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On this page: Sponda – Spondeo – Spongia – Sponsa – Sponsalia



riots, standards, "beaks of ships and the like, which j might be preserved and displayed. (See Boeder-lein, Lett. Syn. vol. iv. p. 337; Ramshorn, Lat. Syn. p. 869 ; Habieht, Syn. Plandworterbuch, n. 758.)

In the heroic ages no victory was considered complete unless the conquerors could succeed in stripping the bodies of the slain, the spoils thus obtained being viewed (like scalps among the North American Indians) as the only unquestion­able evidence of successful valour ; and we find in . Homer that when two champions came forward to contend in'single combat, the manner in which the body and arms of the "vanquished were to be dis­posed of formed the subject of a regular compact between the parties. (Horn. 11. vii. >5, &c., xxii. 254, &c.)'' Among the Romans, spoils taken in battle were considered the most honourable of all distinctions ; to have twice stripped an enemy, in ancient times, entitled the soldier to promotion (Val. •'Max*, ii. 7. §14), and during the second Punic war, Fabius when filling up the numerous vacancies in the senate caused by the slaughter at Cannae aiid by other disastrous defeats, after hav­ing selected such as had borne some of the great offices of state, named those next " qui spolia ex hoste fixa domi haberent, aut civicam coronam accepissent." (Liv. xxiii. 23.) Spoils collected on the battle field after an ena'ao.-ement, or found in a

tj **-j . f

captured town were employed to decorate the tem­ples of the gods, triumphal arches, porticoes, and other places of public resort, and sometimes in the hour of extreme need served to arm the people (Liv. xxii. 57, xxiv. 21, x. 47 ; Val. Max. viii. 6. § 1 ; Sil. Ital. x. 599), but those which were gained by individual prowess were considered the undoubted property of the successful combatant, and were exhibited in the,most conspicuous part of his dwelling (Polyb. yi. 39), being hung up in the atrium, suspended from the door-posts, or ar­ranged in the vestibuium, with appropriate inscrip­tions. (Liv. x. 7, xxxviii. 43 ; Cic. Pkilipp. ii. 2o ; Suet. Nero, 88'; Virg. Am. ii. 504, iii. 286, Tibull. i.l. 54 ; Propert, iii. 9. 26 ; Ovid. Ar. Am. ii. 743; Sil. Ital. vi. 446.) They were regarded as peculiarly sacred, so that even if the house was bold the new possessor was not permitted to re­move them. (PHn. //. JV.'xxxv. 2.) A remarkable instance of this occurred in the 4i rostrata domus " of Pompey, which was decorated with the beaks of ships captured in his war against the pirates ; this house passed into the hands of Antonius the triumvir, (Cic. Philip]). I. c.\, and was eventually inherited by the emperor Gordian, in whose time it appears to have still retained its ancient orna­ments. (Capitolin. Gordian. 3.) But while on the one hand • it was unlawful to remove spoils, so it was forbidden to replace or repair them when they had fallen down or become decayed through age (Plutarch, Quaest. Rom. 37), the object of this regulation being doubtless to guard against the frauds of false pretenders.

Of all spoils the most important were the Spolia Opima, a term applied to those only which the Commander-in-chief of a Roman army stripped in a field of battle from the leader of the foe. (Liv. iv. 20.) Festus (s. v. Opima) gives the same defini­tion as Livy, but adds " M; Varro ait opima spolia esse [etiam] si manipiilaris miles detraxerit dum-modo duci hostium," a statement, if correctly quoted, directly at variance with the opinion generally received and acted upon. Thus when


M. Crassus, in the fifth consulship of Octaviuinis (b. c. 29), slew Deldo, king of the Bastarnae, he was not considered to have gained spolia opima because acting under the auspices of another (Dion Cass. Ii. 24 ; compare Val. Max. .iii. 2. •§ 6), and. Plutarch ' (Marcel L (]) expressly asserts that Roman history up to his own .time-afforded''.'but--three ex-^ amples. The first were said to have been won by Romulus from Aero, king of the Caeninenses. tho second bv Aulus Cornelius Cossus from Lav Tolum-


nius king of the Veientes, the third b}* M. Claudius Marcel Ins from Viridomarus (or BptT^uapro? as he is called by Plutarch), king of the Gaesatae. In all these cases, in accordance with the original institution, the spoils were dedicated to Jupiter Feretrius. The honours of spolia opima were voted to Julius Caesar during his fifth consulship (b. c. 44, the year of his death), 'but it was not even pretended that he had any legitimate claim to this distinction. (Dion Cass. xliv. 4.) (The question with regard to the true definition of spolia opima is discussed with s;reat learning bv Perizonms, Animad. Hist. c. 7.)" " f W. B,]

SPONDA. [lectus, p. 674, b.]

SPONDEO. ( obligations*, p. 817, b.]

SPONGIA. [pictura, p. 905, a.]

SPONSA, SPONSUS. [matrimosticm, p. 741, b.]

SPONSALIA. [matrimonium, p. 741,-b.] SPONSOR. [intercessio, p. 640, b.] SPO'RTULA. In the days of Roman freedom clients were in the habit of testifying respect for their patron by thronging his atrium at an early hour, and escorting him to places of public resorfc when he went abroad. As an acknowledgment of these courtesies some of the number were usually invited to partake of the evening meal. After the extinction of liberty the presence of such guests, who had now lost all political importance, was soon regarded as an irksome restraint, while at the same time many of the noble and wealthy were unwilling to sacrifice the pompous display of a nu­merous body of retainers.. Hence the practice was introduced under the empire of bestowing on each client, when he presented himself for his morning visit, a certain portion of food as a substitute and compensation for the occasional invitation to a regular supper ( recta), and this dole, being carried off in a little basket provided, for the pur­pose, received the name of sportula. Hence also it is termed by Greek writers on Roman affairs Seiirvov airb cnrvpiSos^ which however must not be confounded with the fteiirvov aTrb (nrupiSos of earlier authors, which was a sort of pic-nic. [CoENA, p. 304, b.] For the sake of convenience it soon became common to give an equivalent in money, the sum established by general usage being a hun­dred, quadrantes. (Jttv. i. 120 j Martial, x. 70, 75.) Martial Indeed often speaks of this as a shabby pittance (centum miseUi quadrantes,, iii. 7, compare i» 60, iii. 14, x. 74)^ which, however, he did not scorn himself to accept (x. 75), but at the same time does not fail to sneer at an upstart who en­deavoured to distinguish himself by a largess to a greater amount on his birthday (x. 28). The do­nation in money, however, did not entirely super­sede the sportula given in kind, for we find in Juvenal a lively description of a great man's vesti­bule crowded with dependents, each attended by a slave bearing a portable kitchen to receive the viands and keep them hot while they were carried

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