Triumph of Titus

Triumph of Titus

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Why Did Vespasian and Titus Destroy Jerusalem?

What brought Rome to present a military campaign against the small and distant province of Judaea as a great victory? Why did such a small rebellion succeed for so many years? What brought Titus to raze the most important metropolis of Judaea when much less would have put down the rebellion? Finally, why did the Flavian emperors actively publicize the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple? The answer to these questions should be sought not in Jerusalem, but in Rome and its political climate. [1]

1 The Arch of Titus is like a newspaper

The base-reliefs on the Arch of Titus show scenes from the sack of Jerusalem, when the great city and its temple were completely destroyed.
On the side of the arch facing the Colosseum you can read the original inscription in latin:

“Senatus / populusque romanus / divo Tito divi Vespasiani f(ilio) / Vespasiano Augusto”
“The Senate and People of Rome, to Divus Titus, son of Divus Vespasian, Vespasian Augustus.”

The use of the word ‘Divo’ means that the arch was erected after Titus’ death, which indeed occurred in 81 A.D.

Triumph of Titus - History

Arch of Titus, Rome. Apotheosis of Titus
Photo: Elaine Gazda

Domitian erected the Arch of Titus ca. AD 81 to commemorate the consecratio, or official deification, of his deceased brother Titus. Located in the Roman Forum at the foot of the Palatine Hill, the Arch of Titus enjoyed the most impressive backdrop in Flavian Rome, the Colosseum, which Titus had dedicated in AD 80. The three themes of visual propaganda introduced in the Pentelic marble relief sculptures of the Arch of Titus--imperial apotheosis, equality between emperors and deities, and military triumph over Judaea--were echoed in later Domitianic official monuments, including the Templum Gentis Flaviae.

The primary text of the arch is the apotheosis of Titus. Its most explicit expression is appropriately located in the vault of the archway. Here the deified Titus is borne aloft by a giant eagle, symbol of Jupiter and Rome. This image captures the climactic moment in the state funeral of Titus, the instant when his consecrated soul ascended to heaven directly from the funeral pyre. In imperial funerals of the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, a live eagle was released from the flaming pyre to symbolize the miracle of apotheosis.

The deification of Titus is also the subtext in one of two pendant relief panels in the passageway of the arch. Both sculptures recreate the spectacular triumph celebrated by Vespasian and Titus in honor of their conquest of Judaea. One scene, however, is charged with allusions to the divine status of Titus. In this panel, Titus as triumphator presides over the victory procession in a four-horse chariot. The Romans believed that, for the duration of the procession, a triumphator achieved temporary apotheosis as the incarnation of Jupiter. The Roman triumph followed a fixed route through the city, mustering in the Campus Martius and traversing the Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum before reaching its final destination--the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, where the triumphator surrendered his ephemeral godhead.

Not only is Titus portrayed as a deified triumphator he also interacts as an equal with gods and divine personifications of abstract imperial virtues. A goddess who symbolizes Rome or Military Valor leads the emperor's chariot his figure is surrounded by personifications of Victory and Honor. The fluent interaction between Titus and these divinities implies that they accept divus Titus, the deified Flavian emperor, as their peer for eternity, not just on the day of his triumph.

Spoils and Triumph

In contrast to the universalist message of imperial deification that underlies the triumph panel of the Arch of Titus, the spoils panel across the passageway reflects the Roman penchant for documentary historicism. Here the action takes place on a purely human plane the participants are all mortals, part of a vibrant parade that streams through an arch on the triumphal route.

The scene is dominated by a huge candelabrum, the exotic emblem of all the treasures looted from the Temple in Jerusalem by the legions of Titus. This descriptive specificity identifies the event and anchors it firmly in a particular time and place--the Flavian triumph over Judaea celebrated by Vespasian and Titus in Rome in AD 71. This was the only triumph in which all three Flavians took part: "Vespasian drove along behind the spoils and Titus followed him Domitian rode beside them, dressed in a dazzling fashion and riding a horse which was worth seeing" (Josephus, Bellum Judaicum VII, 5, 132ff). As such, the conquest of Judaea became a recurrent theme in Flavian dynastic propaganda among other venues, it was advertised on coins and recalled in the Templum Gentis Flaviae .

Copyright ©1997, 2002 Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Triumph of Titus - History

TITUS tī’ təs ( Τίτος , G5519 ). The name Titus appears in the NT only in 2 Corinthians (eight times), Galatians (twice), 2 Timothy (once) and Titus (once). It can be safely assumed that all these references refer to the same individual. The absence of the name from the Acts of the Apostles complicates precise integration into Luke’s account of Paul’s missionary activity. Attempts to read or insert the name Titus into the Acts of the Apostles are not convincing. Likewise, no good explanation has been given to account for the absence of Titus from the Acts of the Apostles. From the references in the Pauline epistles it appears that Titus was an uncircumcised Gr. (Gal 2:3) who was an intimate associate of Paul and an effective pastor (2 Cor 8:23 12:18). Although disputed and somewhat problematical, the unity of 2 Corinthians is assumed in the following reconstruction.

It is unknown when Titus joined Paul in his mission activity. The earliest reference to Titus is found in Galatians 2:1, 3. Paul reports that on his visit to Jerusalem “after fourteen years” (2:1) Titus accompanied him and Barnabas. Some suggest that this visit is to be identified with the “famine-relief” visit in Acts 11 and 12 (e.g., Bruce) others, with the Jerusalem Council visit in Acts 15 (e.g., Ridderbos). At the time of this visit the issue of circumcision had become crucial, and Paul cites the fact that Titus was not compelled to be circumcised as vindication of his position. If this is the visit of Acts 11 and 12, Titus was then a companion of Paul before the first missionary journey. If it is the visit of Acts 15 (preferable identification in the light of Pauline chronology), Titus’ contact with Paul was at least before the second missionary journey. In any case, nothing is recorded concerning Titus’ mission work until the third missionary journey shortly after Paul’s lengthy stay at Ephesus (Acts 19:1, 17, 26, 35). Whether Titus accompanied Paul during all these journeys cannot be ascertained. However, Titus’ effectiveness with the Corinthians might suggest some prior personal contact with them, although Luke is rather definite in recording Paul’s companions in Greece, and Paul even stresses that he was alone for a time in Athens (1 Thess 3:1).

The Corinthian correspondence indicates that Paul had a number of frustrating experiences with the church at Corinth. These apparently occurred during Paul’s sojourn of over two years in Ephesus during the third missionary journey (Acts 19), although there is not the slightest allusion to these problems in the Acts account. After various attempts to deal with these problems by correspondence and a personal visit, Paul sent Titus to attempt a reconciliation and resolution of the difficulties. Apparently Paul and Titus agreed to meet in Troas. When Paul arrived in Troas, he did not find Titus (2 Cor 2:13). Although there were promising opportunities for mission work in Troas, Paul’s concern about Corinth and Titus led him to proceed to Macedonia (obviously there was a pre-arranged travel route—either by sea or land—to obviate the possibility of by-passing one another). In Macedonia Titus brings to Paul a comforting report about the Corinthians which gives him much joy and peace of mind (2 Cor 7:6-14). Titus seems to have established a good rapport with the Corinthians and Paul exuberantly expresses his gratitude for the happy turn of events.

The offering for the Judaean churches was still pending in Corinth and from Macedonia Paul sent Titus to Corinth to complete this expression of fellowship with the other churches (2 Cor 8:6, 16). Apparently, Titus was successful in this mission (Rom 15:26) and the following spring Paul went to Jerusalem with this offering (Rom 15:25). The subscription to 2 Corinthians in Codex Mosquensis (K—9th or 10th cent.) and Codex Angelicus (L—9th cent.) indicates that the letter was written from Philippi and delivered by ( δια ) Titus and Luke. This late testimony does fit with the givens of 2 Corinthians.

One of the Pastoral Epistles is addressed to Titus. At this time he was working in Crete. The epistle contains some exhortations to Titus, although none of these reflects negatively on his character or ability. It appears that Titus was dealing with a difficult and somewhat unruly congregation in Crete. Paul suggests (Titus 1:5) that Titus’ pastoral qualifications led to this assignment. He also describes Titus as “my true child in a common faith” (1:4). (Timothy is similarly described in 1 Tim 1:2.) Titus is instructed to come to Nicopolis on the W coast of Greece (Titus 3:12) to spend the winter there with Paul. At the time of the writing of 1 Timothy Titus had departed to Dalmatia, apparently from Rome (2 Tim 4:10). This is the last reference to Titus in the NT.

In many respects Titus appears in the NT as an ideal pastor. Paul reflects very favorably upon Titus’ genuine devotion and pastoral concern (2 Cor 8:16, 17). His earnestness is mentioned as a challenge to the Corinthians. Titus’ joy and devoted concern was an inspiration to Paul in his reconciliation with the Corinthians (7:13-15). Paul substantiates his devotion to the Corinthians by arguing that he was of the same mind and attitude as Titus (12:18). These scattered allusions to the character of Titus indicate his close relationship to Paul and his stellar qualifications as a pastor.

The presence of a letter addressed to Titus in the NT has, among other things, been a great inspiration to ministers of the Gospel throughout the history of the Church. Although the data regarding Titus in the NT is scanty, nevertheless much can be learned from his pastoral activities and the letter addressed to him as a model and manual for a pastor. See Pastoral Epistles.

TITUS tī’ təs (Titus Flavius Vespasianus). Emperor of Rome ( a.d. 79-81).

As a young man Titus served as a tribune of the soldiers in Germany and Britain, and later accompanied his father, Vespasian, to Pal. at the time of the Jewish revolt. When the latter was called to Rome and was elevated to the imperial seat, Titus was left in charge of the war, and brought it to an end by the capture and destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. Upon his return to Rome he celebrated a triumph with his father, and from this time was made a virtual partner in the government, clearly designated for the succession. When Vespasian died in 79 Titus became emperor.

In many ways he was a contrast to his father. He was the darling of the populace, good looking, affable to everyone. After the parsimonious policy of Vespasian he spent lavishly, and was always remembered with affection in later years. By expelling the hated informers, and doing away with trials and executions for treason, he gained the favor of the Senate, and thus that body did not oppose his actions.

The brief reign of Titus was noteworthy mainly for two disasters by which it was visited. In August of 79, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and completely destroyed the two towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, covering the former with a shower of hot ashes and pumice, the latter with a river of lava. An eyewitness account of this event may be found in two letters written by Pliny to his friend Tacitus, the historian (Pliny, Epistulae, VI.16.20). In the year 80 there was a plague and disastrous fire at Rome. Titus generously aided the victims of this disaster, and did a great deal to repair the damage to the city. Among other things he finished the Colosseum (begun by Vespasian), and built the baths which bear his name.

The reign of Titus was looked upon as a time of ideal happiness, and his untimely death in the year 81 caused universal sorrow.

Arc de Triomphe

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Arc de Triomphe, in full Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, massive triumphal arch in Paris, France, one of the world’s best-known commemorative monuments. The Arc de Triomphe is an iconic symbol of French national identity and took 30 years to build. The Tour de France bicycle race ends near it each year, and the annual military parade marking July 14—known both as French National Day and Bastille Day—begins its journey at the arch.

It stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (formerly called the Place de l’Étoile), the western terminus of the avenue des Champs-Élysées just over 1.2 miles (2 km) away, at the eastern terminus, is the Place de la Concorde. Napoleon I commissioned the triumphal arch in 1806—after his great victory at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805)—to celebrate the military achievements of the French armies. The arch, designed by Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, is 164 feet (50 metres) high and 148 feet (45 metres) wide. It sits in a circular plaza from which 12 grand avenues radiate, forming a star (étoile), which is why it is also called Arch of Triumph of the Star.

Construction of the arch began in 1806, on August 15, Napoleon’s birthday. Little more than the foundation had been completed by the time of his marriage to the Austrian archduchess Marie-Louise in 1810, so, in honour of her ceremonial entry into Paris, a full-scale depiction of the completed design, created from wood and painted canvas, was erected at the site. That gave Chalgrin the opportunity to see his design in place on the site, and he made some small amendments to it. At the time of his death in 1811, only a small portion of the structure had been completed, and work slowed further after Napoleon’s abdication as emperor and the Bourbon Restoration (1814). Thus, little more was accomplished until the resumption of work was ordered in 1823 by King Louis XVIII, who was motivated by the success of the French invasion of Spain that restored King Ferdinand VII’s power as absolute monarch. The basic structure of the monument was finished by 1831 work was completed in 1836, during the reign of King Louis-Philippe, who opened it officially on July 29.

Chalgrin’s design is Neoclassical, inspired in part by the Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum. Decorative high-relief sculptures celebrating military victories of the Revolution and the First Empire were executed on the facades of the arch’s four pedestals by François Rude, Jean-Pierre Cortot, and Antoine Etex. The most famous of those sculptures is Rude’s group Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 (popularly called La Marseillaise). Other surfaces are decorated with the names of hundreds of generals and battles. A stairway of 284 steps reaches from the ground level to the top of the monument an elevator goes partway up the monument, but from there the top, where an observation deck is located, can only be reached by climbing the remaining steps. One level below the observation deck is a small museum with interactive exhibits on the history of the arch. Beneath the arch lies France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, added in 1921. A flame of remembrance there, first lit in 1923, is rekindled each evening. An annual ceremony marking the anniversary of the 1918 armistice that ended World War I is held at the arch.

The Arc de Triomphe continues to serve as an iconic symbol of France, to the country itself and to the world. The coffins of many French luminaries, such as Victor Hugo and Ferdinand Foch, have lain in state there before their interment elsewhere. In addition, victory parades have frequently marched past the arch, both those of invading powers (such as Germany, in 1871 and 1940) and of France and its allies (in 1918, 1944 upon the liberation of Paris during World War II, and 1945 after the end of the war in Europe).

6. Where is the Arch of Titus located?

The deification of Titus was a major event and a procession went through the streets of Ancient Rome. His face was painted red with the mineral pigment cinnabar.

Since it was a dual event that also celebrated the victory in Judaea, nothing was left to the imagination. It became one of the most abundant parades in Roman history.

When Titus died and an arch honoring him was constructed, it was given one of the most prominent places in all of Rome on the Via Sacra, the exact spot that the “triumphalis” passed.

This is just west of the Colosseum and the biggest triumphal arch in Ancient Rome which would be built 234 years later, the Arch of Constantine, and just east of the Forum Romanum. Look on the Arch of Titus from the west. / Source

Art History Presentation Archive

Judea first fell into the hands of Rome in 6 AD, when the Emperor Augustus removed Archelaus, king of Judea, from power and transformed Judea into a Roman province. Though Rome herself demanded only a modest tax, the local governors of Roman provinces could pocket anything over that quota, a right that was often abused. Jewish peasants immediately fell into poverty, until only the counsel of the High Priests could soothe away rebellion. But the High Priests, since the beginning of Rome’s occupation, were under Roman control, their office awarded by the Roman government, weakening their authority over the people. A group of Jewish extremists, the Zealots, gathered strength for the inevitable rebellion, and in 66 AD, The Emperor Nero triggered the beginning of the war.

When the Emperor Nero decides to make a withdrawal, nations fall. In 66 AD, Nero chose Judea, demanding the treasures of the Jewish temple be confiscated for the glory of the Empire. A series of bad choices among the local Roman government and the Zealot leaders led to a full scale assault on Roman strongholds in Judea. This was an offense the Romans could not ignore. After Syria’s governor marched on Judea to restore order, only to suffer a humiliating defeat, Nero called for Vespasian.

Though Vespasian had fallen out of Nero’s favor by falling asleep during one of the Emperor’s many recitals, Nero knew the general’s reliability would serve Rome well. Forgiving Vespasian’s nap, and supplying him with an army, Nero sent Vespasian to Judea. Hearing of the civil war erupting in Jerusalem among the Jewish Zealot groups from fleeing Jewish moderates, Vespasian chose to let his enemy weaken itself, and focus instead on Judea’s other major strongholds. By 69 AD, Vespasian had made incredible progress, leaving only two major Jewish strongholds. However, incredible news from Rome dragged the war to a halt: the Emperor Nero was dead.

Unlike Judea, Rome flew into activity, Galba, Vitellius, and Otho all held the title Emperor within a year, before Vespasian’s diplomatic maneuverings gave him the support of the army in the east and the title of Emperor. Leaving Judea in the hands of Titus, his son, Vespasian returned to Rome. Titus was not slow to regain Vespasian’s momentum in Judea, immediately marching on Jerusalem.

The siege on Jerusalem began long before Titus’ arrival, and the city was certainly feeling strained. Outside the city’s three walls, the Romans had constructed their own wall, just after the city had been filled with pilgrims intent on celebrating Passover in the holy city. Capturing and crucifying anyone leaving the city, the Romans watched as civil war ravaged their enemy inside the city. Upon Titus’ arrival, the city of Jerusalem was hungry and tired, and only managed to break out of civil war when the Romans finally began building ramparts to scale and destroy Jerusalem’s walls. Though even the women and children of Jerusalem fought fiercely to defend their city, Titus’ army soon breached all three walls and reached the temple. Because the Jews had used it as a fortress, the general rule of leaving temples intact was ignored, and after sacking the temple Titus ordered his army to burn the temple to the ground. In 70 AD Jerusalem fell and the war was over, though fighting would continue for another three years, until the fall of Masada.

Titus returned early, however, his job finished with the fall of Jerusalem. Upon his arrival, a triumph was immediately awarded to him, and to his father Vespasian and brother Domitian. Though their combined deeds merited three separate triumphs, they elected to hold a single immense triumph instead, riding together into the city to proclaim the glory of Rome.

Lonely but conspicuous on a hill between the Colosseum and the forum, the arch stands proudly. Traveling along the Via Sacra from the Colosseum, there can be no doubt about this arch’s purpose. Even from a distance, the letters inscribed on a panel in the attic of the arch are clearly visible:


“The Senate and people of Rome (dedicate this) to the deified Titus Vespasian Augustus, son of the deified Vespasian.” This is the Arch of Titus: a tribute felt to a man who was a hero, an emperor, and a god of Rome.

A reminder of the triumph awarded to Titus, a hero of the Romans for his victory in Judea, the Arch of Titus is the spirit of the Roman triumph captured in stone. Though the ideals of the Flavians called for a somewhat plain style, the arch is not lacking in decoration. Just below the attic lies a relief that revives the triumph, even including the animals being led to the temple of Jupiter for sacrifice. This relief may have completely encircled the arch originally, but if so, time has removed most of it. Below this relief, on each of the spandrels, flies the winged goddess Victory, a very common symbol on the triumphal arches of Rome. Between the goddesses stand the representations of the goddess Roma (facing the Colosseum) and the personification of the people of Rome (facing the forum).

Centered in the coffered intrados of the arch, is a much smaller relief depicting the apotheosis of Titus. More concretely, this relief shows Titus riding an eagle, about to become a god. Below the apotheosis are the two most famous relief panels resting opposite one another on the inner walls of the arch.

The panel on the south side shows the spoils of the First Jewish War on their way to be displayed for the satisfaction of the Roman mob. Chosen to represent the vast wealth brought back from Judea are the most sacred artifacts of the Jewish faith: the seven-branched menorah, the silver trumpets, and the table of showbread, all plundered from the innermost sanctum of the Jewish temple. On the right is the Porta Triumphalis, the destination of the procession. The Porta Triumphalis is topped with statues of horse drawn chariots, a typical example of the bronze statues present on all triumphal arches, including the arch of Titus. In addition to the loot, the Romans carry three placards which would have been painted to describe some element of the war, explaining the victory to future viewers. Assuming the pagan Romans knew little about the Jewish faith, the placards may have been used to explain the significance of the displayed stolen goods.

The north panel shows the triumphator himself. Riding in a quadriga (a chariot) pulled by four horses, Titus stands high in the scene, drawing the viewers attention. Riding behind Titus in the chariot is the winged goddess Victory who crowns Titus with a laurel wreath. The figures below Titus are the personifications of the Senate and the people of Rome, assuring the viewer that the triumph and the arch were bestowed upon Titus by the Senate, with approval of the people. Leading the horses is another personification, this time the goddess Roma. Surrounding her and leading the procession are twelve lictors, the Emperor’s bodyguards. The lictors each carry ceremonial fasces, a bundle of sticks tied together about an axe that represented the strength found by bringing together weaker elements.

Artistically, both of these panels show extraordinary understanding of depth, skillfully composed to draw the viewer’s attention to the most important details of each piece. On the south, the Menorah is by far the most prominent figure, to the south, Titus stands out. These focal points are both surrounded by flat space, indicating empty space, with the rest of the scene well below them. To further emphasize depth, both scenes show the procession moving in the direction of the triumphal route and either into or out of the relief. The men carrying the spoils of war march into the relief, towards the Porta Triumphalis lying in the background. Titus and those around him seem to be headed out of the relief, perhaps trying to reach the Porta Triumphalis on the other side of the relief.

Although personification of deities was common, the Arch of Titus olds the first known example of the combination of both goddesses and people in the same relief. However, this example was quickly incorporated into the standard guidelines of the triumphal arch. Also, the Arch of Titus holds the first known example of columns of Composite order: the capitols of the engaged columns have both the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order and the large volutes of the Ionic order.

As mentioned earlier, the Arch of Titus was not only a monument to Titus’ victory in Judea, but also a base for bronze statues meant to further glorify the deified Titus. Enormous four horse chariots carrying the triumphant general and the goddess Victory often adorned the tops of triumphal arches. Also, the inscription would have bronze lettering, as is apparent by the holes left in the stone which would anchor the letters onto the arch. Unfortunately, medieval Europe had the bad habit of turning bronze decorations into weapons, so along with the other triumphal arches of Rome, the Arch of Titus lost some of its most important and elegant decorations. Also lost is the paint that would have colored much of the arch, making it stand out even more as it towered above the crowds on the Via Sacra.

III. Function
The triumphal arch was only a symbol of a much more important Roman tradition: the Roman triumph. This celebration brought the entire population of Rome to the streets, circuses and theaters to witness the emperor himself presiding over a parade of tremendous scale bringing prestige and fabulous wealth back to the city. The triumphator could acquire tremendous public support through the triumph, raising him near the level of the gods in the eyes of the people which in turn built a sturdy foundation for political maneuvering. But the triumph was not dedicated to the triumphator alone, but instead gave credit to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Without the favor of the gods, Rome would fall, and so the triumphator himself would beg Jupiter for the continued prosperity of Rome.

In the days of the republic, being awarded a triumph meant satisfying very exact conditions. A triumph was only awarded for accomplishments in the military, meaning the triumphator must be a “dux,” a general. This meant the triumphator must be a magistrate—consul, praetor, or dictator—a position always associated with the Roman army. While serving as general, the triumphator must win a substantial victory over a foreign enemy of equal status, killing at least 5,000 enemy soldiers, and earning the title imperator. This means civil wars and slave rebellions never merited a full triumph. The triumphator must also bring his army home, signifying the end of the war. Most importantly, the triumph must be approved by the Senate. This last requirement stopped many otherwise deserving generals from holding a triumph until the fall of the republic. But triumphal arches held no such restrictions, and could be constructed for any reason. Some may have been associated with actual triumphs, but many were built to celebrate nothing other than the wealth of the patron. This trend would also change with the rise of imperial Rome.

In imperial Rome, triumphs were little more than a whim of the emperor, though many Emperor’s chose to follow the rules of the republic and even get approval from the Senate. The right to be awarded a triumph passed from the magistrates to the imperial family alone. The army, now professional, was not required to return to Rome, though the triumph always included a small portion of the army in the festivities. Thanks to Augustus, authority to build triumphal arches was restricted to the emperor, and further restricted to be monuments to military success.

Once a triumph was awarded, preparations for the immense festival began immediately. On the day of the triumph, the doors of every temple in Rome were opened wide, and the temples were filled with the sweet aroma of incense and magnificent bouquets. Gathering in the Campus Martius, the triumphator would relinquish his command and his army would remove their weapons before passing through the Porta Triumphalis, a gate only opened for triumphal processions, to be cleansed of the filth of war as they entered Rome. The exact location of this gate is unknown, it may have even been a freestanding arch in the Campus Martius, so that the triumphal procession would actually enter the city trough a different gate. Upon entering, the triumphator and his army would meet the senate and the other magistrates (only the senate after the fall of the republic) who would then turn and lead the triumph through Rome. To allow as many spectators as possible to see the procession, the route circled through both the Circus Flaminus and Circus Maximus, along with several theaters, before finally turning about the Meta Sudans (added during the Flavian dynasty to mark the final turn of the triumphal route) onto the Via Sacra, which leads to the Temple of Jupiter in the Forum. At the temple of Jupiter, the Triumphator would end the official portion of the triumph by laying down his laurel crown to show he had no intention of becoming king and beg Jupiter for his continued favor, offering two white bulls as a sacrifice.

Like the route, the order of the procession was fairly rigid, though many magistrates and emperors expanded on the standard parade to offer the people an even more memorable spectacle. Generally, the Senate and magistrates (other than the triumphator) without their lictors led the procession, followed by musicians. Then the spoils of the war, cartloads of loot stolen from the enemy. The two white bulls destined for sacrifice followed, and then the arms and insignias of the enemy leaders followed by the leaders themselves (who would soon be executed in the Forum). Next came the lictors of the triumphator with their ceremonial fasces, followed by the triumphator himself, along with his adult sons and officers. The triumphator always rode in a chariot drawn by two horses (four, eventually) with a slave standing behind him reminding him to remain humble in the face of such glory. Then, finally, came the army, without arms or armor. This basic plan was often embellished with exotic flora and fauna from the captured nation, additional musicians, recreations of battles, and other crowd-pleasing spectacles.

Once the triuphator reached the temple, the official portion of the triumph ended, but celebrations could last for days. The Roman citizens were treated to feasts, shows, games, and any other manner of excess that the returning army’s prosperity could fund. The triumph was meant for the people of Rome as much as it was for the returning general, a way to prove the superiority of the Roman government, and sustain the prosperity of the ever growing Roman nation.

IV. Patron
The arch of Titus was constructed immediately following Titus’ premature death by the Emperor Diocletian. A clever strategy: both Titus and Vespasian had proved able Emperor’s, and the inexperienced Diocletian may have wished to prove himself to the people. Son of Vespasian and brother of Titus, Diocletian had a strong resume, if he only could reaffirm his loyalty to the memory of his predecessors. And he did, with a triumphal arch dedicated to the recently deified Titus. With the senate’s permission, and Domitian’s funds, the arch quickly rose over the Via Sacra.

Much later, the arch found a new patron. Incorporated into a wall of a fortified tower by the Frangipani family in the middle-ages, the arch lost much of its original splendor. The attic of the arch became a small room, and holes were bored into the arches two most famous reliefs to support a gate. Yet as part of a wall, it escaped complete demolition, and so when it was “rediscovered” as a work of art, the arch could be rebuilt. Starting in 1817 by Raffaello Stern, and continued by Valadier in 1821 with the funds of Pope Pius VII, the collapsed sections of the arch were rebuilt with travertine stone, easily distinguishable from the darker pantelic marble of the original remains.

To commemorate the restoration and ensure that future viewers would be aware that much of the arch is not original, one side of the arch was given a new inscription, complete with bronze lettering, reading:


“(This) monument, remarkable in terms of both religion and art, had weakened from age. Pius the Seventh, Supreme Pontiff, by new works on the model of the ancient exemplar ordered it reinforced and preserved. In the year of his sacred rulership the 24th.”

V. Conclusion
The triumph of the Flavians is perhaps the most well documented triumph in ancient Roman history, and serves as the model for the reconstruction of the Roman triumph. With the Arch of Titus’ surviving reliefs, and Josephus’ written account, fascinating details of the process of a triumph are revealed. Because its history is so well preserved, the arch stands out among its more thoroughly decorated peers. In addition, the Arch of Titus has retained a grim second life, because of its association with the First Jewish War. This arch is a monument to the end of the Jewish nation, one of the most devastating blows ever suffered by the Jewish people, and to this day many Jews refuse to walk through the arch. Only the formation of a new Jewish state merited a return to the Arch of Titus, when a large portion of the Roman Jewish community walked through the arch backwards, opposite the direction of the triumph. Very few Roman ruins can claim to hold such lasting influence, or such detailed history as Titus’ simple hilltop arch.

VI. Personal Observation s
Though the Renaissance returns to and builds upon the style of classical (Roman, mostly) art and architecture, I noticed a very interesting difference in who gets credit for the work. When hearing about Roman ruins, we only here about the patrons, generally the emperors of Rome. In and after the Renaissance (and even in the middle-ages, to some extent) it is the artist’s name that lives on with the work. Domitian did not build or even design the Arch of Titus, and though he may have had input on the content of the arch, someone else provided the design and labor. And Michelangelo would have created nothing if not for the rich patrons who funded his work, especially the papacy. When asked about the Sistine chapel, most people would immediately think of Michelangelo and the chapel’s ceiling, only a few would even mention Pope Julius II (not to mention the many other artists and architects who also shared in the decoration and construction of the chapel). Who carved the outstanding friezes of the Arch of Titus? Who cast the enormous bronze statues that would have rested atop the arch? The only name we ever hear is Domitian.

To be honest, I did see the name of a man who may have been the architect of the arch, but I think it was on Wikipedia. The reliability of the source is questionable.

VII. Bibliography
Boatwright, Mary T., Gargola, Daniel J., and Talbert, Richard J. A. The Romans from Village to Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Hibbert, Christopher. Rome: Biography of a City. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1983.

Ramage, Nancy H., and Ramage, Andrew. Roman Art: Romulus to Constantine. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1991.

Wheeler, Mortimer. Roman Art and Architecture. New York: Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, 1964.

Zaho, Margaret Ann. “The History of the Roman Triumph.” Imago triumphalis. New York, 2004. “Art History Reader: The Families Who Made Rome.” University of Washington Copy Center, 2007.

Exploring Titus, Trump and the triumph of Israel

In 2004, when I started the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, I aimed to get more people — not just people who read the Bible — to start looking at Israel through a biblical lens in order to better understand the dynamics in the Middle East. More practically, my objective was to mobilize Christians’ growing concern for Israel by creating a framework for political action. This initiative gained momentum, resulting in a shift from spiritual support into worldwide political support.

Courtesy of Josh Reinstein

While observing this recent change in the diplomatic landscape through interactions on my TV show, Israel Now News, and while speaking to various groups across the world, I realized that many issues needed to be clarified. The questions came from all sides. Many Christians didn’t understand the Jewish perspective. Some were confused about why many traditional Jews keenly collaborated with Christians on worthwhile projects, while Reform Jews, although proud of their Judaism, seemed to work more readily with Muslims than with evangelical Christians.

From another angle, Jews were observing the increasing wave of Christian kindness and enthusiasm to help Israel but were ignorant about the theological motivations behind it. Why, they wondered, are some churches the biggest supporters while others are virulently anti-Semitic, even divesting from Israel? Also, many Jews who supported Israel were not entirely aware of the powerful connection they felt toward the land. They innately comprehended it, aware that just three generations ago, most of their grandparents were religious and that without their ancestors’ allegiance to the Bible and their traditions, Judaism would not have survived. But they still needed to clarify their current relationship to the state within a modern context.

On a broader scale, people were puzzled by certain groups, whose ideology should have resulted in strong advocacy for Israel but who instead tried to condemn it. Why, for example, is much of the liberal media so biased against the most liberal country in the Middle East? Their views on a multitude of policies — from individual rights to gender equality to freedom of speech — seem to align with those of Israel, in contrast to the Arab regimes. Yet instead of seeing Israel as a model to promote freethinking and tolerance, that portion of the media relentlessly and irrationally blames Israel for any conflict, while remaining silent about the bloodshed endorsed by its Arab neighbors. Similarly, many university campuses, the centers for Western education and enlightenment, have become breeding grounds for bigotry — filled with angry students picketing, shouting, and protesting this tiny country that thrives amid third world chaos.

Another issue at the forefront of the confusion was the new wave of Christian concern for Israel, resulting in political support. How did this all come about? Most outside observers see only the results but miss what drives the actions. For example, many people know about anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) legislation but don’t understand where it came from. And if such a large percentage of the Jews in America are liberal and don’t support President Donald Trump, why then is he so supportive of Israel?

President Trump’s recent decision to move the United States embassy to Jerusalem really threw people off. Since the time of its conception in Congress’s 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, the embassy move has been endorsed by Jewish organizations. But for more than two decades, it had been delayed by Republicans and Democrats alike. And when Trump decided to make the move, the ceremony in Israel was attended by seven hundred Christian leaders but only a handful of Jewish leaders. How did this become a Christian issue? people began asking me. Where were the heads of the major Jewish organizations?

But to me, being right in the middle of it all for years, the answers were clear. And it was apparent that their confusion could be resolved, once it was filtered through a biblical lens. I then realized the need to put it all together in a book, to connect the dots and clarify and answer some of these questions.

I am often reminded of the memorable scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark about the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, a bronze medallion created to reveal the precise site where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden. Without the perfect-size staff and complete headpiece, nobody could determine where exactly to dig. But once the headpiece was placed on the top of the staff in the map room, the sunlight shone through the headpiece and revealed the location. This analogy is one of many for perspective on Israel when it seems impossible for human beings, no matter how intelligent or in what position of power, to make sense of the Middle East.

The fact of the Jewish people coming back to live in Israel after thousands of years in exile is based on something far more meaningful than any Partition Plan, any arbitrary division of land, or any political decision that granted Jewish survivors of World War II a place of refuge. It is essentially tied to the Bible. And without this perspective, people inevitably miss the entire story and make terrible mistakes politically.

A plethora of books and articles about Israel approach the issues from either a political or a religious perspective. But few combine the two perspectives and look at the recent political events through a biblical lens. This book attempts to merge these two viewpoints by exploring the story of the Jewish people, from the time that the Roman emperor Titus destroyed Jerusalem until today, when President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It illustrates how if you just look at the situation from a different angle, all the previously misunderstood issues become clear, as does the path forward.

Excerpted from TITUS, TRUMP, AND THE TRIUMPH OF ISRAEL Copyright © 2020 by Josh Reinstein. Published by Gefen Publishing. Available wherever books are sold.

Josh Reinstein has been the Director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus since its inception on January 5, 2004, and is also the President of the Israel Allies Foundation. Mr. Reinstein is the producer and founder of the hit TV show, Israel Now News. Israel Now News is a half an hour weekly news magazine that is broadcast to millions of viewers around the world. Josh Reinstein grew up in Dallas, Texas, and Toronto, Canada. He is an honors graduate of the University of Western Ontario, where he earned a degree in Political Science. He served as a tank gunner in the elite 188 unit of the Israel Defense Forces Armored Corps. He currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Rebekah, and four children.

Mr. Reinstein was named as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post.

Titus 79 AD

Titus Flavius Vespasianus was born in 39 A.D., and he ruled Rome from 79 to 81 A.D. That is where he is listed on the Biblical Timeline Chart. He came to power after his father Vespasian had died. His mother was named Flavia Domitilla. As a child, he was given a standard education though it was not the best that Rome had to offer. During his teenage years, he developed his skill and ability toward military service. After becoming a young adult, he joined the Army and then began to fight in Germania and Britain. He married two wives one named Arrecina Tertulla and another named Marcia Furnilla. Arrecina had died, and he had to divorce Marcia after he discovered that her family was involved in a plot to assassinate Nero. After losing two wives, he never married again. He also became a quaestor and practiced law.

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