F Heritage History | Story of the Romans by Helene Guerber
Contents 
Front Matter The First Settlers Escape from the Burning City The Clever Trick The Boards Are Eaten The Wolf and the Twins Romulus Builds Rome The Maidens Carried Off Union of Sabines and Romans Death of Romulus Strange Signs of the Romans The Quarrel with Alba The Horatii and Curiatii Tarquin and the Eagle The Roman Youths The King Outwitted The Murder of Tarquin The Ungrateful Children The Mysterious Books Tarquin's Poppies The Oracle of Delphi The Death of Lucretia The Stern Father A Roman Triumph A Roman Triumph (Cont.) Defense of the Bridge The Burnt Hand The Twin Gods The Wrongs of the Poor Fable of the Stomach The Story of Coriolanus The Farmer Hero The New Laws Death of Virginia Plans of a Traitor A School-Teacher Punished Invasion of the Gauls The Sacred Geese Two Heroes of Rome Disaster at Caudine Forks Pyrrhus and His Elephants The Elephants Routed Ancient Ships Regulus and the Snake Hannibal Crosses the Alps The Romans Defeated The Inventor Archimedes The Roman Conquests Destruction of Carthage Roman Amusements The Jewels of Cornelia Death of Tiberius Gracchus Caius Gracchus Jugurtha, King of Numidia The Barbarians The Social War The Flight of Marius The Proscription Lists Sertorius and His Doe Revolt of the Slaves Pompey's Conquests Conspiracy of Catiline Caesar's Conquests Crossing of the Rubicon Battle of Pharsalia The Death of Caesar The Second Triumvirate The Vision of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra The Poisonous Snake The Augustan Age Death of Augustus Varus Avenged Death of Germanicus Tiberius Smothered The Wild Caligula Wicked Wives of Claudius Nero's First Crimes Christians Persecuted Nero's Cruelty Two Short Reigns The Siege of Jerusalem The Buried Cities The Terrible Banquet The Emperor's Tablets The Good Trajan Trajan's Column The Great Wall Hadrian's Death Antoninus Pius The Model Pagan Another Cruel Emperor An Unnatural Son The Senate of Women The Gigantic Emperor Invasion of the Goths Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra A Prophecy Fulfulled First Christian Emperor Roman Empire Divided An Emperor's Penance Sieges of Rome End of the Western Empire

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber




A Roman Triumph (Continued)

Of course all the spectators cheered the victorious general when he thus marched through Rome in triumph; and they praised him so highly that there was some danger that his head would be turned by their flattery.

To prevent his becoming too conceited, however, a wretched slave was perched on a high seat just behind him. This slave wore his usual rough clothes, and was expected to bend down, from time to time, and whisper in the conqueror's ear:

"Remember you are nothing but a man."

Then, too, a little bell was hung under the chariot, in such a way that it tinkled all the time. This ringing was to remind the conqueror that he must always be good, or he would again hear it when he was led to prison, or to gallows; for the passage of a criminal in Rome was always heralded by the sound of a bell.

If the victory was not important enough to deserve a triumph, such as has just been described, the returning general sometimes received an ovation. This honor was something like a triumph, but was less magnificent, and the animal chosen as the victim for sacrifice was a sheep instead of a bull.

The Roman who received an ovation came into the city on foot, wearing a crown of myrtle, and escorted by flute players and other musicians. The procession was much smaller than for a triumph, and the cheers of the people were less noisy.

Now you must not imagine that it was only the generals and consuls who were publicly honored for noble deeds. The Romans rewarded even the soldiers for acts of bravery. For instance, the first to scale the walls of a besieged city always received a crown representing a wall with its towers. This was well known as a mural crown, and was greatly prized. But the man who saved the life of a fellow-citizen received a civic crown, or wreath of oak leaves, which was esteemed even more highly.

All those who fought with particular bravery were not only praised by their superiors, but also received valuable presents, such as gold collars or armlets, or fine trappings for their horses. The soldiers always treasured these gifts carefully, and appeared with them on festive occasions. Then all their friends would admire them, and ask to hear again how they had been won.

All Roman soldiers tried very hard to win such gifts. They soon became the best fighters of the world, and are still praised for their great bravery.