to the lex Arria de censu civium aestimando. Because this title is automatically granted, citizens cannot decline it. However, the actual use of the title in civic life is left up to the individual.

I.B.1. Those citizens who are Equites privati belong to the First Class as any assidui having a census of 100 CP or more would.

I.B.2. The status of an eques privatus depends on maintaining the balance of 400 CP and assiduus status. Equites privati are “private” members of the equestrian order; their knighthood is officially incomplete: although they are considered full members of the private equestrian order (the private section of the order), they are only “candidates” for full knighthood.

I.C. Tribuni aerarii equestres

Tribuni aerarii equestres or treasury tribune equestrians are only preliminary members of the private equestrian order, they are not knights, they are merely entitled to use some of the insignia of the knights: they are merely “candidates” for private knighthood. The status of tribunus aerarius equestris may be obtained automatically only by a donation according to the lex Arria de censu civium aestimando.

I.C.1. Equites publici belong to the class where they belong according to their census points.

I.C.2. The status of a tribunus aerarius equestris depends on maintaining assiduus status and repeating the same special equestrian donation annually.

II. The privileges of equestrians

II.A. Equestrians are entitled to use the title "eques", or "eques Novus Romanus" (Nova Roman knight or equestrian), or more specifically "eques equo publico", "eques publicus" or "eques equo privato", "eques privatus", to receive distingished seats and take precedence over regular citizens within the same category at public events (an equestrian takes precedence over a non-equestrian ordinary citizen, but a senator or magistrate takes precedence over an equestrian, whereas an equestrian senator takes precedence over an ordinary senator and so on). As their insignia, public equestrians are entitled to wear the tunica angusticlavia, the equestrian trabea, the equestrian (golden) ring and equestrian shoes. Private equestrians are entitled only to wear the tunica angusticlavia and the equestrian ring. Those private equestrians who obtain their status by a donation for which they receive an extra 400 CP are entitled to keep these census points as long as they maintain their yearly donation. The censores may select, based on the merits of the individual, a first equestrian among the members of the equites equo publico who shall receive the title princeps iuventutis, and who shall always be included among the equites publici supra classem.

II.B. Direct descendants and wives or husbands of living knights of Nova Roma are entitled to wear the tunica angusticlavia, and they are considered to be subsidiary members of the ordo equester, although they are not considered knights/equestrians themselves. The legal definition of descendants is "equestri ordine nati" ("from the equestrian order by birth"), that of the wives or husbands is "equestri ordine matrimonio" ("from the equestrian order by marriage"). If the equestrian citizen who is the source of the family members’ association to the order, loses the knighthood, dies, or gets divorced, the association of the descendants or spouses to the equestrian order ends automatically, and they are no longer entitled to wear the tunica angusticlavia.

II.C. Tribuni aerarii equestres are entitled to use the title "tribunus aerarius equestris" (treasury tribune equestrian), and to wear a tunica angusticlavia. They keep the extra 25 census points for their equestrian donation to the treasury as long as they maintain it annually. Their family does not receive any privilege.

II.D. Other laws may grant other rights and privileges to the all and any grades of the equestrians.

III. Implementation of the law

When there are no censores in office, and public knighthoods may not be awarded, those equites publici who lost their status by non-payment of taxes and apply for restoration to their knighthood upon completing the missing payment, receive their dignity back from the praefectus rei publicae administrandae, who directs the Censorial Office, and who shall grant it without right of refusal; this restoration to knighthood does not count as an awarding of the knighthood. The grant of the private knighthood and the treasury tribune equestrian status is automatic, and, even if there are no censores in office, these can be administered by the Censorial Office.

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