The Palms, the Praise, and the Parade of Palm Sunday
Theme: Considering the events of Palm Sunday
We all have witnessed various kinds of celebrations and parades. In the text before us we read of ‘‘The Triumphal Entry’’ of Jesus into Jerusalem. This would have been a meager illustration of triumph to those watching this scenario unfold.
In those days of Roman stronghold and worldwide domination, the Romans set the standard for parades and celebrations. The very word ‘‘triumph’’ or the Latin word ‘‘triumphus’’ exudes the true meaning of someone being triumphant.
The Roman Triumphus was a ritual procession that was the highest honor bestowed upon a victorious general in the ancient Roman Republic. Triumphs were granted and paid for by the Senate and enacted in the city of Rome.
The word probably came from the Greek thriambos, the name of a procession honouring the god Bacchus. To triumph in republican times a man was required to have been a magistrate cum imperio (holding supreme and independent command) who had won a major land or sea battle in the region considered his province, killing at least 5,000 of the enemy and ending the war.
The ceremony began with a solemn procession from the Triumphal Gate in the Campus Martius to the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, passing through the forum and the Via Sacra (‘‘Sacred Way’’) along streets adorned with garlands and lined with people shouting, ‘‘Io triumphe.’’
The magistrates and members of the Senate came first in the processions followed by musicians, the sacrificial animals, the spoils of war, and the captured prisoners in chains.
Riding in a chariot festooned with laurel, the victorious general (triumphator) wore the royal purple and gold tunic and toga, holding a laurel branch in his right hand and an ivory sceptre in his left. A slave held a golden crown over the general’s head while repeatedly reminding him in the midst of his glory tha ...
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