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Encyclopedia > Masada
Siege of Masada
Part of First Jewish-Roman War

Masada National Park
Date Late 72 – early 73 CE
Location Masada in modern-day eastern Israel
31°18′55″N, 35°21′13″E
Result Roman victory
Combatants
Jewish Sicarii Roman Empire
Commanders
Elazar ben Ya'ir Lucius Flavius Silva
Strength
960 15,000
Casualties
953 Unknown
Masada*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Dovecote at Masada, where ashes were probably stored — the openings have been shown to be too small for pigeons to fit.
State Party Flag of Israel Israel
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv, vi
Reference 1040
Region Europe and North America
Inscription History
Inscription 2001  (25th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
† Region as classified by UNESCO.

Masada (a romanisation of the Hebrew מצדה, Metzada, from מצודה, metzuda, "fortress") is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel on top of an isolated rock plateau, or large mesa, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada became famous after the First Jewish-Roman War (also known as the Great Jewish Revolt) when a siege of the fortress by troops of the Roman Empire led to a mass suicide of the site's Jewish Sicarii fugitives when defeat became imminent. Today, Masada is a very popular tourist destination. Combatants Roman Empire Jews of Iudaea Province Commanders Vespasian, Titus Simon Bar-Giora, Yohanan mi-Gush Halav (John of Gischala), Eleazar ben Simon Strength 70,000? 1,100,000? Casualties Unknown 1,100,000? (majority Jewish civilian casualties) The first Jewish-Roman War (years 66–73 CE), sometimes called The... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... For other uses, see number 72. ... This article is about the year 73. ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Sicarii (Latin plural of Sicarius dagger- or later contract- killer) is a term applied, in the decades immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, to the Jewish Zealots, (or insurgents) who attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea: —Josephus, Jewish Antiquities (xx. ... Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... In the Old Testament, Eleazar (אֶלְעָזָר God has helped, Standard Hebrew Elʿazar, Tiberian Hebrew ʾElʿāzār) A son of Aaron, and a Levite priest. ... Lucius Flavius Silva was the commander of the Roman 10th legion in 73 AD. History remembers Silva as the Roman commander who led his army up to Masada and laid seige to the near impenetrable mountain fortress occupied by a group of Jewish rebels called Zealots. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 409 KB)Dovecote at Masada, very large version (FDL-licensed; Elizabeth Thomas, eli at eli-nati dot com, December 2002) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... As of 2006, there are a total of 830 World Heritage Sites located in 138 State Parties. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Israel. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... This is a list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... A romanization or latinization is a system for representing a word or language with the Roman (Latin) alphabet, where the original word or language used a different writing system. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ... The quintessential medieval European palace: Palais de la Cité, in Paris, the royal palace of France. ... Table of Fortification, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... The South District of Israel, highlighted. ... Image:NONE Monte Roraima In geology and earth science, a plateau, also called a high plateau or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat rural area. ... Mathematics Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) is a current program that is building in schools around the United States. ... Desert hills in southern Judea, looking east from the town of Arad Judea or Judaea (יהודה Praise, Standard Hebrew Yəhuda, Tiberian Hebrew Yəhûḏāh) is a term used for the mountainous southern part of historic Palestine, an area now divided... The Dead Sea (Hebrew: , translated as Sea of Salt); (Arabic: ) is a salt lake between the West Bank and Israel to the west, and Jordan to the east. ... Combatants Roman Empire Jews of Iudaea Province Commanders Vespasian, Titus Simon Bar-Giora, Yohanan mi-Gush Halav (John of Gischala), Eleazar ben Simon Strength 70,000? 1,100,000? Casualties Unknown 1,100,000? (majority Jewish civilian casualties) The first Jewish-Roman War (years 66–73 CE), sometimes called The... A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition, often accompanied by an assault. ... Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... Mass suicide occurs when a number of people kill themselves together with one another or for the same reason and is usually connected to a real or perceived persecution. ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Sicarii (Latin plural of Sicarius dagger- or later contract- killer) is a term applied, in the decades immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, to the Jewish Zealots, (or insurgents) who attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea: —Josephus, Jewish Antiquities (xx. ...

Contents

Geography

The cliffs on the east edge of Masada are about 1,300 feet high and the cliffs on the west are about 300 feet high; the natural approaches to the cliff top are very difficult. The top of the plateau is flat and rhomboid-shaped, about 1,800 by 900 feet. There was a casemate wall around the top of the plateau totaling 4,300 feet long and 12 foot thick with many towers, and the fortress included storehouses, barracks, an armory, the palace, and cisterns that were refilled by rainwater. Three narrow, winding paths led from below to fortified gates. These shapes are Rhomboids In geometry, a rhomboid is a parallelogram in which adjacent sides are of unequal lengths and angles are oblique. ... A Casemate is a heavy duty structure originally a vaulted chamber in a fortress. ... Barracks are military housing. ... Armory or armoury may mean: Armory (military), a military location used for the storage of arms and ammunition. ... // Getting water out of a cistern A cistern (Middle English cisterne, from Latin cisterna, from cista, box, from Greek kistê, basket) is a receptacle for holding liquids, usually water. ... Rain falling For other uses see Rain (disambiguation). ...


History

According to Josephus, a first-century Jewish Roman historian, Herod the Great fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the First Jewish-Roman War against the Roman Empire, a group of Judaic extremist rebels called the Sicarii took Masada from the Roman garrison stationed there. The works of Josephus are contested, but nevertheless as the sole record of events that took place then, according to Josephus the Sicarii were an extremist group. Even though they too rebelled against Rome, they were antagonistic to other Jewish groups including the Zealots (kana'im, "zealous ones"), and used murder and pillage to achieve their ends. According to modern interpretations of Josephus, the Sicarii are considered an extremist splinter group of the Zealots.[1] The Zealots (according to Josephus) in contrast to the Sicarii, carried the main burden of the rebellion, which opposed Roman rule of Judea (as the Roman province of Iudaea, its Latin name). A fanciful representation of Flavius Josephus, in an engraving in William Whistons translation of his works Josephus (37 – sometime after 100 AD/CE)[1], who became known, in his capacity as a Roman citizen, as Flavius Josephus[2], was a 1st-century Jewish historian and apologist of priestly and... (1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century - other centuries) The 1st century was that century which lasted from 1 to 99. ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... Hordes (Hebrew: , ; Greek: , ; trad. ... This article is about the year 66. ... For people named Garrison, see Garrison (disambiguation) Garrison House, built by William Damm in 1675 at Dover, New Hampshire Garrison (from the French garnison, itself from the verb garnir, to equip) is the collective term for the body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but... For zealotry, as applied to computers, see Computer zealotry. ... Map of the southern Levant, c. ... Map of the Roman Empire, with the provinces, after 120. ... Iudaea Province in the 1st century Iudaea was a Roman province that extended over Judaea (Palestine). ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ...


The Sicarii on Masada were commanded by Elazar ben Ya'ir (who may have been the same person as Eleazar ben Simon) and in 70, they were joined by additional Sicarii and their families that were expelled from Jerusalem by the other Jews with whom the Sicarii were in conflict shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. For the next two years (according to Josephus) the Sicarii used Masada as their base for raiding and pillaging Roman and Jewish settlements alike. Archaeology indicates that they modified some of the structures they found there; this includes a building which was modified to function as a synagogue facing Jerusalem, (in fact, the building may originally have been one), although it did not contain a mikvah or the benches found in other early synagogues.[2] Remains of two mikvahs were found elsewhere on Masada. Eleazar ben Simon (c. ... For other uses, see Jerusalem (disambiguation). ... Combatants Roman Empire Jews of Judea Commanders Titus Flavius Vespasianus Simon Bar-Giora Yohanan mi-Gush Halav (John of Gischala) Eleazar ben Simon Strength 70,000 men 13,000 men, split among three factions Casualties Unknown 60,000–1,100,000 (mass civilian casualties) The Siege of Jerusalem in the... A stone (2. ... For other uses, see Jerusalem (disambiguation). ... Mikvah (or mikveh) (Hebrew: מִקְוָה, Standard Tiberian  ; plural: mikvaot or mikvot) is a specially constructed pool of water used for total immersion in a purification ceremony within Judaism. ...

Remnants of one of several legionary camps at Masada, just outside the circumvallation wall which can be seen next to it.
Remnants of one of several legionary camps at Masada, just outside the circumvallation wall which can be seen next to it.

In 72 CE, the Roman governor of Iudaea Lucius Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Roman legion X Fretensis and laid siege to the fortress. After failed attempts to breach the wall, 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 to fight the Roman legion. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2049x1301, 318 KB) en:: Description: Massada, Israel, Roman Fort Author: Matthias Kabel, Foto taken himself, upload to German wikipedia 28. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2049x1301, 318 KB) en:: Description: Massada, Israel, Roman Fort Author: Matthias Kabel, Foto taken himself, upload to German wikipedia 28. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with contravallation. ... Lucius Flavius Silva was the commander of the Roman 10th legion in 73 AD. History remembers Silva as the Roman commander who led his army up to Masada and laid seige to the near impenetrable mountain fortress occupied by a group of Jewish rebels called Zealots. ... The Roman Legion (from Latin , from lego, legere, legi, lectus — to collect) is a term that can apply both as a transliteration of legio (conscription or army) to the entire Roman army and also, more narrowly (and more commonly), to the heavy infantry that was the basic military unit of... Legio X Fretensis (Latin: Tenth legion of the sea strait) was a Roman legion levied by Augustus in 41/40 BC to fight during the period of civil war that started the dissolution of the Roman Republic. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Separation barrier. ...


Some historians also believe that Romans may have used Jewish slaves to build the rampart, whom the Zealots (these historians see them as Zealots rather than Sicarii) were reluctant to kill because of their beliefs. According to Dan Gill,[3] geological observations in the early 1990s revealed that the assault ramp consists mostly of natural bedrock, which would have diminished both the scope of the construction and the putative conflict between the "Zealots" and Jews enslaven by the Romans. Roman Slaves were regarded as non-persons by the law; they had no rights of matrimony, and no protection against adultery. ...

The ramp seen from the top.
The ramp seen from the top.

The rampart was complete in the spring of 73, after approximately two to three months of siege, allowing the Romans to finally breach the wall of the fortress with a battering ram on April 16.[citation needed] When they entered the fortress, however, the Romans discovered that its 936 inhabitants had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide rather than face certain capture or defeat by their enemies (which would probably have led to slavery or execution). Because Judaism strongly discourages suicide, however, Josephus reported that the defenders had drawn lots and killed each other in turn, down to the last man, who would be the only one to actually take his own life. The storerooms were apparently left standing to show that the defenders retained the ability to live, and chose the time of their death over slavery. This account of the siege of Masada was related to Josephus by two women who survived the suicide by hiding inside a cistern along with five children, and repeated Elazar ben Yair's final exhortation to his followers, prior to the mass suicide, verbatim to the Romans. Image File history File linksMetadata MasadaRamp. ... Image File history File linksMetadata MasadaRamp. ... Replica battering ram at Ch teau des Baux, France A battering ram is a weapon used from ancient times. ... April 16 is the 106th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (107th in leap years). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Suicide (Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of intentionally taking ones own life. ...


Masada today

View from the top of Masada
View from the top of Masada
Platform access to the fortress
Platform access to the fortress

The site of Masada was identified in 1842 and extensively excavated between 1963 and 1965 by an expedition led by Israeli archeologist Yigael Yadin. A pair of cable cars now carry those visitors who do not wish to climb the ancient, now restored, Snake Path, on the eastern side of the mountain (access via the Dead Sea road). Due to the remoteness from human habitation and its arid environment, the site has remained largely untouched by humans or nature during the past two millennia. The Roman ramp still stands on the western side and can be climbed on foot. Many of the ancient buildings have been restored from their remains, as have the wall-paintings of Herod's two main palaces, and the Roman-style bathhouses that he built. The synagogue, storehouses, and houses of the Jewish rebels have also been identified and restored. The meter-high circumvallation wall that the Romans built around Masada can be seen, together with eleven barracks for the Roman soldiers just outside this wall. Water cisterns two-thirds of the way up the cliff drain the nearby wadis by an elaborate system of channels, which explains how the rebels managed to have enough water for such a long time. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Download high resolution version (511x681, 98 KB)Platform Acess to Masada. ... Download high resolution version (511x681, 98 KB)Platform Acess to Masada. ... The archaeology of Israel is a national passion that also attracts considerable international interest on account of the regions Biblical links. ... Yigael Yadin (March 20, 1917 - June 28, 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). ... Aerial tramway suspended on two track cables with an additional haulage rope Cable car at Zell am See in the Austrian Alps. ... A bath house is a place where people bathe. ... A synagogue (from ancient Greek: , transliterated synagogē, assembly; Hebrew: beit knesset, house of assembly; Yiddish: , shul; Ladino: , esnoga) is a Jewish house of worship. ... A barracks housing conscripts of Norrbottens regemente in Boden, Sweden. ... Wadi alMujib, Jordan A wadi (Arabic: ) is traditionally a valley. ...


Inside the synagogue, an ostracon bearing the inscription me'aser kohen (tithe for the priest) was found, as were fragments of two scrolls; parts of Deuteronomy and Ezekiel 37 (including the vision of the "dry bones"), found hidden in pits dug under the floor of a small room built inside the synagogue. Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible. ... Ezekiel the Prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures is depicted on a 1510 Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo. ...


In the area in front of the northern palace, eleven small ostraca were recovered, each bearing a single name. One reads "ben Yair" and could be short for Eleazar ben Yair, the commander of the fortress. It has been suggested that the other ten names are those of the men chosen by lot to kill the others and then themselves, as recounted by Josephus.


The remnants of a Byzantine church dating from the 5th and 6th centuries CE, have also been excavated on the top of Masada. Byzantine Empire at its greatest extent c. ...

Highway sign near entrance to Masada.
Highway sign near entrance to Masada.
A tram car heading down from Masada
A tram car heading down from Masada

The Masada story has been used in a similar context by the British Mandate of Palestine, which planned the Masada plan to man defensive positions on Mount Carmel with Palmach fighters, in order to stop Erwin Rommel's expected drive through the region in 1942. The plan was abandoned following Rommel's defeat at El Alamein. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 480 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1248 × 1560 pixel, file size: 602 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Highway sign pointing to entrance of Masada. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 480 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1248 × 1560 pixel, file size: 602 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Highway sign pointing to entrance of Masada. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Look up sign in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Flag The approximate borders of the British Mandate circa 1922. ... Mount Carmel is a coastal mountain in Israel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. ... The Palmach (Hebrew: פלמח, an acronym for Plugot Mahatz (Hebrew: פלוגות מחץ), Strike Companies) was the regular fighting force of the Haganah, the unofficial army of the Yishuv (Jewish community) during the British Mandate of Palestine. ... Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel ( ) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was one of the most distinguished German field marshals of World War II. He was the commander of the Deutsches Afrika Korps and also became known by the nickname “The Desert Fox” (Wüstenfuchs,  ) for the skillful military campaigns he... El Alamein is a town in northern Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea coast. ...


Inspired by the last stand of the Jews against the Romans at Masada, the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Moshe Dayan initiated the regular practice of the troops finishing their Tironut (IDF basic training) pilgrimage to and swearing-in ceremonies on Masada, where they swear the oath that "Masada shall never fall again." Hundreds of Israeli soldiers climbed at night in rows through the Snake Road and then were sworn in with torches lighting the background. This was customary for troops of the Israeli Armor Corps, the Givati Brigade and others.[4] Marches to Masada are still popular in the IDF and a requirement for many units such as Nahal. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (Hebrew: צבא ההגנה לישראל Tsva Ha-Haganah Le-Yisrael ([Army] Force [for] the Defense of Israel), often abbreviated צהל Tsahal, alternative English spelling Tzahal, is the name of Israels armed forces... Moshe Dayan (Hebrew: משה דיין; May 20, 1915–October 16, 1981) was an Israeli military leader and politician. ... Tironut is the Hebrew name for the recruit training of the Israel Defense Forces. ... Armor Corps logo The Israeli Armor Corps is a corps of the Israel Defense Forces, since 1998 subordinate to GOC Army Headquarters. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Masada has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. An audio-visual light show is presented nightly on the western side of the mountain (access by car from the Arad road or by foot, down the mountain via the Roman ramp path). UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ... A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Arad may refer to: the following places in the Transylvania Arad, Romania, the main city of Arad County. ...


In 2007, a new museum opened at the site in which archeological findings are displayed within a theatrical setting. [5]


Citations

  1. ^ Nachman Ben-Yehuda, The Masada Myth: Scholar presents evidence that the heroes of the Jewish Great Revolt were not heroes at all., The Bible and Interpretation
  2. ^ Kloppenborg, John. Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World. Routledge, 1996, p. 101.
  3. ^ A natural spur at Masada by Dan Gill. Nature 364, pp.569-570 (12 August 1993); DOI 10.1038/364569a0
  4. ^ Dan Bitan, Mesada the Symbol and the Legend, the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert, 1960, Yad Ben Zvi
  5. ^ A new museum at Masada. Ynetnews (2007-05-06). Retrieved on 2007-05-06.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 126th day of the year (127th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • M. Avi-Yonah et al., Israel Exploration Journal 7, 1957, 1–160 (excavation report Masada)
  • Y. Yadin, Masada, London 1966
  • Y. Yadin, Israel Exploration Journal 15, 1965 (excavation report Masada)
  • N. Ben-Yehuda, Masada Myth: Collective Memory and Mythmaking In Israel, University of Wisconsin Press (December 8, 1995)
  • N. Ben-Yehuda, Sacrificing Truth: Archaeology and the Myth of Masada, Humanity Books (June 2002)

Yigael Yadin (March 20, 1917 - June 28, 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). ... Yigael Yadin (March 20, 1917 - June 28, 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). ... Nachman Ben-Yehuda is an academic (professor) and dean of the department of sociology at the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, Israel who exposed the archaeological and historical fraud in the excavations and narrative of Masada http://www. ... Nachman Ben-Yehuda is an academic (professor) and dean of the department of sociology at the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, Israel who exposed the archaeological and historical fraud in the excavations and narrative of Masada http://www. ...

See also

Masada was the name of American television miniseries that aired on ABC in April 1981. ... A miniseries (sometimes mini-series), in a serial storytelling medium, is a production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. ... The remains of the city of Gamala lies on the Golan Hights. ... Numantia was incorporated into the Roman Imperial province of Hispania Tarraconensis, 120 AD Numantia was a town in Hispania (modern-day Spain), which for a long time resisted conquest by Romans. ... Spanish mythology is the study of the folk tales and myths of Spain. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Masada
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The War of the Jews: Book VII, Chapters 8 and 9

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Masada (2782 words)
Masada was Herod's royal citadel and later the last outpost of Zealots during the Jewish Revolt.
Masada is located at the top of an isolated rock on the edge of the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea valley, between Sdom and Ein Gedi.
In the north-western corner of Masada a synagogue was discovered, at that time the earliest known one, and the only one from the time of the Second Temple.
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