MASADA by Phil Carradice
Mass Suicide in the First Jewish-Roman War, c. AD73
This is another title from Pen & Sword in the “History of Terror” series. 128 pages, soft cover.
Masada, in case you are unaware, was a mountain top fortress in Judea, where Jewish men, women and children fought off veteran Roman legions for 2 years. The traditional story is that facing defeat, the 960 defenders committed mass suicide.
There is only one source for the story, and that was Josephus Flavius, a contemporary Jewish general who was captured by, then joined the Romans. His information, veracity, motives and biases are therefore suspect; however, some aspects of the story have been validated by modern archeological evidence.
The account of the siege, the defences, the huge ramp which was constructed by the Romans, and the details of the ultimate Roman victory, is compelling, riveting reading. The dissection of the available evidence is thorough, and various alternative possible scenarios are weighed.
Modern use of the Masada story by the nation of Israel is also discussed.
Australia’s worst military defeat (Gallipoli) is our national Remembrance Day. It is telling that Masada, also a defeat, has become the source of national pride for Israel.
An excellent read.
Dr John Viggers.
And just for some perspective of the site, watch this superb video