is the most dramatic example of what Jews often faced as they were oppressed
by various foreign powers, including Rome. After the fall of Jerusalem in
70 C.E. Masada remained the only point of Jewish resistance. In 72 C.E. the
Roman governor, Flavius Silva, resolved to crack down. He marched against
Masada at the head of the Tenth Legion; his troops prepared for a long siege;
they established eight camps at the base of the rock fortress and surrounded
it with a high wall, leaving no escape route.
the Romans built an assault ramp to the top and after nine months of struggle
broke through the last barriers erected by the defenders. They planned to
take the mountaintop fortress the following day.
That night the defenders decided to kill themselves rather than fall into
the hands of Romans. In the morning Roman soldiers entered a silent fortress
and found only dead bodies. Two women and five children survived the mass
suicide by hiding in a cave.