THE ROMAN TRIUMPH 

As Rome spread her control over the Mediterranean Basin and beyond, it was her custom to welcome her victorious generals and their troops to the capitol city with a massive celebration – The Roman Triumph. 

The procession would work its way through the Forum and end at the Coliseum.  It was a day of celebration.  It was a day for heroes!  Following is a description of these events. 

In order to celebrate the Triumph the following conditions had to be satisfied:

            1.  The general must have been the field commander.    

            2.  The campaign had to be completed, the region pacified, and the troops brought  home.

            3.  5000 of the enemy must have died in battle.

            4.  The conquest must have contributed to Roman expansion.

            5.  It must have been against a foreign foe, not a civil war. 

The Procession typically would follow this order:

            1.  State officials and the Roman Senate

            2.  Trumpeters.

            3.  Spoils of war (eg., The golden candelabra, the Table of Showbread/Presence and gold trumpets
                 in Titus’ Triumph of the Jewish War.)

            4.  Pictures of the conquered land, models of ships destroyed and citadels captured.

            5.  A white bull to be sacrificed.

            6.  Captives in chains: Enemy princes, generals and leaders to be executed.

            7.  Lictors: Minor officials bearing fasces (bound rods)  who cleared the way for
                 the person(s) to be honored.

            8.  Musicians playing lyres.

            9.  Priests carrying censers of perfume.  To the victors it was a perfume of joy,
                 triumph and life.  To the following captives it spoke of defeat and death.

 10.  The general in a chariot drawn by 4 (white?) horses.  The general wore a
         purple tunic with gold palm leaves and over it a purple toga with gold stars.

          11.  The general’s family.

          12.  His army wearing their decorations and shouting “Lo triumph!” 

Also, along the line of march there would be soldiers holding flowers and soldiers holding urns of burning incense.  The aroma would be sweet to the victors. 

Days of celebration would follow during which many of the captives would be offered to Roman vanity and bloodletting in the arena.  For the victors there were fame, fortune and honors.  For the captives there was slavery or death. 

How does this relate to the Christian?  In 2Cor.2:14-16 Paul wrote: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”  

There is a certain parade to history and the history of the Christian Church is one of triumph, whether in life or in death as believers have born and should bear the fragrance of Christ.  This means that as you and I live each day we are to hold up a fragrance of the life of Christ flowing from what we are, what we do and what we say either verbally or non-verbally..  It holds up life as the highest possible value and virtue – Christ in us the hope of glory!