A ROMAN TRIUMPH
AS Brutus had died before the battle was even begun,
the command of the Roman army had fallen to his
fellow-consul, Valerius, who was an able man. When the fight
was over, the people were so well pleased with the
efforts of their general that they said he should
receive the honors of a triumph.
As you have probably never yet heard of a triumph, and
as you will see them often mentioned in this book, you
should know just what they were, at least in later
When a Roman general had won a victory, or taken
possession of a new province, the news was of course
sent at once to the senate at Rome. If the people were
greatly pleased by it, the senate decided that the
victorious commander should be rewarded by a grand
festival, or triumph, as soon as he returned to Rome.
The day when such a general arrived was a
public holiday, and the houses were hung with garlands.
The Romans, who were extremely fond of processions and
 of all kinds, put on their festive attire, and
thronged the streets where the returning general was
expected to pass. They all bore fragrant flowers, which
they strewed over the road.
A noisy blast of trumpets heralded the coming of the
victor, who rode in a magnificent gilded chariot drawn
by four white horses. He wore a robe of royal purple,
richly embroidered with gold, and fastened by jeweled
clasps on his shoulder; and in his hand he held an
On the conqueror's head was a crown of laurel, the
emblem of victory, and the reward given to those who
had served their country well. The chariot was
surrounded by the lictors, in festive array, bearing
aloft their bundles of rods and glittering axes.
In front of, or behind, the chariot, walked the most
noted prisoners of war, chained together like slaves,
and escorted by armed soldiers. Then came a long train
of soldiers carrying the spoil won in the campaign.
Some bore gold and silver vases filled with money or
precious stones; others, pyramids of weapons taken from
the bodies of their foes.
These were followed by men carrying great signs, on
which could be seen the names of the cities or
countries which had been conquered. There were also
servants, carrying the pictures, statues, and fine
furniture which the victor brought back to Rome. After
the conqueror's chariot came the victorious army, whose
arms had been polished with extra care for this festive
The procession thus made its solemn entrance into the
city, and wound slowly up the hill to the Capitol,
 the general offered up a thanksgiving sacrifice
to the gods. The victim on the occasion of a triumph
was generally a handsome bull, with gilded horns, and
decked with garlands of choice flowers.
Servants were placed along the road, with the golden
dishes in which they burned rare perfumes. These filled
the air with their fragrance, and served as incense for
the victor, as well as for the gods, whom he was
thought to equal on that day.