previous next


The Roman term for the arms taken from an enemy defeated in single combat, and also for those portions of the captured armour which were promised by the general to soldiers who distinguished themselves. The word is not greatly different in meaning from exuviae, while praeda covers all kinds of booty, and manubiae is properly the part that falls to the commanding general. They were hung up in a temple, with a dedicatory inscription (Verg. Aen. iii. 288), or in the vestibule of the house, where they remained, even if the house passed into other hands. Spolia opīma were the arms taken from the hostile general by a Roman leader commanding under his own auspices, and were consecrated to Iupiter Feretrius on the Capitol. This is said to have been first done by Romulus, who is the traditional founder of the sanctuary of Feretrius (Livy, i. 10). They were legitimately won on only two subsequent occasions by Aulus Cornelius Cossus from the king of Veii, and by M. Claudius Marcellus from the king of the Gaesatae (Plut. Marc. 8).

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 3.288
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 10
    • Plutarch, Marcellus, 8
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: