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Arch of Titus: Profile of the Arch of Titus in Rome


Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus

What is the Arch of Titus?:

The Victory Arch of Titus commemorates Titus' victorious conquest of Judaea, leading the sacking of Jerusalem and ending the Jewish wars. The arch was constructed after Titus's death in 81 CE, after his becoming a god. It was probably built by this brother and successor, emperor Domitian, but some believe that it was actually built by emperor Trajan because of similarities to the Arch of Trajan located at Benevento.

Where is the Arch of Titus?:

The Arch of Titus is located on the highest point of the Via Sacra, a road leading to the Roman Forum. This is a single arch, 15.4m high, 13.5m wide, and 4.75m deep. The marble reliefs stand nearly 2.5m in height. On the Arch of Titus is a relief depicting the Romans' triumphal procession, returning with spoils from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Especially prominent is the sacred Menorah, but we can also see the Table of the Shewbread and the silver trumpets which called Jews to Rosh Hashanah.

Why is the Arch of Titus important?:

The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem is one of the pivotal events in Jewish history. Time and time again the Jews attempted to rise up against foreign rulers; sometimes they were moderately successful, but the region of Palestine was far too important to be allowed a fully independent status, so there was always someone interested in imposing their rule here.

The Romans were not generous or forgiving with those who challenged or fought Roman authority. The Jewish War started under the leadership of Vespasian, but when he was proclaimed emperor, he passed the command of his legions to his son, Titus, already serving as a general under him. Titus finished what his father started and put down the Jewish revolt in typically brutal Roman fashion. The significance of his victory is made clear by the fact that a Victory Arch would be erected for it.

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