39 AD - September 13, 81 AD
Emperor of Rome from 79- 81 ADby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
Titus Flavius Vespasianus, born on December 30, 39 AD and died on September 13, 81 AD, was a Roman emperor and a great general. Titus’ father, Vespasian Flavius Dominatianus, founded the Flavius Dynasty and ruled from 69A.D-79A.D. Titus was raised with Britannicus, son of the Emperor Claudius, and they were good friends. Titus was very talented. He was very good at languages, knowing both Greek and Latin, he sang, and he also studied science. Titus was well built, strong and not scared of anything, but when there were no wars Titus was calm and a peaceful man. From an early age he showed promising signs of becoming a skilled soldier.
Titus served in the army in Germany from 57AD-59AD. From there he was sent with reinforcements to Britain to put down the revolt of Boudica. He spent a year there and in 60AD, he went back to Rome. There he married Arrecina Tertulla. They were married until 65AD, when she died. Titus then married Marcia Furnilla, and had four children. Only one child survived to adulthood, Julia Flavia.
The Jews rebelled against the Romans in 66AD. Vespasian, now a Roman general, was in charge of all the Roman legions in Israel. Titus, who came later, was under his fathers command. His father had two legions, and Titus brought with him one more. In total there were 60,000 strong fighting men ready to “sweep across Galilee and march on Jerusalem.” (wikipedia.com/Titus) The Romans laid siege to the city of Galilee and after 47 days it fell. They killed 400,000 Jews and the rest committed suicide. Pretty soon most of Judea was captured. The only Jewish stronghold left was Jerusalem. It was here that Titus would prove that he was a skilled general.
The Roman army was nearing Jerusalem when news of Emperor Nero’s death arrived. Vespasian sent Titus to go to Rome and get orders of what to do next. The Roman Senate declared that Galba, the governor of Spain, king. Half way to Rome, Titus learned that Galba was murdered and that Otho governor of Lusitania had replaced him. Soon after Titus learned that that Vitellius and his army in Germany were preparing to invade Rome and overthrow Otho. Instead of being caught in the middle or another battle, Titus turned around and went back to his father.
The people of Rome took matters into their own hands when Otho killed himself. They declared Vespasian king. Vespasian accepted the offer, and left to Rome with one legion. He left Titus in charge of the remaining forces and Vespasian ordered Titus to destroy Jerusalem. The Roman soldiers surrounded Jerusalem and another siege began. Meanwhile in the city, there was a civil conflict. There were two groups of people, the Zealots and the Sicarii and they constantly disagreed. Titus allowed any pilgrim to go into the city for the Passover, but wouldn’t let them come back out. He also limited the water and food supplies that went into the city.
The Jewish leaders tried to negotiate surrender, but when they did, the Romans breached the city. They killed many and destroyed the Temple. Titus returned to Roman soon after and he was greatly honored for destroying Jerusalem. Titus refused to accept a wreath of victory because he said “there is no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God".
Upon getting to Rome, Titus was made commander of the Praetorian Guard. This group of soldiers was to guard the king; they were something like today’s Secret Service. This ensured that Vespasian would be king, and that his sons Titus and Domitian would rule after him. When Vespasian died, Titus would get the throne because he was older.
On June 23, 79AD, Vespasian died of infection. Many people thought that Titus would be an awful ruler like Nero was. Titus however, put an end to this talk, and showed himself to be an able and capable ruler. Only two months being an emperor, and Mount Vesuvius erupted. Pompeii was destroyed. Titus visited the city one year later after many rescue efforts had been made to people trapped underneath the rubble. While Titus was in Pompeii, a fire broke out in Rome. The same thing happened in Nero’s time. This fire lasted three days, but there wasn’t much damage.
Titus did many great things for Rome and its people. He designed and built the Flavian Amphitheatre or as we know it the Colosseum. Titus also designed many Roman baths. These things made him favorable with the public and with Roman leaders. However, on September 13, 81 AD a very sad thing happened, Titus was declared dead. He was going to the Sabine territory but he fell ill with the fever and died at the first posting station. Many historians and people think that Titus’ brother Domitian, poisoned him to death. Others think that Titus died of natural causes. Titus was a great emperor and soldier.
www.wikipedia.org February 24, 08
“Titus Flavius Vespasianus”
www.roman-emperors.org February 24, 2008
“Titus Flavius Vespasianus”
www.answers.com February 24, 2008