A report on Masada

Aerial view of Masada, from the north
A caldarium (hot room) in northern Roman-style public bath (#35 on plan)
Funeral to the human remains unearthed at Masada, 1969
Model of the northern palace
Set of three Masada commemorative stamps, issued by Israel in 1965
The Northern Palace's lower terrace (#39 on plan)
Stepped pool interpreted by Yadin as a Herodian swimming pool, possibly used as a public ritual immersion bath (mikveh) by the rebels (#17 on plan)<ref name="OConnor">{{cite book |title=The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700 |series=Oxford Archaeological Guides |author=Jerome Murphy-O'Connor |year=2008 |location=Oxford |publisher=Oxford University Press |page=385 |isbn=978-0-19-923666-4 |quote=... a small, deep, stepped pool with a triangular balcony. The niches for clothes led to its identification as a swimming pool. There are those who prefer to think of it as a ritual bath (mikveh); it may well have been used as such by the Zealots. |url= https://books.google.com/books?id=m3Yy9FDcT8gC&q=%22began+in+the+north+in+1537+and+continued+down+the+east+and+west+sides%22&pg=PT48 |access-date=12 August 2016 }}</ref><ref name="Yadin">{{cite book |title=Masada |authors=Mikha Livne and Ze'ev Meshel, introduction by Yigael Yadin, maps and pictures by the Masada Archaeological Expedition |year=1965 |location=Jerusalem |publisher=Direction des parcs nationaux |quote=Piscine hérodienne (Herodian swimming pool) |language=fr }}</ref>
Byzantine church (#26 on plan)
Aerial view showing Masada and the Snake Path from the northeast
Masada's western Byzantine gate (#23 on plan)
Roman siege camp F and section of the Roman circumvallation wall
Cable car (Masada cableway) heading down from Masada

Ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa.

- Masada
Aerial view of Masada, from the north

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Judaea and Galilee in the first century

First Jewish–Roman War

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The first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military use, as well as the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.

The first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military use, as well as the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.

Judaea and Galilee in the first century
Roman-era ballista (reconstructed at Gamla)
A coin issued by the rebels in 68, note Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. Obverse: "Shekel, Israel. Year 3." Reverse: "Jerusalem the Holy"
Roman milestone mentioning the destruction of highways during the revolt
The treasures of Jerusalem taken by the Romans (detail from the Arch of Titus).
Remnants of one of several legionary camps at Masada in Israel, just outside the circumvallation wall at the bottom of the image.
An ancient Roman coin. The inscription reads IVDEA CAPTA. The coins inscribed Ivdaea Capta (Judea Captured) were issued throughout the Empire to demonstrate the futility of possible future rebellions. Judea was represented by a crying woman.
Roman denarius depicting Titus, circa 79. The reverse commemorates his triumph in the Judaean wars, representing a Jewish captive kneeling in front of a trophy of arms.

Among other events, the Sicarii rebel faction surprised the Roman garrison of Masada and took over the fortress.

Copper coin of Herod, bearing the legend "ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΗΡΩΔΟΥ" ("Basileōs Hērōdou") on the obverse

Herod the Great

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Roman Jewish client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom.

Roman Jewish client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom.

Copper coin of Herod, bearing the legend "ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΗΡΩΔΟΥ" ("Basileōs Hērōdou") on the obverse
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Distinctive Herodian masonry at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
Massacre of the Innocents, 10th century depiction. Herod on the left
Herod's sarcophagus, displayed at the Israel Museum
Aerial photo of Herodium from the southwest
Coin of Herod the Great
Bronze coin of Herod the Great, minted at Samaria.
Tomb of Herod

He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north, the enclosure around the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, and Herodium.

David falls, Ein Gedi.

Ein Gedi

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David falls, Ein Gedi.
"The Window Dry fall", overlooking Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea, Israel.
Mosaic from ancient Ein Gedi synagogue
Two Nubian ibices at Ein Gedi nature reserve
The Botanical Garden at kibbutz Ein Gedi.

Ein Gedi (עֵין גֶּדִי‎, عين جدي), also spelled En Gedi, meaning "spring of the kid", is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves.

Masada National Park

Siege of Masada

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One of the final events in the First Jewish–Roman War, occurring from 73 to 74 CE on and around a large hilltop in current-day Israel.

One of the final events in the First Jewish–Roman War, occurring from 73 to 74 CE on and around a large hilltop in current-day Israel.

Masada National Park
Remnants of Camp F, one of several legionary camps just outside the circumvallation wall around Masada
The Roman siege ramp seen from above. This was partly rebuilt for a 1981 TV miniseries

According to Josephus the long siege by the troops of the Roman Empire led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels and resident Jewish families of the Masada fortress, although this is not supported by archaeological investigation.

A view of the sea from the Israeli shore

Dead Sea

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Salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west.

Salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west.

A view of the sea from the Israeli shore
Satellite photograph showing the location of the Dead Sea east of the Mediterranean Sea
The Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, showing salt deposits left behind by falling water levels.
Halite deposits (and teepee structure) along the western Dead Sea coast
Pebbles cemented with halite on the western shore of the Dead Sea near Ein Gedi
Beach pebbles made of halite; western coast
Dead Sea in the morning, seen from Masada
Mount Sodom, Israel, showing the so-called "Lot's Wife" pillar (made of Halite (mineral) like the rest of the mountain)
A cargo boat on the Dead Sea as seen on the Madaba Map, from the 6th century AD
The southern basin of the Dead Sea as of 1817–18, with the Lisan Peninsula and its ford (now named Lynch Strait). North is to the right.
World's lowest (dry) point, Jordan, 1971
Ein Bokek, a resort on the Israeli shore
Kempinski Hotel, one of the many hotels on the Jordanian shore
The dwindling water level of the Dead Sea
Gully in unconsolidated Dead Sea sediments exposed by recession of water levels. It was excavated by floods from the Judean Mountains in less than a year.
Views in 1972, 1989, and 2011 compared
The planned Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance, whose first phase will begin construction in 2021, will work towards stabilizing the falling levels of the Dead Sea

Multiple anchorages existed on both sides of the sea, including in Ein Gedi, Khirbet Mazin (where the ruins of a Hasmonean-era dry dock are located), Numeira and near Masada.

Judaean Desert

Judaean Desert

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Desert in the West Bank and Israel that lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea.

Desert in the West Bank and Israel that lies east of Jerusalem and descends to the Dead Sea.

Judaean Desert
Location of Judaean Desert in the West Bank and Israel in red
Mar Saba, in the Kidron Valley
View of the Judean Desert from Mount Yair, Ein Gedi
The Judean Desert. The view from Ma'ale Adumim (suburb of Jerusalem)
The Monastery of the Temptation on Jebel Quruntul, overlooking Jericho & the Dead Sea

The siege of Masada, one of the final events in the First Jewish–Roman War, took place at the fortress of Masada, located on the eastern edge of the desert and overlooking the Dead Sea.

Masada

Lucius Flavius Silva

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Late-1st-century Roman general, governor of the province of Iudaea and consul.

Late-1st-century Roman general, governor of the province of Iudaea and consul.

Masada
Remains of Roman camp F near Masada

Silva was the commander of the army, composed mainly of the Legio X Fretensis, in 72 AD which laid siege to the near-impregnable mountain fortress of Masada, occupied by a group of Jewish rebels called the Sicarii.

Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO X FRETENSIS, stationed at Hierosolyma (Jerusalem), in Judaea province, from AD 73 until the 4th century

Legio X Fretensis

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Legion of the Imperial Roman army.

Legion of the Imperial Roman army.

Map of the Roman empire in AD 125, under emperor Hadrian, showing the LEGIO X FRETENSIS, stationed at Hierosolyma (Jerusalem), in Judaea province, from AD 73 until the 4th century
Ruins of the city of Gamla, conquered by X Fretensis in 67.
Herodium one of the fortresses of the Jewish revolt conquered by the X Fretensis.
Remnants of one of several legionary camps of X Fretensis at Masada in Israel, just outside the circumvallation wall which can be seen at the bottom of the image.
"LEGXF" an inscription of the legion in Jerusalem
The inscription at Abu Ghosh, in 1948

By 70, the rebellion in all of Judaea had been crushed, except for Jerusalem and a few fortresses, including Masada.

Tabgha pool, Jesus Trail

Tourism in Israel

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One of Israel's major sources of income, with a record 4.55 million tourist arrivals in 2019, and, in 2017, contributed NIS 20 billion to the Israeli economy making it an all-time record.

One of Israel's major sources of income, with a record 4.55 million tourist arrivals in 2019, and, in 2017, contributed NIS 20 billion to the Israeli economy making it an all-time record.

Tabgha pool, Jesus Trail
Tower of David Museum
Jerusalem mixed grill
Hamat Gader hot springs
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
Mount Hermon ski resort
Red Sea coral and marine fish in Eilat
Ein Bokek resort on the shore of the Dead Sea
Caesarea
Nahal Arugot waterfall in Ein Gedi
Syrian brown bears in Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
The Shrine of the Báb at the Baháʼí World Centre, in Haifa
Jerusalem mixed grill
Ein Bokek resort on the shore of the Dead Sea
Caesarea

In 2017, the most popular paid tourist attraction is Masada.

The self-immolation (jauhar) of the Hindu women, during the Siege of Chittorgarh in 1568

Mass suicide

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Form of suicide, occurring when a group of people simultaneously kill themselves.

Form of suicide, occurring when a group of people simultaneously kill themselves.

The self-immolation (jauhar) of the Hindu women, during the Siege of Chittorgarh in 1568
Pictures of those who died in Jonestown

The 960 members of the Sicarii Jewish community at Masada collectively committed suicide in 73 AD rather than be conquered and enslaved by the Romans. Each man killed his wife and children, then the men drew lots and killed each other until the last man killed himself. Some modern scholars have questioned this account of the events.