Emperor Titus – The People’s Champion
Have you heard of the Roman Emperor Titus? He quelled rebellion against Rome. He helped rebuild Rome. As Emperor he dedicated himself to making things better for the Roman citizens.
Did you know that…
• Titus is the Emperor that completed the Colosseum in Rome?
• Titus is the Roman General that destroyed the Jewish temple in 70 A.D.?
• The arch of Titus commemorating his victory in the First Jewish-Roman War still stands today?
• Titus was emperor when Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius?
• Titus had a relationship with a Jewish Queen?
Here is the story of Titus Caesar Vespacianus – born 30 December 39 AD – died 13 September 81 AD.
The Roman Emperor Titus grew up the son of the Roman general, Vespasian. The new emperor was often not the natural born son of the current emperor, but the adopted son. To become great in the world Titus would have to do something to make himself stand out as a hero.
Titus followed in his father’s footsteps to do this. He joined the army. Titus was sent to Germania and Britannia. He showed competence and success as a military commander in these posts. When Judea revolted in 66 AD his father made him his 2nd in command to quell the Jewish rebellion.
The Roman-Jewish War
It would take the next 4 years to succeed in putting down the Jewish rebellion. During this time Nero died without a clear successor. Nero’s death led to the year of the four Emperors, 69 A.D.
Titus took over for his father as the general of the armies to subdue Judea as his father left to defeat Vitellius who had defeated Ortho. In December of 69 A.D. his father was declared Emperor by the Senate.
In 70 A.D. Titus accomplished what many believed to be an impossible task. Jerusalem was defeated and the Jewish temple destroyed. Titus was awarded with an official Roman Triumph. The arch of Titus was built to commemorate this Triumph. It remains to this day. This event confirmed his importance to Rome and he continued as his father’s heir.
Titus then put his energy into his father’s pledge to the people with the building of Rome’s Colosseum. This was built according to the historians on the ruins of Nero’s decadent palace. Today the Colosseum stands as the symbol of ancient Rome. (This is the same Colosseum you see on the reverse of our commemorative coin.)
Titus gained notoriety in Rome during this time as the prefect of the Praetorian Guard. His father shared an unprecedented amount of power with him as he ruled. He also invited the Jewish queen Bernice from Herod Agrippa’s family to join him as his lover in Rome. This caused quite a scandal as Roman’s frowned upon such relationships with foreigners.
On 23 June 79 A.D. his father died of an infection and the senate confirmed Titus to be Emperor. There were concerns that Titus would be like Nero. The citizens of Rome had suffered much under Nero. While some claimed Nero to be still alive or that he would come back from the dead. Most wanted a ruler who would not waste the empire’s wealth on his own vices.
Emperor Titus’ reign was short, but marked with extreme generosity. Titus spent every day of his reign seeking to make things better for Rome and her people. The symbol of his generosity became the Colosseum which he completed during his reign. The Colosseum was for the people and considered public property. Today the ruins of this Colosseum are the most popular tourist attraction in Rome.
In 79 A.D. the volcano Vesuvius exploded. It was Europe’s greatest natural disaster during the first century A.D. The violent eruption released 1.5 million tons per second. It is estimated that this eruption released 100,000 times more thermal energy than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried alive. The population of these cities was 20,000 people.
Emperor Titus immediately organized international relief efforts. He appointed two ex-consuls to organize and coordinate the relief effort. He donated huge amounts of his personal funds to aid the victims of the volcano. He also personally visited Pompeii several times to make sure Rome was doing all that she could for her people.
In 80 A.D. the Colosseum was ready to be dedicated. 50,000 plus spectators could watch everything from gladiator games to reenactments of naval battles. The Colosseum could actually be filled with water and ships for these rather expensive and lavish events! The dedication included 100 days of celebration.
Then another tragedy struck Rome. There was a fire and plague. Many people died. Emperor Titus did everything he could for the people. He laid the plans and started rebuilding.
Emperor Titus was loved by the Roman people. He defeated her enemies. He cared for her people. He was the people’s champion. Historian’s wonder what Titus might have been able to accomplish with his philanthropy if he had lived longer. After only 2 years as Emperor, Titus died of a fever on 31 September 81 A.D. The senate confirmed Rome’s love and respect for Titus by officially declaring him a god.
The Denarius of the Caesar Titus.
There were a number of different denarius minted for Emperor Titus. An original Titus denarius silver coin is valued at anywhere from $350 to $1,000 or more. A Denarius is only one tenth of an ounce of silver. Your new commemorative coin contains 10 times as much silver as an original denarius.
Here is what the coin’s inscription, “IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG PM” means. IMP = Imperator (Emperor). TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG = Titus Caesar Vespasianus Augustus. PM = Pontifex Maximus. Pontifex Maximus is acknowledging Titus’ position as supreme priest and ruler of Rome.
The supreme ruler of Rome was also the leader in matters of religion. By the time of Titus, Caesar worship was firmly established in the empire. Julius Caesar was elected Pontifex Maximus in 63 B.C. All of his successors inherited the title. Most in Rome considered the Caesar a god in human form here on earth, a true Pontifex Maximus.
Just like the previous 2 coins, there are only 500 of these replicas minted.
Here are the details:
Year of Issue : 2021
Country of Issue : Cook Islands
Face Value : 5 Dollars
Coin Weight : 1 Troy Ounce
Metal Purity : .999
Metal Composition : Fine Silver
Mintage : 500