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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Filed under: History, Picture of the Day | Tagged: Arch of Titus, emperor, Great Jewish Revolt, Israel, Italy, Jews, Judaism, Judea, Roman Empire, Romans, Rome, synagogue, temple, Titus, Vespasian, West Bank |