A Latin word signifying knight. Every member of the Rite of Strict Observance, on attaining to the seventh or highest degree, received what has been termed a characteristic name, which was formed in Latin by the addition of a noun in the ablative case, governed by the preposition a or ab, to the word Eques, as Eques Serpente, or Knight of the Serpent, Eques ab Aquila, or Knight of the Eagle, etc., and by this name he was ever afterward known in the Order.
Thus Bode, one of the founders of the Rite, was recognized as Eques Lilio Convallium, or Knight of the icily of the Valleys, and the Baron Hund, another founder, as Eques ab Ense, or Knight of the Sword. A similar custom prevailed among the Illuminati and in the Royal Order of Scotland. Eques signified among the Romans a knight, but in the Middle Ages the knight was called miles; although the Latin word mites denoted only a soldier, yet, by the usage of chivalry, it received the nobler signification. Indeed, NIuratori says, on the authority of an old inscription, that Eques was inferior in dignity to Miles (see Miles).
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