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Arch of Titus, Rome

Photo © aewolf. View all images in our Arch of Titus Photo Gallery.
Photo © Nick Leonard.
Photo © Nicholas Thompson.
Photo © Nick Leonard.

The Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus) stands in a slightly elevated position on a spur of the Palatine Hill at the entrance to the Roman Forum in Rome. Its religious significance lies in its depiction of the sacking of Jerusalem and its sacred temple by the Romans in 70 AD.

History

The arch was erected in 81 AD, shortly after the emperor's death, to celebrate the 70 AD sack of Jerusalem after the great Jewish revolt. This event was highly significant, marking the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora throughout Europe. The Temple has never been rebuilt, and all the remains of the original is the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. The monument has been cleaned and restored.

What to See

The view of the Colosseum from the arch is superb, which is fitting since it was Emperor Titus (39-81 AD) who helped finish the vast amphitheater begun by his father Vespasian.

The Arch of Titus is articulated with a massive order of attached columns. The capitals are Corinthian, but with prominent volutes of the Ionic order scrolling out above the acanthus foliage, the earliest example of the Composite order. Above the main cornice rises a high weighty attic on which is a central tablet bearing the dedicatory inscription:

SENATVS
POPVLVSQVE·ROMANVS
DIVO·TITO·DIVI·VESPASIANI·F(ILIO)
VESPASIANO·AVGVSTO

The Senate and People of Rome to the divine Titus Vespasianus Augustus, son of the divine Vespasian.

Two panel reliefs line the passageway. Both commemorate the joint triumph celebrated by Titus and his father Vespasian in the summer of 70 AD. One of the panels depicts the spoils taken from the Temple, including a huge seven-branched menorah, being carried in triumph down Rome's Via Sacra. The other panel depicts the triumphant Titus attended by various genii and lictors.

The deeply-coffered soffit of the arch depicts the apotheosis (transformation into a god) of Titus in the center. The sculpture of the outer faces of the two great piers was lost when the Arch of Titus was incorporated in medieval defensive walling. The attic of the arch was originally crowned by more statuary, perhaps of a quadriga pulled by elephants.

The Arch of Titus has provided the general model for many of the triumphal arches erected since the 16th century.


Quick Facts on the Arch of Titus

Site Information
Names:Arch of Titus; Arco di Tito
City:Rome
State:Lazio
Country:Italy
Categories:Monuments
Faiths:Ancient Roman; Imperial cult
Styles:Roman
Dates:81 CE
Status:active
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Rome, Italy
Coordinates:41.890697° N, 12.488569° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of the Arch of Titus

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Arch of Titus. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (July 2006).
  2. Frommer's Rome.

More Information

Article Info

Title:Arch of Titus, Rome
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:12/07/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/rome-arch-of-titus/italy/rome-roman-forum
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