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[7] And such spoils were called ‘opima,’ because as Varro says, ‘opes’ is the Roman word for richness; but it would be more plausible to say that they were so called from the deed of valour involved, since ‘opus’ is the Roman word for deed or exploit. And only to a general who with his own hand has performed the exploit of slaying an opposing general, has the privilege of dedicating the ‘spolia opima’ been granted.

Furthermore, only three Roman leaders have attained this honour: Romulus first, for slaying Acron the Caeninensian; next, Cornelius Cossus, for killing Tolumnius the Tuscan1 and lastly, Claudius Marcellus, for overpowering Britomartus, king of the Gauls.2

1 In 436 B.C., according to Livy, iv. 19, 1-5.

2 In 222 B.C. See Plutarch's Marcellus, vii.

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