The Roman Triumph remains one of the most historic events following the huge number of attendees. Initially, the Roman Triumph was a ritual, which oversaw the purification of an army that was preparing for war. It was a sight to behold with over five thousand people celebrating a send off or the sanctification of a military commandant after returning safely from war. As Rome became a powerful empire because of its ability to annex different Latin States, its ability to emerge victorious in war remained understated for the state established by two brothers, Romulus and Remus. The Roman Empire considered the two brothers as demigods given their power beyond human imagination. They transformed Rome into a powerful envied city whose expansion threatened the existence of Latin cities including Aequi and Volsci.
In 146 B.C.E. Aemilius Paullus returned victorious from the Pydna War that oversaw the defeat of the Macedonians. It happened during the era of Gaius Julius Caesar under the First Triumvirate of Rome. Paullus wore a purple toga picta and a crown to indicate royalty and power. The army gave him a send off in a chariot, which depicted honor. Paullus later offered a sacrifice to the god at Jupiter’s Temple. The temple dedication ceremony was a humbling opportunity to indicate that the hero survived the war, but remains immortal. On the triumph day, the hero receives honor, gifts, and enjoys different forms of entertainment. The Romans still commemorate the triumphs of different heroes while engaging in festivities, which form the basis of Rome’s history. It was also possible to get an ovation, which signified a slightly low credit in comparison to a triumph, which occurred when the troops never escorted an army general for the procession even as he wore a toga.
The Latin War of 340–338 BC
The need for superiority prompted the war between the Roman Empire and neighboring cities in Latin. Known as ancient Italy, Latin comprised of people of different languages, cultures, and governments. The Roman Empire had a disorganized system of languages, cultural, and religious beliefs, but none of the neighbors could compare to its military prowess. By the 5th century, neighboring states incorporated Latin in fighting their threats. Rome was the biggest city in comparison to its Latin counterparts. The physical size, the motivation of the triumph processions, and continued involvement in invasions strengthened the Roman army (Popkin 55). It became a threat to other cities within Latin even though they shared cultural predispositions. Rome took part in a long war, which saw it annex different cities including Tibur and Tusculum. Besides, it enjoyed going to war with Volsci of which if was sure to defeat.
Volsci and Gallic were powerful states and no one wanted to contend against them. One cannot imagine the level of respect other cities had for Rome because of its constant defeat of Volsci. By the time they realized that Rome’s strength was a threat, it was very late. Intelligent military commanders in kingdoms such as Samnite advised the emperors to negotiate with Rome instead of fighting its army. According to Flower, the due processes ended in an annexation of the control of certain resources in the empire (377). Other people that joined the Samnites included the Campanians and Sidicinis. Historians document the different accounts of wars between the Romans and the independent Latin cities. The Latin war made Rome a powerful state to date. It gets credit when anthropologists talk of ancient civilizations and accolade for spreading Christianity.
The Latin war made other cities in the kingdom insignificant because they became subject to Rome. The annexation made Rome a very powerful state with a high population of people with shared cultures. In addition, the cities army became string enabling it to emerge victorious in almost each war it faced, which led to further annexations. For instance, in the first Samnite war, Rome emerged victorious. Since the Samnites became part of the Roman Empire, each war they partook in became a Roman victory. It applied when Samnites defeated the Sidicinis making them submit to the demands the Roman Empire. The annexed cities brought in human resources to Roman making its army a diverse entity in an ancient Italy. For instance, the Campani were equipped with invention skills, which were significant for the development of artillery. The Samnites were skilled in the ability to track enemies. As Popkin writes, different cities introduced a new way of dealing with the enemies of Rome (56). Before the Social War broke, the ancient Italians held many secrets, which led to the invention of machinery, poisons, and artillery. The Sidicini and Campani were knowledgeable because of their prolonged association with ancient Italy. The powerful and intelligent Roman army knew that the knowledge was significant to the empowerment of the empire. It made the annexation of different Latin cities inevitable, which includes the control it later gained over Sadicini and Campani.
Victory at the Latin War presented many opportunities for the colonies and Rome itself. Rome acquired respect and its colonies received protection. It was very easy for the Roman Empire to deal with its enemies because of its expertise on invasions in the past. As such, its colonies did not have to worry about interference from the growing Muslim influences from Greek caliphates. As Clark attests, the Roman Catholic Church still enjoys publicity globally (43). Each event pertaining to the church remains significant to the entire world. It includes the impending trip of the Pope to different East African states. Rome also attained respect in the field of science enabling most of the inventors to get patent rights over their discoveries. The Latin War was equally significant in the protection of the Roman culture, which was undefined in the past. Great philosophers equally get recognized from Rome even though limited documentation exists in relation to the books they wrote about the ancient Italy and the causes of the Latin War. The Roman triumphs were several because the Latin War stretched for a long period. From the procession, to applying the red color on the foreheads of the commanders, and the festivities in general, they were very significant sights to the Romans.
The Post-Latin War Triumph
Spectators came from different cities in to view the homecoming of an entire troop as they escorted the commander dressed in a toga. They wore white clothes in honour commander. However, the ritual was not the same for each commander since others only managed to get recognition through an ovation. As Cannon-Brookes observes, it was the cost for losing a legion at war even if the Romans emerged victorious (521). Not everyone agreed with the decision of the consul concerning the carnage, which saw the commander go to the temple alone and later the few troops join in. the intention of an ovation was to enable the generals see the difference of saving the lives of several people and emerging victorious with almost all members of the army safe. Irrespective of the situation, each general adorned the purple toga and a palmata, which was a cloth made of palms to indicate divinity or the triumphal entry. From head to toe were ornaments made with some of the most expensive minerals including silver and gold. The commander drove on a four-wheeled horse without any artillery while enjoying the escort of his army. Dressed in white, the spectators viewed a repeat of history since Rome was now used with winning in battles.
Everyone obviously wants to be a celebrated hero, but none sacrifices to be the commander in the battle field. On the day of the roman triumph procession, the commander assumed an elevated status and the common law never applied to him. After the Latin War, the commander became a powerful person, but the sacrifice to the god reminded him that he was mortal. In moments of celebration and appreciation, few people are likely to remember the status they hold in the society. It takes a reminder of the law for such an individual to resume normalcy after the completion of the ceremony. Romans commemorate the triumph ion unique ways, and they attract tourists globally to visit during such days. The country has an advanced architectural background, and the phrase “Rome was not built in a day” depicts its beauty.
The Roman triumph motivated the commanders to emerge victorious, leading to several victories, annexations, and expansions of a prominent kingdom that managed to stand the test of time. Following such developments, the Romans remain historical and significant to the world civilization history. The triumph and the Latin War are only two of the most memorable encounters that define the powerful nation that has much to offer to date.
Cannon-Brookes, Peter. “The nature of museum collections.” Manual of curatorship. Routledge, 2015. 518-530.
Flower, Harriet I. “17: Spectacle and Political Culture in the Roman Republic.” The Cambridge companion to the Roman republic (2014): 377.
Clark, Jessica Homan. Triumph in defeat: military loss and the Roman Republic. OUP Us, 2014.
Popkin, Maggie L. The Architecture of the Roman Triumph: monuments, memory, and identity. Cambridge University Press, 2016.
McGowan, Margaret M. “The Renaissance triumph and its classical heritage.” Court Festivals of the European Renaissance. Routledge, 2017. 50-72.
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