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Titus

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Titus
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Titus

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (December 30, CE 39September 13, 81) ruled the Roman Empire from 79 to 81.

Titus was the elder son of the emperor Vespasian and Domitilla. In 61 he was military tribune in Britannia. In 64 he returned to Rome and married Arrecina Tertulla, who died, and then Marcia Furnilla (one daughter, Julia Flavia), whom he was forced to divorce.

Titus accompanied Vespasian to the east in 67 to put down the Jewish Rebellion. In 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, Vespasian returned to Rome to claim the throne, and left Titus behind to put down the rebellion, which he did in 70 with four legions. Jerusalem was sacked; the Temple was destroyed and much of the population was killed or dispersed. While in Jerusalem he also began a love affair with Berenice of Cilicia, sister of Herod Agrippa. He was awarded a triumph upon his return to Rome in 71. The Triumphal Arch of Titus, which stands at one entrance to the Roman Forum, memorializes this triumph. He held various consulships under his father and also served as prefect of the Praetorian Guard, ensuring their loyalty to the emperor. These events were recorded in dramatic detail by the historian Josephus in his work The Jewish War.

Titus succeeded his father in 79, although some Senators were opposed to his relationship with Berenice, whom they compared to a new Cleopatra. However, he was an effective emperor and was well-loved by the population. He stopped the treason trials and punished the delatores (public informants), and held expensive gladiatorial games. In addition to his arch, he also essentially completed the Colosseum, and built his namesake baths on the former site of Nero's Domus Aurea. Titus was emperor during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 and the consequent destruction of life and property in the cities and resort communities around the Bay of Naples, such as Pompeii and Herculaneum. In 80 there was a fire in Rome; Titus spent large amounts of money relieving victims of both the volcano and the fire. His reign also saw the rebellion led by Terentius Maximus, the False Nero.

Missing image
Titus.villa.albani.rome.Spino.jpg
Titus, at Villa Albani, Rome, Italy

After just two years, Titus died of a fever. He was deified by the Senate and was succeeded by his brother, Domitian. Titus's reputation has prospered in contrast to the character of Domitian, whose persecutions were detailed by the contemporary historian Tacitus. Had Titus lived long enough, he may have suffered from the same excesses as previous emperors; instead, he was used as a model by later emperors, especially those known as the Five Good Emperors.




Preceded by:
Vespasian
Roman Emperor
79–81
Succeeded by:
Domitian

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