The ovation (ovatio) was a less-honored form of the Roman triumph. Ovations were granted, when war was not declared between enemies on the level of states, when an enemy was considered basely inferior (slaves, pirates), and when the general conflict was resolved with little to no bloodshed or danger to the army itself. Also, generals were in theory only meant to be given ovations when victory resulted from a civil war, as for a triumph the victory had to be over a foreign enemy.

The general celebrating the ovation did not enter the city on a biga (a chariot) pulled by two white horses, as generals celebrating triumphs did, but instead walked in the toga praetexta of a magistrate (a toga with a purple stripe, unlike generals in triumphs, who wore the toga picta that was totally purple and adorned with golden stars).

The honored general also wore a wreath of myrtle (sacred to Venus) upon his brow, rather than the triumphal wreath of laurel. The Roman Senate did not precede the general, nor did soldiers usually participate in the procession.

Perhaps the most famous ovation in history is that which Marcus Licinius Crassus celebrated after his victory of the Third Servile War.

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