Henry Peacham (1638) The Valley of Varietie, Chapter IX, pp. 74-85.

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Of the ancient Triumphs among the Romanes.

The first who is reported, ever to have rode in Triumph, was Bachus, after him in Rome, Romulus, who sending his Captives before him, followed himselfe after on foot, after him his whole Armie. Tullus Hostilus rode on Horse-backe; L: Tarquinius Priscus rode in a Charret of foure wheeles; M. Curius Camillus was drawne with foure white Horses, whom all after him imitated: The day appointed for the solemnitie of a Triumph, was kept Festivall through the whole Citie, all the Temples being set wide open, and all the Nobilitie providing in their houses the greatest Cheere they could make, insomuch as the whole Armie was abundantly feasted. The whole Senate went unto the gate Capena, in their Robes, to meet, and entertaine the Triumpher, by which Port or Gate, he was to enter in: afterwards they went together into the Capitoll, then followed all the Trumpeters, sounding to the Charge, as if they were presently to fall on upon the Enemie: after came Chariots laden with the Spoiles of the conquered Enemies; there followed then goodly Statues, and curious Tables of Brasse, or Ivorie. Also Towers, and formes of such Cities as they had taken; also, a representation of the forme, and manner of their fight with their Enemie. Afterwards followed, all the Silver, Brasse and Gold, together with Statues, Tables, Candlesticks, Platters, Dishes, Trenchers, Basons of Gold and Silver taken from the Enemie. Likewise, Jewels, Purple, costly Garments of cloth of Gold, with Crowns of Silver and Gold, which were given to the Victor: then all sorts of Armes taken from the Enemie, as Swords, Speares, Pollaxes, Bucklers, Brest-plates, Helmets, Tasses, and the like. After were brought the Gifts bestowed upon the Triumpher, as Gold and Silver brought by some thousands of people: then came other Trumpeters, whom followed fifty, or about an hundred Oxen to be sacrificed, with their hornes gilded, and Garlands upon their heads; these Oxen were accompanied by Boyes, who carried vessels of Gold and Silver to be used in the Sacrifice, all the Attendants were clad in Garments of Gold and Purple, interwoven; then came along the Charriots, laden with the Diademes, and Armes of those Kings and Princes which were taken Captives. After followed the Kings and Princes themselves, with their Wives, Children, Brethren, and other of their kindred and friends. Moreover, others of the Enemies, with their hands bound behind them, and these being of the Nobler, or better sort, were many thousands. Then followed the Triumpher himselfe, sitting in a golden Charriot, made in the forme of a Tower, who was drawne with foure white Horses, and clad in a Robe of Gold and Purple; in his right hand hee carried a Laurell bough, in his left, an Ivorie Scepter; next before him, the Lictors or Marshals, with bundles of Rods and Axes; on every side of him the Trumpets sounded, and Musicians sang sweetly to their Harpes, clad in Purple, and wearing Coronets of Gold upon their heads; amongst whom, one clad in a Garment of Gold reaching to his feet, breaking scurrilous and bitter jests upon the distressed Prisoners, made sport to the people.

Many sweet Odours and Perfumes were kindled, and carried about, whilest a publike Officer bearing up in his hands, a Crowne of pure Gold, beset with many rare and precious Gemms, ever and anon uttered this before the Victor; Respice futura, & hominem te esse cogita: Consider what will follow, and thinke how you are but a man. Wherfore, in the charriot of the Triumpher, there hung up a little Bell and a Whip, to put him in mind hee might one day fall upon such times, wherein (like a Slave) hee might be whipt, or as an Offender, lose his head; for those who were to be beheaded, had alwaies a little tingling Bell borne before them, lest, as one polluted and cursed, he might be touched of the people. Sometimes the Sonnes and Daughters of the Triumpher rode with their Father in his Charriot, but the next of his kindred went close by his Horses sides, and sometimes gat up (as if also they would ride in Triumph) upon their backes.

When Augustus rode in Triumph, Marcellus rode upon the formost Horse on the right hand, and Tiberius on the left: the Triumphers Followers, and the Shield-bearers followed his Charriot; after all the Captaines, with the whole Army in their order, carried Laurell branches in their hands, and Crownes of Laurell on their heads; and if any of them had purchased any notable rewards, Crownes of Gold, Bracelets, Speares, Shields, and the like, they bare them in their hands, singing Pæans, or Songs of Praise, in honour of the Triumpher, adding hereto, many ridiculous passages.

After that in this pomp they came into the Forum, or the spacious place of the Citie, hee chose out one Captive, especially, whom destinated to death, hee presently sent to prison. After this, hee went up into the Capitoll, the whole Senate, and all the Magistrates accompanying him. Then the execution of the said Captive being publikely proclaimed, they sacrificed their Buls, consecrating certaine Spoiles unto Iupiter. Afterward they feasted without the Galleries, or Walkes of the Capitoll, sitting untill the evening: then with Sagbuts and other Musicall Instruments, they accompanied the Triumpher home to his house, and so they ended this Festivall Solemnity. This Triumph lasted two or three dayes, especially, if they had gotten many and large Spoiles. And thus wee reade Titus Flaminius, L: Paulus, Cn: Pompeius, and Augustus to have triumphed. None were allowed this Triumph, except they had put to flight, or slaine five thousand Enemies, and had besides, inlarged the bounds of the Romane Empire. This Pompe and Solemnitie is collected out of Dyonisius Halicarnasseus, lib. 2 & 5. Valerius Maximus, lib. 2 cap. 8. Iosephus de Bello Iudaico, lib. 7. cap. 24. Plutarch in the life of Paulus Æmilius, Appian, and others. Those also triumphed, who had won any notable victorie by Sea, the Beakes and Anchors of Ships and Gallies being brought to Rome before. Now all this Gold, Silver, and other booty gotten in the Warre, belonging to the Citizens, and was laid up in the Treasurie, onely the charges of the Triumph deducted.

Againe, those who had put their Enemies to flight without effusion of blood, or had overcome Inferiors, as Servants, they had a kind of a boasting Solemnitie; for they rode into the Citie of Rome on Hors-backe, accompanied with the Knights, their friends, and the Armie, being clad in Gownes of cloth of Gold, and Purple, sacrificing Sheepe onely in the Capitoll; and this was called, The lesser Triumph.

Three hundred and fiftie Triumphs are reckoned from Romulus unto Bellisarius, was the last that triumphed under Iustinian, Emperour of Constantinople.

But this custome of riding in Triumph, was allowed but under very few Emperours, although Triumphall Ornaments were kept for them, as the Laurell, their Robe, and Ivorie Scepter, which they used when they went abroad in publike.

This page is by James Eason.