emperor titus

Emperor Titus

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Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81 AD. On June 24, he succeeded his father Vespasian as the emperor of ancient Roman Empire. However, before coming to the rule, Titus was considered by many as unpopular and hated person. After he became an emperor, everyone started to love him.

Early Life

Titus was born in Rome on December 30, 39 AD, during the reign of Caligula. He was talented and distinguished himself from the early childhood. The family of the future emperor did not have any political success until the beginning of reign of Emperor Claudius when Vespasian, Titus’s father, served prominently in the invasion of Britain. It gave a possibility for Titus to receive a court education, where he learned poetry in both Greek and Latin, how to compose Greek tragedies and play the harp. In addition, he was very close friend of Britannicus, the son of Claudius. He was present at his death by poisoning, which was arranged by Claudius’ wife Agrippina. After the death of his friend, Titus built several statues in memory of Britannicus.

Career and Private Life

Right after the completion of education, Titus served as a military tribune in Britain and Germany from 61 to 63 CE. However, he left the military career after and served as a barrister in the law courts because he liked pleading cases. At the same time he married his first wife, Arrecina Tertulla, who died shortly afterwards. His next wife was Marcia Furnilla. They had a daughter, but soon were devorced because of the political reasons, where Marcia’s family opposed Nero after the Piso Conspiracy in 65 AD. Titus would never again marry.

Arch of Titus

In 69 AD, Titus returned to the military and became a commander of the Fifteenth Legion. He was serving under his father in the Jewish War (66-73 AD). When Emperor Galba died, Titus was working on getting his father in power. Vespasian became an emperor in 69 AD and Titus took control over the Roman forces in Judea.

Judaean Campaigns

Vespasian was popular with the army, but hated by the Jewish people in Jerusalem as a commander. The reason is that under his rule, entire Jewish communities were murdered. During the two years when Jerusalem was besieged, its population suffered from starvation. Moreover, thousands of Jews, who tried to escape, were crucified and their bodies were left on the streets as an example of punishment for the escape for those who were remaining behind the walls.

In September of 70 AD, the troops of Titus entered Jerusalem and seized the city. All the walls except one were destroyed

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It served as a sign that there is no wall could defend the Roman army. This wall became the holiest location of Judea – the Wailing Wall.

Heir to Vespasian

Titus returned to Rome in 71 AD and was recognized as the heir apparent to Vespasian. He was his father’s main assistant, who dictated letter, drafted edicts and sometimes delivered speeches to the Senate. Moreover, there were events when Titus served as consul. After the death of Galba, Vespasian named his son a praetorian commander.

Titus used his position to remove anyone who would act again his father

Emperor

Right after the death of Vespasian in 79 AD, Titus succeeded his father as emperor. It became a surprise for everyone, but Titus changed a lot after coming to reign. Although his reign was short, he was considered kindhearted emperor. Titus managed to finish several community projects as the Flavian Amphitheater and new imperial baths. Moreover, the emperor saw the beginning of construction of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

Despite the fact that his reign was marked by a relative absence of military and political conflicts, there were several disasters during his brief leadership. On October 24 in 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted and almost completely destroyed the cities and resort communities around Naples. The cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried under stones and lava. Titus made all efforts to help victims of the volcano and donated large amounts of money from the imperial treasury. The emperor visited Pompeii right after the tragedy happened.

Construction of the Colosseum

Construction of the Flavian Amphitheater, also known as the Colosseum, was begun in 70 AD under Vespasian and completed in 80 AD under Titus. Right after the completion of famous amphitheater, there were 100 days of the celebration that provided spectacular entertainments to the Roman populace. The Colosseum also meant to serve as the triumphal monument to commemorate the military achievements of the Flavians during the Jewish wars.

The inaugural games included gladiator battles, fights between wild animals as elephants and tigers, mock naval battles, horse races and chariot races. Many animals, slaves and prisoners died during that one hundred days. Moreover,, during the games wooden balls were dropped into the audience, where various prized were inscribed (gold, clothing, or even slaves).

Interesting Facts

  1. Before coming to the rule, Titus was considered by many as unpopular and hated person
  2. Titus changed a lot as a person after coming to reign. Historians claim that he became kindhearted and honest emperor
  3. He was representative of the Flavian dynasty
  4. Under his rule construction of the Colosseum was finished
  5. In September of 70 AD, the troops of Titus entered Jerusalem and seized the city. All walls of the city were destroyed except the one that is recognizable today all around the world – the Wailing Wall
  6. In the childhood, Titus was very close friend of Britannicus, the son of Claudius
  7. The emperor visited Pompeii right after the tragedy in 79 AD happened
  8. He donated money from the imperial treasury to help victims of the volcano
  9. There is the Arch of Titus stands located in Via Sacra of the Roman Forum in Rome, which commemorates victories of the Emperor
  10. The emperor died of a fever

Death

At the closing of the games, Titus officially dedicated the Flavian amphitheater and the baths. The emperor set out for the Sabine territories, but felt ill and died of a fever in the same farm-house as his father Vespasian. His last words were:”I have made but one mistake.”

Titus was an emperor for just over two years and became succeeded by Domitian, his brother

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Author: Kate Zusmann

For the last 6 years I live in the Eternal City. Traveling, exploring new things, writing blogs, shooting vlogs are my main hobbies, but the thing that I like even more is to share my experience and thoughts with you! Explore Rome with Us :)

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