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spolia opima

[spoh-lee-uh oh-pahy-muh, -pee-; Latin spaw-li-ah aw-pee-mah] /ˈspoʊ li ə oʊˈpaɪ mə, -ˈpi-; Latin ˈspɔ lɪˌɑ ɔˈpi mɑ/
plural noun
1.
(in ancient Rome) the arms taken by a victorious general from the leader of a defeated army.
Origin of spolia opima
< Latin spolia opīma rich spoils
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Historical Examples
  • The word for ordinary spoils is spolia, but for these spolia opima.

    Plutarch's Lives, Volume II Aubrey Stewart & George Long
  • But the national library and Mr Huth divided the spolia opima, and doubtless the lions share fell to the latter.

    The Confessions of a Collector William Carew Hazlitt
  • To him the richest spoils of war (spolia opima) were due, and to him the conqueror gave thanks on his return from battle.

    The Religion of Numa Jesse Benedict Carter
  • This dedication of spolia opima is reserved as a privilege for a general who has slain the opposing general with his own hand.

  • By far the most remarkable object in the triumph was Cossus, bearing the spolia opima of the king he had slain.

  • Cornelius Cossus, having killed Tolumnius, king of the Veientes, offers the second spolia opima.

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