ARCH OF TITUS
S. Russell Forbes - Rambles in Rome - 1882
On the ridge of the Velia hill, which forms a continuation of the
Palatine, and separates the hollow of the Forum from that of the Colosseum, a triumphal arch was erected (though not till after his
death and deification) to Titus, the conqueror of Jerusalem. The
reliefs, still preserved within the arch, are among the most remarkable
of the kind existing in Rome as to the position they occupy in
the history of art and of the world. We find here not only the
emperor standing in the triumphal chariot in which he advanced to
the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, but also the table of the shewbread, and the seven-branched candlestick, borne in this triumphal
procession as the most precious spoils of the Jewish temple.
There was a golden table, which weighed many talents; also a
golden candlestick, which was constructed upon a different principle
from anything in use amongst us now. In the middle was the mainstem, which rose out of the base ; from this proceeded smaller branches,
very much resembling the form of a trident; and on the top of them
was a lamp, worked in brass. There were seven such in all, emblematic
of the seven days of the Jewish week. The Law of the Jews
was the last of those spoils in the procession " (Josephus, " Wars of
the Jews," viii. v. 5).
" The legs of the table were perfectly finished
in the lower half, like those the Dorians put upon their couches, but
the upper half of them was worked square " (Josephus, " Antiquities
of the Jews," iii. vi. 6).
Two censers were placed upon the table; in front of the table are
two trumpets crossed.
These spoils were deposited by Vespasian in the Temple of Peace.
After the sack of Rome, A.D. 455, the Vandal king Genseric carried
them to Carthage. Belisarius recovered them, A.D. 535, and took
them to Constantinople; and they were transferred from there to
the Christian Church in Jerusalem (Procopius, "De Bell. Vand.,"
i. 5 and ii. 4).
Theodoret relates that when Khosroes, king of Persia, took Jerusalem
in 614, they passed into his hands ; and all trace of them
has been lost since then. It is altogether erroneous to suppose they
were thrown into the Tiber.
On the opposite side is the Emperor Titus in a chariot drawn by
four horses, preceded by Romans wearing laurel wreaths and carrying
the fasces. Behind the chariot, Victory is in the act of placing
a crown on the emperor's head. The vault is ornamented with
square coffers and roses, and in the centre the apotheosis of Titus, in