6 January 2017

A ghostly Triple Triumph

Dom Prosper Gueranger suggests that the wonderful Epiphany antiphons Tribus miraculis and Hodie caelesti are designed to trump a commemoration, in the pagan Roman Calendar, of a triple Triumph by Augustus, aka il Duce, on January 6.

I this is rather intriguing; except that I can't find back-up for the assertion. Not in the obvious Internet resources; not in the Res gestae; not in Ovid's Fasti. (Perhaps you would have considered me more scholarly if I had listed those in the reverse order. Think of it as an ascending tricolon.)

But then, Ancient History is not really my professionalism. And Bodley has been closed for its winter break. Can anybody help?

UPDATE I thank learned contributors, both those whom you will find on the thread and those who were in touch with me more privately.

You will see that Orosius is pretty clearly the chappy from whom Dom Gueranger got his information. The thread contains the relevant passage, and a English crib is easily found on the Internet. I suspect that Orosius made up this Triple Triumph in order to provide an aition or, more correctly, a typos, for the Epiphany. The author of the Res Gestae is not, in my judgement, the sort of bloke who hid his Triple Triumphs under either a bush or a bushel.

Here are translations of these two Antiphons:
"We worshipfully keep (colimus) a Holy Day adorned with three miracles; today the Star led the Magi to the manger; today wine was made from water for the wedding; today in the Jordan Christ willed to be baptized by John, that he might save us: ALLELUIA!!"

"Today the Church is joined to her heavenly Bridegroom, since in the Jordan Christ washed away her sins; the Magi run with gifts to the Royal Wedding; and the wedding guests rejoice at the wine made from water [ex aqua facto vino]: ALLELUIA!!"

Textual Note:
In 1972 and 1984 editions of the Liturgia Horarum, the second antiphon ends "... et ex aqua facta vino laetantur convivae". You could easily make an argument that this odd phrase would most naturally mean "and the wedding guests rejoice as a result of water made by/from/with wine". All Breviary editions I possess give the reading and meaning I give above.

UPDATE The textual evidence is all but unanimous that facta is a blunder.


Claudio Salvucci said...

The Chronography of 354 has:



Claudio Salvucci said...

Here's a tantalizing page that starts to answer the question before it gets cut off at the good bits.


vetusta ecclesia said...

Factum est on Universalis

Steve Perisho said...

I have not done any research myself, but the reference to Orosius, Historia VI.xx.1 ff. in the book flagged by Mr. Salvucci is here in CSEL 5, ed. Zangemeister: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc1.0024270172;view=1up;seq=259:

"Anno ab urbe condita DCCXXV ipso imperatore Caesare Augusto quinquies et L. Apuleio consulibus Caesar uictor ab oriente rediens, VIII idus Ianuarias urbem triplici triumpho ingressus est ac tunc primum ipse Iani portas sopitis finitisque omnibus bellis ciuilibus clausit. hoc die primum Augustus consalutatus est; quod nomen, cunctis antea [ inuiolatum ] et usque ad nunc ceteris inausum dominis, tantum orbis licite usurpatum apicem declarat imperii, atque ex eodem die summa rerum ac potestatum penes unum esse coepit et mansit, quod Graeci monarchiam uocant. Porro autem hunc esse eundem diem, hoc est VIII idus Ianuarias, quo nos Epiphania, hoc est apparitionem siue manifestationem Dominici sacramenti, obseruamus, nemo credentium siue etiam fidei contradicentium nescit. de quo nostrae istius fidelissimae obseruationis sacramento uberius nunc dicere nec ratio nec locus flagitat, ut et quaerentibus reseruasse et neglegentibus non ingessisse uideamur. hoc autem fideliter commemorasse ideo par fuit, ut per omnia uenturi Christi gratia praeparatum Caesaris imperium conprobetur. . . ."

I could also supply the complete chapter "cut off" in Google Books if that would be helpful. sperisho@spu.edu

Leila said...

Dear Fr. Hunwicke -- how *does* one contact you more privately? Am I missing your email address here on the blog?

William said...

@vetusta: That's in Tribus miraculis (the text of which is not in dispute) rather than Hodie cælesti.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sueton is mentioning a triple Triumph of Augustus in his Vita Augustii, Chapter 22, as follows:

Ianum Quirinum semel atque iterum a condita urbe ante Memoriam suam clausum in multo breviore temporis spatio terra marique pace parta ter clusit.
Bis ovans ingressus est urbem post Philippense et rursus post Siculum bellum.
Curulis triumphos tris egit, Delmaticum, Actiacum, Alexandrinum continuo triduo omnes.

Or in English in the Translation of J. C. Rolfe (Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, London, 1913-14) as per following link


"The temple of Janus Quirinus, which had been closed but twice before his time since the founding of the city, he closed three times in a far shorter period, having won peace on land and sea. He twice entered the city in an ovation, after the war of Philippi, again after that in Sicily, and he celebrated three regular triumphs for his victories in Dalmatia, at Actium, and at Alexandria, all on three successive days."

So here we have an evidence for the three triumphs of Augustus. Orosius might hve been referring to this, but the question remains whether it was still commemorated in the Roman pagan calendar. Orosius himself, however, is not mentioning such commemorative celebration in the text quoted above by Steve Perisho, he is just mentioning the triumphs, but interestingly also the clausing of the Iani Portas which might underline that he used Sueton as his source.

Anon. said...

The triple triumph wasn't celebrated until 13-15 August, 29 BC when Augustus returned to Rome from Egypt.
According to the Calendar reproduced in E. A.Judge, Augustus and Roman History: Documents and Papers for Student Use (Sydney: Macquarie University, 1987) at pp.59-63, the temple of Janus was closed on 11 January, 29 BC but Livy (1.19.3) just has it "after the Battle of Actium" and Dio (51.20.1-4) has the Senate making the order as part of it response to the arrival of Octavian's letter about the Parthians.
In any event, as the poet put it, "...hic magnos potius triumphos/hic ames..."