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Titus Destroys the Temple

Sulpicius Severus, a Christian historian who lived from ca. 363 to 420 CE, wrote a history of the world entitled Chronica. In it he claimed that the Roman historian Tacitus (ca. 56 BCE-120 CE) recorded that Titus, the Roman general who conquered Jerusalem, favored destroying the Jerusalem Temple to help uproot the Jewish and Christian religions.

His view of Titus, quoted here, contradicts the account of Josephus who was present at the siege. Josephus described Titus as wanting to spare the Temple. It is impossible to judge for certain the accuracy of the various accounts.




It is said that Titus summoned his council, and before taking action consulted it whether he should overthrow a sanctuary of such workmanship, since it seemed to many that a sacred building, one more remarkable than any other human work, should not be destroyed. For if preserved it would testify to the moderation of the Romans, while if demolished it would be a perpetual sign of cruelty. On the other hand, others, and Titus himself, expressed their opinion that the Temple should be destroyed without delay, in order that the religion of the Jews and Christians should be more completely exterminated. For those religions, though opposed to one another, derive from the same founders; the Christians stemmed from the Jews and the extirpation of the root would easily cause the offspring to perish.