"only one general would be triumphing that year"
The Triumph of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Triumph of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius - Credit: MatthiasKabel/Wikimedia Commons

A Triumph was a ceremony in which a victorious Roman general was treated to lavish praise for his achievements. Whether or not the victories of a general were deserving of a triumph was decided by the senate. The Triumph consisted of a parade through the Campus Martius (Field of Mars), into Rome (entering Rome signified the relinquishment of military command), through the streets and the Forum, up to the Capitol and the Temple of Jupiter. Here the triumphator would sacrifice to the gods, then dedicate his wreath to Jupiter.

The triumphator wore the gold-embroidered purple triumphal toga (royal colours), and may have painted his face red to match the red face of Jupiter. In this way, the triumphing general was treated as a king, perhaps even a semi-divine one, for one day. This was his moment of glory, after which he was expected to live as a humble man once again, though he would always have the honour of being remembered as a triumphator.