December 30, 39 CE – September 13, 81 CE
Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus was emperor of Rome from 79 to 81 CE. A member of the Flavian dynasty, he was the first Roman emperor to succeed his biological father to the throne.
Before ascending to the throne, Titus gained fame as a military commander, serving under his father Vespasian in Judaea during the First Jewish-Roman War. In 70 CE, he captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple.
Titus was considered a good emperor by Suetonius and other contemporary historians. He is best known for completing the Colosseum, for his generosity in relieving the suffering caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried Pompeii and other towns in 79 CE, and for providing relief when Rome caught fire in the year 80.
Titus died in 81 CE at the age of 42. He was deified by the Roman Senate.
A Coinage in the Style of Myron
A type of aureus featuring Titus was executed in the style of Greek sculptor Myron and depicts a cow. Myron was one of antiquity’s greatest sculptors, active in the fifth century BCE. During this period, Myron created numerous bronze statues and paved the way for an artistic revolution in Greek culture. Sadly, no original artwork survives.
Among the rich holdings of Roman marble copies of Greek originals, two works can almost certainly be attributed to Myron: the Diskobol and the Athena-Marsyas. Myron was also famous for his lifelike depictions of animals, which included a bronze cow. This was set up on top of the Athenian Acropolis and later sent to Rome. Historians believe Myron’s cow was probably dispatched to Rome at the request of Emperor Augustus as the cow became a popular motif used during his coinage.
The die cutters of Vespasian and Titus coins were likely referring to Myron’s cow when they created the coins for these two rulers, as it would have been important to them to draw a line from Augustus’ rule to theirs. In or around 75 CE, the bronze cow, along with other Greek statues, was erected on the site of the Templum Pacis (Temple of Peace) in Vespasian’s forum in Rome.
Timeline of Important Events During the Reign of Titus
79 – Death of Vespasian. Ascension of his son, Titus. Mount Vesuvius erupts burying the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, among others. Pliny the Elder suffocates while recording the event.
80 – The Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum), begun by Vespasian, is completed. Destruction of the Capitoline temple. The dedication of the Baths of Titus.
81 – The Arch of Titus is constructed in Rome. Titus dies, possibly at the hands of his brother Domitian. Domitian ascends to the throne.
Titus Gold Aureus NGC AU
AR Denarius NGC Choice XF