The senate decreed a triumph to Marcellus alone, and his triumphal procession was seldom equalled in its splendour and wealth and spoils and captives of gigantic size; but besides this, the most agreeable and the rarest spectacle of all was afforded when Marcellus himself carried to the god the armour of the barbarian king.
He had cut the trunk of a slender oak, straight and tall, and fashioned it into the shape of a trophy; on this he bound and fastened the spoils, arranging and adjusting each piece in due order. When the procession began to move, he took the trophy himself and mounted the chariot, and thus a trophy-bearing figure more conspicuous and beautiful than any in his day passed in triumph through the city. The army followed, arrayed in most beautiful armour, singing odes composed for the occasion, together with paeans of victory in praise of the god and their general.
Thus advancing and entering the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, he set up and consecrated his offering, being the third and last to do so, down to our time. The first was Romulus, who despoiled Acron the Caeninensian1
; the second was Cornelius Cossus, who despoiled Tolumnius the Tuscan; and after them Marcellus, who despoiled Britomartus, king of the Gauls; but after Marcellus, no man.
The god to whom the spoils were dedicated was called Jupiter Feretrius, as some say, because the trophy was carried on a
‘pheretron,’ or car
; this is a Greek word, and many such were still mingled at that time with the Latin2
; according to others, the epithet is given to Jupiter as wielder of the thunder-bolt, the Latin
‘ferire’ meaning to smite
. But others say the name is derived from the blow one gives an enemy, since even now in battles, when they are pursuing their enemies, they exhort one another with the word
‘feri,’ which means smite
! Spoils in general they call
‘spolia,’ and these in particular,
And yet they say that Numa Pompilius, in his commentaries, makes mention of three kinds of
‘opima,’ prescribing that when the first kind are taken, they shall be consecrated to Jupiter Feretrius, the second to Mars, and the third to Quirinus; also that the reward for the first shall be three hundred asses,3
for the second two hundred, and for the third one hundred. However, the general and prevailing account is that only those spoils are
‘opima’ which are taken first, in a pitched battle, where general slays general. So much, then, on this subject.
The Romans were so overjoyed at this victory and the ending of the war that they sent to the Pythian Apollo at Delphi a golden bowl4
. . . as a thank-offering, gave a splendid share of the spoils to their allied cities, and sent many to Hiero, the king of Syracuse, who was their friend and ally.