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Situated at the highest point of the Sacra Via, the Arch of Titus (Arcus Titi) was erected by Domitian sometime after the death of his brother in AD 81, commemorating the capture of Jerusalem by Titus in AD 70. It was after this campaign, when Titus was relaxing at Caesarea Philippi, that he fell in love with Berenice, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. When she and her brother Herod Agrippa II visited Rome in about AD 75, Titus lived openly with her (Dio, LXV.15.3-4). Four years later, Titus succeeded to throne at the death of his father Vespasian and was obliged to give up Berenice, which was "painful for both of them" (Suetonius, VII.2). Berenice and Agrippa had tried to dissuade the Jews from rebelling, and it is before them that Paul pleaded his defense of Christianity in Acts: 25-26.
The inscription reads
THE SENATE AND PEOPLE OF ROME DEDICATED THIS ARCH TO THE DEIFIED TITUS VESPASIANUS AUGUSTUS, SON OF THE DEIFIED VESPASIAN.
On each side of the fornix, or arch, are engaged fluted columns, the capitals of which are the earliest example of the Composite style.
The treasures of the Temple of Jerusalem are shown being carried on litters (fercula) in the triumphal procession of AD 71. They include the seven-branched candelabrum (menorah), silver trumpets, and the table for the shewbread. Two plaques carried aloft would have had the names of conquered cities inscribed on them. After the triumph, the treasures were placed in the Temple of Peace in the Forum of Vespasian.
Preceded by his lictors, Titus, in a quadriga, is led by Dea Roma, the Goddess of Rome, into the City, as the Goddess of Victory crowns the triumphator. The personifications of the senate and people of Rome are at his side. The deeply carved reliefs, with the figures in the foreground casting their shadows on those behind, create an illusion of movement and depth that, together with the human and allegorical figures, make these panels the most important sculpture of the Flavian period.
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