It’s one of the most enduring symbols of the Roman conquest of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, and millions of tourists are drawn to see it in Rome every year.

The Arch of Titus, a marble monument in the heart of the Roman Forum, commemorates the general and later Emperor Titus’ triumph over the Jews in 70 AD.  It also recalls one of the most dramatic events in Jewish history, the sacking of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, which is still mourned by Jews every year during the Tisha B’av fast.

The white marble monument depicts the Romans’ victory procession with spoils including a menorah, the sacred seven-branched candelabra used in the Jerusalem temple, and a ceremonial showbread table removed from the shrine.

But Steven Fine, professor and cultural historian at New York’s Yeshiva University, said the arch as it stands today is a washed-out version of the original.

In 2012, Dr Fine set to work with an international team of scientists, art historians and other experts, including Peter J Schertz from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Donald H Sanders from the Institute for the Visualization of History in Massachusetts, to identify the arch’s true colors.

Read the full article by Joseph McKenna at Sight Magazine.

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