Around the World: The Arch of Titus in Rome

Arch of Titus

Arch of Titus

When I went to Rome, I made it a point to visit the Arch of Titus. The Romans used to build arches to commemorate military victories and the Arch of Titus commemorates the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 CE and the defeat of the Jews in the Great Jewish Revolt which lasted from 67-70 CE.

Yes, the Jews were always a pesky people, and the Romans considered them unstable and a pain in the ass. Titus, the son of the emperor Vespasian, is the general (and later emperor) that defeated the Jews, and when he returned to Rome with all of the booty from Judea (part of modern day Israel – ironically, largely the West Bank part), as well as all of the Jewish slaves, he and they all marched beneath this arch that had been built for him.

Notice one of the more outstanding features of the arch: the menorah, the seven-pronged candelabrum that was a regular fixture in the Jewish Temple (and remains an important symbol in Jewish synogogues today).

It is said that all Jews who visit Rome and see this arch should walk through it backwards as a sign of freedom and to show that the situation is reversed. The Roman Empire is no more but the Jews are still around. No matter what your goose-stepping proclivities may be, the arch marks a fascinating point in history and is an amazing relic still standing to remind us of so many events that happened so long ago.

Have you been to Rome? Have you seen this arch? Would you like to know more about the Great Jewish Revolt?

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“Trapped in the Closet,” is South Park’s Big Shot at Scientology

Episode 912 is infamous. In fact, it couldn’t even be aired in the U.K. because of its content. It’s also the episode that resulted in Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, quitting the show.

The episode itself lampoons Scientology by knocking its methodology, allegedly scientific basis, and status as a big, fat, global scam. It also lambasts the various celebrities that the so-called religion claims as a foundation for its legitimacy, including Tom Cruise (whose alleged homosexual proclivities give the episode its title and caused him to flip his shit just around the release of Mission Impossible 3 – which for the record was a bad-ass movie), and John Travolta.

I entirely agree with South Park‘s sentiments about this wretched attempt at a religion, and appreciate that Parker and Stone stepped into Scientology’s own line of fire when they made this episode. In The Zen of South Park I compare the show’s portrayal of Mormonism and Scientology in order to show how two religions that are totally invented (and in quite an obvious way) are not evaluated similarly.

Are you a Scientologist? Do I have it all wrong? Would you like to come on my blog and do a guest interview?

What do you think of Scientology? Do you know any Scientologists? Have you ever known anyone who converted to Scientology? Did that person change into someone you don’t know any more?

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