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Roman Emperor - Titus
39 AD - 81 AD
Titus, full name Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus, eldest son of Vespasian., was born 39 AD. He was Roman emperor from 79 AD to 81 AD.
As a young man he served as military tribune in Britain and Germany; later he commanded a legion and served under his father in Judaea (67).
Titus campaigned in Palestine in the Jewish war from 67 AD to 70 AD, when his troops captured Jerusalem.
After Nero's death in June 68 he was tireless in supporting his father's cause. Licinius Mucianus, the legate of Syria, was of the opinion that one of Vespasian's greatest assets was to have so promising a son and heir.
Immediately on becoming emperor in 69 AD Vespasian left Titus in charge of the Jewish war. An ensuing large scale campaign in 70 resulted in the capture of Jerusalem in September.
Titus returned to Rome in the summer of 71 and helped his father to govern Rome. He was made commander of the praetorian guard and was given tribunician powers.
When Vespasian died on June 23 79 AD Titus succeeded to emperor promptly yet peacefully. One of his first acts was to put away Berenice, sister of Herod Agrippa II, his attachment to whom had made him unpopular as the Romans still had bad memories of Cleopatra, and marriage to an Eastern queen was against public opinion.
A charming and handsome man, Titus was a lenient ruler and dispensed money lavishly for the public benefit.
His brief rule was marked in 79 AD by the eruption of Vesuvius, which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum, and in 80 AD by a fire that destroyed much of Rome. Titus' generous donations to alleviate the suffering and to rebuild Rome prompted a contemporary writer to call him the "darling and delight of the human race."
Titus dedicated the massive Colosseum while he was emperor, and he constructed a system of public baths in Rome.
He died in 81 AD and was succeeded by his brother, Domitian, who completed the Arch of Titus in his honor.
The Colosseum was a famous amphitheater in Rome, Italy. In ancient times it was the site of public games, gladiatorial fights, and combats with wild beasts. Some of the early Christians were martyred there by the Romans. The monumental structure was begun in 72 AD by Titus's father Emperor Vespasian and was dedicated in 80 AD by his Titus. It was completed two years later by his younger brother, Emperor Domitian. More than one-third of the outer structure and almost all of the inner skeleton remain intact.
The Colosseum was oval-shaped, about 620 feet (190 meters) long and more than 500 feet (150 meters) wide. Its outer wall, four stories high, measures about 157 feet (47 meters). The first three stories of the stone exterior consist of a series of arches enclosed by attached columns. The fourth story is a closed wall with square windows and is decorated with Corinthian pilasters.
In the center of the Colosseum was a large arena, measuring about 280 by 175 feet (85 by 53 meters). Its floor once concealed a system of dens and passageways for animals, drains, and mechanical elevators. Some traces of this elaborate underground network can still be seen. The arena was surrounded by four tiers of marble seats for distinguished spectators. Above this was a gallery of wooden seats. It is estimated that the Colosseum held between 40,000 and 50,000 spectators.
The Colosseum was kept in good condition until the early 6th century. During the next few centuries nearly two-thirds of the building was destroyed, largely through earthquakes, neglect, and the damage done by builders who carried stones away to use in other structures. But the ruins are still a tourist attraction and a monument to the splendor of ancient Rome.