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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Triumph

TRIUMPH, an honour awarded to generals in ancient Rome for decisive victories over foreign enemies; for victories in civil war or over rebels a triumph was not allowed. The power of granting a triumph rested with the senate; and it was a condition of granting it that the victorious general, on his return from the war, should not have entered the city until he entered it in triumph. Lucullus on his return from Asia waited outside of Rome three years for his triumph. The triumph consisted of a solemn procession, which, starting from the Campus Martius outside the city walls, passed through the city to the Capitol. Rome was en fête, the streets gay with garlands, the temples open. The procession was headed by the magistrates and senate, who were followed by trumpeters and then by the spoils, which included not only arms, standards, statues, &c., but also representations of battles, and of the towns, rivers, and mountains of the conquered country, models of fortresses, &c. Next came the victims destined for sacrifice, especially white oxen with gilded horns. They were followed by the prisoners who had not been sold as slaves but kept to grace the triumph; they were put to death when the procession reached the Capitol. The chariot which carried the victorious general (triumphator) was crowned with laurel and drawn by four horses. The general was attired like the Capitoline Jupiter in robes of purple and gold borrowed from the treasury of the god; in his right hand he held a laurel branch, in his left an ivory sceptre with an eagle at the point. Above his head the golden crown of Jupiter was held by a slave who reminded him in the midst of his glory that he was a mortal man. Last came the soldiers shouting Io triumphe and singing songs both of a laudatory and scurrilous kind. On reaching the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, the general placed the laurel branch (in later times a palm branch) on the lap of the image of the god, and then offered the thank-offerings. A feast of the magistrates and senate, and sometimes of the soldiers and people, concluded the ceremony, which in earlier times lasted one day but in later times occupied several. A naval or maritime triumph was sometimes celebrated for victories at sea. Generals who were not allowed a regular triumph by the senate had a right to triumph at the temple of Jupiter Latiaris on the Alban Mount.