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The myrtle has played1 its part, also, in the successes of war. Posthumius Tubertus, who gained a victory over the Sabines in his consulship,2 was the first person who entered the City enjoying the honour of an ovation,3 for having achieved this success with ease and without bloodshed; upon which occasion he made his entry crowned with the myrtle of Venus Victrix, and thereby rendered her tree an object of regard4 to our enemies even. Ever since this occasion, the wreath of those who have enjoyed an ovation has been made of myrtle, with the exception of M. Crassus,5 who, on his victory over the fugitive slaves and Spartacus, made his entry crowned with laurels. Massurius informs us, also, that some generals, on the occasion of a triumph even, have worn a wreath of myrtle in the triumphal car. L. Piso states that Papirius Maso, who was the first to enjoy a triumph for a victory over the Marsi—it was on the Alban Mount6—was in the habit of attending at the games of the Circus, wearing a wreath of myrtle: he was the maternal grandfather of the second Scipio Africanus. Marcus Valerius7 wore two wreaths, one of laurel, the other of myrtle; it was in consequence of a vow which he had made to that effect.

1 In addition to all those particulars, he might have stated that the Lares, or household gods, were crowned with myrtle, and that it was not allowed to enter the Temple of Bona Dea.

2 A.U.C. 251.

3 See the Notes to c. 35 of this Book.

4 Because the enemy would be less likely to envy us a bloodless triumph.

5 He disdained the more humble myrtle crown, and intrigued successfully with the Senate to allow him to wear a wreath of laurel.

6 The Senate refused him a triumph; and he accordingly celebrated one on the Alban Mount, B.C. 231. Paulus Diaconus says that his reason for wearing a myrtle crown was his victory over the Corsicans on the Myrtle Plains, though where they were, or what victory is alluded to, is not known.

7 The brother of Valerius Publicola.

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