Allan Massie

Victory March

The Roman Triumph

By

Harvard University Press 421pp £19.95 order from our bookshop

A few years ago Mary Beard and Keith Hopkins wrote a fascinating book about that most famous monument of imperial Rome, the Colosseum. They asked just what exactly went on there. Now Mary Beard has turned her attention to the most celebrated ritual in Roman life: the Triumph granted to a victorious general. It’s not only celebrated, but is something we know, or think we know, a lot about. For one thing, we have a list of Triumphs, the ‘Fasti Triumphales’, which she calls ‘an extraordinary achievement of Roman historical reconstruction and the backbone of many modern studies of the ceremony’s history’.

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