Arch of Titus: Rome and the Menorah

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About this course: The Arch of Titus: Rome and the Menorah explores one of the most significant Roman monuments to survive from antiquity, from the perspectives of Roman, Jewish and later Christian history and art. The Arch of Titus commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem by the emperor Titus in 70 CE, an event of pivotal importance for the history of the Roman Empire, of Judaism, of Christianity and of modern nationalism. Together with your guide, Professor Steven Fine, you will examine ancient texts and artifacts, gaining skills as a historian as you explore the continuing significance of the Arch of Titus from antiquity to the very present. Course members will accompany Professor F…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: The Arch of Titus: Rome and the Menorah explores one of the most significant Roman monuments to survive from antiquity, from the perspectives of Roman, Jewish and later Christian history and art. The Arch of Titus commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem by the emperor Titus in 70 CE, an event of pivotal importance for the history of the Roman Empire, of Judaism, of Christianity and of modern nationalism. Together with your guide, Professor Steven Fine, you will examine ancient texts and artifacts, gaining skills as a historian as you explore the continuing significance of the Arch of Titus from antiquity to the very present. Course members will accompany Professor Fine on virtual "fieldtrips" to museums and historical sites in Los Angeles and New York where you will "meet" curators, scholars and artists. You will attend an academic colloquium and even "participate" in office hours. Students will participate in the latest advancement in the study of the Arch - the restoration of its original colors. You will learn how color was used in Roman antiquity and apply that knowledge to complete your own 'color restoration' of the Arch of Titus menorah relief.

Created by:  Yeshiva University
  • Taught by:  Steven Fine, Professor

    Jewish History
Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.4 stars Average User Rating 4.4See what learners said Coursework

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Yeshiva University Now in its second century, Yeshiva University is the oldest and most comprehensive educational institution under Jewish auspices in America. It is an independent university that ranks among the nation's leading academic research institutions and, reflecting the time-honored tradition of Torah Umadda -- where Judaic and secular words intersect-- provides the highest quality Jewish and secular education of any Jewish university in the world. YU Global is YU Online and the content creator for all Coursera courses.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Why the Arch of Titus Matters



This module introduces the Arch of Titus and the larger themes of the course. Students will begin to view the Arch from the perspectives of Roman and Jewish history, of the victors and the vanquished, and the continuing history of this artifact. They will be sensitized to the presence of imagery related to the Arch in the larger culture, and be able to identity some of that imagery.


8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Steven Fine: Your Guide to the Arch
  2. Video: Why Does the Arch Matter?
  3. Video: Historical Context: The Jewish War and the Arch of Titus
  4. Video: The Arch: Romans and Jews
  5. Video: Colloquium: The Arch as a War Memorial, University of Southern California, 2015
  6. Video: Objects Depicted on the Arch
  7. Video: Visiting The Roman Empire
  8. Video: The Arch: What Romans and Jews Saw
  9. Reading: Assignment 1: Field Research “The Arch of Titus is everywhere, if you know where to look!”

Graded: “The Arch of Titus is everywhere, if you know where to look!”

WEEK 2


The Arch of Titus as a Work of Art



This module explores the Arch of Titus as an artifact. Students will learn to look closely at this and other historical monuments in order to draw out the meanings of its iconography. They will see the Arch and especially its carved relief panels through selected refracting lenses.


8 videos expand


  1. Video: The Arch as a Work of Art
  2. Video: The Arch: Location and Light
  3. Video: The Scenes on the Arch
  4. Video: From Triumphal Parade to Modern Restoration
  5. Video: Other Roman Art: Exploring the Getty, Part 2
  6. Video: An Artist's View: Ruth Weisberg
  7. Video: Office Hours: What is a Menorah?
  8. Video: Office Hours, Students Ask Questions: How to Interpret an Artifact

Graded: Some Basic Facts About The Arch of Titus

WEEK 3


The Arch of Titus in History
Roman and Talmudic sources on Titus's triumphal parade in 71 CE will be the focus of this module. Students will read these ancient texts critically and assess the historical value for understanding the Arch and its later reception.


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Ancient Authors
  2. Video: The Roman Triumphal Parade
  3. Video: Talmudic Rabbis of 3rd and 4th Centuries
  4. Video: Office Hours: The Arch in Roman Society

Graded: Assignment 3: Short Essay - Romans and Rabbis on Titus’ Triumph: Evaluating the Primary Sources

WEEK 4


The Arch of Titus from Antiquity to the Modern Era



Students will explore Jewish and Christian perspectives of the Arch and be able to explain how these perceptions affected their experience and interpretation of this artifact. Conversations with scholars and museum "visits" demonstrate a broad range of contemporary perspectives on the Arch and the continued significance of its iconography.


13 videos expand


  1. Video: After the War: The Spoils
  2. Video: The Temple Vessels and the Fall of Rome: Procopius
  3. Video: The Arch and Medieval Christianity
  4. Video: The Arch and Medieval Christianity: A Conversation with Prof. William Stenhouse
  5. Video: The First Book about the Arch, 1716
  6. Video: Bernard and Picart's Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World (1723-1743)
  7. Video: Through the Eyes of Contemporary Scholars: Professor Fine with Professor Stenhouse
  8. Video: Triumphal Arches From 1500s-1800s
  9. Video: Jews and the The Arch
  10. Video: Office Hours, Students ask Questions: Legends of the Menorah
  11. Video: The Arch at the Jewish Museum
  12. Video: The Arch and the Menorah at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  13. Video: Jewish Artifacts

Graded: Assignment 4: Short Answer - Some Visitors to the Arch of Titus

WEEK 5


The Arch of Titus in the Modern World



We will explore the ways that moderns have viewed and used the Arch, through the close reading of primary visual and literary sources. "Fieldtrips" and conversations contextualize the search for Arch imagery in our world, and demonstrate ways to recognize this iconography. Students will write a narrative of the Arch in modern times based upon primary literary sources.


9 videos expand


  1. Video: The Arch of Titus in the Modern World
  2. Video: The Arch: An American Perspective, with Professor William Stenhouse
  3. Video: Jews Reclaim the Arch
  4. Video: Jews Reclaim the Menorah
  5. Video: The Menorah as National Symbol
  6. Video: The Arch and Modern Nationalism
  7. Video: Israelis Retake the Arch Menorah
  8. Video: The Arch in Modern Israel
  9. Video: The Arch and Jewish Identity

Graded: Assignment 5:  Writing a Short Essay, Modern History of the Arch of Titus Using Primary Sources.

WEEK 6


The Arch of Titus: Restoring its Color



Recent advances in the study of the original color, polychromy, of ancient Roman art will be presented. Students will learn the reasons for this rethinking of ancient art, and apply this learning to their own restorations of the polychrome of the Arch of Titus menorah panel.


8 videos, 3 readings expand


  1. Video: The Arch of Titus: Restoring its Color
  2. Video: Coloring the Ancient World
  3. Video: Discovering Color at the Arch of Titus, 2012
  4. Video: Colloquium: The Polychromy of the Arch, University of Southern California, 2015--Part 1
  5. Video: Colloquium: The Polychromy of the Arch, University of Southern California, 2015--Part 2
  6. Video: Revealing Color on the Menorah
  7. Video: Office Hours, Students Ask Questions: Why Color Matters
  8. Reading: True Colors: Digital Restoration Restores True Colors to the Arch of Titus! Biblical Archaeology Review, Spring, 2017
  9. Reading: VIDEO: Colorizing the Arch of Titus: The Spoils of Jerusalem
  10. Reading: Colorize The Arch of Titus Menorah Panel
  11. Video: The Arch of Titus: What Was and What Will Be...

Graded: Assignment 6: Colorizing The Arch of Titus Menorah Panel
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