(usually עָלִזor עָלִוֹ, θριαμβεύω). Almost all ancient nations celebrated success in war by a triumph, which generally included a gorgeous procession, a display of captives and spoils, and a solemn thanksgiving and sacrifice to the gods. Among the Egyptians, the triumph of a king returning from war was a grand solemnity celebrated with all the pomp, which the wealth of the nation could command (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 1, 277 sq.). The Assyrian sculptures abound with similar representations. SEE SENNACHERIB.
The Hebrews, under the direction of inspired prophets, celebrated their victories by triumphal processions, the women and children dancing, accompanying their steps with various musical instruments (see Jg 11:34-37), and singing hymns of triumph to Jehovah, the living and true God. The song of Moses at the Red Sea, which was sung by Miriam to the spirited sound of the timbrel (Ex 4:1-21), and that of Deborah on the overthrow of Barak (Judges 5:1-31), are majestic examples of the triumphal hymns of the ancient Hebrews. Triumphal songs were uttered for the living (1Sa 18:6-8; 2Ch 20:21-28) and elegies for the dead (2Sa 1:17-27; 2Ch 35:25). The conquerors were intoxicated with joy, and the shout of victory resounded from mountain to mountain (Isa 42:11; Isa 52:7-8; Isa 63:1-4; Jer 1; Jer 2; Eze 7:7; Na 1:15). Monuments in honor of victory were erected, and the arms of the enemy were hung up as trophies in the temples (1Sa 21:9; 1Sa 31:10; .2Sa 8:13; 2Ki 11:10). Indignities to prisoners formed a leading feature of triumphs among ancient nations generally; and among the Assyrians and Babylonians atrocities were frequently practiced, such as maiming, blinding, SEE EYE, and killing, especially in the case of rebel princes. SEE CAPTIVE. To put one's foot upon the head or neck of a conquered foe was an ancient, though somewhat barbarous, custom, marking the complete subjection of the vanquished party. Many representations of this custom appear among the monumental remains of antiquity; and, following the prevailing usage in this respect, we find Joshua ordering the five kings of the Canaanites, who had taken refuge in a cave, to be brought out that his captains might come one after another and put their foot on the necks of the prostrate princes (Jos 10:24). Literally this usage does not appear to have been much practiced by the covenant people, but it forms the ground of many figurative representations in the prophetical Scriptures (Ps 110:1; Isaiah 110:14; 1Co 15:26). SEE FOOT; SEE NECK.
Among the Greeks, it does not appear that triumphs were accorded to victorious generals, but conquerors occasionally entered their native cities attended by their victorious soldiers bearing branches of palm. Such processions became very common under the successors of Alexander the Great, particularly the Seleucid of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt, who are generally believed to have been the inventors of the toga palmata, or robe adorned with representations of palm-trees interwoven into its fabric. It is clearly to the Graeco-Syrian form of triumph that the apostle John alludes in the Apocalypse, when he describes those who had overcome by the blood of the lamb standing "before the throne, clothed with robes, and palms in their hands" (Re 7:9).
Next to the Egyptians, the Romans were chief among ancient nations in attributing importance to a triumph, and exerting themselves to bestow a gorgeous brilliancy upon the triumphal procession. The highest honor which could be bestowed on a citizen or magistrate was the triumph or solemn procession in which a victorious general passed from the gate of the city to the Capitol. He set out from the Campus Martius, and proceeded along the Via Triumphalis, and from thence through the most public places of the city. The streets were strewn with flowers, and the altars smoked with incense. First went a numerous band of music, singing and playing triumphal songs; next were led the oxen to be sacrificed, having their horns gilt and their heads adorned with fillets and garlands; then followed the spoils taken from the enemy, carried in open wagons, or a on a species of bier called feretrum, around which were displayed the golden crowns sent by allied and tributary states. The titles of the vanquished nations were inscribed on wooden frames; and images or representations of the conquered countries and cities were exhibited. The captive leaders followed in chains, with their children and attendants; after the captives came the lectors, having their faces wreathed with laurel, followed by a great company of musicians and dancers, dressed like satyrs, and wearing crowns of gold; in the midst of whom was a pantomime, clothed in a female garb, whose business it was with his looks and gestures to insult the vanquished. A long train of persons followed, carrying perfumes; after whom came the general, dressed in purple, embroidered with gold, wearing a crown of laurel on his head, holding a branch of laurel in his right hand, and in his left an ivory scepter with an eagle on the top, his face painted with vermilion, and a golden ball hanging from his neck on his breast. He stood upright in a gilded chariot adorned with ivory, drawn by four white horses, attended by his relations and a great crowd of citizens, all clothed in white. It was creditable to Roman morality that a public slave accompanied the conqueror in his chariot, to remind him of the vicissitudes of fortune, and to present to him, in the midst of all his glory, the remembrance of the varied changes and chances of mortality. The conqueror's children sometimes accompanied him, and sometimes rode in a second chariot, escorted by the lieutenants and military tribunes who had served in the war. The consuls, senators, and other magistrates followed the general's chariot on foot; and the whole procession was closed by the victorious army, drawn up in order, crowned with laurel, decorated with the gifts which they had received for their valor, and singing their own and their general's praises. See Smith, Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. SEE TITUS (Emperor).
Paul makes frequent allusions to such triumphal processions (Col. 2, 15; Eph 4:8), with which he compares the triumphs of Christ's followers in spreading abroad, in every place, the perfume of the gospel of salvation (2 Corinthians 2, 14-16). Our Savior's triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1-9) was a token of his royal character (see the monographs in Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 181).