Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review of Popkin, The Architecture of the Roman Triumph

Maggie L. Popkin, The Architecture of the Roman Triumph: Monuments, Memory, and Identity. New York; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Pp. xiv, 271; 8 p. of plates. ISBN 9781107103573. $99.99.

Reviewed by Carsten Hjort Lange, Aalborg University (


Popkin’s new monograph on triumphal architecture along the triumphal route consists of 4 main chapters, plus an introduction, a conclusion, and an appendix (no map of the route is provided). The book is part of a recent outpouring of research on the Roman triumph, with much of this attention focusing on the rules and conventions determining the awarding of triumphs, as well as the spectacle in Rome itself. 1 The book proposes to look at three critical periods: the Punic Wars, the reign of Trajan and that of Septimius Severus.

Cross-file under Punic Watch. The Jewish Triumph procession in 71 CE after the defeat of the Great Revolt against Rome also receives some attention. You can read the account of the latter by Josephus here. That Triumph procession is memorialized on the Arch of Titus.