Abstract: Masada: Last Stronghold of the Jewish Resistance Against Rome

Lecturer: Jodi Magness

The mountain of Masada rises 400 meters above the sw shore of the Dead Sea. In the 1st C BC, Herod the Great, client king of Judaea, built a fortress and lavishly decorated palaces on top of the mountain. Seventy years after his death, in 66 AD, the Jews living in Judaea rose up in revolt against Roman rule. A band of 960 Jewish rebels, or Zealots, took over the top of the mountain and occupied it for the duration of the revolt. They continued to hold out against the Romans even after the official end of the revolt with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In 72 or 73 AD the Romans arrived at the foot of Masada and set up a siege. The dramatic fall of the mountain to the Romans arrived at the foot of Masada and set up a siege. The dramatic fall of the mountain to the Romans, which ended with the famous and controversialmass suicide of the Jewish rebels, is related in dramatic detail by the ancient historian Flavius Josephus. This slide-illustrated lecture describes the archaeological remains from Herod's fortress and palaces (excavated by the late Yigael Yadin in the 1960's, and those connected with the Roman siege. It includes new information from excavations that I co-directed in the Roman siege camps in the summer of 1995.

Suggested Bibliography/Websites
Yigael Yadin, 'Masada: Herod's Fortress and the Zealot's Last Stand'. (Random House: NY, 1966)

Featured Lecturer

Jodi Magness is with the Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism. She... Read More

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