Titus (Full name: Tutti Frutti Titus Flavius) Succeeded his father, Vespasian, as Roman Emperor in an election where he was the only candidate. He got his name 'Titus' (or 'Titearseus' according to the 18th century historian Edward 'Funky' Gibbon) from his habit of walking around ancient Rome in a bum-clenching tunic.
Titus got the army habit young when his father Vespasian turned his pram into a battering ram (the 'battering pram' according to historian Tacitus) . Bloodied and unbowed - young Titus fought his first battle with a spikey rattle againt a horde of Germans on the Rhine in an argument about deck chairs. Seeing that his son was 'army barmy' - Vespasian ensured Titus was given a box set of silver spoons to carry him right to the top. At this time he also became a pen friend with St.Paul but other historians think this was actually his cousin St.Titearseus.
Siege of Jerusalem and New Food Dishes
Called out to quell the Jewish revolt in Jerusalem, Titus was left behind to carry on besieging whilst his father went off to grab the Roman Empire. Titus liked to provoke the Jewish zealots by walking around the ramparts in his tightest shorts and with a band of eunuchs dancing naked behind him. However he did have female company when the Jewish Princess Berenice came over to 'steam iron his toga' and rearrange his laurels as Titus kept sitting on them.
Jerusalem fell and was given the 'Rome Special Punishment Regime Number 1' which was no laughing matter, though some tried and wished they hadn't. The revolt continued at Masada but by then Titus had gone but left the recipe for Chicken Tikka Masada to best friend Gordian or Gordianus Ramases (see Emperor Gordian for a development on that joke).
When in Rome
Titus wasted no time to get to Rome before Vespasian became unpopular. His father said 'You'll Need an Arch one day, son'. Titus really wanted a blood-red coloured chariot but decided to follow his father's advice. The Arch of Titus was once decorated with all his triumphs and postcards from Palestine but sadly the ravages of time and postcard collectors have stripped the monument bare. Unfortunately the rest of the building that was supposed to go with the arch wasn't completed because Titus really was also a 'tight arse' when it came to parting with his loot. The rest of Titus's villa remains a pile of bricks, broken teacups and cigarette ends to this day.
Vespasian was now getting on a bit and dribbled a lot into his porridge. He decided that Titus ought to share power as well but in the end the old boy pegged out. Titus was now Emperor and decided to go out and 'paint the town purple'. He was later found in the Forum singing bawdy songs and blowing kisses at passing patricians.
First Night at the Colosseum
The Tutti Frutti Flavian House of Bloody Fun and Games opened its doors in the reign of Titus. It soon became a favourite day out for the local Romans who would queue for hours to see their fun. They really like the gladiators - like Slam Dunk Druid , Hoganus Leperous and The Emasculator . Surprisingly Christians were not favourites at what was soon called 'the Colosseum' as this seemed to be a snappier name. The plebs thought the victims.. er.. 'guilty as hell' criminals .. didn't fight fair with the wild beasts. Instead of offering fun to their audience who had paid top denari to get the best seats - the dismal condemned either lay down to be eaten or tried to convert the lions and tigers into vegetarians.
Pompeii Decides to Bury Itself
The boring provincial backwater town of Pompeii cleverly asked to be buried by Mount Vesuvius as some of locals reckoned that in the future they could have careers as tourist guides. The eruption wiped out the city a bit too much and was bad news to the Roman botanist Pliny the Elder. He went to have a look and ended up with his lungs full of pumice. This meant that when the Romans tried to bury him at sea - the old codger instead floated off and was lost to the ocean currents.
End of the Road
Titus had invited Berenice back to Rome and she had also brought along her funny little brother Herod Agrippa Junior and his best friend Josephus who was busy writing a book about the family. They set up home in the Imperial palace and played games of strip scrabble until Titus fell ill and died. His brother Domitian was making the soup that night but no one dared to blame him as they knew that little Dommy would be the next top Roman banana!
Legacy of Titus
Titus was really lucky that everywhere he went - the people who knew him wrote everything down in concrete so that many years later we could all read about him. Tacitus says Titus could have been a great emperor but he died after barely a couple of years in the top job. But perhaps it is just as well that Titus went when he did. He was already planning to wear a new pair of bum hugging leather shorts to the next performance of The Emasculator at the Colosseum.
- Titus's vanity led to many Romans adopt his clothing style to show their sympathies
- Titus's relationship with Berenice , Herod Agrippa Junior and Josephus was later turned into a now lost Roman farce by Brianus Rixus. The 5th century Christian writer Saint Augustine says watching this inspired him to write his first Confession comedy book - Confessions of a Hippo Cleaner
- Not to be confused with 'The Arse of Titus' about which ancient historians have also written a great deal for reasons referred to earlier in this article.
- The arch was originally crowned with a bronze statue of Titus shaving his legs