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Google Map of Masada, Israel

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It's a very impressive place. You can still see the remains of the Roman ramp on the West side of this historical fortress.

Editor's note (Wikipedia):

According to Flavius Josephus, a 1st Century Jewish historian, Herod the Great built Masada between 37 and 31 BCE as a refuge for himself should his Jewish subjects rise up against him. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the Jewish uprising against the Romans, a group of Jewish rebels called the Sicarii took Masada from the Roman garrison stationed there. In 70 CE they were joined by additional Sicarii and their families who were expelled from Jerusalem by the other Jews living there shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, and for the next two years used Masada as their base for raiding and harassing Roman and Jewish settlements alike.

Then, in 73 CE, the Roman governor of Judea, Lucius Flavius Silva, marched against Masada with the Roman legion Legio X Fretensis and laid siege to the fortress. They built a circumvallation wall and then a rampart against the western face of the plateau, using thousands of tons of stones and beaten earth. Josephus does not record any major attempts by the Sicarii to counterattack the besiegers during this process, a significant difference from his accounts of other sieges against Jewish fortresses, suggesting that perhaps the Sicarii lacked the equipment or skills to fight the Roman legion.

The ramp was complete in the spring of 74 CE after approximately two to three months of siege, allowing them to finally breach the wall of the fortress with a battering ram. When the Romans entered the fortress, however, they discovered that its approximately one thousand defenders had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide rather than face certain capture or defeat by their enemies. The argument is made that the storerooms were left standing to show that the defenders retained the ability to live and chose the time of their death. This account of the siege of Masada was apparently related to Josephus by two women who survived the suicide by hiding inside a cistern along with five children.



 

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