bow titus

Titus Arch. The triumphal arch, a monument witnessing achievements in ancient Rome.

The Arch of Titus was built at an uncertain date between AD 81 and 100. The inscription on the attic (the side facing the forum) bears a dedication to the emperor Titus by the senate: “senatus populus que romanus divo titus divi vespasianus f vespasianus augustus” thus, the monument was definitely erected after his death dated in the year 81 AD.

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It is a triumphal arch commemorating the capture of Jerusalem by Titus in the year 70 CE. The arch is built with a single fornix and in opus quadratum of Pentelic marble, the inner core is of concrete and the plinth of travertine.

It is flanked by composite half-columns, the central ones with fluted shafts and those at the corners with smooth shafts. Above the columns rests an entablature with Ionic epistyle depicting a sacrifice, denticulated cornice, and corbels, all topped by a high attic.

In the vault is a beautiful coffered decoration where an eagle is depicted in the center, carrying deified Titus to heaven after his death. The two reliefs on the interior walls depict the triumphant moments of victory over the Jews.

On the south side is a depiction of the procession as it passes through the triumphal gate with bearers raising the sacred objects of Jewish ritual preyed upon by the temple in Jerusalem: the two silver trumpets calling the faithful to prayer, the table with the sacred vessels, and the seven-armed golden candelabra.

The north side depicts the Emperor Titus triumphant on the quadriga, while behind him a winged victory crowns him and with the armed goddess Rome accompanying him to the Capitol and to the right the half-naked figure, who is perhaps another allegory, the genius of the Roman people.

The monument has survived in excellent condition because in the Middle Ages it was incorporated into the Frangiane fortress and supplemented in travertine in 1822 by Valdieri. The arc of tito is so well known that even belli, in a sonnet, masterfully illustrates it.

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