Talk:Masada

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Former good article nominee Masada was a good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
April 10, 2007 Good article nominee Not listed

mass suicide[edit]

Bryan Derkson notes that "The 'credibility of Josephus' article suggests that the mass suicide story was merely embellished, rather than fabricated outright."

Absolutely; I didn't mean to imply otherwise, though I see how I gave that impression. RK
No problem. I'm reading the other article some more now, and hopefully I'll be able to include more details on the differences between myth and reality shortly. But until then, anyone who's really interested in this should be reading the external links anyway, so it's all good. :) --BD
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/ancient-battle-divides-israel-as-masada-myth-unravels-1275878.html This is incorperated in this wikipedia page for several other languages, and is a credible source in my opinion. I do not feel comfortable editing this page as it seems sensitive =/. [December 13 2012] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.249.241.116 (talk) 19:24, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Discussion per July 2007 (part 1)[edit]

I can't say that I am an expert on this article but logic would tell me that if it is true that the Roman's stormed MASADA, I would like to think that they did commit suicide over slavery. I also would like to think that the Romans could not tolerate the conditions of the climate and could not complete the campaign successfully as planned. Many of their soldiers and slaves had to have died building this scafold during the siege. Many problems would have to had occurred. The fact there were fires tells us that they did burn in order not to leave anything behind for the Romans. Greed and pride was one of the Roman empires downfall eventually. I would say that because they found few skeleton could mean that there weren't that many jews at the fortress and those they didn't find could be amongst tha ashes that may have been burned in the fortress when it was set on fire. Whow said what we will never know. It is very well known that stories handed down through the centuries cannot be relied upon as much gets lost in translation. My dream is that the Jews won in the long run and the Roman's failed to enslave those that were in the fortress. This story reminds me of a similar incident that occured in WACO. They say history repeats itself. In WACO the FBI killed all those in the building. Women and children were not and exception. Like the Roman's, the FBI had to save face. I would think that the Romans felt the same. Let not forget the control factor. Romans wanted to control the world. They must've felt a humiliation that a small amount of jewish people could hold off such a large army. This must've have been and embarrassment to the Romans so they made up a lot of stories to save face. I believe the jews were exceptionally organized and had a well planned stand off. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.61.58.0 (talk) 11:09, 22 June 2011 (UTC) Amazing to read the article and this discussion. Seems editors are finally realizing the Masada is ancient myth wrapped in modern propaganda. Come on here, let's write a real article about the fact that no one knows what happened at Masada, where it is or what this rock is and if it relates in anyway to what happened (or didn't happen) there. It's been used since by Israel and it military (who must swear allegiance there) to write a history of convenience for what has become a European colonization of Arab (Muslim, Christian and Sephardic Jewish) land.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.58.65.42 (talk) I think HS's comments show what a serious editor he is ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.58.65.42 (talk)

Mike Livneh (livneh@ootips.org) would like to remark, that Prop. Ben-Yehuda's arguments are mostly convincing and widely accepted; while his far-reaching conclusions are not nesseserily the only possibility to understand the situation in past and present. Many first-class scholars do not agree with his conclusions, including most of the experts on history and archeology of Masada. See my book: The Last Fortress - The Story of Masada and its People, Tel-Aviv 1989 (304 pages). Most of the common errors, which Ben-Yehuda so brilliantly points out, were corrected by me in that book long before Ben-Yehuda published his ideas. In that book I show how to avoid wrong facts, and still admire Masada's people.

"Many scholars now believe [Masada] was either greatly exaggerated or never happened at all." http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,286607,00.html ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.58.65.42 (talk)

Discussion continued at bottom of page. ("Myth" section.)

Name[edit]

Although the Masada is the common transcript of מצדה, I think Metzada is more proper transcrupt. "Metzada" dervied from the root "Me-Tz-aD" = fortress. Where "Masada" - Me Sa D corresponds to מסדה which dervied from the root מסד which means foundation. MathKnight 22:32, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Palestine was for centuries a Turkish Ottoman colony and Masada in Turkish means "on (or on top of) the table." This is a perfect description of the appearance of the rock, so it should not be discounted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.40.77.171 (talk) 20:58, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

New info[edit]

I've just recently seen documentaries on both the History and Discovery channels challenging the traditional views on Masada. According to them the suicide rate was much lower than 900. They cite the lack of large graves near Masada as evidence. Some historians believe the suicide didn't happen at all. Please get back to me with infoIndieJones 04:49, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

AD or CE?[edit]

This article uses both AD and CE for era references. In addition, the AD references are incorrectly used. Is there some compelling reason to use one over the other? It needs to be consistent.

In regards to changing the eras to AD and BC, the atricle predominately used AD and BC over BCE and CE. Since the article needs to be consistent, I went ahead and changed them all to AD and BC only to have them all changed to BCE and CE. It really doens't matter either way, but I would just like to make it clear that there was a reason for the switch and it wasn't just an attempt to push AD and BC over CE and BCE. — D. Wo. 21:02, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
In addition, this article directly relates to Jewish identity and history, BCE/CE worked fine here for a long time, so switching to Christianity-centric Anno Domini looks tendentious here. BCE/CE is neutral and commonly acceptable notation. ←Humus sapiens ну? 09:00, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
It has used BCE/CE since at least some time in 2004, and it is far more acceptable to use BCE/CE than BC/AD in an article on a very important event in Jewish history. Since we must have consistency, it should be BCE/CE. The recent attempt to remove all eras is of course a completely unacceptable compromise. Dates like 31, 37, 66, 70 and 73 with no era noted simply cannot stand.  OzLawyer / talk  19:01, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
This article was born in 2002 with AD/BC. There is no reason for having a preference for BCE/CE (the fact that this is an important episode in Jewish history does not mean AD/BC is inappropriate). It is not allowed to edit an article to change between allowed styles.--Panarjedde 19:46, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Oz is correct; I've reimplemented the non-Christian dating system. Dppowell 00:00, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Thank you very much, much better. Amoruso 00:07, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I suspect it will be reverted soon, but I'm happy to lend my voice to the consensus. Dppowell 00:32, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Also because you did not provide any good reason for the revert...--Panarjedde 17:56, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I did, on your Talk page. Since you reverted my comments there (you've been counseled before about censoring your Talk page, haven't you?), I'll post them here: "Here's the relevant language in the guideline: "When either of two styles are acceptable it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason for the change." Amoruso is effectively arguing that the nature of the topic constitutes such a reason. Oz agrees with him, as do I. I'm sure the folks on Wikipedia:WikiProject Jewish history probably would, too, and this article is part of their project." Dppowell 04:47, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
I do not read your posts on my talk page, I delete them immediately, as you are not welcome there. As regards "counseling", you are free to add warnings and the like on the relevant section of my talk page, as that is was I was "counseled" about.--Panarjedde 12:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Correct. In addition, Panarjedde is wrong saying "It is not allowed to edit an article to change between allowed styles." There is a consensus to keep a neutral notation in this Judaism-related article, and it has been used here for a few years now. ←Humus sapiens ну? 06:25, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
And you are still to show me it. Where is it?--Panarjedde 12:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Where is what? I hope you realize that you are pushing POV against consensus. ←Humus sapiens ну? 12:55, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I mis-read your post, I now read it better.--Panarjedde 13:16, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

1842?[edit]

I'm no expert on Masada and my memory is pretty close to nonfunctional. However when I visited there 17 or so years ago I recall reading on the site that it was discovered from the air, which would pretty much rule out 1842. The story I heard was that the story was believed to be fiction until the actual place was discovered accidently by someone flying over it.

The site is, by the way, simply amazing. If you know the story looking out over the walls and seeing the roman encampments is a very moving experience. Looking at the size of those things, towns really, you know exactly how those people felt looking down at them.

Masada (or Sebbeh) on the Dead Sea, Edward Lear, 1858.jpg
Here's a painting of Masada done by Edward Lear in 1858 which seems to align pretty closely to the rest of the pictures on this article, so discovery by air seems unlikely - unless it was a hot air balloon...

Zealots?[edit]

As far as I recall, Josephus - the sole source on the Siege of Masada - doesn't place the Zealots at Masada at all. Rather, Masada was occupied by a group of Sicarii driven from Jerusalem by the Zealots. Hello my name is Walter, my email is rayzrx001@yahoo.com...I had repeated dreams as a child about this event and know without a doubt I was there, there were two of us that seemed to be the decision makers and I'm thinking as far as my dreams had gone, that I was the unfortunate one, but I am only going by feelings and visions from a dream that started when I was about 2 and the last time I had it was around the age of 5, I never heard of this story until later in life. I need to correspond with others that may have been or feel they were there in a past life. Thank you.

Redundancy[edit]

I hate to lose time on this trivial matter, but I hate even more stubborn people. Is there any place on this talk page in which it has been decided that it is not allowed to remove redundant era styles, as User:Amoruso claims?--RedMC 19:14, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

A small number by itself can be confusing. RedMC, I understand that you think that having era notation there can be redundant. I hope you also understand that others do not think so. This is an encyclopedia, and we should strive to be unambiguous and clear. Other than perceived redundancy, is there a problem with erring on the safe side and including era notation? ←Humus sapiens ну? 22:45, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Protection[edit]

I have asked for this page to be protected since it keeps being vandalised.--Shakujo 05:20, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

GA ideas[edit]

I'm not officially reviewing this but I thought I'd stick my head in just to say that you might want to put in some more inline citations, and possibly move the one piece of info in the trivia section into the main article, as a trivia section with one point is a little unnecessary. Also, perhaps trim the external links section down a little bit? I think these points but will help get the GA. SGGH 19:53, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

I think this article is very nearly at GA standards. A few comments:

  • Josephus needs to be referenced - to a modern printed edition. The link to the full text at Gutenberg isn't enough.
  • The third sentence of the history section is over-long and in bad English. You should probably put the 'reliability of Josephus' debate in its own paragraph.
  • The Sicarii: Please wikilink the first mention in the 'History' section to aid comprehension. Also the accounts of the difference between 'zealots' and 'sicarii' in the first and the fourth paragraphs of the history section aren't entirely consistent: which historians "believe that the Romans may have used Jewish slaves" to build the ramps, and do those historians think the defenders of Masada were Zealots rather than Sicarii, or do they just gloss over the difference?
  • The World Heritage Site infobox is over-wide for that position of the article; can it be reduced in width or moved down the page?
  • Is there any history of Masada before its fortification? If there is significant knowledge then it should be included for the article to be a GA. If there is little then a sentence would suffice.

If these can be addressed then happy to make it a GA. Regards, The Land 09:23, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

After one week, none of these comments have been addressed, so I have removed the nomination and marked it as failed; however I think it's quite close to pass standard and if these comments are addressed a renomination would most likely succeed. The Land 20:17, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Honestly, it's pretty darned far from a GA. No offense, but only four cites in the whole article? Oy. Jewish-wargamer 20:17, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

"Myth" (July 2007, part 2)[edit]

Would the IP making edits stating that Masada was a myth please provide reliable sources saying that? There is a large gap between questioning the classical narrative, common in such archaeological pursuits, and declaring that not only is the story wrong, but that it did not happen. TewfikTalk 08:27, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, these contributions are controversial at best and should be treated as such. I've addressed the issue on User talk:208.58.65.42.
/ Mats Halldin (talk) 14:34, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I think I found a NPOV interpretation of Nachman Ben-Yehuda's claims: Is the Truth About Masada Less Romantic? by Kim Stubbs.
/ Mats Halldin (talk) 15:04, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I can provide reams of evidence and sources that Masada is a myth (as it's called in Israel) most of it would be in Hebrew. But here's some English. That's easy. The real question (and hard part) is can anyone show that Masada wasn't a myth as it only has one source (that's often misquoted)? "Perhaps because of the importance placed upon this myth, its entire factual basis has recently been called into question. Beginning in the late seventies and continuing up through today, many scholars have challenged the hero status given to the defenders at Masada and argue that the myth is instead a creation that served to unite a fledgling country struggling to find a national identity. The challenge to the legitimacy of the myth comes from the text of Josephus itself. A careful reading of the text reveals that several key aspects of the events at Masada are overlooked and just plain changed in order to make the story one of bravery and faith." http://srb.stanford.edu/nur/GP50/diane.pdf http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2386/is_v108/ai_20438267 "They were long thought to have belonged to a family of Zealots, the fanatic Jewish rebels said to have killed themselves rather than fall into Roman slavery in the spring of 73 A.D., a story that became an important part of Israel's national mythology. Along with other bodies found at Masada, the three were recognized as Jewish heroes by Israel's government in 1969 and given a state burial, complete with Israeli soldiers carrying flag-draped coffins. But Israel might have mistakenly bestowed that posthumous honor on three Romans, according to a paper in the June issue of the journal Near Eastern Archaeology by anthropologist Joe Zias and forensics expert Azriel Gorski." http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/22/africa/ME-GEN-Israel-Masada-Revisited.php "Many scholars now believe it was either greatly exaggerated or never happened at all." http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,286607,00.html ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.58.65.42 (talk)

This is supposed to be an encyclopedia not a summary of crank tabloid revisionist history. Kuratowski's Ghost 17:52, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

"crank tabloid?" Are you kidding? All three scholars are Israeli academics. The sources are academic journals, fox news, int'l herald tribune, Standford university and others. Instead of just undoing, can you please contribute to this debate by citing any sources (even tabloids!) for your contentions? ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.58.65.42 (talk)

Humus Sapiens keeps undoing ad nauseum edits on this article and doesn't constructively refute anything. I've provided voluminous and respected sources for my additions to the articles. Humus just responded with racist terms. He's admitted he's never even read the book about Masada (or probably any book about Masada), so why is he editing here? ~~

The source is and always was Josephus. No one altered Josephus, before or after Israeli independence. No one has produced any evidence contradicting Josephus' account despite differences in opinion amongst archaeologists over the nature of the rampart so all this waffling on about myth and fabrication is rubbish. Kuratowski's Ghost 21:21, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Anon, you started with calling Israel "a European colonization of Arab (Muslim, Christian and Sephardic Jewish) land" and then proceeded to push POV as fact. Now you personally attack your opponents. Please review our policies. ←Humus sapiens ну? 21:57, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

HS: Well was it Arabs colonizing Europe? What do you think you call it when Europeans go and establish a state somewhere, disneyland? You were the one who said "bloodsucking joos" (and pretend to be a serious and in partial editor). I've given over a dozen reliable sources, none contradicted. you've admitted you're editing material about a book that you've never read.

I don't call it a "European colonization". I call it Jews returning to Judaea; Israelites returning to the Land of Israel. If you don't know the difference between that and European colonialism than you simply don't know history. JD — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.253.72.26 (talk) 04:48, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, many WP articles are under daily attack by neo-nazis, jihadis, vandals, trolls, etc. I reserve my right to revert, resist and ridicule hatemogers (within WP policies of course). ←Humus sapiens ну? 22:22, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Just guessing that "neo-nazis, jihadis, vandals, trolls" are collective terms for people who disagree with your world view. you can reserve your right to revert but you're supposed to do it with some proof and source or some logical argument. this ain't you (and your pals') place to dictate what the truth is. your only contribution was the absurdly racist statement about "bloodsucking joos" and your admitting that you've never read a book but you want to edit references about it. Truth-evenifithurts 04:15, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

KG: Josephus' account was indeed altered (you've clearly not read the book in question). But is itself contradictory and is refuted by the archeological evidence. There are no remains of the nearly 1000 people who supposedly committed suicide at the site. Only three remains were found and they are Roman. I've provided endless cites for this all from Israeli academics. You have provided nothing to substantiate your claims. "But even without the benefit of the archaeological discoveries we would know that something is wrong with Josephus' story." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/masada.html "For the better part of two generations, the Masada myth was a symbol of the fledgling Zionist enterprise; it now threatens to slip back into obscurity." http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/16528/edition_id/324/format/html/displaystory.html

Why is it that any Israeli school kid knows that Masada's a myth and readers of this wiki are prevent by modern-day zealot from learning the truth and the internal debate in Israel about this subject? ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 208.58.65.42 (talk)

208.58.65.42 ,
You know very well claiming Masada is only a myth is controversial and not the most common interpretation. It should therefore be obvious such an interpretation cannot substitute the information available in the article. You have now started a revert war over this article and I suggest you try to learn the ways on Wikipedia while the article is not available to you.
To use one of your own references: "...debunking the Masada myth has become as popular as creating it was 40 years ago."[1]. Please help build a NPOV encyclopaedia instead of misusing references this way. I absolutely agree more recent interpretations of Masada should be included in the article, but as long as you keep POV pushing you are not contributing to the process of including this information.
/ Mats Halldin (talk) 22:42, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

MH, I'll let your personal attacks and falsehoods go but will say I didn't not start the revert war and I cited and backed up everything I wrote here and in the article with over a dozen reliable sources. No one refuted me with any sources.

As it stands, it is absurd that this article makes not mention of the fact that no credible archeologist, anthropologist or historian believes the myth or the archeological site has anything to do with it. There is no information in this article and it's poorly cited. Google 'Masada' and see what you get as a representative group of articles and everyone mentions that the myth is what's controversial (not the current scholarship). Every single article will mention the fact that no one takes the myth seriously these days . . . least of all in israel. "I absolutely agree more recent interpretations of Masada should be included in the article" (it's not that recent, it started in the 70s) Well, why have they been completely expunged including references that pre-date my contributions by other editors? No reader of this article would know the facts about Masada or that state of current scholarship. This article is completely unbalance propaganda and has no correlation with the facts we know today about the myth and the site of Masada. A hijacked travesty to Wikipedia. ~~ —Preceding unsigned comment added by Truth-evenifithurts (talkcontribs)

The facts don't quite line up with your POV though. Among the archeological finds at Masada were found 11 ostraca (pot sherds) with the names of Masada's defenders written on them, including the ringleader Eliezer ben Yair. Scholars have maintained that it was using these ostraca that the defenders would have drawn lots to commit mass suicide.
As for the "missing" bodies of those who committed mass suicide, Josephus tells us the last man set fire to their quarters before taking his life, so the bodies would have burned. And if not, why would the Romans have left dozens of corpses on Masada to fester? Surely they would have dragged them off and burned them or in other ways disposed of them, in the same way that the slain in battles have been cleared away from battlefields for millenia.
As they say, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
JD — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.253.72.26 (talk) 04:43, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Changes[edit]

I like most of what is here but it still lacks detail so i made a few edits. Still more to be done but I dont want to get too greedy.
This site has some excellent pictures that would be a big plus for FA if added to the page. I'm especially impressed by the one at the top as it is a much clearer view of the ramp and fortress compared to the current picture. The site also has a lot that could be included in the article and especially construction details so have a read.
I'm useless when it comes to adding pictures so could someone else have a go? This is the copyright for them: "Pictures from this websitemay be used on another website, with the following restrictions. You may not use more than 10 images, the size of the images must be not more than 400 pixels wide, and the images must include a credit link on each page they are used to BiblePlaces.com” Wayne 18:24, 12 July 2007 (UTC)


Concerning: "Inspired by the last stand of the Jews against the Romans at Masada,..." I changed it to: "Inspired by the Sicarii resistance to the Romans at Masada, the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces " This is putatively true. And corresponds most closely to the only source on the matter who is Josephus. Since Josephus (the only source) portrays the Sicarii as an thuggish splinter group, they (for balance) thus shouldn't be thought to represent the "jewish" resistance as a whole, which is why i made this edit.

On the other hand if they could be so considered the text above should also indicate that the ritual of IDF ceremonies are inspired by a extremist splinter group and as such they possess representational value for the current wider context of Jewish struggle with it's Arab neibougrs —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.83.190.186 (talk) 21:14, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


Changed: ... the site's Jewish Sicarii fugitives when defeat became imminent to just: ... the site's Sicarii fugitives when defeat became imminent Why? (1) The fact that the Sicarii where Jewish becomes evident from the rest of the article. No need to emphasize. (2) There is an issue with seeing a continuity between what can be considered Jewish or a jew - then - and today. Many modern interpretations see a deep continuity between the two others do not. On any account this aspect of continuity is debateable, but goes to the core of who were the Sicarii and what role should they play or the story of their tragedy (and the tragedy they caused others ... according to Josephus) should play today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.83.190.186 (talk) 22:13, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Is it Lucius or Cornelius?[edit]

Hello, There is some controversy concerning the praenomen of the Roman general Flavius Silva. Some sources claim it is Lucius, and others Cornelius. Could this article cite the reference for the correct name, please? Thank you. Sincerely, 76.229.180.140 (talk) 02:40, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Date plant or date palm plant?[edit]

Myth Section?[edit]

Why is there no mention about the myth? If the zionists have a problem with this then they need to look up WP guidelines. Rodolfo Graziani (talk) 16:17, 18 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rodolfo Graziani (talkcontribs) 15:13, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Number of casualties[edit]

Reading the article I realized a discrepancy in the number of casualties on the Jewish side. The infobox says 953 whereas the text claims only 936 inhabitants. Perhaps someone close to the topic could find the explanation for this possible contradiction and resolve it. 149.217.1.6 (talk) 09:14, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

References/Popular Culture?[edit]

I came to the page wanting to add what I thought was an interesting reference to the siege, in a Novel - but there is no section to add such references. Objections to starting a section? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jasonstephens (talkcontribs) 06:53, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Apocryphal George Lucas text excised from article[edit]

I have removed the following text from the article, as it is really a discussion, however brief, that determines that there is no reason for the text to be in the article itself.--SidP (talk) 05:39, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

A possibly apocryphal story says that when George Lucas was filming Star Wars, he used the sounds of the [Masada] cable cars going up and down the mountain for the movie's laser weapons.
This story IS apocryphal, since in the first "Making of" Star Wars special for TV in 1979, sound engineer Ben Burtt is shown using the cables from telephone poles.

Not a Good Article - One Sided[edit]

Assuming the best of good faith - this article is biased. Explanation: It relies on one account - and raises that one account to the level of truth. The author did not get it from even two sources. It seems one-sided – showing an anti-jewish and pro-Roman bias.

For example: “After the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish rebels and their families fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountain top, using it as a base for raiding Roman settlements.“ Awwww, poor Romans. Who, according to this, then spent vast amounts of time and resources and energy building to attack the citadel – never hampered by the rebel forces. Does this make sense?

No matter how well-intentioned the author may be, it sounds as if the author is not welcoming to other ideas. To use another example from the Roman-era, the way this article is written it is easy to think that the author would accept the Church's old story of who killed Jesus as true (even though the Church has recanted) - and not investigate other possibilities, such as: the Romans bought off one of Jesus' followers, found the location of the Passover Seder, captured and killed Rabbi Jesus - and then used him as their own martyr. --76.177.35.39 (talk) 18:44, 7 October 2009 (UTC)


Ive pointed out in the intro that the masada story is simply that, a story.[edit]

and that there is no archaeological evidence and the story comes from a single written source.

In fact this entire page is rubbish. for instance saying the jewish defenders numbered 960, comes from a single crappy source. Can anyone prove that number? Have that many corpses with appropriate wounds been dug up on the site? Have several writers mentioned that number? And the page makes no mention of the political reasons for perpetuating the masada story, the page is one sided and from an encyclopdic viewpoint worthless.

There is as much or more evidence for jesus, father christmas, pixies, allah, the contents of the old and new testaments, and ghosts as there is the masada story. Doktordoris (talk) 21:37, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Plenty of events in ancinet history come from single sources. Entire episodes in the earlier history of Rome for instance, and seldom are events recorded by contemporary historians. The fact that there's only one source isn't extraordinary. Archaeology actually supports a great deal of the Masada story, even if not its entirety. There may be room for serious dicussion about the validity and reliability of Josephus, but I suspect you're not really looking for one. The crux, I see, is the political use made of the story. That's covered in the article and you're welcome to add to that. It does not however change the facts about the original story as told by an ancient historian that is widely quoted to this day. I'm reverting your changes to the lead. Poliocretes (talk) 05:52, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Dating the fall of Masada[edit]

The Wikipedia article says that Masada fell in the spring of AD 73 - this information is followed by a reference to an article by Duncan Campbell. But this scholar believes that the fall must be dated to the spring of AD 74. It seems rather strange to give the date 73 and then cite an author who prefers the date 74.

For more information on this matter see the following books and articles:

  • Hannah M. Cotton, "The Date of the Fall of Masada," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, vol. 78 (1989) pages 157-162.
  • Duncan Campbell, "Dating the siege of Masada," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, vol. 73 (1988) pages 156-158, this article is available on the internet.
  • Maurice Sartre, The Middle East under Rome, 2005, page 428, note 204, with references to the modern debate about the date.
  • Colin Wells, The Roman Empire, 1995, page 314, prefers the date 74, not the traditional date 73.
  • Martin Goodman, Rome & Jerusalem, 2007, mentions the fall two times. It seems he cannot make up his mind. On page 257 he dates the fall to 73, but on page 458 he dates the fall to April 74. Goodman has no reference to the modern debate about the fall.
  • Desmond Seward, Jerusalem's Traitor: Josephus, Masada, and the Fall of Judea, 2009, chapter 23, "Madasa and the Last Zealots." This author is not quite sure how to date the fall of Masada. On page 249 he says: "Lucilius Bassus died, apparently in the winter of 72 or early 73, so the Romans did not recommence their mopping-up operations until 74. When spring came that year and the campaigning season opened, Bassus' newly appointed successor, Lucius Flavius Silva, assembled all units..." So he seems to prefer the year 74. But on page 251 he says: "Arriving in early 73, Silva ordered the legionaries to build his headquarters camp on the inhospitable rock..." So now we are back in 73. On page 255 we hear about the suicide pact of April 15 and the Roman conquest the following day, and presumably we are still in 73. On page 257 there is a bit more about the date: "A handful of Zealots remained after the fall of Masada, although not in Judea." Later on the same page we hear about the Roman governor Lupus and his actions in Alexandria: "Lupus closed the temple down at once, and in August 73 his successor, Paulinus, removed the furnishings and forbade its priests to go near it." Given that the word MASADA appears in the title of this book, it is very strange that the author is not clear about the date. Was it in 73 or 74? Seward has no reference to the modern debate about the fall of Masada.

Torben Retboll - Bangkok - Thailand —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.120.71.198 (talk) 13:10, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Article Split in to "The siege of Masada" or Rename to...[edit]

I was trawling through the millitary history article when I came across this article and let me give me impression on it. Firstly the article is called Masada, is this refference to the Siege of Masada or the Ancient city of Masada, this is very confusing. The article features the siege yet also features Masada today and the History of Masada which are irrelevent to the topic. It is because of this I propose a split to "The Siege or Masada" covering just the siege and "Masada" covering the history of the city.If you do not wish to split the siege then rename the article as "The Siege of Masada" and split the section about History to "The City of Masada" Tugrulirmak (talk) 09:25, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

I think we should split the topic of "Siege of Masada" into a separate historic article indeed, in addition to the geographic article Masada, which describes a famous archaelogical park and a tourist attraction. Are you still into this?Greyshark09 (talk) 10:28, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Number of Soldiers[edit]

According to the Ground warfare: an international encyclopedia by Stabley Sandler the siege was commited to by 15,000 soldiers. Now I know not if he means auxilaries of legionares or both but the numbers in the article should be cleared up to make it clear to the reader, how many slaves if any were involved and do auxilaries fall under soldiers.Tugrulirmak (talk) 09:44, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes, of course they do, HOWEVER, your source is not correct. Silva used a single legion for the reduction of Masada, with a small contingent of auxiliaries (probably archers) - no more than than 6,000 soldiers and more probably less than 5,000 - the rest of the Roman legions in Judea were needed elsewhere to stem the possibility of revolt(s). HammerFilmFan (talk) 21:12, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Lots of cleanup needed[edit]

The history is incomplete and mixed up with the archaeology. Also, information from the UNESCO web page should be replaced by serious history books (of which there are many to choose from). Zerotalk 13:07, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, but did you imply that the UNESCO web page is not serious? In what regard? Debresser (talk) 14:13, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Request[edit]

Where is the RAMP to be shown! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.220.141.63 (talk) 14:42, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Vista general de Masada.jpg
The ramp is visible in this shot of Masada: the pale line running from right centre to the plateau itself: I've not added it to the page as it probably belongs on the siege page, which already has one shot of this feature. cheers IdreamofJeanie (talk) 19:43, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

File:Israel-2013-Aerial 21-Masada.jpg to appear as POTD[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Israel-2013-Aerial 21-Masada.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on December 14, 2014. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2014-12-14. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:29, 24 November 2014 (UTC)

Masada
An aerial view of Masada, an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel. Found atop an isolated rock plateau, it overlooks the Dead Sea. The first fortifications on the mountain were built by Alexander Jannaeus, and significantly strengthened by the Roman client king Herod between 37 and 31 BCE. During the First Jewish–Roman War of 66–73 CE, the fortress was besieged, falling only after the 960 Sicarii defending it committed mass suicide.

Masada is among the more popular tourist attractions in Israel, and in 2001 it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Photograph: Andrew Shiva


"Masada in popular culture" section needed[edit]

As the head says, a "Masada in popular culture" section is probably needed now, what with the 1981 miniseries, and now "The Dovekeepers" novel and miniseries, and I'm sure there are other books that use it as a setting as well. But it's probably advisable to add a section like this, as the article already contains the "Homage" section... --IJBall (talk) 13:52, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Number of remains: Why would it be assumed they would still be at Masada after nearly 2000 years?[edit]

I'm a little puzzled that the small number of remains found last century is interpreted by so many to suggest that Josephus' account was wildly exaggerated. First, it seems reasonable to expect that about 28 people out of over 1,000 (980 plus families) may have died and been interred from natural causes during the conflict described by Josephus. Secondly, why wouldn't the remains of the Sicarii who committed suicide, and were necessarily above ground, have been removed - even if they were pitched over the cliffs - by the Romans? Isn't it possible also that they were taken away by the Romans to be paraded, even though they were dead, in Rome, as conquered peoples often were? Finally, if a Byzantine church was erected there, wouldn't you think that if remains were still present, they would have been taken away and buried elsewhere during the erection of the church? I'm a little puzzled that "Josephus was lying" seems to be the de facto conclusion here. 172.10.237.153 (talk) 03:07, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Alexander Jannaeus - yes or no?[edit]

@Debresser: After extensive excavations, no buildings that could be positively attributed to ' time were discovered on Masada. Coins, yes, but no buildings. (One can spend time up there, sleep in tents or under the clear sky, and lose coins on the ground. The cliff works like an excellent natural fortress, Herod's casemate wall only adds to its protection.) By comparing some buildings at Masada with Hasmonean structures at Tulul Abu el-Alayik (Hasmonean and Herodian winter palaces at Jericho), one can find similarities and there are theories that some of the smaller buildings and the SW part of the Western Palace of Masada might (!) be Hasmonean (so MAYBE the work of Alexander Jannaeus), but no proof for that could be found anywhere. None.
"Josephus is a good enough source": not when contradicted by facts on the ground. In 73-74 he was in Rome, not a witness to the siege, and it is apparent from his mistakes in the description of Masada that he only knew it from hearsay. He made lots of inaccurate statements elsewhere too.
"Herod for sure didn't build anything, at most had it commissioned.": kidding, right? Or do you think that Jannaeus was a stonemason and construction worker who built his own palaces? That's how English works, and actually every language I know: if you commission it, you "build" it. You probably just got carried away :-) Arminden (talk) 16:38, 15 October 2015 (UTC)Arminden

  1. Absence of proof is a contradiction. You will need to bring better proof if you want to remove Josephus. Or at least you will need to bring a source that specifically raises doubt. Your authority is not enough for Wikipedia.
  2. See the documentation of Template:Infobox ancient site, where it says that the builder parameter is for "If known, name of person or people who built the site". Sounds like it means the actual architect of supervisor of the building. Check also the usage of this parameter, where you can find "Colonists" as value of this parameter for the builders, which confirms my understanding of what this parameter is for. Debresser (talk) 18:55, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

@Debresser: Last attempt at reason. As I have already written, ANY good source you can find will confirm what I wrote. I have no intention to start a silly debate. So, one source and I leave it to you & anybody with time on their hands & interested in reason, not controversy, to add more (there's plenty):
Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land by Avraham Negev and Shimon Gibson, article on Masada, pages 320-325 (Continuum, New York and London 2001, ISBN 0-8264-1316-1)
Btw, Josephus didn't even mention "Alexander Jannaeus", but only "the high priest Jonathan", who could be either A.J. (Hebrew name: Jonathan), OR the brother of Judas Maccabee. It seems to me that your tendency to limit your view to few sources and narrow readings thereof is an obstacle to reaching a reasonable level for the edits. Arminden (talk) 19:10, 15 October 2015 (UTC)Arminden

"Last attempt at reason" before you do what? Revert? You do that the whole time! You have completely no idea what editing in a community is about. You insist on pushing your point of view, against WP:BRD, against WP:EDITWAR. That attitude is completely unacceptable on Wikipedia. As is your "I am better than thou" attitude.
It is simple: you want to change the article, you bring a source. Debresser (talk) 23:20, 15 October 2015 (UTC)