The Arch of Titus is known for its depictions of the spoils brought back to Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem. As a result of the Jewish attacks on Roman installations and the start of a revolt against Roman rule in 66 CE, the Roman Emperor Nero granted Vespasian a special command in the East to be responsible for putting down this revolt. In response to the crisis, Nero placed the seven legions in Syria under Vespasian’s authority and named Titus, one of Vespasian’s sons, as legate of the 15th Legion of Apollo.
Titus’s role in the crushing of the Jewish revolt is hard to discern. Most of the information regarding his actions comes from the Jewish Wars by Flavius Josephus, a Jew with a strong Roman bias, who consistently portrayed Titus in a highly favorable light. Nonetheless, some of the claims of Josephus are backed up by Suetonius. While it is not clear exactly how successful Titus’s actions may have been, it is generally agreed that he did actively help in conquering two major rebel towns, Tarichaeae and Gamla. Together with his other battles and his siege of Jerusalem, Titus portrayed the image of a brave and successful military leader.
With the death of Nero in 68 CE, Vespasian left Judea in the m...
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...ntentional placement at the highest point of the Via Sacra. The Arch of Titus thus stands to this day, but instead of representing the glory and might of the Roman Empire, it serves as a remainder that no nation lasts forever.
Flavius Josephus. The Jewish War. Trans. G.A. Williamson. England: Penguin Books, 1981
Kreitzer, Larry. “Apotheosis of an Emperor.” The Biblical Archeologist. 53.4 (1990): 210-217
Makin, Ena. “The Triumphal Route, with Particular Reference to the Flavian Triumph.” The Journal of Roman Studies. 11 (1921): 25-36
Platner, Samuel Ball, and Thomas Ashby. A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome. London: Oxford University Press, 1929
Pliny the Elder. Natural History. Trans. John F. Healy. England: Penguin Books, 1991
Suetonius. Lives of the Caesars. Trans. Catharine Edwards. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000
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