The sacred procession of a victorious general, culminating in his sacrifice to Jupiter on the Capitol. It was a solemn act of thanksgiving for victory. The procession comprised the triumphator himself, preceded by the magistrates, members of the Senate, the victorious troops, war captives in chains, war booty on wagons, and white oxen for sacrifice. The triumphator, dressed in an embroidered toga—the toga picta —wearing a crown and carrying a scepter in one hand and a spray of laurel in the other, rode in a chariot drawn by four horses. Beside him a slave kept repeating Hominem te memento. The laurel was placed on the lap of the god. Christianity, in adapting Roman military language to express its own religious concepts, employed triumphus and triumphare to signify victory over the Devil, the hostis of Christ and the Church.
Bibliography: a. momigliano, The Oxford Classical Dictionary, ed. m. cary (Oxford 1949) 926. w. ehlers, Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa, et al. (Stuttgart 1893–) 7A.1: 493–511. a. blaise, Dictionnaire Latin-Français des auteurs chrétiens (Paris 1954), s.v. "triumpho."
[m. r. p. mcguire]