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Titus Flavius Vespasianus was the hero / villain of the Judean rebellion and a very popular emperor. He presided over the empire during the cataclysmic eruption of Vesuvius, which buried half the towns of the Bay of Naples, including Pompeii. He was described as handsome, charming and generous. Titus once complained that he had lost a day because twenty-four hours passed without his bestowing a gift. He was, however, generous to a fault, which depleted the treasury. If he had ruled longer, he might have brought the empire to bankruptcy and lost his popularity. He died of illness in 81 A.D., succeeded by his brother Domitian.
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TITVS (Flavius Vespasianus), eldest son of the emperor Vespasian by Domitilla, was born at Rome in the year v.c. 794 (Dec. 30th, A.D. 41).-- Although brought up along with Britannicus, in the same licentious court where Nero's vicious propensities were nurtured, and not uncontaminated with its seductions, his docility in education saved him from utter ruin. Assisted in his devoted application to study by an extra- ordinary memory he was eloquent in speech, and felicitous in poetical composition. Skilful and adroit in gymnastic and equestrian exercises, his warlike courage and his moral firmness were early displayed. Possessing the ability to execute, as well as the judgment to form great designs, he proved himself, often amidst the severest trials and under the most disastrous circumstances, one of the first commanders of his time. To the loftiest qualities of genius there were, in his character conjoined a sweetness of temper and an affability of manners, that might truly be said to have won for him "golden opinions" from people of every sort and condition. Whilst yet a mere youth Titus began his military career in Germany; he afterwards served in Britain: in both those countries he was the companion and pupil of his father; and in the latter theatre of sanguinary warfare he gave a signal proof at once of his intrepdity and his filial affection, by rescuing Vespasian from a situation of the most imminent peril. On his return to Rome he was promoted by Nero from the rank of tribune to that of prefect, and to the command of a legion. Following his father to the Jewish war he successively planted the Roman eagles on the walls of Tarichaea and Gamala, two strong cities of Judaea.-- At the end of the year v.c. 821 (A.D. 69) he went on a mission from Vespasian to salute Galba, when, hearing of the murder of that emperor, and of the aspiring movements of Vitellius, he opportunely halted, and returned to his father. Then taking advantage of the public hatred to Vitellius he entered into negotiations with Mucius, governor of Syria, for transferring the sovereignty to Vespasian; and so successful was he in conciliating the favour of the legions, stationed in that and the neighbouring provinces, that they quickly proclaimed by the senate, Caesar, and Princeps Juventutis, and elected for the consulate of the following year as colleague of his father. And now, being specially entrusted by his imperial sire with the awful charge of carrying on the siege of Jerusalem, he directed his whole strength against the place, which at length took by assault on the 8th of September, v.c. 823 (A.D. 70). "This celebrated city (as Beauvais says) was then destroyed, as had been predicted by the Son of God, after having flourished two thousand one hundred years, and its defence cost the life and the liberty of twelve hundred thousand Jews. It was not without shedding tears that Titus saw, in spite of all his efforts to save it, the destruction by fire of that famous temple of the Hebrews, a monument the most superb which the piety of men had ever raised to the honour of the Almighty." For this splendid achievement he was proclaimed Imperator by the soldiers. The following year (A.D. 71) quitting Palestine he went to Egypt, and thence returned to Rome, where, as his coins shew, he was designated Imperator II, by his father with whom he also shared triumphal honours, and was soon afterwards associated in the government of the empire, as Vespasian's sole colleague and appointed successor. His first exercise of the supreme power was marked by pride, and tainted by injustice, nor unmixed with despotic violence and even with excesses of an oidious kind. But on his accession to an undivided throne, at his father's death (year of Rome 832, 79th of our aera), these blots on his fair fame were effaced by a reformation so complete as to render him the model of good princes and of virtuous men. Humanely anxious for the welfare of his subjects, his liberality and munificence knew no bounds when either public calamities required to be assuaged through his ample funds or when in happier periods, the Roman taste for Amphitheatric and
Circensean spectacles could be gratified, as they were always sure to be at his own enormous cost. The conuest of
Benignant and glorious indeed, yet eventful was the reign of this great prince; but too short for that generation of mankind in which he lived, and of which, for his active benevolene, he was justly named (amor deliciaeque) the admiration and the delight. From the effects of poison, administered, as is believed, by his own ungrateful and wicked brother Domitian, this renowned emperor expired on the 13th of September, year of
The coins of Titus are numerous. Some represent him with Vespasian, others with Domitian and with his daughter Julia.—On these, as associated with his brother, he is styled TIT. ET DOMIT. VESP. AVG. F.—Also CAESARES VESP. F.—LIBERI. IMP. AVG. VESP.
In animadverting on the mint of Titus, for some singular points in the order of which it is difficult to assign any precise reason, Eckhel refers, with an expression of astonishment, to the fact, that there is no coin of this emperor, bearing the date of v.c. 824 (A.D. 71), which attests the conquest of Judaea; whereas it was Titus alone who brought the Jewish war to a decisive close, and in consequence of which he enjoyed a triumph with his father. “Beyond all doubt (says the author of Doct. Num. Vet. vol. vi. P. 352), the medals which commemorate the conquest of Judaea, were without exception struck in subsequent years, although many coins are extant, with the head of Vespasian, up to the year in question. And, therefore, judging from the absence of this record on other undisputed coins of the same date, we may conclude it to be altogether probable that during this whole year (824) there were no coins of Titus struck, except those on which he appears in fellowship with Domitian. For had such been the case, it would seem strange that there should not be found, as a matter of course, on the coins of Titus, some memorial of a victory so signal, and so mainly attributable to his prowess and generalship.”
The title of Imperator is variously placed on the coins of Titus, and in a manner differing from the general usage of all others of the Caesars. On those struck v.c. 822-823, that title is omitted to be given him.—In 824, on his medals of the first half year, he is called CAES. DESIG. IMP., or designatus imperator (imperator elect); whilst on coins struck later in the same year he is styled T. IMP. CAESAR. And thenceforward, until he became Augustus, he is constantly termed T. CAES. IMP., the other titles following. From that time also he continuously presents the laureated head (with however the radiated crown on many second brass), but never the bare head.—It was in v.c. 832 that Titus received the dignity of Augustus; and then we find that the IMP., which was invariably put last on the coins of Titus, as Caesar, was thenceforth put first on his coins as Augustus, and the inscription, by a perpetual rule, became IMP. TITVS CAES. VESP. AVG. &c.—On his coins struck in v.c. 824, he is called DESIGnatus IMPerator. “To this title,” observes Eckhel, “it being the fruit of victory, no one was designated, or pre-ordained; but it was conferred after a victory by military acclamation. Moreover, Titus had been in the preceding year (832) already styled Imperator for the capture of
Nor is it less certain, that on the medals of Titus, the word IMP. Sometimes serves to denote colleagueship in government as well as the military title of Imperator, as conferred on account of victories. And from a chronological series of inscriptions on Titus’s coins, Eckhel shews that he was Imperator for the first time in the year of Rome 823, and that the same title was renewed to him every successive year, and in some instances twice, and even four times, in one year, successively till 833-834, when he was IMP. XVI. (Imperator for the sixteenth and last time.) Titus had two wives. The first Arricidia, daughter of Terullus, a Roman knight, whom he married when a young man, but who is not named on any medals. The other, Marcia Furnilla, born of an illustrious family, to whom a Greek medal has been, but in Eckhel’s opinion erroneously, ascribed.
Nor is it less certain, that on the medals of Titus, the word IMP. Sometimes serves to denote colleagueship in government as well as the military title of Imperator, as conferred on account of victories. And from a chronological series of inscriptions on Titus’s coins, Eckhel shews that he was Imperator for the first time in the year of Rome 823, and that the same title was renewed to him every successive year, and in some instances twice, and even four times, in one year, successively till 833-834, when he was IMP. XVI. (Imperator for the sixteenth and last time.)
Titus had two wives. The first Arricidia, daughter of Terullus, a Roman knight, whom he married when a young man, but who is not named on any medals. The other, Marcia Furnilla, born of an illustrious family, to whom a Greek medal has been, but in Eckhel’s opinion erroneously, ascribed.