Eqvites Romani are the members of the Republics leading classes, that have to serve as the legion's cavalry arm.
They can be recruited all Italian homeland provinces, the central heartlands of the Res Publica as well as the recently colonised areas in the south and the Po valley.
The equites are the roman citizen cavalry force. 300 of them, divided into ten turmae, are attached to each legion.They are equipped with a hasta lance, a sword, a round parma equestris shield with a diameter of 50-80 cm, thessalian helmets and wear lorica hamata (chainmail). Each eques has three horse and is accompanied by two grooms.
Historically, the equites were the members of the ordo equester and the sons of the families of the ordo senatorius, the two classes of the roman nobility, the wealthiest and most influential men. The rise of Roma had brought both, an increasing number of wealthy and influential citizens and an increased need for more cavalry for the growing number of legions. Since the middle republic the ordo equester itself was divided between the 1800 equites equo publico, the original and true equites romani, which fought on mounts provided by the state and the less respected equites equo privato, who fought on their own horses.
This proud horsemen were the future leading men of Roma. Their small numbers and the formidable opposition of other nations more professional cavalry often limited their effect on the battlefield, so that they were rarely used for other tasks than securing the flanks of the heavy infantry.
Over many centuries the Romans had the reputation to be more willing than others to adopt new customs and techniques if they proved useful. This was seen as one of their greatest strengths. The chainmail armour was probably of Celtic origin and adapted during the late 3rd century BC conflicts.
Normally every roman must have served at least ten years in the military before he was permitted to hold any political office. The eques had the duty to serve ten years, the infantryman 16 or 20 years in the case of national emergency, until he has completed his 46th year of life.