On this day in 509 BC, long before the Caesars and the Empire, tradition has it that the Roman Republic celebrated the first ever Roman triumph, to celebrate the victory of Publius Valerius Poplicola over the Etruscans. It is said, though not confirmed, that a Roman general celebrating a triumph would have a slave present charged with whispering into his ear that he, too, would one day die. Whether that detail is true or not, a pious Roman general was at least expected to conduct himself in a humble fashion and be mindful of that fact.
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