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Richard | all galleries >> Galleries >> Our Trip to Israel: October, 2010 > View of Masada as we were leaving it and heading north.
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View of Masada as we were leaving it and heading north.

Masada is near the southwest coast of the Dead Sea, in the Judean Desert. In ancient times it was close to two important routes. King Herod built a fortress/palace (the Western Palace) on an 18 acre plateau on top of this mountain/cliff and another palace (the Hanging Palace or Northern Palace) on three levels of excavated flat rock terraces on the northern side of the mountain/cliff (around 30 b.c.e.) – all to serve as a refuge in case of a Judean revolt or Antony attempting to eliminate Herod at Cleopatra’s urging so she could have Judea. The Romans occupied Masada after Herod’s death (4 b.c.e). The Jewish Zealots then captured Masada in 66 c.e. during the first Jewish Revolt against the Romans and then brought their families to live there. Masada then became the last Jewish stronghold after the Romans, under Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 c.e., ending the Jewish revolt that had begun four years earlier. Although Masada is not mentioned in the Bible, the Jewish/Roman historian Flavius Josephus documented how about 960 Jewish defenders at Masada defied the Roman army for about two years, after the Jews lost the war in Jerusalem. The Romans breached Masada’s wall in 73 c.e. According to Flavius Josephus, the Jews at Masada supposedly committed suicide rather than being captured by the Romans. "Masada shall not fall again," is a solemn oath taken by all inductees to the Israeli Defense Forces.

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