Saturday, 16 February 2013

Victory and triumph



Ancient Romans had different concepts about victory and triumph.
Victory is defeating the enemy.  Triumph is countable victory.

 In war, defeating the enemy in a civil rebellion is also victory. In civil wars the enemy is not a foreign country; it is a citizen of the same country turned traitorous.
Chasing away a foreign enemy from the land is also victory.
In both the cases, the enemy is defeated, chased away or killed and the land is protected.
The boundaries remain safe but same. The exchequer remains safe but same. No boundary is enlarged; no exchequer is enriched.
This is victory.

Triumph is a different thing.
A triumph was an occasion for the ancient Romans to confer a public and solemn honour  on a victorious military general, by allowing him a magnificent procession through the city.
This was not granted by the senate of the country unless the general had gained:

i.      A very signal and decisive victory.
ii.    Conquered a province.

In triumph the military general has to effect:

·         Conquer of the enemy by enlarging the boundary of the land
·         An enrichment of the exchequer of the land

Victory is maintaining the status quo.
Triumph is enrichment. It is a countable victory.

A victorious military general adds nothing to the present status quo. The country is happy and enjoys peace; but not enriched.
It continues to live in complacency relying on the great valour of its military general.
Life is not affected. Economy is steady. Business goes well.

A victorious state is like a static pool. No waves, only ripples.

Triumph always adds more to the country. It adds more to life.
It is a challenge not complacency.
It is counted and described in measurements.
It is not a fantastic story but a sensual experience. We see it around, we feel it and we live in it.

Victory is defense; triumph is offense.

Ancient Romans valued triumph more than victory.

What do we prefer? Victorious life or triumphant life?


Professor Jacob Abraham

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