Why is the arch of Titus Important?

The Arch of Titus is one of the oldest of two remaining arches from the Roman Empire. In the archaeological area of the Roman Forum, the ancient arch once sat along the busiest road in the ancient Rome city.

The History of the Arch

The arch was built in tribute to Emperor Titus following his death in 81 A.D. Commissioned by his brother Domintian, who became his successor, to honour his late brother, and to as well commemorate the victory in the Jewish War. The decorations of the arch also despite political and religious statements expressing the divinity of the Titus. Despite its age, the arch remained considerable durable, even throughout the fall of Rome in the 5th century. However, the arch needed restoration after its slow deterioration of its outer areas and exterior columns. The repair went underway in 1817 and was completed by 1821.

The Decoration of the Arch

Both the architecture and the images carved on the arch is a part of the decoration. The identity of the architect is unknown, with no surviving documents from the arch’s creation. There are many artworks scattered on the arch, all illustrating events, and symbolism. Majority of the images illustrate the defeat of the Jewish people, depicting Titus as a divine god-like person.

Why is it important

The arch is important for a historical point of view as well as a religious and political. The arch represents the glory of the Roman Empire, with that period of Roman peace signifying that era. The symbols on the arch depict the parade of the artefacts out of the temple of Jerusalem into Rome. Which depicts the prophecy in the Gospels that ‘not one stone of the Jerusalem temples will remain upon the other.’ The arch symbolises the final episode of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, with the beginning of the 2,000-year-long exile. The arch may mean different things depending on the individual, but there is no doubt this is a historic artefact from our past.

How can you see it?

The arch is located in the heart of the Roman Forum, sitting along the once thriving centre city street of the Roman Empire. There are an array of ruins scattering the area, including the funeral altar of Julius Caesar, the House of Vestals, as well as the Curia. The forum has no signs or information sections, so your best bet is to travel with a local guide.

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