martedì 28 ottobre 2008

MILITARY DECORATIONS

Spolia opima (or "rich spoils/trophies") refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single, hand-to-hand combat. Though the Romans recognized and put on display other sorts of trophies--such as standards and the beaks of enemy ships--spolia opima were considered the most honorable to have won and brought great fame to their captor.

A Roman triumph (triumphus, Old Latin triumpus, attested as the exclamation TRIVMPE in the Carmen Arvale; via Etruscan from the Greek θρίαμβος) was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly honour the military commander (dux) of a notably successful foreign war or campaign and to display the glories of Roman victory. Men who had received this accolade were called triumphators.

The Civic Crown (Latin: corona civica) was a chaplet of common oak leaves woven to form a crown. During the Roman Republic, and the subsequent Principate, it was regarded as the second highest military decoration a citizen could aspire to (the Grass Crown being held in higher regard). It was reserved for men who saved the lives of fellow soldiers, and held the ground upon which he did this for the remainder of the engagement.

The Grass Crown or Blockade Crown (Latin: corona obsidionalis or corona graminea) was the highest and rarest of all military decorations in the Roman Republic and early Roman empire. It was presented only to a general or commander who broke the blockade around a beleaguered Roman army, thus saving a legion or the entire army. The crown was made from plant materials taken from the battlefield, including grasses, flowers, weeds, and various cereals, such as wheat; it was presented to the general by the army he had saved.

The Roman corona muralis (Latin: "walled crown") as used in antiquity was a golden crown, or a circle of gold intended to resemble a battlement, bestowed upon the soldier who first climbed the wall of a besieged city or fortress to successfully place the standard of the attacking army upon it.[2] The Roman mural crown was made of gold, and decorated with turrets[3], as is the heraldic version. Being one of the highest orders of military decorations, it was not awarded to a claimant until after a strict investigation.

The Castrensis crown was a decoration bestowed upon the soldier who first entered in the fortifications of an enemy castra. The crown was made by gold and looked like a palisade.

The Naval Crown (in Latin corona navalis), was a gold crown awarded to the first man who boarded an enemy ship during a naval engagement. In style, the crown was made of gold and surmounted with the beaks of ships. In heraldry a naval crown is mounted atop the shields of coats of arms of the naval vessels and other units belonging to some navies.