The Arch of Titus and reliefs, Via Sacra

after 81 CE
marble, reliefs about 7' 10" H

The Arch of Titus from outside the Forum

Located at the highest point of the Via Sacra which leads to the Roman Forum, this triumphal arch, with only one passageway, commemorates Titus' conquest of Judea which ended the Jewish Wars (66-70). Engaged fluted columns frame the passageway, the spandrels depict Victories in relief, the attic contains an inscription (see below) and the internal faces of the passageway depict in relief triumphal processions (see below). The arch was erected posthumously, after Titus had already become a "god."

The inscription

"Senatus Populusque Romanus Divo Tito Divi Vespasiani Filio Vespasiano Augusto" The Roman Senate and People to Deified Titus, Vespasian Augustus, son of Deified Vespasian.

Relief of The Spoils of the Jerusalem

The scene depicts the triumphal procession with the booty from the temple at Jerusalem--the sacred Menorah, the Table of the Shewbread shown at an angle, and the silver trumpets which called the Jews to Rosh Hashanah. The bearers of the booty wear laurel crowns and those carrying the candlestick have pillows on their shoulders. Placards in the background explain the spoils or the victories Titus won. These few figures, standing for hundreds in the actual procession, move toward the carved arch at the right, complete with quadriga at the top.
The photographs of the reliefs I took in May 2005 and have substituted them for the older images. See also the new detail.

Relief of The Triumph of Titus

This scene depicts the actual triumphal procession with the toga-clad Titus in the chariot, but with the addition of allegorical figures--the winged Victory riding in the chariot with Titus who places a wreathe on his head, the goddess leading the horses (identified by some scholars as Roma, others as Valor [Virtus]), and the semi-nude Genius of the People. Because the reliefs were deeply carved, some of the forward heads have broken off.

See also the Arch of Constantine (40 images with details).

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