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date: 04 December 2022



  • Edith Mary Smallwood
  •  and Tessa Rajak


Masada is a small isolated plateau 457 m. (1,500 ft.) high, on the western shore of the Dead Sea, and accessible from there only by the tortuous ‘snake path’. *Herod(1), having secured his family in its *Hasmonean fortress during the Parthian invasion of 40 bce, later made it the most spectacular of his own fortress residences, with two ornate palaces, one built onto the northern rock terraces. Archaeology supplements *Josephus' detailed description of the architecture, revealing also a garrison-block, baths, storage rooms for quantities of food and weapons, cisterns, a surrounding casemate wall, and (probably) a synagogue and ritual immersion pool. After the murder in Jerusalem of their leader, Menahem, early in the Jewish Revolt, sicarii (Jewish rebels) occupied Masada; and it was the last fortress to hold out after the fall of *Jerusalem, succumbing in ce 73 or 74 to a six-month siege by Flavius Silva. See Jews.


  • Jewish Studies

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