H.S. Versnel, Triumphus (Leiden: Brill, 1970), pp. 235–300.


Dio Cassius 6.23 (see Zonaras 7.21). For other accounts, see Livy, Epitome 10.7.10; Juvenal, Satires 10.36; and Servius’s commentary on Virgil’s Eclogues 6.22.


See, for example, Livy, Epitome 1.10.5; 10.7.9; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.34.2; Dio Cassius 51.21.8–9; and Suetonius, Nero 25.


See Suetonius, Nero 25.2; and Dio Cassius 6.23.


See, for example, Dio Cassius 62.4.3–6.2.


At the same time that Mark appeals to his gentile audience by utilizing imagery from the Roman triumphal march, he inserts allusions to the Hebrew Bible. After the Roman soldiers mockingly salute Jesus, his regal clothes are removed, and his own clothes are put back on him (Mark 15:20). Although this is inconsistent with the custom of the triumphator’s wearing of the ceremonial robe throughout the procession, it is necessary to keep in motion another pattern of allusions—to Psalm 22, which speaks of one “scorned…and despised by the people. / All who see me mock at me” (verses 6–7). After crucifying Jesus, the Roman soldiers then cast lots for his garments. This is another allusion to Psalm 22: “They divide my clothes among themselves, / and for my clothing they cast lots” (verse 18).The imagery drawn from this psalm reaches its dramatic climax just a few verses later in Mark’s crucifixion narrative, after Jesus has been nailed to the cross: “Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Mark 15:34). These are the first words of Psalm 22.


Although we do not have an explicit record of such a response, Suetonius may provide a hint when he reports that during a procession of Nero’s, his escort “shouted that they were attendants of Augustus and the soldiers of his triumph” (Nero 6.25).


The Vulgate calvaria (as opposed to caput), the ambiguity of the English word “head” and the popular image associated with Gordon’s Calvary may exert undue influence on modern translations.


Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 4.59–61; cf. Livy, Epitome 50.55.5–6.


Pliny describes myrrhed wine as the finest (Naturalis Historia 14.92). Sour wine or vinegar, as in Mark 15:36, was understood to deaden pain (Pliny, Naturalis Historia 23.24–27), but while the ancients often describe the sedative effect of myrrh alone or in combination with other ingredients, none ascribe such an effect for myrrhed wine. Wine mixed with myrrh was an expensive delicacy that probably was not understood to deaden pain.


Suetonius, Tibullus 17.


Dio Cassius 60.23.1.


Tacitus, Histories 2.59.


Josephus, The Jewish War 152.


Josephus, The Jewish War 153–57.


Suetonius, Caligula 22.3–4.


Dio Cassius 63.5.2.


Dio Cassius 63.6.2.


Dio Cassius 62.20.5.