Triumphal Frieze

Arch for Titus Triumphal Frieze detail

Below the attic on the southeast side of the arch survives part of the frieze depicting Titus’ triumphal procession. The high-relief figures are arranged horizontally and are readily visible from below, encouraging viewers to move in the same left-to-right direction. The frieze captures the grandeur of the procession by displaying different participants, including soldiers holding shields and weapons and officials wearing long togas. On the far left is the personification of river Jordan being carried on a ferculum. This scene refers Titus’ conquest of Judea, which is a theme that occurs repeatedly on the arch. In the center of the frieze and above the keystone is a sacrificial ox. Against a blank background, most of the figures stand still and face forward, as if taking a moment to greet the spectators of the procession. One can imagine the line of participants extending to encircle the entire arch.