The term triumphant Latin triumphans means exulting rejoicing exceedingly taken from a figurative usage of triumphus originally designating the Roman triumph Those who constitute the Church Triumphant rejoice eternally in the glory of God to whom they are united in the beatific vision.
The Roman triumph triumphus was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the success of a military commander who had led Roman forces to victory in the service of the state or in some historical traditions one who had successfully completed a foreign war
On the day of his triumph, the general wore a crown of laurel and an all-purple, gold-embroidered triumphal toga picta (“painted” toga), regalia that identified him as near-divine or near-kingly. In some accounts, his face was painted red, perhaps in imitation of Rome’s highest and most powerful god, Jupiter. The general rode in a four-horse chariot through the streets of Rome in unarmed procession with his army, captives, and the spoils of his war. At Jupiter’s temple on the Capitoline Hill, he offered sacrifice and the tokens of his victory to the god Jupiter.
In Republican tradition, only the Senate could grant a triumph. Republican morality required that the general conduct himself with dignified humility, as a mortal citizen who triumphed on behalf of Rome’s Senate, people, and gods. Inevitably, the triumph offered the general extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity, besides its religious and military dimensions. Most triumphal celebrations included a range of popular games and entertainments for the Roman masses. Most Roman festivals were calendar fixtures, tied to the worship of particular deities. While the triumphal procession culminated at Jupiter’s temple, the procession itself, attendant feasting, and public games promoted the general’s status and achievement. By the Late Republican era, triumphs were drawn out and extravagant, motivated by increasing competition among the military-political adventurers who ran Rome’s nascent empire. The triumph was consciously imitated by medieval and later states in the royal entry and other ceremonial events.
Triumphs were tied to no particular day, season, or religious festival of the Roman calendar. Most seem to have been celebrated at the earliest practicable opportunity, probably on days that were deemed auspicious for the occasion. Tradition required that, for the duration of a triumph, every temple was open. The ceremony was thus, in some sense, shared by the whole community of Roman gods, but overlaps were inevitable with specific festivals and anniversaries. Some may have been coincidental; others were designed. For example, March 1, the festival and dies natalis of the war god Mars, was the traditional anniversary of the first triumph by Publicola (504 BCE), of six other Republican triumphs, and of the very first Roman triumph by Romulus.
Religious dimensions aside, the focus of the triumph was the general himself. The ceremony promoted him – however temporarily – above every mortal Roman. This was an opportunity granted to very few. From the time of Scipio Africanus, the triumphal general was linked (at least for historians during the Principate) to Alexander and the demi-god Hercules, who had laboured selflessly for the benefit of all mankind. His sumptuous triumphal chariot was bedecked with charms against the possible envy (invidia) and malice of onlookers. In some accounts, a companion or public slave would remind him from time to time of his own mortality (a memento mori).—Galinsky, 106, 126–149, for Heraklean/Herculean associations of Alexander, Scipio, and later triumphing Roman generals.
Tradition that the triumphing general was publicly reminded of his mortal nature, whatever his kingly appearance, temporary godlike status, or divine associations.
Triumphal arches are one of the most influential and distinctive types of architecture associated with ancient Rome. Thought to have been invented by the Romans, the Roman triumphal arch was used to commemorate victorious generals or significant public events such as the founding of new colonies, the construction of a road or bridge, the death of a member of the imperial family or the ascension of a new emperor.
The survival of great Roman triumphal arches such as the Arch of Titus or the Arch of Constantine has inspired many post-Roman states and rulers, up to the present day, to erect their own triumphal arches in emulation of the Romans. Triumphal arches in the Roman style have been built in many cities around the world, most notably the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Narva Triumphal Arch in Saint Petersburg, or the Wellington Arch in London.
Triumphal arches should not be confused with memorial gates and arches and city gates such as the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Washington Square Arch in New York City, or the India Gate in New Delhi, which although patterned after triumphal arches, were built to memorialise war casualties, to commemorate a civil event (the country’s independence, for example), or to provide a monumental entrance to a city, as opposed to celebrating a military success or general.
Triumphal arch is also the name given to the arch above the entrance to the chancel of a medieval church where a rood can be placed.
Triumph Arches – all throughout the world – Triumph Arch of the Star