Portrait: Emperor Titus

Wednesday, 21 November 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Portrait
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Château de Versailles - Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Château de Versailles – Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Prior to becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. The campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian’s bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple so that the city became uninhabitable for over 60 years (the present day Old City was then the whole of Jerusalem). For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph: the Arch of Titus commemorates his victory to this day. The influence on the later developments of Christianity and Judaism through the results of the Jewish-Roman Wars (First Jewish–Roman War, Kitos War and Bar Kokhba revolt) was considerable. While Christianity experienced a rapid worldwide growth, Judaism declined into Diaspora groups.

During his father’s rule, Titus gained notoriety in Rome serving as prefect of the Praetorian Guard, and for carrying on a controversial relationship with the Jewish queen Berenice. Despite concerns over his character, Titus ruled to great acclaim following the death of Vespasian in 79, and was considered a good emperor by Suetonius and other contemporary historians. As emperor, he is best known for completing the Colosseum and for his generosity in relieving the suffering caused by two disasters, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a fire in Rome in 80. After barely two years in office, Titus died of a fever on 13 September 81. He was deified by the Roman Senate and succeeded by his younger brother Domitian.

'Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem' by Francesco Hayez 'Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem' by David Roberts © www.preteristarchive.com Arch of Titus - Triumph of Titus © Rabax63/cc-by-sa-3.0 Inside the Arch of Titus © L. Ahrendt/cc-by-sa-4.0 Arch of Titus - Siege of Jerusalem © Dnalor 01/cc-by-sa-3.0-at Arch of Titus at Roman Forum © Rabax63/cc-by-sa-3.0 Emporer Titus at Musei Capitolini, Rome © Sailko/cc-by-3.0 Château de Versailles - Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0
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'Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem' by David Roberts © www.preteristarchive.com
Although his administration was marked by a relative absence of major military or political conflicts, Titus faced a number of major disasters during his brief reign. On 24 August 79, two months after his accession, Mount Vesuvius erupted. The eruption almost completely destroyed the cities and resort communities around the Bay of Naples. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried under metres of stone and lava, killing thousands. Titus appointed two ex-consuls to organise and coordinate the relief effort, while personally donating large amounts of money from the imperial treasury to aid the victims of the volcano. Additionally, he visited Pompeii once after the eruption and again the following year. During the second visit, in spring of AD 80, a fire broke out in Rome, burning large parts of the city for three days and three nights. Although the extent of the damage was not as disastrous as during the Great Fire of 64—crucially sparing the many districts of insulaeCassius Dio records a long list of important public buildings that were destroyed, including Agrippa’s Pantheon, the Temple of Jupiter, the Diribitorium, parts of the Theatre of Pompey, and the Saepta Julia among others. Once again, Titus personally compensated for the damaged regions. According to Suetonius, a plague also broke out during the fire. The nature of the disease, however, or the death toll are unknown. Meanwhile, war had resumed in Britannia, where Gnaeus Julius Agricola pushed further into Caledonia and managed to establish several forts there. As a result of his actions, Titus received the title of Imperator for the fifteenth time. His reign also saw the rebellion led by Terentius Maximus, one of several false Neros who appeared throughout the 70s. Although Nero was primarily known as a universally hated tyrant, there is evidence that for much of his reign, he remained highly popular in the eastern provinces. Reports that Nero had in fact survived his overthrow were fueled by the confusing circumstances of his death and several prophecies foretelling his return. According to Cassius Dio, Terentius Maximus resembled Nero in voice and appearance and, like him, sang to the lyre. Terentius established a following in Asia minor but was soon forced to flee beyond the Euphrates, taking refuge with the Parthians. In addition, sources state that Titus discovered that his brother Domitian was plotting against him but refused to have him killed or banished.

Construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, presently better known as the Colosseum, was begun in 70 under Vespasian and finally completed in 80 under Titus. In addition to providing spectacular entertainments to the Roman populace, the building was also conceived as a gigantic triumphal monument to commemorate the military achievements of the Flavians during the Jewish wars. The inaugural games lasted for a hundred days and were said to be extremely elaborate, including gladiatorial combat, fights between wild animals (elephants and cranes), mock naval battles for which the theatre was flooded, horse races and chariot races. During the games, wooden balls were dropped into the audience, inscribed with various prizes (clothing, gold, or even slaves), which could then be traded for the designated item. Adjacent to the amphitheatre, within the precinct of Nero’s Golden House, Titus had also ordered the construction of a new public bath-house, the Baths of Titus. Construction of this building was hastily finished to coincide with the completion of the Flavian Amphitheatre. Practice of the imperial cult was revived by Titus, though apparently it met with some difficulty as Vespasian was not deified until six months after his death. To further honor and glorify the Flavian dynasty, foundations were laid for what would later become the Temple of Vespasian and Titus, which was finished by Domitian.

Read more on Wikipedia Titus (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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