to commemorate and celebrate the capture
and sacking of Jerusalem by Titus and
his armies in 70 CE, the Arch of Titus
is located on the Summa Sacra Via to the
west of the Forum. The arch was constructed
shortly after the death of emperor Titus
in 81 CE, and in many ways commemorates
his life. On the sides of the arch one
can see the Romans carrying away the treasures
of Israel, as well as other scenes typical
of a triumphal arch.
During the Middle Ages the Arch of Titus
was used in one of the fortifications
of the Frangipane family, which both preserved
the monument, yet at the same time changed
it forever. When the fortifications were
demolished in 1821 the arch was restored
as much as possible. Much of the arch
had to be reconstructed, with the side
facing the Forum Romanum being almost
entirely rebuilt, leaving that side much
whiter. It is said that the lost bas relieves
originally gave the Arch of Titus a highly
detailed and eye catching surface.
Arch of Titus has three bays that are
articulated with a massive order of attached
columns that stand on a high ashlar basement.
Above the main cornice there is a high
attic on which is centered a central tablet
bearing the dedicatory inscription. The
sculptures include two panel relieves
that line the passageway under the arch.
Both commemorate the joint triumph celebrated
by Titus and his father Vespasian in the
summer of 71 CE. The Arch of Titus has
provided the general model for many of
the triumphal arches erected since the
16th century. It is said that The Arch
of Trajan at Beneventum was based on the
Arch of Titus.