Today and today only, he bore the titles ultimately reserved for Caesar. Along with the crowds, I read the embroidered titles and hailed him as the greatest of all kings and greatest of lords. When I read them I thought of Caesar, for the triumphator merely bears the title and the power in proxy. Though he is the greatest of Rome’s generals, and though he has achieved an exalted position, at any moment Caesar could demand him to turn over his army and he would have no choice but to acquiesce. He will, however, get to keep the crown, the robes, and the baton for the remainder of his life, though I’m sure that if the Caesar asked him to return them for any reason, he would gladly do so.
He’s a man of humility, and that is part of the reason that he is being so celebrated. His popular support is so great and his army so loyal that he could have, at any time, easily marched on Rome and overthrown Caesar himself, but he has chosen not to do this. It probably never even crossed his mind to grasp at Caesar’s throne, which is yet another reason to hail him. Listen to me going on and on. It’s almost like I’m worshiping him as if it were he that was the son of god, rather than the Caesar himself.
As I continued to watch, and as I continued to be enveloped in a sense of amazement at the sight before me, I heard the voice of the heralds. They were traveling through the crowds reminding all on-lookers that the celebration would not end at the conclusion of the ‘triumph,’ but that the Caesar expected all the citizens of Rome to carry the festivities into the night, doing so with joyous feasting. The heralds walked the crowds, speaking of the great exploits of the soldiers, of their service to Rome, and of their felicity to that which was symbolized by the eagle emblazoned upon their banners, saying ‘Open your homes to the fighting men of Rome! Invite them to your banquets! Let them eat their fill! In service to Rome, they have taken their lives in their hands to conquer generals and all manner of powerful people! They faced down charging horses so that all, free men and slaves, might continue to enjoy the benefits of all that Rome has to offer! You owe them your hospitality and your very lives! Honor them!’ I certainly hoped that I would have the honor of hosting one of these brave warriors.
Behind the triumphator and his army came those that he had conquered. Foolishly, they had attempted to do battle with Rome’s greatest general. Not unexpectedly, they had failed; and now, they were going to suffer the end of all that attempted to stand against the glorious Roman empire, its Caesar, and its legions. I saw the king of the conquered peoples. I saw the greatest of his generals. Poor fools. They did not realize the futility in which they were engaged. They did not realize that their doom had been sealed when Caesar sent out his armies under the command of this particular triumphator. Examples were going to be made of these men, and that example was going to be published far and wide as a warning against those that might attempt the same. The king and his generals, so used to riding at the front of their army in all of their regal splendor, had been forced to come last in the procession, stripped of all semblances of power and bearing the scorn and insults of the crowd. For them, shame was heaped upon shame.