ARCH OF TITUS
Francis Wey - Rome - 1896
I had previously explored, with impatient curiosity, the Arch of Titus, entirely bared of the castrum with which in the middle ages the Frangipani had overloaded it. What a glorious effect is produced by this noble arch, with a single gateway, imposing in its ensemble, exquisite in details, and which, seen from afar, has for its principal decoration the fine letters of its inscription! We decipher it without any trouble from the end of the Via Sacra, from the summit of which against the blue sky this spendid pile rears its enormous cubes of Pentelic marble which glowing red in the fires of the sun, the shadows chill with blue grey.
On the other face is presented the capture of Jerusalem and the submission of Judea. Eighteen hundred years and more have gone since Domitian dedicated this triumphal arch to his brother and to their father Vespasian. Divo Tito proves that the work was completed after the death of Titus.
In the bas-reliefs of the inside the spoils of the subjugated nations are represented, borne by legionaries wreathed with laurel. We recognize the table of the shewbread, which was of solid gold, the trumpets of silver, and the golden candlestick with seven branches from Solomon's Temple, whose form this monument alone has transmitted to us. After the tables of the law marches barefooted in a black robe the chief of the Isrlaelites, Limon, son of Gioras. In point of execution, in point of delicacy, and in point of design, these bas-reliefs, alas, sadly damaged, are to be classed among the most perfect that antiquity has left in Italy. They demonstrate the veracity of Josephus, and Josephus attests the fidelity of the sculptors.