The Roman Triumph

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Harvard University Press, Jun 30, 2009 - History - 434 pages
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Listen to a short interview with Mary Beard Host: Chris Gondek - Producer: Heron & Crane It followed every major military victory in ancient Rome: the successful general drove through the streets to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill; behind him streamed his raucous soldiers; in front were his most glamorous prisoners, as well as the booty he'd captured, from enemy ships and precious statues to plants and animals from the conquered territory. Occasionally there was so much on display that the show lasted two or three days. A radical reexamination of this most extraordinary of ancient ceremonies, this book explores the magnificence of the Roman triumph--but also its darker side. What did it mean when the axle broke under Julius Caesar's chariot? Or when Pompey's elephants got stuck trying to squeeze through an arch? Or when exotic or pathetic prisoners stole the general's show? And what are the implications of the Roman triumph, as a celebration of imperialism and military might, for questions about military power and victory in our own day? The triumph, Mary Beard contends, prompted the Romans to question as well as celebrate military glory. Her richly illustrated work is a testament to the profound importance of the triumph in Roman culture--and for monarchs, dynasts and generals ever since. But how can we re-create the ceremony as it was celebrated in Rome? How can we piece together its elusive traces in art and literature? Beard addresses these questions, opening a window on the intriguing process of sifting through and making sense of what constitutes history.

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User Review  - la2bkk - LibraryThing

A fantastically researched and well written history of the Roman triumph, including a discussion of its potential origins, as well as its development throughout the early republican through the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Donogh - LibraryThing

The very concept of a Roman triumph is evocative; Hollywood (or HBO) have tackled it with abandon and deep pockets, militaristic rulers have aped it with gusto. The challenge in pinpointing its form ... Read full review


The Question of Triumph
Pompeys Finest Hour?
The Impact of the Triumph
Constructions and Reconstructions
Captives on Parade
The Art of Representation
Playing by the Rules
Playing God
The Triumph of History
Rome May 2006
Illustration Credits

The Boundaries of the Ritual

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About the author (2009)

Mary Beard was born on January 1, 1955 in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, England. Her alma mater is the University of Cambridge. She is a professor of classics at Newnham College, Cambridge, and the classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement. Her previous books include the bestselling, Wolfson Prize-winning Pompeii, The Roman Triumph, The Parthenon and Confronting the Classics. Her blog has been collected in the books It's a Don's Life and All in a Don's Day. She is in the 2014 top 10 Prospect list of the most influential thinkers in the world. She is the author of Women and Power: A Manifesto, published in December 2017.

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