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The most spectacular scene in the 1959 film version of Ben-Hur is not the chariot race but the big triumph which Arrius celebrates after his defeat of the Macedonian pirates. The general marches into Rome (with Judah at his side), hailed by the masses lining the streets. To the classicist this scene feels wrong because the procession culminates in a welcome by the emperor. Have we not all learned in university that a “proper” triumph ends in a solemn sacrifice to Jupiter? Actually, this is true only for the triumph of the Republic and the Empire. When Belisarius triumphed over the Vandals in 534 he concluded the festivity in front of the enthroned Justinian—and it was still a proper triumph. Does this mean that the screenwriters of Ben-Hur were eager students of the late-antique sources, assiduously striving for a correct depiction of ritual? We can confidently (and sadly) eliminate this possibility. Nevertheless, the authors were extremely clever in recognizing what is indispensable for a triumph and what is not. The sacrifice to Jupiter belongs in the latter category. In fact, the core components are: (1) returning home (into the capital); (2) moving (through the city, a stationary festivity was no triumph); (3) the public (as many people as possible had to watch); (4) victory (an actual, concrete defeat of the enemy was celebrated, not just a parade of arms). These four characteristics—not more, not less—defined the triumph. Triumphs started with Romulus and were still celebrated in Middle Byzantium. It was one of the most durable rituals of Roman history. This was only possible because the triumph was extremely flexible and could be adapted to the different needs of jealous aristocrats, bloody warlords, august rulers and pious emperors likewise. Only the four core components had to be kept. This was also the case for Arrius’ triumph. Moviegoers saw what they immediately recognized as a triumph, and vice versa Arrius’ big scene did shape at least two generations’ perceptions of what a triumph looks like.

In: People and Institutions in the Roman Empire
In: A Companion to Procopius of Caesarea
In: Die Verwaltung der Stadt Rom in der Hohen Kaiserzeit
Formen der Kommunikation, Interaktion und Vernetzung
Das kaiserzeitliche Rom, die Hauptstadt des Imperium Romanum, war die erste Weltstadt des Okzidents. Diese Megalopolis als Herrschaftsraum, Ort der Konsensfindung und des Zusammenlebens von vielleicht einer Million Menschen zu strukturieren, war eine für die Zeit einmalige Herausforderung.
Der Band untersucht die von oben gelenkten Reaktionen auf die „Herausforderung Rom“ in ihren jeweiligen Wechselwirkungen. Um eine Gesamtschau der sozialen, rechtlichen und räumlichen Dimensionen des hauptstädtischen Lebens zu erreichen, versuchen die Beiträge zu klären, wie viel Administration unter den Bedingungen der Zeit notwendig und möglich war, nach welchen Prinzipien Aufgaben verteilt wurden, wie sich Administration innerhalb der Stadt konkretisierte und wie sich die Kaiserrolle und die republikanischen Traditionen zueinander verhielten.