Detail from the Arch of Titus: Roman soldiers carry the menorah and other spoils from the Sack of Jerusalem 70 AD.
On the morning of 28 August AD 70, the Roman supreme military commander Titus called together his generals for a last briefing before the final assault on Jerusalem. The campaign to crush the rebellion of the Jews of the province of Judaea had stretched over three years, culminating in a grim five-month siege of Jerusalem itself.
The Temple dominated the city and the surrounding countryside. It was the largest and most awe-inspiring religious monument in the world. It glittered with gold and shining white stone, and its magnificence staggered even the hard-nosed Titus, the future Emperor of Rome. It was also the central, symbolic stronghold of the Jews.
When the fighting was over, the Romans, ever thorough, completely ploughed over the site. So thorough were they in fact that not one stone or artefact from the sacred building of the Temple itself has survived to the modern era. Among the other rich spoils, Titus took the Temple’s famous seven-branched golden candelabrum [menorah] back to Rome, where it was paraded in triumph before the citizens, a victory celebration recorded for posterity on the Arch of Titus.
-The Temple of Jerusalem, S. Goldhill
The Arch of Titus is located to the south-east end of the Roman Forum, and was constructed c. 82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian soon after the death of his elder brother Titus to commemorate his victories.
Photos courtesy & taken by Roger Ulrich.