Nestled in the ancient Roman Forum lies Arch of Titus, known as the oldest of the two remaining arches remaining in this historic region.
This incredibly preserved single arch, made of stunning white marble, stands tall against the crumbling ruins of the region. Being one of the top-visited attractions in all of Rome.
The History of the Arch
The triumphal arch was created in 81-85 AD, built by Emperor Domitian to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem over the Jewish Zealots. It was one of first of its kind, with the 50ft tall monument said to have influenced the Arc de Triomphe located in Paris. Emperor Domitian main purpose for the arch was to make a tribute to his brother, Emperor Titus, following his death. Commemorating both the military triumphs of Titus and his father Vespasian, with their victory in the Jewish war. Each of the images depicted on the arch display the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, showcasing the divinity of Emperor Titus.
Although it is a historic piece of history, the architect who designed the arch remains a mystery to this day, as there is no surviving documentation. The Arch’s design has made it one of the last remaining monuments in the Roman Forum, even surviving the fall of Rome in the 5th century. However, despite its lasting stance, the arch needed restoration after slowly deteriorating in the outer areas and exterior columns, being repaired in 1817 and completed by 1821.
The Decoration of the Arch
The arch has a great deal of symbolic importance at the time of its creation, showcasing how the Romans sought to humiliate the Jewish over their defeat in battle. Within the arch, visitors can still see the impressive detail of scenes depicting Roman soldiers in a triumphant. Images display the soldiers celebrating in a parade through Rome, carrying the spoils of war. A four horsed chariot is also depicted, displaying Titus shown next to the gods. This image is one of the oldest depictions of humans and mythical entities together in history.
The menorah is also displayed, which is an important symbol of the Jewish faith, with the designer using this symbol belittle the Jewish people and show the Romans power. Research on the arch has documented that the arch was funded entirely on the Jewish money taken in battle, and built by Jewish slaves, which demonstrates Roman’s past brutality.