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20. The Triumph of Flavius Josephus

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Chapter Summary

A classic symbol of the multicultural labyrinth that was the Roman Empire. This chapter sheds some specifically Flavian light on one passage of the seventh and final book of the Bellum Judaicum: the virtuoso account of the triumphal procession of Titus and Vespasian in 71 CE, celebrating their victory over the Jews. A ceremony now better known in concrete form, from the commemorative Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum. The (in)famous relief sculptures that monumentalise the holy objects of the Temple as Roman spoils. It presents how Flavius Josephus prompts us to understand this occasion not simply as the patriotic marker of another successful Roman massacre, but as the inaugural moment of the new dynasty a combination of imperial aduentus, victory parade and accession ritual. The chapter explores this triumph as the Flavian coronation, the official launch party and press night of the Flavian dynasty.

Keywords: Arch of Titus; Bellum Judaicum; Flavian dynasty; Flavius Josephus; Jews; Roman massacre



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