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Encyclopedia > Victory titles

A victory title is an honorific title adopted by a successful military commander to commemorate his defeat of an enemy nation. This is a chiefly Roman practice, although other groups have made use of this practice, as well. This document is chiefly concerned with Roman victory titles.

Victory titles were treated as cognomina and were usually the name of the enemy defeated by the commander. Hence, names like Africanus ("the African"), Numidicus ("the Numidian"), Isauricus ("the Isaurian"), Creticus ("the Cretan"), Gothicus ("the Goth"), Germanicus ("the German") and Parthicus ("the Parthian"), seemingly out of place for ardently patriotic Romans, are in fact expressions of Roman superiority over these peoples. Literally, this would be like calling Erwin Rommel, George S. Patton, Jr., and H. Norman Schwarzkopf "Rommel the African", "Patton the German", and "Schwarzkopf the Iraqi", respectively. However, the correct sense is better expressed as "Rommel of African fame", "Patton of German fame", "Schwarzkopf of Iraqi fame", and so forth. Some victory titles were treated as hereditary, while others were not.

The practice of awarding victory titles was well-established within the Roman Republic. The most famous grantee of Republican victory title was of course Publius Cornelius Scipio, who for his great victories in the Second Punic War was awarded by the Roman Senate the title "Africanus" and is thus known to history as "Scipio Africanus" (his adopted grandson Scipio Aemilianus Africanus was awarded the same title after the Third Punic War and is known as "Scipio Africanus the Younger"). Other notable holders of such victory titles include Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, who was replaced by Gaius Marius in command-in-chief of the Jugurthine War, Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus, who commanded Roman anti-pirate operations in the eastern Mediterranean and was father of Julius Caesar's colleague in his second consulate (Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus in 48 BC), and Marcus Antonius Creticus, another anti-piratical commander and father of Caesar's master of the horse, Marcus Antonius (of Egyptian fame).

The practice continued in the Roman Empire, although it was subsequently amended by some Roman Emperors who desired to emphasise the totality of their victories by adding Maximus ("the Greatest") to the victory title (e.g., Parthicus Maximus, "the Greatest Parthian"). This taste grew to be rather vulgar by modern standards, with increasingly grandiose accumulations of partially fictitious victory titles. In Mediaeval times, the practice continued in modified form, with Charlemagne styling himself Dominator Saxonorum ("Dominator of the Saxons") and Basil II called Bulgaroktonos ("the Bulgar Slayer").

See also: List of Imperial Victory Titles

  Results from FactBites:
List of Imperial Roman victory titles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (346 words)
This document is a list of victory titles assumed by Roman Emperors, not including assumption of the title Imperator (is itself a victory title); note that the Roman Emperors were not the only persons to assume victory titles (Maximinus Thrax acquired his victory title during the reign of a previous Emperor).
In many ways, the Imperial victory titles give an interesting summary of which wars and which peoples were considered significant by the senior leadership of the Roman Empire.
Maximian's victory titles are the same as those of Diocletian, except that he did not share Diocletian's first assumption of the titles Germanicus Maximus and Sarmaticus Maximus in 285
Napoleonic Titles and Heraldry (6133 words)
The first batch of titles were created in 1806: these were territorial principalities ceded as "immediate fiefs of the crown", or "great fiefs of the crown" established in Italy on particular lands, a 1/15th of whose income was attached to the title as revenue.
Titles, whether automatically obtained by office or conferred by the Emperor, were life titles only, unless an endowment was created, either by the holder of the title out of his own estate (for automatic titles) or by the Emperor when he conferred the title.
Pauline, sister of the Emperor, was granted the principality of Guastalla, with title of princess and duchess of Guastalla, by decree of 30 March 1806.
  More results at FactBites »



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