In ancient history, as in Athens and Rome, the knight was a noble of the second class who in military service had to furnish his own mount and equipment. In Roman society, the knights (Latin equites ) ranked below the senatorial class and above ordinary citizens. A knight forfeited his status if the assessed value of his fortune sank below 400,000 sesterces.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.