RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Disappearance of the military triumph
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
The I would like to ask is when did church ceremony replace, or become more 'fashionable' for an emperor to mark his victories? For example Heraklius had a message read out in the Hagio Sophia to announce his victories over Khusro II and Maurice held a ceremony in the same church. When did this begin to happen, and any theories on why?
I realise that showing ones piety was essential for an emperor, after Constantine- with the odd exception- but even Constantius II held a triumph, and he was always showing his devotion to the church
Could it have been as simple as that emperors who didn't control Rome, or want to go there, or care what happened there didn't hold triumphs? Otherwise, there is probably something in Mary Beard's book.
Not sure when it happened, but I think the crisis of the 3rd c. would have had some impact. Later, when Christianity spread, it would not have looked good for an emperor to be revered like that. Constantius II sure had a grand entrance in Rome. Having said that, later emperors resided outside of Rome, in Constantinople, but also Trier and Milan. During the 4th c., it began to be rare for emperors to even visit Rome.

Lastly, emperors also were not automatically victors in battle, when the generals began taking that role.
Is anyone aware of contemporary sources discussing it? perhaps a mention by Constantine Porphyrogenitus?
Simple anthropology in a way: The Triumph was a legitimisation strategy by Rome's elite, with an Emperor in charge naturally this had to be curtailed....you can take it from there and run with it. Just think legitimization strategy, need for elites to show power, need to restrict access to elite behaviour and..well there you go.
I was referring to the imperial period, emperors continued to hold triumphs to mark their victories, but when did this start to be replaced by ceremonies held in churches
Quote:The I would like to ask is when did church ceremony replace, or become more 'fashionable' for an emperor to mark his victories? For example Heraklius had a message read out in the Hagio Sophia to announce his victories over Khusro II and Maurice held a ceremony in the same church. When did this begin to happen, and any theories on why?
For the East my guess is when the Patriarchs began crowning emperors with Marcian.

Why did this start with Marcian? The simple answer is that he needed all the legitimacy he could get since he was an outsider, not being from the Theodosian House into which he married. Since the act was apparently effacacious in warding off revolts Marcian's successors made it into a practice.

The high civil and military officials took part in the enthronement of a new monarch, often by means of a palace or military revolution. Legally, the people participated in the government only through the Church. From the time of Marcianus, the Byzantine emperors were crowned by the Patriarchs of Constantinople. -source: Catholic Encyclopedia

So, I suppose I agree with Lyceum to an extent. Church ceremonies became more potent in confering legitimacy due to their solemnity rather than triumphal celebrations which degenerated into public revelry and debauchery.

~Theo
It depends on how you define a 'Triumph'. If it includes painting the face and hands of the triumphator red and sacrificing at the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter then the adventus of Constantine the Great in Rome after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge is probably the break.

If you use a broader definition such as 'a stage managed military entry into a major city following a successful campaign' then it continued in the Byzantine Empire down to the 12th century. John Tzimiskes, following the conquest of Bulgaria and defeat of Sviatoslav of Kiev, managed to integrate the Roman triumph with Orthodox piety. During his triumphal entry into Constantinople he placed a highly venerated icon of the Theotokos in the silver and gold chariot, and followed it mounted on a white horse.
(11-27-2015, 12:47 PM)Urselius Wrote: [ -> ]the adventus of Constantine the Great in Rome after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge is probably the break.

The rise of the adventus ceremony has a lot to do with this, I think: mobile emperors and a multitude of 'capitols', coupled with the sporadic and ongoing nature of warfare in the 3rd-4th century, made the adventus a much better way of advertising imperial might and military power then the old triumph, which was restricted to Rome.

These ceremonies seem to have borrowed a lot of the forms and images of the traditional triumph, but could be performed in any city of the empire, whenever the emperor and his retinue arrived. They were also, of course, a lot less concerned with the prestige of the Roman senatorial elite!
I know the last one to be held by an Emperor in the West was given to Aetius in 446.

The last one to actually be held in Rome was by Belisarius in the 530's.

I have to agree with Urselius though, triumphs were held in Constantinople well into the middle "Byzantine" period. I know Basil II had one.