[kl-bogel] Masada Judean Desert, Israel.

Masada Fortress, Judean Desert, Israel.
Chilling historical events simply can not remain indifferent to this on one of the cliffs of the Judean Desert ... The siege of the fortress lasted 6 months ... 8000 Romans against 900 defenders ...

Despite the meager landscape around, only partially preserved remains of a fortress, I visit this place very much impressed. Here rather more interested in the history and events that took place 2000 years ago than the photos themselves.

In the Judean Desert on Mertyvm sea is a fortress of Masada. Masada - a mighty fortress, located on top of a huge rock which rises near the Dead Sea.
Geographical position of strength in the area of ​​arid desert, far from human settlements and natural inaccessibility made it a safe haven.


The Roman historian Josephus reports that the fortress was built by Jonathan the high priest in the middle of the 2nd century BC, King Herod and then further strengthened it, erecting 37 high towers. In Josephus it is said thus: "He has erected a wall around the top of the mountain and built on top of the wall thirty-seven towers. And he built a palace for himself in the fortress on the western slope of the mountain - under the wall, closes on top of the mountain. And everywhere in the rock have been carved out of swimming pools for water, so he was able to provide water to the inhabitants of the fortress ... Thus, the fortress was erected by God and the people to defend against an enemy who will rise to it by the war ... "


Herod, king of Judah, assessing the strategic advantages of Masada, has made it his winter residence.

In 40 BC. er. when the Parthians, the sworn enemies of Rome, enthroned Judea Antigonus II, Herod fled from Jerusalem to Masada and, leaving behind a family under the protection of 800 soldiers who went to Rome to seek support. Antigonus laid siege to Masada, but its advocates, who suffered from lack of water, were rescued by a sudden rain, filled with water holes and crevices. In 37 BC. er. began to reign in Judea, Herod transformed into a powerful fortress of Masada, which would serve him a safe haven in case of rebellion or invasion the enemy troops. After Herod died in 4 BC. er. and the establishment of a 6 year Mr. er. direct rule of Rome over Judea at Masada was placed a small Roman garrison.


In 66 AD, with the start of the Jewish War (Grand uprising), Masada captured Sukkar, nicknamed so because of the fact that they were armed with short curved daggers (Sica - a dagger), who hid in the folds of clothing. Sukkar represented the most radical wing of the anti-Roman opposition. After the fall of Jerusalem (in AD 70), the last of its defenders fled to Masada, among them was Elazar ben Yair, who led the rebels.

During the uprising in the dungeons of the fortress wall and the palace of Herod had been converted into living quarters. The rebels, obey all laws of Jewish religion, arranged in a fortress synagogue and ritual pools for bathing (mikvah).

Fortress siege

Tenth Roman Legion under the command of Flavius ​​Silva went to Masada from Jerusalem and besieged it. Throughout the 73rd AD 8,000 Roman soldiers stood around the fortress of the eight camps. At the foot of the fortress was built circumferential wall blockade, cut off the rebels from the outside world. Then the Romans started construction on the western slope of the mountain (the least inaccessible), the siege of the shaft on which the walls of the fortress could roll the ram. As the lifting earth embankment to strengthen it with wooden retaining walls. Numerous Jewish captives brought Tenth Legion water (obviously, from the Ein Gedi) and food products. Defenders, too, did not sit idly by and, anticipating a breakthrough, were constructed on top of the mountain interior log wall filled with earth. Such a wall could not hurt either of rams, or the shelling of stone cores, because, unlike stone, suspension strokes. In the month of Nisan, when the height of the embankment has reached 70 meters, the Romans raised by her 30-foot fort with folding bridge and make a dent in the fortress wall.

On the night of the 15 th of Nisan (first day of Passover), Elazar ben Yair said to the Jews an impassioned speech and urged them to die free men - prefer to die a painful and shameful slavery.

"... Then chosen by lot ten men who would slay the other. And every sprawled on the ground next to their dead wives and children, arms round their bodies, and with hunting Framed ten of his throat, sang a terrible responsibility.

These people without a shudder pierced with swords of all, one after another. Then they cast lots among themselves to someone who will point to the fate, killed nine of his comrades, and then put his hands on you ...

So they all died with the certainty that is not left behind not a single person over which would outrage the Romans ...

The next day the Romans went to Masada, and when they found piles of dead, do not rejoice at the sight of dead enemies, but froze in silence, struck by the greatness of their spirit and invincible contempt for death. "


After the Romans left in 111, the fortress, it within three centuries, was empty. In the 5 th century (Byzantine period) in the Judean desert there are numerous Christian monasteries. Masada is situated on the monastery of hermits (Laura). In the 7 th century Arab conquerors put an end to the presence of Byzantium in Eretz Yisrael. Masada completely depopulated and fell into complete oblivion until the 19 th century.

For the first time mountain, which the Arabs called the A-Sabah, has been identified as Americans, Masada E. Robinson and E. Smith in 1838. In 1963-65 years of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem organizes a large archaeological expedition at Masada, led by I. Yadin. During the excavation had been cleared almost all the built-up part of the rock and a partial restoration of ancient buildings. Archaeologists have discovered thousands of perfectly preserved artifacts and written sources, which allowed re-create an impressive picture of the material and spiritual culture of the Jews of the late Second Temple. In 1966, the National Archeological Park of Masada was opened to the public. In 1971 he began to operate the funicular.

An excerpt from a speech by Elazar ben Yair, delivered on the night of the fall of Masada:

"Take heart, hero, cover themselves in glory!" For a long time we decided not to obey either the Romans or the other rulers, but one only God, for He is the only true and just king over the people. And now it is time to fulfill our promise. Not to disgrace myself in the same this hour, because before our soul abhorred slavery shares, although at that time slavery has not threatened us such dreadful danger. Do not betray the same myself, and now voluntarily neither slavery nor the awful tortures that await us. "Do not disgrace himself in front of the Romans, not surrender them alive! "We are the first strike against them and the last leaving the battlefield.
Great mercy gave us Lord, granting him the opportunity to die a hero's death, to die free men, which is not given to make our brothers captive overnight.
We also discovered that awaits us tomorrow, and given the right to elect the glorious death of heroes, along with those who are dear to us. Let our wives die is not discredited and our orphans do not taste the bitterness of slavery. And then will serve each other the last service will render the last grace, and that may be, brothers, better and more honorable shroud of freedom?
But before we die unto the fire and strength of our property. I know for sure: Romans ogorchatsya saw that did not take us alive, and were disappointed in their hopes to profit extraction.
Just leave the food untouched, so they showed after our death, that we did not suffer either from hunger or from lack of food, but they preferred death to slavery - as agreed in advance. "

The siege of the fortress lasted 6 months. 8000 Romans against 900 defenders ...

This fortress - one of the sites by UNESCO, for tourists all done at the highest level. Level parking, lift, museum, perfectly-designed pedestrian route through the fortress in the guide.

I think something like this was a fortress found a century ago:

And it is true that the destruction of the stone was raised and rebuilt walls, noting the line that was completed:

View of the Dead Sea, on the other side of the sea, Jordan:

North Palace of Masada's architectural gem and one of the most beautiful and perfect structures created by Herod. Upper level rises above the bottom at 35 meters (height 10-storey building). The upper story served as the private quarters of the king who loved solitude. Here he lived together with their closest family members. In the halls of the lower two tiers were methods most distinguished guests.

What is left of middle tier:

Large bath. Bathhouses and swimming pools were an integral part of Roman culture.

Were also found clay tablets bearing the names of them, one of whom does the name Ben Yair, leader of the Zealots, the main rebel group. Inscriptions on 11 out of ostrakonov performed by the same hand and contain each a name. They were made for the draw: According to Flavius, the last ten people still alive, draw lots - which of them to kill nine others and set fire to the fortress, and then commit suicide.

The most interesting question I have - it's water supply. Around the desert, a fortress on a cliff ...
Herod succeeded in this task, raising the dam, which divert rain water which filled in the winter bed of ephemeral streams (wadis) in artificial channels. At two levels on the hillside had been cut down in 1912 an impressive size plaster water tanks, capacity of 40 thousand cubic meters of water. Pack animals raised this water to the water gate, from where it enters the water collectors located directly on top of the mountain, most underground.

At the bottom of the picture - this is the reservoir:

Types of strength:

and from the fortress on the Dead Sea:

and in the canyon:

In the center of the frame with stones laid out schematically the location of the Roman legions:

The siege of the fortress - this is a photo earthen wall, which is built by the Romans, in fact, a huge mound in the hundred meters, it now goes hiking trail:

In the month of Nisan 73rd 1974 or the Romans raised the walls of Masada huge metal-covered fort, which helped them to overcome the difference in the levels of mounds and fortresses. From the tower on the wall were released thousands of rock cores (as evidenced by the findings). Defenders tried to prevent the destruction of the wall, in turn, the Romans showered with stones and rubble of rocks. In response, the Roman soldiers poured rebels hail of arrows, also in a variety found on this site. Finally punched a hole in the wall of the fortress, the Romans set fire to the interior log wall, erected by the rebels.

It decided the outcome of the battle.

Stone kernel:

Well, I'm with dad:

Here's a she - History ...

Panorama of the Dead Sea from the fortress:


More about Israel:

- Drive to the Negev desert.


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© Alex Cheban 2011 | alexcheban.livejournal.com - a blog about travel. Always different, emotional, vivid Photostories from different corners of the planet!

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