plural noun Roman History.
mounted military units; cavalry.
members of a specially privileged class derived from the ancient Roman cavalry and having status intermediate between those of senatorial rank and the common people.

< Latin, plural of eques horseman, derivative of equus horse

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World English Dictionary
equites (ˈɛkwɪˌtiːz)
pl n
1.  the cavalry
2.  Also called: knights members of a social order distinguished by wealth and ranking just below the senators
[from Latin, plural of eques horseman, from equus horse]

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