Masada - Mass Suicide in the First Jewish-Roman War C. AD 73

Masada - Mass Suicide in the First Jewish-Roman War C. AD 73

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
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Masada - Jewish Suicide in the First Jewish-Roman War C. AD 73 - Siege of Masada

The siege of the fortress of Masada and the resulting mass suicide of the defenders as the Romans breached the defences in AD 73 has assumed the same place in the Israeli psyche as the self-immolation of Leonidas and his three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae has in the Greek one. Both have come to represent a heroic defence against overwhelming odds.

In writing a book on Masada the author, Phil Carradice, has had to overcome the problem any writer on ancient events has – a paucity of...
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Old-Salt
Not a suicide in the sense of an expression of despair, but the ultimate tactical withdrawal to a place where the Romans could not follow.
 
I read a lot of the Roman version, included in the book that followed the first definitive archeological work there. 'The Story of Masada' (pub 1969) by Yigael Yadin and Gerald Gottlieb.
As I recall, the rebels get the usual bad press associated with enemies/rivals of Rome. According to that history, if memory serves, the zealot leader, Eleazar ben Ya'ir , was smeared as being a coward who conned everyone else into killing themselves but tried to save himself.

Masada was also Herod's palace at one time, if that is of any interest.
 
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Masada is well worth a visit if ever you're in Israel.
The occupants had built water cisterns, homes and a synagogue, even a " columbarium" ( a tower housing pigeons) as a food source, all miles from anywhere.
From the top, one can still see the outlines of the Romans' camps in the valley below.
For the besiegers it must have been a nightmare of logistics simply to feed and water the troops, let alone the thousands of slaves used to build the assault ramp.
As for actually assaulting a defended wall, in desert heat, up a ramp that's about 1 in 4 incline, in helmets and body armour, no thanks.
 
Masada is well worth a visit if ever you're in Israel.
I went there as a guest of the IDF in 2001. Loads of photos, but my strongest, happiest memory is of the glorious sight of the tour group's IDF admin Sgt's very fine jubblies straining to escape the confines of a tight white T-shirt :)
 
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Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Masada was serialised for television back in the 1980s. Yes, it was a little 'American' but it told the story well. It's probably out there on the web somewhere to be watched.*


*Caveat: I was very young when I watched and, though gripped by it at the time, I suspect I'd find it a little flat now.
 
Masada is well worth a visit if ever you're in Israel.
The occupants had built water cisterns, homes and a synagogue, even a " columbarium" ( a tower housing pigeons) as a food source, all miles from anywhere.
Cisterns chiselled from the living rock and holding thousands of litres (until cracked by an earthquake). From the photos in Yaddin and Gottlieb's book, the available building area at the top was really quite small. It must have been a bit cosy when fully occupied.
 
Bet the Irish still celebrate this mass uprising?
 
I went there as a guest of the IDF in 2001. Loads of photos, but my strongest, happiest memory is of the glorious sight of the tour group's IDF admin Sgt's very fine jubblies straining to escape the confines of a tight white T-shirt :)
Any photos
 
@Cold_Collation 'Masada' (1981) starring Peter O'Toole and Anthony Quayle

 
I read a lot of the Roman version, included in the book that followed the first definitive archeological work there. 'The Story of Masada' (pub 1969) by Yigael Yadin and Gerald Gottlieb.
As I recall, the rebels get the usual bad press associated with enemies/rivals of Rome. According to that history, if memory serves, the zealot leader, Eleazar ben Ya'ir , was smeared as being a coward who conned everyone else into killing themselves but tried to save himself.

Masada was also Herod's palace at one time, if that is of any interest.
Roman Labour at it.Even back then...;)
 
I read a lot of the Roman version, included in the book that followed the first definitive archeological work there. 'The Story of Masada' (pub 1969) by Yigael Yadin and Gerald Gottlieb.
As I recall, the rebels get the usual bad press associated with enemies/rivals of Rome. According to that history, if memory serves, the zealot leader, Eleazar ben Ya'ir , was smeared as being a coward who conned everyone else into killing themselves but tried to save himself.

Masada was also Herod's palace at one time, if that is of any interest.
He did but not at Masada which was the last holdout - I believe his name was actually Yosef ben Matitiyahu and at that point he was already working for the Romans fulltime. At a previous siege that chap rabble roused and incentivised the complete city (Jotapata aka Yodfat) to shut the gates on roman troops and to fight back which they did extremely well, great embarrasing Rome (General Vespasian) and stopping the Roman advance to pacify the rest of the jewish rebels for 47 days. Rome had to stamp this out or every other city would have done the same.

When the Romans finally managed to Storm the city, many citizens had already starved to death and many committed suicide including parents kiling their kids. In the last place to be defended, he gathered the last 40 people and organised a process (drawing lots I think) for each person to stab to death the one standing 2 down from him - he had deliberately pre-planned this to be one of the last two standing whereupon they quickly surrendered to the Romans and become an informer against other Jewish rebels - he ended up winning his freedom and gaining wealth and status whilst being hated by the population.

From Wiki
After the Jewish garrison of Yodfat fell under siege, the Romans invaded, killing thousands; the survivors committed suicide. According to Josephus, he was trapped in a cave with 40 of his companions in July 67 CE. The Romans (commanded by Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both subsequently Roman emperors) asked the group to surrender, but they refused. Josephus suggested a method of collective suicide;[21] they drew lots and killed each other, one by one, counting to every third person. Two men were left https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus#cite_note-24 who surrendered to the Roman forces and became prisoners.
 

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Masada was serialised for television back in the 1980s. Yes, it was a little 'American' but it told the story well. It's probably out there on the web somewhere to be watched.*


*Caveat: I was very young when I watched and, though gripped by it at the time, I suspect I'd find it a little flat now.
I remember that series, it was excellent. In particular I remember being impressed with the ramp the romans were building and then the water being poured away, how I sniggered at the time. How I remembered it years later every time I went into yet another arid sandy and generally waterless dump.



I also remember I Claudius starring Derek Jacobi stuttering his way through the series
 
She has the wrong inscription on that t-shirt, it should be wonderland.
Nah.

Timber = Wood

I wood :)

Arrse fit for a Divine Comedy bus-related lyric, mind, but luvvly jubblies.

By now she's a figure like Toad of Toad Hall, no doubt, and a full litter of young adult offspring.
 
Masada is an amazing place to visit. The first time I went, about 45 years ago now, I went up via the cable car but came back down on The Snake Path as I think it's called - wouldn't do that these days though! Stunning views from the top but very desolate. Looking down on the Roman siege ramp and imagining what fun that would have been building it with the defenders chucking stuff down at you was a sobering thought.
 
Masada is an amazing place to visit. The first time I went, about 45 years ago now, I went up via the cable car but came back down on The Snake Path as I think it's called - wouldn't do that these days though! Stunning views from the top but very desolate. Looking down on the Roman siege ramp and imagining what fun that would have been building it with the defenders chucking stuff down at you was a sobering thought.
Loofkar can advise better, but I understand that some IDF units use a night time climb up the Snake Path as a passing out/ gain your beret march?
 

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