- Turning victory into defeat
- Negative assessments of imperial triumphs in Greco-Roman literature
- Book title
- Der römische Triumph in Prinzipat und Spätantike
- Pages (from-to)
- Berlin: De Gruyter
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
The triumphus conferred great military prestige on generals and emperors. Exploiting that prestige for their own purposes, Greco-Roman authors constructed subversive discourses around this ritual in their works. Through negative descriptions of triumphal processions, they could criticize, question or mock the accomplishments of triumphatores they did not like, undermining their glory and turning real or claimed victories into moral defeats. This literary weapon was particularly potent in the time of the Empire, when the senatorial elite had lost control over triumphal displays. ‘Bad’ triumphs of an extraordinary nature were attributed to Mark Antony, Caligula and Nero, criticizing their alleged transgressions of traditional Roman norms. However, more conventional triumphi could likewise come under attack by hostile historians and biographers, who used their descriptions of these events to define the limits of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emperorship.
Turning Victory into Defeat Negative Assessments of Imperial Triumphs in Greco-Roman Literature | Request PDF. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311508479_Turning_Victory_into_Defeat_Negative_Assessments_of_Imperial_Triumphs_in_Greco-Roman_Literature [accessed Jul 09 2018].
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