Roman Emperor 79-81
Titus, Roman Emperor 79-81, b. December 30, 41; d. September 13, 81; son of the Emperor Vespasian, and from the year 70 Caesar and coregent; he was highly educated and a brilliant poet and orator in both Latin and Greek. He won military fame in the war in the years 69-70, against the revolted Jews. In April, 70, he appeared before the walls of Jerusalem, and conquered and destroyed the city after a siege of five months. He wished to preserve the Temple, but in the struggle with the Jews who rushed out of it a soldier threw a brand into the building. The siege and taking of the city were accompanied by barbarous cruelties. The next year Titus celebrated his victory by a triumph; to increase the fame of the Flavian dynasty the inscription on the triumphal arch represented the overthrow of the helpless people as an heroic achievement. The historical significance of the destruction of the Jewish state is that the Jews have since then been scattered among foreign nations. As ruler Titus was by no means popular; he shared in the voluptuousness of the Rome of that era, and was responsible for the acts of violence which occurred during the administration of his father. Consequently an evil reign was expected. However, in the short period of his independent authority, Titus agreeably disappointed these anticipations. His noble benevolence was exhibited in the saying that the day was lost in which he had done no one a kindness; he gained the honorable title of "amor et deliciae generis humani" (the darling and admiration of the human race). During his reign Italy suffered from two severe calamities. On August 24, 79, the celebrated eruption of Vesuvius buried the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabi, and some months later a fearful conflagration did great damage at Rome. On both occasions Titus showed a fine humanitarianism. His actions were not free from ostentation and seeking after effect. He died from the effects of his luxurious life.