According to Suetonius, when Julius Caesar in 49 BCE crossed the Rubicon, he decided to appear at a rally in front of his soldiers and speak to them to prove his point.
During the speech, Caesar gesticulated intensely, often lifting the finger of his left hand on which he wore his equestrian ring, assuring him that he would reward everyone who would stand by his side and allow him to save his honor. Many legionaries took the gesture as a promise of Equestrian status; There was also a rumor that each legionary would receive 400,000 sesterces.
It is worth noting that equites and senators were entitled to wear the golden ring and had to have a property of 400,000 sesterces. Hence probably the misconception and misunderstanding of Caesar’s speech.
Later, veterans repeatedly had to reproach Caesar for promises to pay, transfer land, and be released from service.
Suetonius, Julius Caesar, 33
Support IMPERIUM ROMANUM!
IMPERIUM ROMANUM is in process of translation over 3300 Polish articles about history of ancient Rome. If you have the opportunity to financially support the further translations – even with smaller amount – I will be very grateful.