Masada is considerate by many people as the most spectacular site in Israel, it is built on a plateau shaped like a battleship and located on the western shore of the Dead Sea. The firsts buildings in the site was built by Hasmonean King but developed by Herod the Great between 37 and 31 B.C..

After Herod fall, Masada became the last stronghold of the Jews against the Romans in A.D. 73. After Masada has no Jewish resistance in the Judea until the second century.

The first archeological excavations was running under the direction of Ygal Yadin from 1963 to 1965, Yadin revel to the World the finds of tragic between the Zealots and the Roman Legion.


One of the marvels of Herod’s construction was the creation of huge cisterns to hold 1,400,000 cubic feet of water.

Facilities using this water included a Roman bath house and a swimming pool. At the northern end of Masada Herod built a three-tiered palace with plastered walls painted to imitate marble.

The mosaic designs were all aniconic in deference to Herod’s Jewish subjects. A columbarium is believed to have held ashes of Herod’s Gentile soldiers.

“And when he was come to Idumea, at a place called Thressa, his brother Joseph met him, and he then held a council to take advice about all his affairs, and what was fit to be done in his circumstances, since he had a great multitude that followed him, beside his mercenary soldiers, and the place Masada, whither he proposed to fly, was too small to contain so great a multitude;
(14.14.6) All this while Antigonus besieged those that were in Masada, who had plenty of all other necessaries, but were only in want of water, insomuch that on this occasion Joseph, Herod’s brother, was contriving to run away from it, with two hundred of his dependants, to the Arabians; for he had heard that Malchus repented of the offenses he had been guilty of with regard to Herod;”
Antiquities 14:361, 390 JOSEPH

“but as he was marching to those that were in Masada (for he was obliged to endeavor to save those that were in that fortress, now they were besieged, because they were his relations), Joppa was a hindrance to him, for it was necessary for him to take that place first, it being a city at variance with him, that no stronghold might be left in his enemies’ hands behind him when he should go to Jerusalem. (14.15.1) And when Silo made this a pretense for rising up from Jerusalem, and was thereupon pursued by the Jews, Herod fell upon them with a small body of men, and both put the Jews to flight and saved Silo, when he was very poorly able to defend himself; but when Herod had taken Joppa, he made haste to set free those of his family that were in Masada.”

Antiquities 14:396–397 JOSEPH


so Herod received those of his family out of Masada, and the fortress Ressa, and then went on for Jerusalem. The soldiery also that was with Silo accompanied him all along, as did many of the citizens, being afraid of his power;

But Herod was not pleased with lying still, but sent out his brother Joseph against Idumea with two thousand armed footmen, and four hundred horsemen, while he himself came to Samaria, and left his mother and his other relations there, for they were already gone out of Masada, and went into Galilee, and took certain places which were held by the garrisons of Antigonus;

Antiquities 14:400, 413 JOSEPH

so he committed the care of everything to his brother Pheroras, and placed his mother Cyprus, and his sister [Salome], and the whole family, at Masada, and gave him a charge, that if he should hear any sad news about him, he should take care of the government; (1.12.1) in the meantime, Phasaelus was by himself too hard for Felix, and reproached Hyrcanus on account of his ingratitude, both for what assistance he had afforded Malichus, and for overlooking Malichus’s brother, when he possessed himself of the fortresses; for he had gotten a great many of them already, and among them the strongest of them all, Masada.

Antiquities 15:184; War 1:237 JOSEPH

“owever, nothing could be insufficient for him against the force of Herod, who, as soon as he was recovered, took the other fortresses again, and drove him out of Masada in the posture of a supplicant; he also drove away Marion, the tyrant of the Tyrians, out of Galilee, when he had already possessed himself of three fortified places; but as to those Tyrians whom he had caught, he preserved them all alive; nay, some of them he gave presents to, and so sent them away, and thereby procured good will to himself from the city, and hatred to the tyrant. (1.13.7) But as soon as the Parthians perceived it, they pursued after them; and, as he gave orders for his mother, and sister, and the young woman who was betrothed to him, with her mother, and his youngest brother, to make the best of their way, he himself, with his servants, took all the care they could to keep off the barbarians; and when at every assault, he had slain a great many of them, he came to the stronghold of Masada.”

War 1:238, 264 JOSEPH

Now, as they were in flight, many joined themselves to him every day; and at a place called Thressa of Idumea, his brother Joseph met him, and advised him to ease himself of a great number of his followers, because Masada would not contain so great a multitude, which were above nine thousand. 

Now during this time, Antigonus besieged those that were in Masada, who had all other necessaries in sufficient quantity, but were in want of water; on which account Joseph, Herod’s brother, was disposed to run away to the Arabians, with two hundred of his own friends, because he had heard that Malichus repented of his offenses with regard to Herod;

War 1:266, 286 JOSEPH

For now it was that the Roman general came, and led his army against Eleazar and those Sicarii who held the fortress Masada together with him; and for the whole country adjoining, he presently gained it, and put garrisons into the most proper places of it;

War 7:275 JOSEPH