With this major contribution to the subject of the Roman triumph, Mary Beard fully lives up to her self-professed reputation as a “wickedly subversive” ancient historian.1 For a start, there is the book’s rather daring and unusual structure. As in the movies, it first zeroes in on a specific triumphal celebration, whereas the history of the triumph is not dealt with before the last chapter — quite in contrast to the traditional approach.2 The choice of Pompey the Great’s grandiose third triumph of 61 as the opening to this book is justified in that it concerns the best documented triumph in Roman history and so sheds the brightest possible light on some of the evidence for the triumphal ritual as well as the remarkable extent of its individual impact. The second and third chapters address the overall role of the triumph in Roman culture and the reliability of the remaining evidence. Chapters 4 through 8 constitute the book’s heart and are concerned with the most revealing and mesmerizing aspects of the ritual, viz. captives and spoils, the victorious general himself, the qualifying rules and regulations for those who sought the honour and the bewildering variety of similar celebrations that appeared in Rome and elsewhere. The final chapter offers a reflective survey of the triumph’s millenary history and its changing nature and reception.
In the prologue, Beard makes it clear that this study seeks to break away from the tradition of studying the various aspects of the Roman triumph as a patriotic display of victorious imperialism and continuous divine favouritism. Beard instead wants to focus on how the triumphal ceremony paradoxically created a context in which high-flown militaristic values could be questioned and contested. Beard aims at demonstrating that the Roman triumph fits the “general rule” that “it is warrior states that produce the most sophisticated critique of the militaristic values they uphold”3 in that it provided the context as well as the occasion for sharp reflection on the grubby side of conquest and military glory. In doing so, Beard wishes to uncover the ambivalent sophistication, nuance and complexity of Roman culture in general. She pledges to engage key issues of the Roman triumphal ritual that have been discarded or sorely neglected, an approach that implies challenging the traditional methodologies for studying ritual culture and “the spurious certainties and prejudices that dog it.” Therefore, as Beard puts it rather defiantly, “This is a manifesto of sorts.”
Beard consistently stresses that constant awareness of the different modalities, manipulations and corruptions of the written tradition is as important as whatever disparate information survived throughout the centuries. In this respect, Beard also makes the pertinent observation that the bulk of later Roman accounts of archaic triumphal history are more informative of contemporaneous practice than of the remote past.
In order to meet the commendable, yet slightly risky objective of catering to an audience of experts and laymen, the author vows to write a book that shows transparency in its workings. Beard has brilliantly succeeded, combining a flowing literary style, an accessible presentation of vastly different material, and scholarship marked by depth and acumen. Whereas the contentious nature of its approach and argument will (and should) spark fierce debate, this is the book’s foremost achievement.
The discussion of Pompey’s lavishly documented and notoriously exuberant third triumph allows Beard to touch on a wide variety of ‘triumphal issues’ right from the start. Beard in particular stresses the victorious general’s unremitting efforts to burn a favourable memory of his achievements into the collective retina: art, architecture and coinage being the foremost available means of mass communication and propaganda. Pompey’s third triumph also illustrates the inherent peril of Rome’s most spectacular celebration: the risk that things could only go downhill after having reached the absolute apex of one’s career, the overbounteous display of glory, triumph and shameless self-aggrandizing that was the act of hubris that triggered the general’s humiliating downfall. Beard also lodges a caveat against the naïve use of our most important medium of commemoration: the diverse writings of the ancient authors, who mostly wrote about the distant past, relied on other primary sources and had their own intellectual or ideological agenda. In this context, Beard also avers that the historical meaning of the Roman triumph is not primarily in the reconstruction of what actually happened but in “the recollection and re-presentation of the proceedings”. Although Beard is certainly right to insist that the “exaggerations, the distortions, the selective amnesia are all part of the plot”,4 the ultimate consequence of this reasoning would be to discredit any attempt to reconstruct and explain certain historical facts, occurrences and patterns, and merely study the history of their reception and the meaning they acquired throughout the ages. Much of Roman history, and especially that of the Roman Republic, would be irrevocably reduced to the study of its Nachleben.
In the second chapter, Beard first outlines the impact of the triumph on Roman culture and society, including the diverse literary accounts and public and private art and architecture. Through Ovid and epigraphic attestations, Beard makes a meritorious attempt to unveil how triumphal celebrations were experienced by common people, how they could substantially profit from them and how triumphal jargon pervaded the vocabulary of written and spoken language and was put to subversive use by poets like Ovid. Next, Beard discusses the immense impact of the Roman triumph throughout history as one of Rome’s most captivating, explored and exploited rituals. This is complemented with a survey of 19th and 20th century scholarship on the triumph, with its heavy bias to rigorous legalistic schematizing, political aspects and its primitive origins. Since, Beard argues, this means that a reliable modern introduction to the triumph from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE is still lacking, it is one of this book’s explicit ambitions to fill this lacuna on the basis of all available ancient sources, including neglected texts like poetic evocations of imaginary triumphs and incredible or implausible accounts of historical processions, or those that have been studied solely for what they might tell us about the early triumph. In this chapter, Beard inter alia briefly discusses the Fasti Triumphales as the most impressive monument of ancient scholarly interest and the definitive sediment of Late Republican orthodoxy in triumphal history. In my opinion, this epigraphic monument really deserves to be analyzed and explained the way Beard here studies the triumph itself, viz. as a contemporaneous, propagandist statement of Augustus and the Augustan aristocracy. As regards the relative rarity of the triumph after 19 BCE, when the ritual was the strict reserve of the domus Augusta, Beard warns that this rather abrupt change in triumphal practice has significant implications for how we read post-Augustan descriptions of the ceremony and ancient investigations of its rules, origins and meaning.5
Chapter 3 addresses the problematic nature of ancient and modern (re)constructions of the triumphal ritual, both in terms of its history and meaning, and in terms of (dis)continuities in its practical execution and urban trajectory. Beard argues that there was no such thing as a single orthodox triumphal chronology. There existed a number of chronologies, similar in overall outline yet conflicting in detail. This means, for example, that no firm chronological line can be drawn between the periods of mythical and historical triumphs. Although the richness of the ancient evidence indeed allows for an unrivalled degree of knowledge on the triumph’s ceremonial program, Beard uses these sources to challenge and largely deconstruct the standard reconstruction since the Renaissance. Beard’s own meticulous dissection of the triumphal procession’s standard features and trajectory painfully exposes how even some of the most central ‘facts’ appear to be questionable at best, and how, conversely, some less convenient details have been consistently ignored. She demolishes the flawed method of compiling and connecting bits and pieces of evidence from different times and contexts that have then petrified into pseudo-historical dogma and argues that we should celebrate these contradictions as reflections of different ways of seeing the triumph and accept a greater variety in time and space rather than merely focusing on, or, worse, being blinded by its so-called permanent elements.6 Regardless of whether one is prepared to accept all of Beard’s argument, this chapter does conclusively demonstrate that the triumph, too, was subject to that startling and profoundly Roman tradition of combining staunch institutional and ritual conservatism with pragmatic flexibility, allowing for constant reinvention and innovation.
Starting with a discussion of Karl von Piloty’s painting of Thusnelda in the Triumphal Procession of Germanicus, chapter 4 breaks new ground by uncovering a fascinating dynamic of Roman triumphal processions: the tension generated by the competition for the audience between victor and victim. This chapter undertakes the precarious exercise of thoroughly exploring the victim’s role and position in triumphal culture. Since there is very little reliable evidence for these aspects (numbers, identity, manner of display, fate, moral lessons they had to teach and their potential rivalry with the general himself) Beard again pulls out all the stops by integrating the entire body of evidence, including poetry (Ovid) and visual imagery. Studied from this perspective, the triumph again shows its inherent potential for being counterproductive by subverting the hierarchy of victor and victim. Beard undercuts generally accepted ‘truths’ about the triumph such as the supposed fact that the execution of at least the most prominent captives was standard procedure or ancestral custom.7
The next chapter examines the triumph from a fascinating angle, as a powerful vehicle for exploiting the art of representation and exploring its dilemmas and ambivalences. By carrying two- and three-dimensional objects together indiscriminately in the triumphal parade the very boundaries of visual representation would be deliberately blurred. In this context, Beard points out that our modern impression of the triumph is biased by the one-sided focus on the well-documented extravaganza of the Late Republican and Early Imperial periods, and that all kinds of ancient data on individual triumphs have been lumped together to crystallize into the syncretistic archetype of the excessively ornate triumphal procession. In this respect, it is worth pointing out that Beard’s discussion of Andrea Mantegna’s well-informed though repeatedly restored nine paintings of the Triumphs of Caesar as a beautiful symbol of the dynamic process of loss, representation and reconstruction “through which we must try to understand the triumphal procession, rather than as the vivid evocation of the ancient parade that it is often taken to be” (p. 158f.), shows that this book clearly is as much about its Nachleben as about the ancient triumph itself. Beard further argues that profusely rich processions were not customary, and that we know very little about such important issues as who decided what booty would be paraded and the organization and conventions of its display. Since accounts of those few exceptionally rich triumphs have been used for research on financial, cultural and artistic evolutions in the Roman world, Beard’s provocative statement that most historians have been too credulous and that extant information is worryingly contradictory or inconsistent could have serious implications for past and future study. Her position that even overlaps in our sources may simply “indicate a standard authoritative tradition, or they may equally well indicate copying of the same piece of misinformation” (p.173) is quite indicative of her at times far-reaching scepticism. However contentious some of its assertions, the most important contribution of this chapter is to demonstrate that triumphal culture provided a prime venue for experimenting with issues of representation and ‘image-making’ and for exploring the problematic boundaries between reality and visual representation. Regardless of whether the triumph itself engendered artistic innovation, it was one of the foremost means to display publicly representational art that balanced on the edge of visual mimesis and outright sham.
In chapter 6, Beard energetically takes on the extensive scholarship on the question of whether there were specific rules or conventions that controlled both petitions for, and the award of, triumphal honors. She takes a minimalist stance, arguing that details of principles, procedure and technicalities as described by ancient writers are contradictory and that there were fewer rules and qualifications than most scholars assume. As regards Beard’s gibe at “the generations of modern scholars who have cast the Romans as legalistic obsessives” (p. 205), I should point out that the Romans were not so much uncompromising legalists as they were obsessed about the matter of legitimacy. Roman officials and bodies of collective decision-makers were never shy of breaking existing rules if need be, yet always insisted on ‘breaking the rules by the rules’ by virtue of securing the necessary votes by Senate and People and/or the augural college, sometimes even post factum and with retroactive effect.8 Beard is right to reject the rigid systematization on the part of legalistically oriented scholars headed by Th. Mommsen. Nonetheless, the suggestion that all attempts to look for a system or patterns governing allocations of triumphs, even those which allow for a fair amount of flexibility, evolution and innovation, are nothing but “scholarly edifice” (p. 208) amounts to throwing away the baby with the bath water. In the same vein of excessive scepticism, Beard stops short from suggesting that Livy’s ‘recreation’ of senatorial debates on individual petitions for triumphs is fabrication aimed at making sense of often inconsistent or contradictory past decisions and substantiate the Augustan policy of monopolization.9 Admittedly, apart from the (often indirect) references in the senatorial debates as meticulously summarized in Livy10 or Valerius Maximus’ anachronistic and colored summary of ‘Triumphal Law’, there indeed are hardly any references to formal rules or qualifications that determined the award of a triumph. However, with regard to the absence of such indications in, for example, Cicero’s Cilician correspondence, it should be fairly obvious that he and his senatorial peers knew the basic qualifications for the triumph.11 The fact that Cicero überhaupt bothered to petition for a triumph shows that he was confident that he could meet the essential criteria in terms of his official status and the nature of his victory. To my thinking, at any given time in the history of the Roman Republic, there certainly existed a set of largely customary rules and regulations.12 What makes any attempt at reconstructing this framework exceedingly difficult is that some of these rules were indeed altered or abandoned as conditions changed; that it was always at the discretion of SPQR to confirm or drop certain qualifications; and that successful political scheming could lead to precedents or rules being forgotten, invented, adjusted or discarded. Nonetheless, some remarkably persistent qualifications were never abandoned before the end of the Republic and the coming of monarchy, the most basic one being possession of full imperium auspiciumque at the time of victory.13 Finally, Beard emphasizes that legalistic modern scholarship has focused too much on recurrent claims in Livy’s triumphal debates that might pass as a rule or firm principle and so failed to recognize (and properly examine) the less obviously ‘legal’ issues that he presents as central to the debates and decision-making: the question of responsibility and achievement;14 the question of what counted as a decisive victory; and the senate’s concern with obtaining proof of the victory claimed and repeated anxiety over how competing claims might be adjudicated.
The following chapter zooms in on the triumphing general himself. Beard first addresses “certainly the most dramatic and probably the most influential theory in the whole of modern triumphal scholarship: namely, that the victorious commander impersonated the god Jupiter Optimus Maximus himself, and that for the triumph he became (or at least was dressed as) ‘god for a day’.” (p. 226) Beard’s careful examination of the evidence for the famous triumphal costume that supposedly symbolized this dual incarnation exposes its glaring contradictions. On a more positive note, Beard cogently argues that there were strong links between the triumphing general and the contested ideas of divinity and deification that prominently featured in the cultural and political agenda of the Late Republic and the Early Empire. Beard argues that these connections, often passed over in preoccupation with the ritual’s prehistory, offer a much surer point of entry to the intriguing evidence. The power and achievements of the great condottieri of the Late Republic and the early imperial dynasts were often represented in divine terms in a delicate balancing act between the objectionable and the ‘traditional’. Here one of the core features of the republican triumph certainly continued to exist: the powerful connection between triumphal and divine glory and its paradoxical potential for simultaneously exalting and undermining the victorious general. She also argues against a rigid template of either participants or order for the procession itself. In this respect, it should be noted that Dio Cassius records that when Caesar Octavian himself rode into the City in September 29, as the grand finale of his triple triumph, “he did everything in the customary manner, except that he allowed his fellow-consul and the other magistrates, contrary to precedent, to follow him along with the senators who had participated in the victory; for it was usual for such officials to march in advance and for only the senators to follow.”15 In my opinion, this strongly suggests that by the Late Republic, there definitely existed some kind of a customary format for the triumph, at least in terms of organization and sequence. Lastly, Beard demonstrates just how important it was for soldiers to partake and to be seen in the triumphal procession, and comes up with a series of plausible explanations for their ritual chanting, laurel wreaths and singing about their triumphing commander. Next comes a vivid exploration of the boundaries of the triumphal ritual in a chapter that is primarily concerned with the shifting and potentially controversial margins of the triumphal ceremony and how various forms of triumphal symbolism extended more generally into other areas of public life. Beard dispels another myth by clarifying that mass public banquets mostly feature in the Late Republican and Early Imperial periods and that there is considerably evidence for triumphal feasting only by the Roman elite. Beard goes on to make the astute observation that the matter of triumphal feasting raises the larger question of where we choose to draw the boundaries of this circumstantial ritual: what was its core business, what aspects were secondary or consequential, and what does this choice imply? As regards the variety of attested forms of ‘triumph-like’ celebrations, Beard develops an interesting discussion on the question of what was perceived as timely adaptation of the traditional rituals and what was potentially dangerous subversion. With reference, for example, to the stories of Mark Antony’s Alexandrian parade of 34 BCE and Nero’s artistic victory parade of 67 CE, Beard cogently argues that triumphs and their various subversions were used by ancient writers to calibrate an emperor’s political and military conduct and achievement —subversions and perversions of the triumphal rituals being generally attributed to triumphs or triumph-like celebrations by ‘bad’ emperors. Beard also makes the fascinating point that as the triumphal procession became quite rare under the Empire, carrying elements of triumphal dress past the traditional confines of the ritual became increasingly regular, casting the emperors as perpetual triumphators. It was just one of the paradoxes of the imperial monopolization of the triumph that although the number of actual triumphal processions sharply declined, the symbols and trappings of the triumphal ceremony became omnipresent instruments to reinforce the political and social power of the imperial family.
The book’s final chapter concerns the ways in which we and the ancients themselves identify, describe and explain developments in the ceremony of the triumph as one of the few Roman rituals with a genuine history. Beard makes an attempt to explain the changes in the pattern of celebration beyond the changing patterns of Roman military history (an undertaking complicated by the dynamic and competitive relationship between actual ritual practice and ‘rituals in ink’) and the Roman habit of using invented tradition and retrojection to legitimize innovation. Beard reminds the reader that the bulk of surviving accounts of the triumph and its customs were written in the imperial period when the ritual had become the rarely exercised privilege of the imperial house and was largely confined to the realm of cultural memory. She goes on to explore what she neatly terms the ‘competing histories of the triumph’, namely the familiar chronology of performance and the competing chronologies of writing. She does so by focusing on the often varied and heterodox ancient (and modern) narratives of the three key moments in triumphal history: the age of Augustus as a time of radical transition, the beginning and the end of the history of the triumph, with due attention to the key question of “what we mean by the origin or end of a ceremony such as this.” (p. 295) Beard’s masterly discussion of ancient and modern traditions on Augustus’ policies, which turned the triumph into the exclusive reserve of the domus Augusta as well as significantly reduced the actual number of triumphs celebrated, yields one of the book’s most important conclusions: “that no single history of this ritual ever existed; that ancient writers told the story of the triumph and explained its development and changes in more — and more varied — ways than modern orthodoxy would allow.” (p. 305) It is illustrative of Beard’s unconventional approach that the discussion on the historical beginning of the triumph occurs almost at the study’s very end. Beard utterly dismantles the widespread and popular theory of the triumph’s Etruscan origins. She instead argues that the origin of any ceremonial institution or ritual is almost always a cultural process to trace and explain ritual traditions that cannot be strictly located in the twilight of time or space. The focus should rather be on how the ritual’s origins were defined and debated by the Romans themselves and the implications for our understanding of it. Different ancient speculations and etymologies simply reflect different ways of conceptualizing the triumph. By virtue of a lucid discussion of the mythical tradition that claims a Dionysian origin for the Roman triumph, Beard shows that different versions of triumphal origins illustrate the multicultural complexities of such ‘myths of genesis’ and also how these stories in time actively shaped and transformed the triumphal ritual practice itself, assuming a determining as well as an explanatory role. Whereas it is impossible to define the historical origin of the triumph, the myths of its origin(s) are a dynamic and inalienable part of the conglomerate of Roman actions and representations that constitute the ritual.
Beard winds up her argument with a discussion of the famous triumph of Belisarius in 534, termed by many as the ‘last Roman triumph’. Beard’s analysis of Procopius’ account clearly demonstrates “how complicated the traditions of the triumph and its different chronologies had become after more than a millennium of triumphal history” (p. 320). Beard here touches on the question of where to draw the line between the Roman ceremony and later imitation(s), particularly as no known legislation outlawed it and ‘triumph-like’ ceremonies continued throughout history; as the triumphal ritual was gradually broadened with shows and games; and as its symbols increasingly became empire-wide markers of the imperial monarchy and dynastic anniversaries and less connected with individual victories. As Beard argues, the definition of turning-point triumphs depends on how we interpret the triumph more generally, and different choices unavoidably offer different views of the institution’s history and character. She suggests, for example, that “a case could be made for seeing the celebration of Vespasian and Titus in 71, with Josephus’ insistent rhetoric of precedent and procedure (while the whole thing ended up at a temple that was in fact in ruins), as the first triumph that was more of a ‘revival’ than living tradition, more afterlife than life” (p. 328).
In sum, this invigorating, momentous, yet sacrilegious book on the Roman triumph is a sceptical inquiry into the extant historical traditions about the triumph, and its reconstruction by ancient writers and modern historians and an erudite, reflective essay into what Beard defines as the ‘triumphal ritual in ink’ and how that correlated to and competed with actual ritual practice. Since she resolutely dismisses traditional historical methodology as being hampered by a one-dimensional perspective and conceptual dogmatism, this study will doubtlessly rekindle old controversies and stir up new discussions. Most shall find it hard to agree with all of its views and findings, many will struggle to accept some of its main assertions, and some might even question most of its analysis, yet the even-handed balance between breadth and depth, the consistency and transparency of Beard’s approach and the commendable accessibility of her argument make it indispensable for all interested in the Roman triumph and Roman ritual history in general.
2. E. Künzl began his book on Der römische Triumph. Siegesfeiern im antiken Rom (München: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1988) by quoting Flavius Josephus’ account of the Flavian triumph of 71 CE over the Jews.
3. p. 4 (see p.139 for a similar statement). Although this is a key point of departure, Beard desists from any further explanation and doesn’t produce any concrete parallels or further references.
4. Both quotes are from p. 41.
5. It is one of the greatest merits of T. Itgenshorst’s book on Tota illa pompa: der Triumph in der römischen Republik (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen, 2005), esp. pp. 9-12 & 219-226 to have demonstrated conclusively that the reign of Augustus brought about tremendous changes in the nature and meaning of the public triumph. Augustus’ extensive triumphal monuments transformed the triumph from an occasional and potentially divisive republican ritual into the paramount symbol of a victorious and enduring monarchy. In this respect, Itgenshorst explains, the coming of Empire represents an even more decisive break from the past than has been generally assumed since there now was nothing much left of republican reality with its heterogeneity, its conflictual rituals and the distinctive roles of the nobility’s most distinguished families.
6. Again, however, Beard fails to provide the reader with any further references underscoring the important premise (p. 105) that “the main message from the comparative evidence of more recent ritual traditions is that there is likely to be much more innovation in the ceremony than any claims of rigid ritual conservatism (whether vaunted by the Romans or their modern observers) would appear to allow.”
7. M. McClelland Westington, Atrocities in Roman Warfare to 133 BC (Chicago: University of Chicago Libraries, 1938) pp. 108-111 had already pointed out that, during the period he discussed, there were a few occasions on which the Romans did not execute enemy commanders, revealing “some improvement in the triumph even though it was unfortunately not of a permanent nature.”
8. See, for example, my article on ‘The Lex Valeria and Sulla’s Empowerment as Dictator’, Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz (2004) pp. 37-84 (esp. 79-84). Paradoxically, Beard (p. 205) seems to acknowledge this reality herself by observing that “One answer —and probably the safest- was to obtain the support of the senate and to parade respect for the legal rules which policed the very boundaries that a triumphal celebration”, or, for that matter, an individual demand to triumph, “would break”.
9. That Beard ultimately remains undecided over these issues is clear from her objection (in n. 56 of p. 371) to E. Gruen’s claim in Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy (E.J. Brill: Leiden, 1990) p. 132 that there was no clear pattern for awarding or denying triumphs and that all triumphal decision-making in the Senate was ad hoc, is “overstated”. To my thinking, the idea that Livy merely operated as a mouthpiece of Augustan propaganda is an immensely conservative line of argument.
10. Although T. Itgenshorst, too, bluntly questions the overall reliability of Livy’s summaries of the historical debates in the Senate, she has little choice but to admit that his reports must reflect some truth: see ‘Augustus und der republikanische Triumph’, Hermes 32 (2004) p. 440 n. 16: “die dort fingierten Diskussionen spiegeln aber m. E. Sicher Argumentationsstrategien wider, die im republikanischen Senat einerseits durch die Senatoren, andererseits durch den Feldherrn eingesetzt worden waren.”); and Tota illa pompa (op. cit. n. 5) p. 176: “Auch wenn die einzelnen Debatten in der Darstellung des Livius natürlich keine genaue ‘Protokolle’ historischer Triumphverhandlungen darstellen, ist aufgrund des heterogenen Charakters die Wahrscheinlichkeit doch sehr gross, dass sich hier, zumindest teilweise, republikanische Realität widerspiegelt.”
11. On p. 198f., Beard allows for this possibility. One of the greatest merits of this chapter is that it offers the first genuine discussion of “Cicero’s extraordinarily vivid insider’s story on the preliminaries to a triumph” (p. 197), an inexplicable lacuna in Itgenshorst’s study of the triumph under the Republic.
12. See Plutarch Pomp. 14.1f. (comp. also Livy 28.38.4f.; Val. Max. 2.8.5 & Dio 17.56; and Livy 31.20.2-7) for the fact that the unwritten rule that no imperator whose military command had not sprung from a regular magistracy ( cum imperio) could celebrate a full public triumph was first abandoned on behalf of Pompey in 80, notwithstanding vehement opposition on the part of the dictator Sulla. Pompey’s second triumph as eques Romanus at the end of 71 is equally defined by all sources as an unprecedented honor: see, e.g., Cic. Man 62; Val. Max. 8.15.8; Vell. Pat. 2.30.2 & Plin. N.H. 7.96. Pliny here also points out that Pompey had been hailed imperator twice before having ever served in the regular ranks.
13. See Dio 43.42.1f. (comp. Caesar Bell. Hisp. 2.2) for the fact that, after the battle of Munda in 45 BCE, Q. Fabius Maximus ( cos. suff. 45) and Q. Pedius ( cos. suff. 43) were the first (and only) legati ever to celebrate full public triumphs. See Suet. Claud. 24.6; Tac. Ann. 13.32 & Eutrop. 7.13 for the equally exceptional ovation of A. Plautius ( cos. suff. 29) as legatus Augusti pro praetore in 47 CE.
14. I intend to address this key question in my forthcoming monograph on The Principle of the summum imperium auspiciumque under the Roman Republic. As is clear from its listing in Beard’s bibliography, a first version of this study was originally to be published in SDHI 73 (2007). However, its further and continuing expansion eventually rendered this option impracticable.
15. Dio Cassius 51.21.9: