The Siege of Masada: Piecing Together the Puzzle

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Contributed by Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus ended his monumental, multi-volume account of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (the Jewish War) with the story of a mass suicide at Masada. According to Josephus, some 960 Jewish rebels holding out on top of Masada – the last stronghold to remain in Jewish hands after Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 C.E. – chose to commit suicide rather than surrender to the Roman troops besieging the fortress. It is because of Josephus’ story of the suicide, which includes a speech allegedly given by the rebel leader Eleazar ben Yair, that Masada became a symbol of Jewish resistance and the modern state of Israel.

However, Yigael Yadin’s 1963-65 excavations atop Masada failed to turn up conclusive evidence of the mass suicide. In fact, the archaeological evidence from Masada can be interpreted either as proving or disproving the mass suicide story, depending on how one evaluates Josephus’ reliability as an historian. For example, a group of inscribed potsherds (ostraca) found at Masada, including one bearing the name “ben Yair,” might be the lots drawn by the rebels prior to committing suicide or could simply be food ration tickets. Most likely, some rebels committed suicide while others were killed or surrendered to the Romans and were taken captive.

However, archaeology sheds valuable light on other aspects of the Roman siege of Masada, which was conducted in the winter-spring of 72/73 or 73/74 C.E. and probably lasted no longer than 2-3 months. The Roman siege works, including eight camps that housed approximately 8000 troops and a circumvallation (siege) wall, still are clearly visible encircling the base of the mountain. In June-July 1995, I was privileged to co-direct excavations in the Roman siege works at Masada, together with Professor Gideon Foerster (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Dr. Haim Goldfus (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), and Mr. Benny Arubas (Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

Photo of Camp F, taken from the top of Masada (photo by Jodi Magness).

Photo of Camp F, taken from the top of Masada (photo by Jodi Magness).

We focused much of our attention on Camp F, which is located on the northwest side of the mountain and housed about half of the Tenth Legion (with the other half in Camp B at the eastern foot of Masada). Our excavations brought to light low stone walls over which the Roman troops pitched leather tents. The floors of the tent units were covered with broken potsherds; altogether we recovered 240 kilograms (about 530 pounds) of pottery. The overwhelming majority of the pottery belongs to local types of storage jars, a finding that sheds light on the provisioning of the Roman troops during the siege. Because Masada is in the desert, supplies (mainly food and water) likely were brought in skins, bags, and woven baskets from other parts of the country, transported overland on pack animals or on small boats across the Dead Sea. Upon reaching the camps at Masada, the supplies were emptied into large ceramic jars for storage. The jars protected the contents from dampness, insects, and vermin. Most of the soldiers probably prepared and consumed their food using utensils in their individual mess-kits. However, the commander seems to have dined in style, judging from delicately painted bowls with eggshell thin walls found in his tent unit, which were imported from nearby Nabataea (southeast of the Dead Sea).

For me archaeology is not a means of validating (or negating) personal faith and beliefs. Instead it is a means of recovering and understanding the past, often one potsherd at a time, as in the case of Masada. These potsherds are pieces of a puzzle which enable us to reconstruct part of a picture that was otherwise lost.

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161 Comments for : The Siege of Masada: Piecing Together the Puzzle
    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 19, 2009
    Reply

    I suggest that the so-called circumvallation (seige) wall was not a 'seige' wall, but was an outer defensive wall that was a part of the original defensive system of Masada. The wall had integral accommodation for defending troops. These were obviously not used by the Roman soldiers who chose to build their own camps. The implication is that when Masada was taken, the defensive wall was in a state of disrepair and could not be used subsequently by the Romans for accommodation. The circumvallation was some two miles long – two months was hardly sufficient time to build such a wall. In addition on the southern side, the wall is along the top of a precipice which already formed a natural barrier to prevent the escape of defenders. Thus along the precipice, the purpose of the wall was to ward-off attackers from the south.

    Approximately three thousand soldiers would have been required to defend a two mile long wall. Thus a small number of defenders at the wall would have been quickly driven back to the fortress where there was a low double wall at the summit approximately one mile long. Again a one mile long low wall would have been difficult to defend with a small number of defenders. Masada was taken quickly in a commando type of attack with ladders. As Jodi Magness has acknowledged, no heavy siege weapons were used at Masada. There was no seige. The Roman camps were there as a part of the later Roman defences for the area and to prevent further occupation of the fortress.

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    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 20, 2009
    Reply

    James Tabor wrote about The Masada Cave of the Skeletons here:

    http://jamestabor.com/2009/01/04/masada-mysteries

    It does seem very possible, given the desire by Yadin to keep the find quiet, that the skeletons of 25 individuals found in a cave at locus 2001/2002 were those of Jewish defenders outside the fortress, in effect, caught napping by a surprise attack, and unable to get back to the fortress. This would further support the hypothesis that Masada was taken quickly, perhaps with a surprise attack by Roman troops who could have followed fleeing defenders into the casemate (double) wall at the summit.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 21, 2009
    Reply

    In additon to the so-called circumvallation seige wall, the other part of the romanticised story of the attack on Masada, is the apparent construction of the ramp.

    This was on what is a natural spur. But it is generally overlooked that the mechanical advantage of a ramp would have been essential for the construction and maintenance of the original structures on the summit. Much of the original stonework would have been done at ground level and the building components would have been hauled up the ramp, probably with a pulley system. The ramp could have been raised and lowered at will on the natural spur before and after the construction work.

    It is inconceivable that the Romans would not have picked-off the fortresses before attemting to enter Jerusalem. At Qumran evidence was found of a savage attack with buildings being burned, probably accompanied by fierce resistance.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 22, 2009
    Reply

    Nachman Ben-Yehuda has written two books about Masada. He has made a video in which he gives a guided tour. See the page below for details and the link to the video.

    http://127.0.0.1:4664/cache?event_id=190481&s

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 23, 2009
    Reply

    I have two questions about the so-called circumvallation wall.

    1. Is there any archaeological evidence to prove that the wall was a Roman construction?

    2. Is there any evidence that stones were taken from the wall to build the Roman camps?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 23, 2009
    Reply

    The photograph here shows the southern cliff face clearly
    http://www.bibleplaces.com/masada.htm Defenders would have found it extremely difficult trying to escape up it. Yet the so-called circumvallation wall is along the top. Why would the Romans want to build a wall here? It would have been an utter waste of time and effort. Patrolling the wall would have had no advantage compared to patrolling the cliff. But for attackers coming from the south, once over that wall, they would have been able to make their way down with greater ease. The wall was a defensive wall against attack. I wrote to Nachman Ben-Yehuda. My words are in " " and his comments are in capitals as he typed them.

    "South of the fortress, the path of this outer wall appears to be over a second cliff face. There is a gorge between the fortress and this second cliff."

    YUP. QUITE A GORGE TOO.

    "Fleeing defenders would have had great difficulty climbing up the face of the second cliff."

    YUP. "GREAT DIFFICULTY" IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT…..

    "That is my reason for saying that the Romans had no need to build the wall there to keep defenders in,

    VERY INTERESTING POINT.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 24, 2009
    Reply

    Eight Roman camps with an estimated 8000-9000 soldiers seems to be an overkill for a seige against less than a thousand defenders some of whom were probably not capable of fighting. The view from the cliffs around would have made escape without being detected fairly difficult. Roman cavalry could have picked-off walking escapees easily. The seige scenario as described in the writings attributed to Josephus seems unlikely.

    The eight camps around Masada give the impression that this was a large military base for the Roman army. In fact if one considers that Masada may have been taken early in the war, then one could at least double the number of soldiers that could have been garrisoned there. The main force would have been stationed in the casemate walls, and the surrounding camps would in effect have been for the overflow of soldiers. The key to keeping a large army at Masada was its extensive water supply system. In this view, the Roman camps were not seige camps at all.

    Masada was obviously in a highly stategic position in the Dead Sea area. From the southern cliff the view north was over much of the Dead Sea coastline. http://www.biblical.ie/josephus/graphics.asp#MasG… The citadel would have surely been a key target for any Roman invader who was having trouble from insurgents in the mountains around.

    So why did the Flavian historians have the seige story at the end of war? Were they trying to cover-up the fact that Masada was among the first places to be taken in 66 CE before the Roman army entered Jerusalem?

    • Arthur Shippee
    • January 25, 2009
    Reply

    Geoff Hudson: When you talk about picking off fortresses before attacking Jerusalem, are you saying that Masada was taken before 70? And it seems that you are suggesting that the Romans did not establish a base there, but mounted a surprise attack. Is that the alternative you are suggesting? A sudden attack could have been made by camped Romans, advancing at an unexpected time, no? Thanks for clarifying.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 26, 2009
    Reply

    Arthur, I am suggesting that Masada was vulnerable because of having few defenders and that it was taken early in the war by a surprise attack. I further suggest it became the main base for the Roman invasion army. The summit and the surrounding eight camps were garrisoned with a large army numbering up to 20000 soldiers. The water systems of Masada would have been sufficient to sustain a large army.

    Today the residents of Rome have a reputation for being work-shy. May be they inherited that characteristic from earlier times. Because I further suggest that to build the stone walls for their leather tents (referred to by Jodi) the Roman soldiers simply took stones from the existing so-called circumvallation wall (which was not a seige wall but was an original substantial defensive wall). This was why the so-called siege camps were near the original wall. Masada and the other fortresses along the Dead Sea just had to be taken before Jerusalem was entered.

    • rebecca denova
    • January 26, 2009
    Reply

    I have always been fascinated with what appears to be an almost obsessive debate on Yadin's excavations concerning the absence of "proof" of the story of Masada based upon the absence of "bodies." (Other than the few skeletons that were found.) I work in Religious Studies in the ancient world, and not archaeology, but I would never have EXPECTED to find evidence of all those bodies if I were in charge of the excavations.

    After a miserable seige in that awful desert heat, with the wind of "sulfur" blowing off the Dead Sea, does anyone think the Romans would have bothered to either bury all the bodies or some other disposal method? More importantly, "rebels" and traitors against the Empire WERE NEVER GRANTED PROPER BURIAL, in light of their crimes (see the stuff on crucified bodies and the dumping of convicted criminals from the arenas). If the Romans had just left them there, yes, there should be some evidence, but we know that others moved in over the centuries, and I assume they would have "cleaned up" first.

    Has anyone ever excavated the trenches at the base of the mesa, where bones and bodies could have been tossed over? That is were I would look first.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 27, 2009
    Reply

    If anyone takes the time to study the texts and the geography carefully, they will see that the description of Japha in War 3.7.31 has an uncanny resemblance to Masada. Now one may say that there were plenty of places that would have fitted the description of Japha. But Japha is described as being close to Jotapata which in War 3.7.7 has an uncanny geographical description that fits the geography of the fortress at Qumran near to Masada. Japha (similar to Masada) was taken before Jotapata (similar to Qumran). Josephus supposedly surrendered to the Romans at Jotapata (War 3.8.1-9). Both places were captured early in War. But even more uncanny is the similarity between the geographical descriptions of Gamala in War 4.1.1 and the fortress of Machaerus on the shore of the Dead Sea. Going with these similarities one might well conclude that the Roman's battle plan was to take the fortresses around the Dead Sea first, starting with Masada. This would have been in 66 CE, not 70.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • January 30, 2009
    Reply

    And here is another remarkable coincidence. In 66 Nero, aged 29, in his prime, left Rome, ostensibly on a tour of Greece, starting in September 66 (Seut. Nero 22.3-24). Among a large entourage, Nero had with him Augustiani said to number 5000, Vespasian together with other commanders, senators and equestrians, Ofonius Tigellinus (praetorian prefect), members of the praetorian guard and perhaps the German imperial bodyguard. Cynically, Dio (63.8.3) described the army as: 'a multitude not only of the Augustiani, but of other persons as well, large enough, if it had been a hostile host, to have subdued both Parthians and all other nations. But they were the kind you would have expected Nero's soldiers to be, and the arms they carried were lyres and plectra, masks and buskins.' Somehow, I don't think they were that kind of army. The cynicism tells it all. This was a large, well equipped army, about to go on some serious business with some serious weaponry, before embarking on any Greek excursion. And that business, I suggest was in Judea, starting with Masada. This was going to be a short war, led I suggest, by Nero himself, seeking his own triumph.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • February 2, 2009
    Reply

    During his tour of Greece that supposedly began in 66, Nero, according to Seutonius, 'sang publicly' (Nero 22.3-24). And Nero insisted that the 'contests' be rearranged to suit his timetable (Nero 23.1). And woe betide anyone who was inattentive or who left during one of Nero's 'performances' (Nero 23.2). If lyres, plectra, masks and buskins were the mockings of Flavian historians inherited by Seutonius about the weapons of Nero's army, then Nero's 'performances' were battles in which Nero was involved, Nero rearranging the timetable of 'contests' was Nero dictating battle order, and Nero 'singing publicly' was Nero taking part in the battles himself. Soldiers leaving the scene of a battle could be serious and possibly the source of some anger on the part of the commander in chief.

    So, I can well imagine Nero being encamped on the summit of Masada with his praetorian guard and commites, using the hot room and bathing facilities which were no doubt still servicable.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • February 3, 2009
    Reply

    Historian Brian W Jones wrote: "The Flavian historians on whom Suetonius relied strained the truth to and beyond its limits in disguising the slavish adulation lavished by Vespasian on the emperor of the day." (Page 35, Seutonius, Vespasian) According to Suetonius, Vespasian is supposed to have either walked out of Nero's so-called 'performances' on several occasions, or fallen asleep during one of them, almost as though he treated the emperor with contempt, which is hardly fawning adulation. Such was the Flavian desire to boost Vespasian's image at the expense of Nero's. If 'performances' were battles, then Vespasian had probably left one, much to the emperor's displeasure.

    During the battle for Jotapata (in my view, the fortress of Qumran), a dart is supposed to have hit Vespasian in the foot. (War 3.7.22). The news caused disorder among the Roman soldiers who feared for their commander. They left off the attack and came to Vespasian, supposedly led by Titus, Vespasian's son. Vespasian is said to have been above his pains and encouraged the soldiers to resume the attack.

    The Flavian propaganda is evident. I suggest it was Nero who was hit with a dart, and it was Vespasian who led the retreat to curry favour with Nero, much to latter's annoyance. And it was Nero who gave the order to continue the fight.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • February 6, 2009
    Reply

    A million pound question for future consideration is: Who were the people living on Masada at the time it was attacked by the Roman army? Were the 25 skeletons found in the "Cave of the Skeletons" a representave cross-section of all the residents? According to James Tabor, Yadin reported there were 14 males between 22-60, one man over the age of 70, six females, four children aged eight to 12, plus a foetus. If we scale those figures up for approximately 1000 residents say, that would give us approximately 600 males and 400 women and children. What appears to be the presence of a high proportion of families doesn't match-up with the usual notion that it was simply Sicarii rebels (presumably mostly males) who had occupied Masada.

    And down the road, the Qumran fortress was attacked and burned. Yet no explicit mention is made of this attack in the writings attributed to Josephus, although as I have indicated, there is circumstantial evidence that Jotapata was originally meant to be Qumran in Josephus' original record. But the question to ask here is: Were the people living at Qumran, at the time it was attacked, the same sort of folk as those living on Masada when it was attacked? Were the folk who occupied these two sites on the same side in opposition to the Romans. It would seem so. Both sites were attacked and taken. And, I understand, the cemetery excavations do give some indication that women had lived at Qumran. If women had lived at Qumran when the Romans took it (remember Jotapata surrendered), then many of them would have been taken prisoner. If one knew the sort of folk living at Qumran, one could conjecture that the same sort lived at Masada. It does seem as though there could have been were family units of the same sort living at both sites.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • February 13, 2009
    Reply

    The coincidences with regard to Nero keep coming. Another strange coincidence at the right time for a short war in Judea, was Nero's triumph celebrated in Rome in 68. Dio mockingly described Nero as returning with a large number of crowns won during his Greek tour (Dio 63.20.1-21.1 ), and that he had not overcome any real enemies comparable to the earlier Greek king Antiochus. Thus Dio wrote “The victories Nero won were such as befitted that sort of army, and he overcame Terpnus and Diodorus and Pammenes, instead of Philip or Perseus or Antiochus. (Dio 63.8.4) – almost an admission that Nero really had been involved in some battles. Flavian historians had no doubt passed-on this propagandist inversion that was their trademark.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • February 17, 2009
    Reply

    Another pointer to a short war in Judea:

    On page 19 of Rome and Jerusalem, Martin Goodman refers to a period from 67 to 69 as one when land sales were being conducted. Surely if there was any hint of an imminent war, or even faction struggles, no-one would have been able to sell any land because there would have been no buyers. One would expect the buying and selling of land to be related to a period of peace rather than war.

    The comments quoted by Goodman from the land sale documents of the time seem to be a celebration of a freedom already obtained.

    1.'the fourteenth of Elul, year two to the redemption of Israel in Jerusalem'

    2.'on the twenty-first of Tishri, year four to the redemption of Israel in Jerusalem'

    3.'on the …day of Marheshavan, year three to the freedom of Jerusalem' (see Ref. below cited by Goodman)

    The implication seems to be that someone had freed Israel, not just Judea. So had the Roman army in fact given freedom to Israel at a very early stage of the five year period of what is normally regarded as the period of the first Jewish revolt? The million pound question would then seem to be: From whom had Israel been freed?

    H. Eshel, Documents of the First Jewish Revolt from the Judean Desert in A.M. Berlin and J.A. Overman (eds), The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History and Ideology (London and New York,2002), 157-63.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • February 19, 2009
    Reply

    Another pointer to a short war in Judea:

    The Year 1-5 coins of the revolt were not coins of a revolt at all. They were coins that celebrated a liberation with joyful images associated with the sanctuary and the Feast of Tabernacles. The so-called coins of the 'revolt' were coins of peace. Images on the coins were of sanctuary artifacts and sanctury worship. The sanctuary worship was being maintained. But the coins show no indication that the same was true for the temple cult of animal sacrifices for sins.

    Significantly, one of the coin inscriptions, was: ‘Shekel of Israel’. The liberation included all Jews, not just Jews of Judea. Had Israel been freed from oppression by priests?

  2. Reply

    Prof. Magness said above (quote): "For me archaeology is not a means of validating (or negating) personal faith and beliefs. Instead it is a means of recovering and understanding the past, often one potsherd at a time, as in the case of Masada. These potsherds are pieces of a puzzle which enable us to reconstruct part of a picture that was otherwise lost." Is it, Prof. Magness? I wish to remind you things you said about a year ago, during a session in the second day of the Jerusalem symposium on the Talpiot Tomb. I can't quote accuratly, but you said you think Jesus was taken to the Galilee for burial by his relatives, and then you added: I don't want to hurt other people religious feelings. On the other hand, you are so firmly confident with your conclusions regarding the Roman commander (qoute): "the commander seems to have dined in style, judging from delicately painted bowls with eggshell thin walls found in his tent unit…" It is unbelievable! A few bowls are enough in this case, although there is no other evidence, surely no inscriptions, to be that certain, but six inscriptions+matching written sources are not enough in the case of the Talpiot tomb. Not even for the slightest probability. don't you, Prof. Magness, find it STRANGE?

    And to Jeoff: I agree that Masada is still concealing many secrets. But I think the fortress was not besieged before the destruction. I wish to remind you here that Josefus reported that the Masada "heroes" raided their neighbors, murdered them and robbed them off. This picture matches the context of the Sicariis usual, arrogant conduct. They could not do all these should the Romans had camps around the mountain before the destruction, I think.

    • Nathaniel J. Merritt
    • March 1, 2009
    Reply

    Greetings Professor Magness:

    What is the relationshipr between the suicide story of Jotapata (Hebrew: Yodfat) and the suicide story of Masada? I know you prefer "pure" archaeology, and so you look askance at using other sources. Generally speaking. How about some comments concerning the pillaging and murder of fellow Jews that the Heroes of Masada engaged in before holing up in the fortress?

    Respectfully,

    NJM

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 2, 2009
    Reply

    Eldad and Nathaniel, do you think the massacre at Ein Gedi could have occured before the Romans came, and shortly after Masada was occupied? Couldn't such a massacre have been one more reason for a Roman intervention in Judea?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 2, 2009
    Reply

    http://blog.hmns.org/?p=2970

    Our guest blogger today, Jodi Magness, Ph.D., holds a senior endowed chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A noted archaeologist, she has spent a lot of time working at Masada, the location of a famous siege during the First Jewish-Roman War. In conjunction with our current special exhibition, The BIrth of Christianity: A Jewish Story, she will explore the significance of this event in a lecture at HMNS on March 9: Masada: Last Stronghold of the Jewish Resistance Against Rome.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 2, 2009
    Reply

    The 'penny has dropped'. I think when one looks at the other Lectures in the Series The Birth of Christianity: A Jewish Story, being hosted by the Houston Museum of Natural Science http://www.hmns.org/exhibits/special_exhibits/bir… , one begins to get the impression that this will not be much more than a regurgitation of the usual traditionalist, concensus, literalist views, and that not much more can be expected from Jodi Magness, or any of the other speakers for that matter.

  3. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Sorry for being late. I'm sorry that this is your opinion regarding the exhibition. Professor Dekonick's lecture will be interesting, I'm sure, as she is not so "in line" with the general attitude. The birth of Christianity is really a Jewish Story. But so is Jesus' Burial. Most of the scholars know this, but only a few are willing to study and face the probability that the Talpiot Tomb wasis Jesus' eternal Burial site. The fact that Professor Knohl is on the Houston Museum of Natural Science list speaks for its self; his "The Gabriel Revelation" recieved quiet negative reactions during the Talpiot Tomb symposium in Jerusalem, January 2008. That is: the HMNS is entitled of being open minded enough toward new, controversial study and information. The sad fact is, that the opinions of the few who think differently comapring to Professor Magness and the others in her "group", are not so wellcomed, to say the least. I aslo believe that respected institutes like the HMNS and others, will eventually give room to more opinions, just like the Princeton Theological Seminary did in January 2008. As one of the "minority" group, I don't wish to persuade since we understand the difficulties; we only want to heard, to be discussed, and to have the opportunity to stand behind our opinions.

    and to your former question: Josefus' credibility is "suspicious" for a long time. Since we don't have any other Masada info but Josefus, we treat him extremely cautiously. Still, he is not to be considered a "total liar". He reported the murderous conduct of the Sicariis prior to the revolt and at the out set of it in Jerusalem, and during the long stay in Masada. Hi reported those "heroes" robberies against their neighbors around Masada. When we follow him, it's hard to believe those guys dared to get out of the fortress walls AFTER the Romans built their camps around it. The walls were their only protection – a fact that might be emphasized when we take into account Josefus' report regarding the end of Masada: when the defenders understood that the wall will be penetrated the next morning, they commited their famous suicide. In my personal opninion, they were not heroes at all; they had quiet an easy life in the fortress for at least 3 years, while their brothers were fighting the Romans in Jerusalem. The fact that they are not mentioned in the Rabbinic literature speaks for its self. But since Josefus was not an eye witness, all options are open to discussion. I think they lost their political hope to lead the people; the crumbling wall was nothing but a proof that their way is at its end.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 3, 2009
    Reply

    "All options open to discussion", well Eldad, the option I am suggesting is: those "guys" got out to do the dirty on the people of Ein Gedi BEFORE the Romans arrived at Masada. Do run your response through a spell-checker.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 3, 2009
    Reply

    I come back to Martin Goodman's Rome and Jerusalem. Given his various statements about coins and land sale documents of the four or so years normally referred to as the period of the First Revolt, I am astonished that Goodman doesn't recognise that those years were really a period of peace, and a period in which people did not anticipate any future war with the Romans. On page 19 of his book, Goodman has: "It is clear that the authorities in Jerusalem believed themselves to be living in an independent and distinctive Jewish state". (Goodman doesn't state who he thinks "the authorities" are). In relation to the coins of the so-called First Revolt, Goodman has: "The coins contain no image in any way of Rome, even in emulation or antagonistic opposition." No sign of opposition? One might have thought these feisty rebels would have minted coins with at least some indication of defiant rebellion against Rome. But no, there is none. And then Goodman goes on to talk about land sales in expectation of a settled future, and that while Vespasian and the Roman army were supposed to be breathing down everyone's neck. Now this does not add up.

    The answer is that there was a short war under Nero, and Nero granted those who he liberated freedom to govern themselves, a freedom that was taken away by Vespasian when he came to power.

  4. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Thanks for the spell checker comment; in fact I had to do a self checkup, but forgot to. As for Goodman and his conclusions: he is not totally wrong. No one is. Let me remind you Josefus' credibility problems. I think this is why scholars and readers get the sense of obscurity regarding the first revolt. Who were the "authorities"? even thise focused question is still "open"; the number of answers resembles the number of scholars. I think these "authorities" were a mix of Galilean Zealots, Jewish Edomites, a group of new convertees (Headed by Bar Giora= Hebrew :"the son of the converted"), a large group of priests, some Pharisees. It is an impossible mix to live with and to run a state. Now take into account the Sicariis – another group with political aspirations, and the most radical. The revolt government (as Josefus puts it) defeated the Sicariis soon after the revolt army crushed the Roman garisson. Thus, we might accept a certain period of peace; that is: internal peace, at least in Judea. As you said: "Goodman has: “It is clear that the authorities in Jerusalem believed themselves to be living in an independent and distinctive Jewish state”. You surely know that the Roman army started its campaign against the revolt up north in the Galilee; the battle of Jotapata "consumed" time, and later the battle of Gamla (west slopes of the Golan Heights) as well. Moving a large army from the Galilee to Jerusalem is another time consuming task, and the Roman army took care of the town of Tzipori (18 miles west of Tiberias) as an addition. So- from the outset of the revolt and eliminating of internal radical opposition, the so called "authorities" in Jerusalem had quiet a long time of peaceful life. And truely, and conceptually, they had no internal opposition. And if we try to get into these authorities heads, I can offer this: no doubt these "guys" did have quiet a good idea fo their destiny, on the ground that they knew how the Romans treated rebels. Are we to expect them to mint their greatest fears? Find the name Rabban Yokhanan Ben Zakai in Goodman's book. This Rabbi is the perfect example of the new Jewish political thinking, developed as a result of the revolt. In short: Jewish life now – yes. Jewish sovereignty -later, with God's help. I can offer you the name of another expert in the field: Uriel Rapaport. Look for his English papers. Might be of some clarifications.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 4, 2009
    Reply

    "Totally wrong" is a sweeping expression. Goodman more or less contradicts himself in not drawing the conclusion the the land sale documents and the coins of the so-called revolt reflected an extended period of peace with Rome not just in Jerusalem or Judea but in the wider diaspora, such as Alexandria. The coins of 'peace' conveyed a message that the nation of Israel was at peace both with Rome and God – the sanctuary worship was continuing – ALL the coin symbology is related to sanctuary worship including the chalice for holding the incense.

    Nero left the sanctuary standing, but eliminated the temple cult of animal sacrifices and the priests who were messianic (as the scrolls tell us they were).

    The Roman army started its campaign at Masada which became the main battle headquarters. The archaeology tells you that. You go with the archaeology – the eight camps, the coins of peace and the land sale documents. Eight Roman camps for a small seige is ridiculous. "You surely know" only Flavian propaganda.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 4, 2009
    Reply

    "Time consumed" El dad, was simply time filled-in by Flavian historians creating history, to make believe Vespasian was on the job in Galilee. You surely realise that when Vespasian was appointed by Nero, they were together in Greece, around 67, and that Vespasian's appointment was to Syria, not Judea. Nero sent Vespasian to take command of the armies in Syria – the Flavian historians didn't cover their tracks completely. When the two were on their triumphal tour of Greece, the war in Judea was done and dusted. Judea was at peace, and the messianic priests were finished. Celebrations in Greece were all about victory in Judea and the freedom granted to the liberated.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 4, 2009
    Reply

    Eldad, your rendering of Simon Giora to its generic Hebrew "son of the converted" is interesting, especially when you say he was one of a group of "new convertees". Usually, one was the son of someone by another name. Having suspected previously that this Simon was someone special, possibly the Simon son of Judas supposedly executed for no apparent reason along with the other son of Judas, James, I naturally ask myself, were these "new convertees" in fact the earliest so-called christians, or anointed ones, to use another generic interpretation. And one may also ask, "convertees" to what? One thing Simon appears to have fought over, when it was about to be systematically and painstakingly ransacked for its wealth by Vespasian via Titus, was the sanctuary. That probably gives us the real clue to Simon's theology. He was a prophet or essene type who had rejected animal sacrifices for sins in favour of cleansing by the Spirit. In mining under the sanctuary, he was clearly capable of heavy manual labour as the agriculturalist essenes were. Simon had 'converted' to the Spirit as many of the priests did in Acts.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 4, 2009
    Reply

    Here’s one Jodi might like to consider, given what is written above about supplies – some round figure calculations. Just suppose there were 10000 Roman soldiers at the siege of Masada. How much water per day would have been required per soldier, bearing in mind that the Dead Sea Area can be one of the hottest places on earth, and a soldier’s life isn’t exactly sedentary? Would you say 5 litres per day would be a reasonable estimate? Someone might like to suggest a different figure. Five litres of water weigh 5 kg. 10000 litres of water weigh 10 tonnes metric or about 10 tons imperial. 50000 litres of water weigh 50 tonnes or about 50 tons, or in volume approximately 50 cubic metres. So on a rough estimate the army encamped around Masada would have required about 50 tons of water per day to survive as an active force in desert conditions. For a siege lasting 10 weeks say, this would have required approximately 3500 tons or about the same number of cubic metres of water. And this doesn’t allow for the water required for washing or for cavalry horses. Somehow I can’t imagine this quantity of water arriving in skins by any means, whether by mule or across the Dead Sea by small boats.

    How many mules would be required to transport 50 tons of water over rough mountainous terrain? At least 500? The mules would have drunk much of the water before they arrived.

    There never was any siege of Masada. It was probably taken in a couple of days, and it became the Roman headquarters for the invasion of Judea. The water supplies of Masada were then available to the large invasion army which in reality probably numbered nearer 20000.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 5, 2009
    Reply

    To my astonishment, I have just found out that there was once a Hasmonean or Herodian royal palace at Ein Gedi. Various elements of this building have been found in other later buidings, but as yet the location of this palace has not been discovered. Does anyone know when this palace might have been destroyed? Could it have been destroyed by the residents of Masada when they attacked Ein Gedi?

  5. Reply

    Reading some of the responses to Jodi Magness’s blog on Masada makes one wonder if those responding ever read any of the articles on Masada post-1967. For those of you who still believe in the suicide narrative I suggest reading Shiya Cohen’s article (1982) on the creditability of Josephus, which appears in a Festschrift for Yadin. Here he shows another 16-17 Masada type narratives from the Roman world, identical in structure. Writers in antiquity plagiarized to no end, if it was a ‘best seller’ in the Roman world why not adapt it to another country. Cohen ends one of these essays saying that ‘Joseph invents, manipulates, embellishes and sometimes tells the truth’.

    As for those handful of skeletons found on site, I have published two articles dealing with those found in the southern cave and recently (NEA 2007 69-1)one on the ‘couple’ found in the northern palace, which I believe are non-Jews. My original article incorrectly attributed the cave remains to the Byzantine period, which I immediately corrected (BAR 1998)showing that they were from the first century AD. Access to Yadins field diary and unpublished photos clearly showed that these remains were nothing but a Roman cemetery as the Roman’s were atop Masada for over 100 years.

    The key to understanding the Masada skeletal remains are, like those found in Qumran, the key to understanding the cemetery and the final chapter of both sites. What is complicated for the textual scholar, lay person and those unfamiliar with the basic laws of physical anthropology is for the latter, simply anthropology 101. There is no evidence for the mass suicide, the evidence as it stands today argues against such an ending.

    Joe Zias

    Science and Archaeology Group- Jerusalem

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 5, 2009
    Reply

    James Tabor has an article here on Cave 2001/2002 http://www.religiousstudies.uncc.edu/jdtabor/masa

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 5, 2009
    Reply

    Please accept my apologies, but the above article is superseded by James Tabor's blog article with pictures, at the reference I gave on Jan 20th, and repeated below: http://jamestabor.com/2009/01/04/masada-mysteries

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 6, 2009
    Reply

    Joe – Some questions for you:

    1. Do you believe there was a Roman garrison at Masada in 66 when the zealots seized the fortress and killed the soldiers?

    2. If so, why do you believe there was a Roman garrison there in 66?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 6, 2009
    Reply

    Joe you seem to believe Cohen when you wrote: "Cohen ends one of these essays saying that: ‘Joseph invents, manipulates, embellishes and sometimes tells the truth’." So what about the answers to my questions?

    I seem to recall that you thought the hair that was found cut-off in the cave belonged to a Roman woman and that it was cut by those Jews who took over Masada in 66.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 6, 2009
    Reply

    This is a long shot. James Tabor, and all, think about the cave (why a cave in a remote position?), and the variety of people in age and sex found there. http://jamestabor.com/2009/01/04/masada-mysteries… Does this remind you of at least one other burial in history? I wonder if anyone might think the same as I am thinking.

    Yadin knew something about this burial that he wasn't prepared to let on.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 6, 2009
    Reply

    Sorry Joe, I now realise the hair was found in locus 8, the lower level of the northern palace. There are pictures of it on pages 122 and 123 of Nachman Ben-Yehuda's book Sacrificing Truth which also has some details about your views. On page 125, you are reported as saying that no skeleton of a woman was actually found, only a head of hair.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 8, 2009
    Reply

    Now think about the hair found at locus 8 (shown on pages 122 and 123 of Sacrificing Truth). Has anyone thought that this is the hair of Berenice sister of Agrippa II? And have you thought that she was murdered along with her Idumean bodyguard while king Agrippa II was away? (War 2.15.1). The myth created by the Flavian historians was that she shaved her head to make a vow and stand before the supposed tribunal of the supposed Florus. The reality was that she was ritually shamed by those who took over Masada while the king was away. Her hair was cut-off in a crude manner, and she was probably beheaded. The evidence of the crime was buried in the northern palace. So Joe, the earlier occupants of Masada, were not Romans, they were Herodians and Idumeans.

  6. Reply

    Take a look at the photo from the cave in locus 2001, which I originally published in the BAR article of 1998 (Whose Bones ?), which Tabors reprints in his blog entitled 'Masada Mysteries'. The skeleton in situ is undisturbed, untouched, unlike all the others (less than 10) which were ravaged by predators. Notice the arms crossing the body, this is one of the ways of discerning Jewish burials from non-Jew burials. Jewish burials have their arms parallel with the body, others cross them. This is one of the give a ways of the Turin shroud, total ignorance of Jewish burial customs. Like we've been saying to the 'haredim' and colleagues for years, you wish to know who is a Jew, ask the anthropologists dealing with burial practices. There is no mystery here, Masada or otherwise.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 9, 2009
    Reply

    King Agrippa II was not going to Alexandria, he was going to Rome. (War 2.15:1) – to enlist the support of Caesar. When he came back he was confronted by a rebellion of the priests. His sister Berenice had been killed. The Jews (the priests) were in charge of Masada. The prophets had not paid their temple dues. Upon this the priests seized the upper part of the city. The prophets took the lower part and the temple area. The king sent for reinforcements. The prophets and priests slugged it out with hand to hand fighting. The king was forced back with his soldiers from the upper city. On the next day, the priests took the garrison of the Antonia. They besieged the garrison for two days, and then took it, slew the residents (Idumeans) and set the citadel on fire. They marched to the palace where the king and has soldiers had fled. Many priests fell at the wall. The defenders distributing themselves among the among the breastworks and turrets. But on the next day, the king (not, the high priest) was caught where he had concealed himself in an aqueduct. He was slain.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 9, 2009
    Reply

    The seperate burial in cave 2001 was that of victim King Agrippa 11. He was taken there to be buried with his other relatives. There was no memorial.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 10, 2009
    Reply

    King Agrippa II and his sister Berenice, were more or less joint rulers of palestine, and akin to the prophets or Levites. That they continued to exist owes itself to the Flavian lies.

  7. Reply

    Well well! Joe's back! Glad to see you again, Joe. Forgive my public wondering: would you, Joe, trust a professional in the field of ancient bones, who can not tell the world what happened to the most important bones report in the history of man kind? That is: a professional who was deeply involved with the relevant excavation, and whose job was to write the bones report under discussion. Sorry, Joe. I would not. I just hope this professional did a better job when he wrote bones reports on Masada, if you see what I mean Joe. I qoute your post above, Joe: "Take a look at the photo from the cave in locus 2001, which I originally published in the BAR article of 1998". How simple is a look at the photo – WHEN THERE IS A PHOTO! How nice and comforting is the idea that someone simply did his professional job and TOOK these photos, Joe, for the sake of OBJECTIVE, INFORMING RESEARCH. Don't you think so, Joe? And how easy is to declare here and there and around the world that someone is wrong, while not even giving him a chance to speak. And by the way, Joe: you know Prof. G. Fux of Haifa. Ask him when I delivered him a paper in which I wrote that the Masada suicide was a fiction. thanks, Joe. For all. I recorded your post above for the sake of future archaeologists and historians. Just in case.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 11, 2009
    Reply

    Hirschfeld's take (in Qumran in Context) on who the people of Ein Gedi were, then we might well believe that they were 'Essene' types and agriculturalists. It appears that the residents of Masada came to raid the food produced by these agriculturists, and in the process massacred hundreds including women and children. But it looks as though there was more to the raid than food.

    On page 148 his book Sacrificing Truth, Nachman Ben-Yehuda quotes an interview he did with Shmaria Guttman who is reported as describing the people of Ein Gedi thus: "They were land tenants of the Roman regime. In fact, the people of Ein Gedi did not have private land, it was state property and the state then was the ruling Roman Empire." So we have an additional motive for the raid. The residents of Ein Gedi were friendly towards Romans and they lived on their land courtesy of the Roman Emperor. But did the hatred by the residents of Masada for the people of Ein Gedi also have a religious basis? We understand that 'Essenes' had their own form of cleansing. They did not sacrifice animals for sins.

    In his Qumran in Context, Hirschfeld considers that the residents of Qumran were aristocratic priestly types. Qumran was attacked like Masada by the Romans. The implication is that the common enemies of the Romans in both Qumran and Masada were priests, and there were plenty of them to form a substantial force. And if the documents found at Qumran were produced by those priests, then they were certainly messianic and anti-foreigner.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 11, 2009
    Reply

    But when did the massacre at Ein Gedi occur? The impression given in the extant text is that the massacre occurred during a period of civil strife after the 'Idumeans' had been let into Jerusalem, done their worst, and gone away again for no real reason. (War 4.6.1). The story goes that Vespasian let the civil strife continue because many Jews would then run away and not be involved with any war against the Romans.

    But look at the words that introduce the account of the massacre at Ein Gedi. (War 4.7.2): "And now a fourth misfortune arose, in order to bring our nation to destruction." This is a typical formula for the introduction of an interpolation by the Flavian editors. I suggest that the massacre at Ein Gedi was brought forward.

    The example of ‘Idumeans’ entering Jerusalem (in testudo fashion) was the Romans under Nero being let in by the prophets who were hiding in the sanctuary. The residents going home for no apparent reason was Romans going home. But not before they had defeated Judea.

  8. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Right, the people of Ein Gedi did not have private land; it was state property, that is: the Romans were officially the land lords. But this was the same all over the land of Israel (see Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd Ed., 2008, Vols. 8'9'10, regarding the provincial administration). We may ask: if so, what are the real estates contracts we talk about? The answer might be: after the revolt broke out, Judean Jews had a real sense fo liberty and independence and they had free transactions at leat for the next 2-3 years.

    "did the hatred by the residents of Masada for the people of Ein Gedi also have a religious basis?" Formally – it had. the Sicariis regarded all other Jews as not sufficiently loyal to God and the Torah. BTW: the Essenes held the same viwe, only they were not violent. But the real base was political aspirations; simple power struggle. The other reasons for the raids were… daily needs.

    Could the Qumranites be priests? I don't know enough to rule it out. But I think the Masada "heroes" were not priests. What they had in common with the Essenes (and with all Jews) was the religious concept of the land: God promised it to Israel, so every non-Jew in the land is conseptually an invader. Some sects could have seen the Romans as God's messengers or tool to clear the land of the Jewish population's sins. Even so – the Romans could not be but enemies.

    Shimon Bar Giora: to understand this one we have to take the contemporary Jewish names system into account. Regularly, a Jew's "second" name was his father's. This system assured a Jew's identification and family grip of its property. This is why funerary inscriptions carry no nick names by default (only as an addition to the formal birth names). This system served also to demonstrate a Jew's "national" blood line: his father was a Jew, and so were all his ancestors, attested by their formal "second" names. What happened when a gentile wanted to convert? Part of the process was a strict requirement that the candidate has to declare in a Jewish court that he is "wiping out" all his past, including his ancestral associations to the extent that he gives up his share in his gentile family's property for good. But the "new" Jew must have a "second" name – other wise he was almost no one. The system allowed for him to have his status as an ancestral designation. In this case, there were not too much options: as a former gentile he is now a convertee. Carrying his status as a name could be also used to prevent the marriage of a convertee to a priestly family, by anouncing this status. When he had sons, they carried their "ancestral" designations "X son of the converted". Only the third generation could have their father's name as "second" name. Was S. B. Giora an Essen? I don't know. If he was – then we are talking about SOME Essen – a fighter Essen. Qiuet a rare man, I guess.

    You asked Joe: "Does this remind you of at least one other burial in history? I wonder if anyone might think the same as I am thinking." I wonder if Joe will ever reply. This question is really a bull's eye hit. Especially since you made the next analogy: "Yadin knew something about this burial that he wasn’t prepared to let on."

    Yadin was not the last one. Others know a lot about "at least one other burial in history". They are not prepared, nor do they have the willingness to let on. Instead they fight the fight of their lives to eliminate all possible debate, to deny all oposite, well informed opinions, and they refuse to have their "rivals" with them again publically. Joe knows some of them very well. He surely knows what happened to the bones found in the site under discussion. Joe can freely debate the Masada bones, because they are photoed, at least. This is why he surely know how the other site's bones are so important. It's so sad!

  9. Reply

    to Geoff. Surprisingly enough, it appears that what I told you above regarding the names system has a parallel in Roman culture. I qoute: "A s we have mentioned, epigraphical evidence allows us to perceive the g r o w t h o f a peculiar onomastic system whereby

    a person (most often a man) is designated by t w o names, the personal

    name (in Rome, praenomen) and the name o f the clan to which he belonged

    (in Rome, nomengentile). E v e n if formally the nomengentile might appear as

    an ordinary patronymic (Servius Tullius = Servius son o f Tullus), it was

    taken to indicate membership of a wider group than the nuclear family.

    The nomen gentile was displayed in identical form not only by all the

    theoretical descendants of a common ancestor, but also by certain clients

    who had joined the group in a subordinate position and apparently

    without blood relationship." Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd E. Vol. 7, 2, 2008, p. 98.

    In the case of S. B. Giora, as well as other convertees, the dsignation "the son of the convertee" is the "wider group than the nuclear family" mentioned here. I know both are not IDENTICAL, but there are similarities.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 12, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad.

    After the death of Agrippa I, Agrippa II became king. Cuspius Fadus, Tiberias Alexander, Cumanus, Felix, Festus, Albinus, and Florus were all fakes. The text inserted was largely fake. The residents of Ein Gedi did rent their own land. The land was in the employ of Agrippa II. He was made king right from the word go. He was at the centre of all events.

    I merely said that the people of Ein Gedi “were land tenants of the Roman regime” because I was quoting from Shmaria Guttman. It was NOT quite like that. They were land tenants of the ruler of Judea who was Agrippa II and a friend of the Romans.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 12, 2009
    Reply

    After the death of Herod, Claudius set Agrippa, the son of Agrippa over his fathers kingdom.

    All the rest is of chapter 12 is lies.

    He was therefore disposed to send Agrippa, junior, away presently to succeed his father in the kingdom.

  10. Reply

    Hi Goeff. It seems that you know much more than I do regarding the history of my own people during the relevant time. Both Agripas's are beyond my scope. Agrippa II was a friend of the Romans; he had to be – he was their client. He might have "owned" lands, but he was still on their "tax payers" list. Eventually the real land lords were the Romans. Nevertheless, the Jews in the land accepted him, because his "feminine" blood line starts with Miriam, Herod's wife, and continues through Jewish women not like Agripa I, whose "feminine" blood line starts and contiues with gentile women. In Judaism, only the "feminine" blood line counts. That makes Herod a non-Jew, since his mother Cypros was a Nabatean, an Arab-pagan born, and there's no evidence whatsoever that she converted to Judaism. Herod was indeed the King of the Jews, but he was not a Jewish King.

    It appears that what we all think about Josefus is right: his credibility is, say, problematic at least. But if so, should we dismiss the evidence he provided that supports the historicity of Jesus Christ?

    May I ask: what are you studyingresearching? I might help you with sources, mainly modern research ones. I think the names M. Stern, G. Fux, and A. Kasher will be of some help. By the way, Masada is not mentioned in the Rabbinic Literature, while King Herod is, by his Hebrew name "Hordos".

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 12, 2009
    Reply

    The rest of Antiquities, book 19, chapter 9 is largely false. There was not much difference between Nero and Agrippa in age when the latter came to power. The former was eigtheen, the latter seventeen.

    And the text does finish with: "when Vespasian had subdued the country, he removed them out of his province." Clearly, this reference to Vespasian is entirely unwarrented.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 12, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad. I'm very interested that there is no mention of Masada in the Rabbinic Literature.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 13, 2009
    Reply

    Nero was in Back in Rome in AD 68 celebrating his victory in Judea. The liberation of a province that Nero proclaimed in Greece was of Judea (see page 140 of Rome and Jerusalem), not of any province of Greece. Significantly, Alexandria was not affected by this “liberation”, but nevertheless it commemorated his visit to Greece on coins (Couvalis G. 2007). That commemoration was because Nero had liberated Judea.

    Alexandria had a large Jewish population and was led by a Jew , the prefect of Egypt, Tiberias Julius Alexander. Thus Alexandria issued coins that honoured Nero as a liberator. The Jews had already issued coins that declared it was an independent state (the coins of the so-called revolt). In the nineties Plutarch wrote: “to the genos which among his subjects was among his subjects was noblest and most beloved of heaven he has granted freedom” (see Couvalis). “Genos” means something like ethnic group.

    That “genos”, “most beloved of heaven” was Jews. On page 140 of Rome and Jerusalem, Goodman quotes a surviving Greek inscription: “Other leaders have liberated cities, only Nero a province.” The province was Judea. Judea was to be free, but under Roman protection.

  11. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Yes, the Masada is not mentioned in Rabbinic Literature (RL); not the event, not the place its self. Why? We might only speculate. One may suggest that the event never happened; that is: if we appreciate nihilism. I think the RL never mentions the entire Masada affair because its creators understood the implications of mixing messianic aspirations and military power. They did not want another mix as such to lead the Palestinian Jewry into another revolt – and we know they failed. 62 years later another revolt broke out – which is mentioned in the RL many times. This time some sages were deeply involved. Maybe this is why this one is mentioned, comparing to the first revolt, with which no sage was involved. That said, it is still no more than speculation.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 15, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad. If it is mentioned it is not speculation. If it is not mentioned it is speculation. Now come on Eldad. The most important event in the Jewish war was surely Masada. Why didn't the Rabbis mention it in in their Rabinnic Lterature. I didn't know at all about this lack of mention of Masada in the Rabinnic Literature, until you mentioned it.

    The truth of the matter is they would rather have forgotten about it. It occured at the beginning of war, not the end. It was over in a short space of time. It was not the glorious outcome depicted in the writings attributed to Josephus. There was no long siege followed by suicicide. They refelected the truth.

  12. Reply

    Nice to "see" you again, Goeff. Well, as much as I will not reject your second paragraph because it's not entirely wrong, I can not agree that "The most important event in the Jewish war was surely Masada". To the people who created the RL, the destruction was much more important. And it was the same for every Jew. It was and is the most important mile stone in Jeiwh history after the Bible eras. It's full of meaning, it's educating, it's a sign of the possible degree of stupidity Jews might get themselves at. And "thechnically": how can "not mentioning" reflect any true, and after you write, in your own words: "If it is not mentioned it is speculation". I still think that the sages never mentioned the Masada affair because of its internal socio-political implications.

    And BTW: what are you studying?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 15, 2009
    Reply

    I am afraid we are going to have to disagree. I say they didn't mention it because it never happened, that is as the writings attributed to Josephus say that it happened, i.e. the final battle of the war with a long siege and a final suicide. It was a short battle at the beginning of war leading to the establishment of the main Roman battle camp. The Jews (in effect the priests) knew that once the Romans had started this war it was going to be a short lived affair.

    And BTW friends, let me say I study the writings attributed to Josephus as my principal source.

  13. Reply

    Hi Goeff. I have no problems with informed, friendly disagreement. Anyway, whether or not it happened as Jodefus discribed it, still the sages had all the good reasons not to mention it in their literature. If I follow you: how long the Masada siege was, as you see it? Your answer might be a good start.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 16, 2009
    Reply

    Yes, but just suppose Jerusalem was not destroyed, as in the writings attributed to Josephus. Suppose that the temple was only partially destroyed, by Nero that is. He killed many of the priests. He left Jerusalem with his army after just a short war (less than a year). The coins of freedom are issued. The land sales resume. There is celebration in the large diaspora city of Alexandria. There is a long period (four to five years) of peace. What then?

  14. Reply

    Hi Goeff. Suppose you are right; but if so, why, then, the sages literature is loaded with the destruction and its implications of all sorts? We know that after the destruftion the preists lost their high status and were excluded from "the chain of tradition". The entire attitude toward the destruction as an event gives the impression of totality, a horrible disaster, beyond the legendary details. This literature blames Titus for the total, disastrous destruction. Jews were expeled from Jerusalem and its vicinity. All these are almost not affected by the length of the siege.

    "long period (four to five years) of peace" – OK. And what ended this peace? Another war? What war? And you still did not reply to my question: how long the Masada siege was, as you see it?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 18, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad. The seige of Masada lasted two or three days.

    The priests had lost their "chain of tradition" in 66 when Nero partially destroyed the temple, but left the sanctuary standing.

    Titus recovered the wealth of the sanctuary four or five years later, then destroyed the sanctuary, purely for the benefit of Vespasian's rise to power. There was no war then. Simply a small skirmish with the resident prophets of the sanctuary – there was a small number of prisoners in Vespasian's triumph including Simon who was probably the son of Judas.

    The Romans didn't want the priests to rise again.

    The Rabbis had to credit Titus with the destruction and the expulsion of Jews.

    Some priests now out of a job, helped the Flavian authors rewrite Josephus and the NT. In effect, the priests became the masters of the Church.

  15. Reply

    Hi Goeff. I'm really amazed; let's make it by points:

    1. The seige of Masada lasted two or three days – so why so many large camps? And how long was the dyke building process?

    2. Titus recovered the wealth of the sanctuary etc. – and what do we see on Titus arch? Do you mean it means nothing, or that it is a fake or a glorifying act? And how could one benefit from destroying what he have recently recovered? Need explanation.

    3. The Romans didn’t want the priests to rise again – makes sense. But is so, why, then, recover the sanctuary?

    4.The Rabbis had to credit Titus with the destruction and the expulsion of Jews – why? And if I follow you why, then, they mentioned Vespasian as the Bad Guy responsible for the destruction of the city and mass killing?

    2. Some priests now out of a job, helped the Flavian authors rewrite Josephus and the NT. – why would the priests, Jesus' worst enemies, want to rewrite the NT (leaving Jusefus aside for a moment)? They are the NT bad guys, after all. but I do love the "In effect, the priests became the masters of the Church". I wish you explain this one, but besides, I guess some people I know might find this one really offending. Watch out, Goeff!

    anyway – I'm waiting for your reply.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 20, 2009
    Reply

    Exactly, El dad, why so many large camps for a small siege? There was no seige. This was a base for the Roman army – led by Nero.

    Titus stole the wealth of the sanctuary. His excuse was a supposed war. His was simply a skirmish with the prophets. He took what Nero had considered the prophets had valued. He needed the money for his father. Then destroyed the sanctuary. He didn't simply get out all that wealth at the last minute while the sanctuary was burning. He systematically, over several weeks, stripped the gold from the sanctuary. Vespasian even had scriptures delivered to him from the sanctuary. Some of those could have been the original NT documents.

    Winners dictated the outcome. Vespasian and Titus were given the same treatment. Depending on when the rabbinic literature was written determines to some extent the final interpretation put on Vespasian and Titus. But the writers had to go with the perceived history.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 20, 2009
    Reply

    Under Nero, the priests were bad guys and many were killed, and the prophets were good guys. The city of Jerusalem was garrisoned for about four years. It was peaceful. After Vespasian had risen to power, Titus took this golden opportunity to get his hands on Jewish wealth. Under Titus/Vespasian the prophets were annihilated.

    Somone was captured and imprisoned at 'Jotapata', really Qumran, by Nero. Myth has Josephus – its a laughable story. The reality was Jonathan the high priest. It was he who gave himself up, along with others, and was imprisoned by Nero, probably in Rome, later to be released by Vespasian. These out of work priests became the good guys, and it was they, I suggest, who was responsible for much of the extant NT, probably using the documents received by Vespasian out of the Sanctuary.

    Josephus no doubt met his end around the time Nero died. He was a friend of Nero. They were of the same age, educated together. Although a priest by birth, Josephus was a prophet.

    What was a small beginning of a new religion began by re-working the NT documents recovered from the sanctuary in Jerusalem. Much of the original NT was the writings of prophets from Rome to Jerusalem.

  16. Reply

    Hi Goeff. I admit this entire story fo prophets is new to me, especially when you say Josefus was one. Further: if the Masada bottom was the area in which the Roman army had it's camps, how could so many people have enough water in such a devilish place? And still: how long it took to build the Masada dyke? I'm confused. Is there any source, preliminary or secondary, who supports you, besides Josefus?

    BTW: the name is Eldad – one word, meaning: a gift from God in ancient east Semitic languages.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 21, 2009
    Reply

    Eldud, you obviously haven't folllowed. The reason such a large army was able to survive was because the Romans only took a few days to capture Masada. From then on they had plenty of water from Masada itself.

    The Romans didn't build the wall, or dyke, as you call it. It was a part of the original defensive system of Masada. They built camps using stones from the wall and pitched their tents over them.

    Preliminary or secondary sources? I don't know of any. But your spelling does seem erratic, especialy when it comes to Josephus. But I wouldn't have thought the story of prophets was a new one to you. After all, wasn't Jesus called one. Josephus, although born a priest, never practiced as one. He never took part in any temple ritual.

    BTW: the name is Geoff.

  17. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Have you ever been to Masada? There's no way to see the dyke as a part of the original defensive system. And I think you have to explain: why would the Romans have this area as their army main "station"? Why keep so many soldiers in such a remote nowhere? If we accept Jesus as a prophet, how is Josefus equal to Jesus? And let me quote Ariav in "Blackwell Companion to the Roman Empire", p. 573, regarding the priests' status and situation after the destruction: " A variety of sources testify to the persistence of the priestly status and its high social prestige up until the end of antiquity and beyond. The hope to rebuild the Temple continued to beat in the hearts of many generations of Jews (manifesting itself, for example, in the Bar Kokhba revolt), thus sustaining the role of the priests. On the other hand, we no longer hear of priests holding any official position, at least not in the three centuries discussed in this chapter (Irshai 2004)."

    that said, I must add that I never took the Masada "suicide" story as obvious and that real. We might say the same, coming from different POV's. Looks good to me.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 23, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad

    1.I see the dyke as the wall. Why, for example, build "a dyke" on a southern precipice to keep defenders-in.

    2.And you have to explain why not. The archaeological facts explain themselves.

    3.Prophets lived in every city, including Rome.

    3.We are not really concerned about later.

    And I think you have to explain: why would the Romans have this area as their army main “station”?

  18. Reply

    Hi Goeff. Point 1,2: clearly you have never been to Masada. The dyke is next to the WESTRN wall, and "crossing" it, not parallel. This is why it suits the goals of the attackers, not those of the defenders.

    3. Prophets: I guess I'll have to reconsider my "prophets" conceptions and understanding.

    4. We are concerned about later since ther's no "clear cut" event in history. There always has been something before and something after an event. The event its self is a link.

    5. The "main station": if it was not for the siege, which took a few days as you claim, why 4 camps? I'm trying to follow your logic. 4 camps look like an army "main station", if it is not for a siege.

    and I made a mistake: the name is Eliav, not Ariav.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 23, 2009
    Reply

    1. You are clearly not Eldad.

    2. Western wall is of the temple – nothing to do with Masada.

    3. You certainly will have to reconsider your view of prophets.

    4. Masada was a clear cut event in history. The event had its own history. It was subsequently altered by Flavian historians.

    5. The main station was a main station. Eight camps, not four, and more inside.

  19. Reply

    Hi Geoff. 1. I'm really sorry, Geoff, but I'm Eldad whether I like it or not. And believe me – me feet know this hellish mountain very well. Some of my worst memories are connected to the yellow-brown burning slopes.

    2. "Western wall is of the temple – nothing to do with Masada" – Masada does have a western wall, mounted on its long, south-to-north western cliff. We can make a compromise: the artificial wall is quite low, so the dyke is crossing the western long cliff. OK? But it is there, its structure includes long timbers (which are still visible and even "touchable" today), so I wonder how long this dyke building process was?

    3. I need more info about prophets, as long as you list Josefus as one.

    4. Masada did have its own history indeed, but you know this history stretches much more than the siege (short or long) to both directions. Are you proposing to ignore these? Let me put it this way: were Hiroshima, or Coventry, "clear cut" historical events?

    5. Main station: OK – 8 camps. Still: why 8 camps in this place, a real nowhere, so far away from any politicalmartial interest, especially after the siege was over?

    6. I've just saw a Nat.Geo program on the Coloseum. They said Vespasian needed a lot of money to build it, and this is why his son robbed the Temple treasures. I admit: it makes sense. An expert said that it all happened while Titus was sieging Jerusalem anyway.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 25, 2009
    Reply

    1.The artificial wall is low, and its structure includes long timbers. Well! Doesn't sound too much like a dyke. It must be a wall. The wall must have been defensive, and built by others who were not Romans. May be the wood was part of the troop accommodation. Sounds like a long construction process.

    2. In my reconstruction of Josephus' Life, I have used [] for editorial, and {} for proposed original.

    "The family from which I am derived is not an [ignoble] {impure} one, but hath descended all along from the [priests] {prophets};

    [and as nobility among several people is of a different origin, so with us to be of the sacerdotal dignity, is an indication of the splendour of a family. Now, I am not only sprung from a sacerdotal family in general, but from the first of the twenty-four courses; and as among us there is not only a considerable difference between one family of each course and another, I am of the chief family of that first course also;]

    nay, further, by my mother I am of the royal blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the [dignity] {purity} of a [king] {prophet}, for a long time together. I will accordingly set down my progenitors in order."

    Josephus was of a prophetic family from the word go. Hence we have a reason why he never practiced as a priest. In the subsequent geneaology, Josephus' ancestors lived with the high priests. They married the daughters of high priests. But they were prophets. And as we shall see, Josephus was raised in Rome attending school with Nero.

    3.Coventry was a short bombing raid in the context of a longer war. Its history could not be twisted, at least like that of Masada.

    4.The eight camps were only the half of the story. The Romans were right where the insurgents (the priests) were – the mountains around the Dead Sea.

    5.Titus didn't seige Jerusalem. It was previously garrisoned by Nero. Titus robbed it.

  20. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Again, one at a time.

    1."The artificial wall is low, and its structure includes long timbers. Well! Doesn’t sound too much like a dyke".

    I don't think so, Geoff. The artificial wall mounts the long south-north cliff which is a natural fortification of Masada's west slope. And by all means: it does not include ANY timbers. And the reason it is relatively low is exactly this natural fortification. It is built of rocks only. The timbers are part of the dyke structure. This dyke is perpendicular to the western slope and wall. Thus the only reason for its existence is a hostile intention to penetrate the fortress. You must not count on my words. Get a photo of this cursed mountain, especially of its west side. See for your self. You are right with respect to the identity of the wall builders: they were not Romans. And I guess THEY would not design any thing that might endanger them. That leaves us with a question: who would? Apparently people who wanted to penetrate, not the defenders, whomever they were.

    2.Josephus' prophetic origin – again: who is a prophet in the relevant time? I aslo suspect his "priestly" origin. But to define his origin as "prophetic" we need evidence.

    3. Coventry analogy: right. So: in what context the Masada siege occured? I agree that the Masada history was and is twisted, turning it into a myth. But this happened only during the last 80-70 years, not before.

    4.The priests were on the mountains around the Dead Sea. Evidence? Or maybe you mean the Qumranites? Since if so, we have only one Qumranite spot: the Qumran.

    And Geoff: what are you up to, anyway?

  21. Reply

    A great view of the western Masada slope and the dyke.
    http://www.tiuli.com/popup-pic.asp?URL=Metzada/so… כורם

    http://www.truthnet.org/Spiritual-warfare/10pulli
    obviously the dyke is perpendicular to the western slope and wall.

    in:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=Masada&rls=

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 26, 2009
    Reply

    The wall, eldud, the wall goes over the southern precipice, as I have pointed out to you on several occasions. It was not designed to keep people in.

    Evidence is in the language. And Josephus did not practice as a priest. He was a prophet.

    The Romans attacked both Qumran and Masada, but Qumran is not reported. You go with the archaeology, not eldud.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 27, 2009
    Reply

    So Josephus was a prophet.

    "nay, further, by my mother I am of the [royal] {prophetic} blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the [dignity] {purity} of a [king] {prophet}, for a long time together. I will accordingly set down my progenitors in order."

    Asamoneus was not a king. He was a prophet. And all of this text immediately before the above paragraph is obviously fabricated.

    "[and as nobility among several people is of a different origin, so with us to be of the sacerdotal dignity, is an indication of the splendour of a family. Now, I am not only sprung from a sacerdotal family in general, but from the first of the twenty-four courses; and as among us there is not only a considerable difference between one family of each course and another, I am of the chief family of that first course also;]

    "

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 27, 2009
    Reply

    So Josephus was a prophet.

    "My grandfather's father was named Simon, with the addition of Psellus: he lived at the same time with that son of Simon the high priest, who first of all the high priests was named Hyrcanus. This Simon Psellus had nine sons, one of whom was Matthias, called Ephlias: he married the daughter of Jonathan the high priest, which Jonathan was the first of the sons of Asamoneus, who was high priest, and was the brother of Simon the high priest also. This Matthias had a son called Matthias Curtus, and that in the first year of the government of Hyrcanus: His son's name was Joseph, born in the ninth year of the reign of Alexandra: his son Matthias was born in the tenth year of the reign of Archelaus; as was I born to Matthias in the first year of the reign of Caius Caesar. I have three sons: Hyrcanus, the eldest, was born in the fourth year of the reign of [Vespasian] {Nero}, as was Justus born in the seventh, and Agrippa in the ninth."

    Josephus was a prophet because he came from a family of prophets. One of his ancesters had married the the daughter of Jonathan the high priest and son of Asamonius. Josephus had a son Hyrcanus born during the fourth year of the reign of Nero, not Vespasian.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 27, 2009
    Reply

    Josephus's son Agrippa was so named after Agrippa II. The ninth year of the reign of Agrippa II was close to the year in which Agrippa II was killed (66 CE). He was slain by the 'robbers' (the priests) after being caught in an aqueduct. (War 2.17.9)

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 27, 2009
    Reply

    Sorry, Josephus' son Agrippa was born during the ninth year of the reign of Nero.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 27, 2009
    Reply

    I was myself brought up with [my brother] {Nero}, whose name was [Matthias] {Lucius}, for he was [my own brother] {named}, by both [father] {Claudius} and [mother] {Agrippina}; and I made mighty proficiency in the improvements of my learning, and appeared to have both a great memory and understanding. Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the [high priests and] principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law. And when I was about sixteen years old, I had a mind to make trial of the several [sects] {schools} that were among us. These [sects] {schools} are three: – The first is that of the [Pharisees] {Platonsits}, the second that [Sadducees] {Stoics}, and the third that of the [Essens] {Epicurians}

    [, as we have frequently told you]; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all; so I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties, and went through them all.

    Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when I was informed that one, whose name was [Banus] {James}, lived in the [desert] {city}, and used no other clothing than what [grew upon trees] {he wore}, and had no other food than what {he} grew [of its own accord], and [bathed himself] {prayed} IN [cold water] {the spirit} frequently, both by night and by day, in order to [preserve] {cleanse} his [chastity] {spirit}, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years. So when I had [accomplished] {received} [my] {the} [desires] {Spirit}, I returned [back] to the [city] {Lord}, being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the [rules] {sons} of the [sect of the Pharisees] {prophets}, [which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics,] as the [Greeks] {Jews} call them.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • March 27, 2009
    Reply

    Take 2:

    "And when I was about sixteen years old,

    [I had a mind to make trial of the several sects that were among us. These sects are three: – The first is that of the Pharisees, the second that Sadducees, and the third that of the Essens, as we have frequently told you; for I thought that by this means I might choose the best, if I were once acquainted with them all; so I contented myself with hard fare, and underwent great difficulties, and went through them all. Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when]

    I was informed that one, whose name was [Banus] {James}, lived in the [desert] {city}, and used no other clothing than what [grew upon trees] {he wore}, and had no other food than what {he} grew [of its own accord], and [bathed himself] {prayed} IN [cold water] {the spirit} frequently, both by night and by day, in order to [preserve] {cleanse} his [chastity] {spirit}, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years. So when I had [accomplished] {received} [my] {the} [desires] {Spirit}, I {was} [returned back to the city, being now] nineteen years old."

    Josephus alway was a prophet.

  22. Reply

    Hi Geoff, sorry for being late. The wall turns to a major point, as I see it. I might agree that the wall was designed to keep attackers out. Nevetheless, a wall "surrounded" almost the entire top. And much more important: there's no doubt that Masada's west side and cliff were and are nort-south generally, and that a dyke is perpendicular to the cliff and wall. It is not a question of archaeology – I'm not an archaeologist – but of only a short look at the photos. If you've ever been there, you must have seen that.

    How long was this dyke building process?

    "The Romans attacked both Qumran and Masada, but Qumran is not reported". Plausible. But then: why? in what context? A skirmish here, a skirmish there – why? Because if we are only talking about skirmishes, then why the Roamns had to have that large army in the area?

    So – Josefus was a prophet? I admit it is changing my "prophets concept" to certain degree.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 1, 2009
    Reply

    The Life of Josephus (verses 3 to 75) was false, created by Flavian historians to fill in the time while Vespasian was supposed to be fighting in Galilee. Josephus came with Nero to Judea when he was in his 30th year (verse 15), not when he was in his 26th year (verse 3). This was the same age as Nero. Vespasian never did fight any battle in Galilee.

    I worked through the text trying to reverse some of the terms, with no real avail. But when I knew that Josephus was Nero's translator, I realised that everything written about Vespasian was false.

    All the text verses (3 to 75) onward is totaly fabricated. There are very occasional uses of real history built into the falsified text.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 2, 2009
    Reply

    Roman historians used a Roman citizen, Josephus, to create an artifical war in Galilee, in opposition to Vespasian. They could well write "thou didst not know what was done in Galilee". (Life 65).

    The passage on Justus (Life 65) is one of the longest in Life – a sure sign of a cover up. It was really telling us Josephus 'thou hast written that history' of the Judean war. The reason 'why didst thou not publish thy history while the emperors Vespasian and Titus … were all alive' was because Josephus was dead, killed when Vespasian came to power. Josephus' history of the war had been written 'these twenty years' – for some time.

    Justus could well have been real. The Flavian historians could have been correct when they wrote about Justus 'thou didst not know what was done in Galilee, for thou was then at Berytus with the king; nor didst thou know how much the Romans suffered at the siege of Jotapata'. But that did not alter the fact that Justus did not write any history of the Judean war. Justus was being misused. He had no knowledge of the Judean war.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 2, 2009
    Reply

    In Life 65 we have the two letters of King Agrippa to Josephus. That they were genuine may well be true. But that they were misused is also true. Clearly, if King Agrippa wrote 62 letters to Josephus, they were on the same side; they were supporters of the prophets.

    "King Agrippa to Josephus, his dear friend, sendeth greeting. I have read over thy book with great pleasure, and it appears to me thou hast done it much more accurately, and with greater care than have the other writers. Send me the rest of these books. Farewell my dear friend.”

    "King Agrippa to Josephus, his dear friend, sendeth greeting. It seems by what thou hast written, that thou standest in need of no instruction, in order to our information from the beginning. However, when thou comest to me, I will inform thee of a great many things which thou dost not know."

    There is no mention of Life in either of these references. The comments were more than likely about original Antiquities which was written before original War, which prompted Agrippa to write: "Send me the rest of these books."

    But the true intent of these books was: "Now the emperor Titus was so desirous that the knowledge of these affairs should be taken from these books alone".

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 4, 2009
    Reply

    In Life (a relatively short book) the word Galilean occurs 46 times and the word Galilee 50 times. Somehow, the authors had a fixation with Galilee. They wanted attention drawn away from Judea where the real action was.

  23. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Sorry for being away; I couldn't get in the site for some reason. I think we can make a few things clear. 1. Josefus' credibility is undoubtedly suspected. 2. Here I quote you: "They wanted attention drawn away from Judea where the real action was".

    Now we can go back to a part of the Judean action, our old friend Masada. Did you have a look at the photos links I sent you? I feel we have to clarify the dyke question. I claim it was perpendicular to the Masada's west sidecliffwall thus it can not be part of the defensive system but the opposite. I aslo claim its building process was long – very long, to which you agree, if I remember well. Who built it and for what purpose?

    3. Who destroyed Gamla, on the westarn slopes of the Golan heights?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 5, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad. What physical object do you call the dyke?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 10, 2009
    Reply

    The ramp was a part of the defensive wall, or the wall ended there, or just beyond it. There was no need to protect the northern part of the fortress – the geography shows that.

  24. Reply

    Hi Geoff. what you call "the ramp" is perpendicular to the WEST sidecliffwall of Masada – undoubtedly. so now you have the burden of explainimg: who could, or can, a "ramp" which is perpendicular to any defensive wall, be a part of any defensive system?

    i wish you'll visit here one of these days; we will travel to Masada, and among other facts we will see there, one fact is that the so called "ramp" is on the mountain's west side.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 11, 2009
    Reply

    Hi Eldad. The ramp is towards the northern end of the rock. The ground falls away beyond the northern face of the ramp where the cliff face is steep. There was no need to protect this face with a wall.

    You have to explain: why build the wall around the rock face to the south with a very steep gully between it and Masada? I have written to Guy Stiebel on this point, on several occasions, but so far he has declined to answer my e-mails. He I know, has quite alot to say to say on this point. He has excavated at Masada. Either he is too busy, or more likely, the question is too loaded. This was a defensive wall designed to keep attackers out, such as the Egyptian, Cleopatra.

    I look forward to meeting you for a trip around Masada.

  25. Reply

    hi Geoff. the "ramp" is "touching" perpendicularly the west sidewallcliff – you name it. please watch the photos the link to which I present here again:
    http://www.tiuli.com/popup-pic.asp?URL=Metzada/so… כורם

    http://www.truthnet.org/Spiritual-warfare/10pulli
    obviously the dyke is perpendicular to the western slope and wall.

    in:
    http://images.google.com/images?q=Masada&rls=….
    the high edge of the "ramp" is touching the west side obviously! of course, over the years, some of the ground falls to both sides of what you call "ramp". some of it falls north, as you say. this fact proves my point: the "ramp" is directed west-east. let's complete our discussion of the "ramp", and then we will touch other points, OK?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 11, 2009
    Reply

    In fact there is a map that shows the wall went entirely around around Masada. It is the map produced by John J Rousseau and Rami Aray, @ Augsberg Fortress 1995. It shows four smaller camps integrated into the wall, that could house up to 500 hundred soldiers (in total I assume). These would have been for defenders, not attackers – according to Jodi, the Romans built their own accommodation.

    There is really no reason to think that the Romans ever built the ramp or dyke as you call it. It was simply a service ramp for the construction and servicing of the citadel. It could be raised and lowered periodically.

    I am waiting for a reply from Guy Stiebal. Why did the wall go around the southern cliff with a very steep gully between it and Masada? It must have been a defensive wall.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 13, 2009
    Reply

    So come on Eldad. The ramp was built on a natural spur of rock by the original constructors to service the citadel. It had nothing to do with any Roman attack.

    The wall probably went all around Masada. It was about two miles long – well away from the ramp. It had accomodation for guards. It was 6 ft thick – impossible to build in the 2-3 three months of Magness. It was a defensive wall – useless with a small number of defenders.

    The time of 3 months was the approximate time of Nero's campaign in Judea.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 14, 2009
    Reply

    I think we have just about wound-up this wall affair. Don't you Eldad!

  26. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Sorry – the wall affair is not done yet. so: right, the wall surrounding the mountain top IS defensive. (the ramp) "was simply a service ramp for the construction and servicing of the citadel. It could be raised and lowered periodically". If so, this ramp nutralised the defensive wall, don't you think so? or you think the fortress builders, who ever they were, were also incredible idiots to leave such a large ramp adjucent to the core of their defensive system? I don't think it's reasonable. Supply to the mountain top inhabitatnts was delivered on mules and donkkeys backs along the path from the western bottom, through the western serpantine up to the western top. Why leave such a dangerous ramp when not really needed?

    I guess I already know what are you up to; just remember: as incredible as Josefus was and is, scholars study the context to "bypass" this problem. Sometimes the context testifies for a stand. Sometimes it's exactly the opposite. Dismissing Josefus is legitimate, of course. but take care not to cast the baby with the water!

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 15, 2009
    Reply

    Mules and donkeys would have gone up the snake path on the eastern side.

    The ramp, was for construction purposes only. It was probably raised and lowered . The ground at other parts of the western side was similar in incline to the ramp. The Romans could have got up that with about the same degree of difficulty. The photo http://www.truthnet.org illustrates that fact perfectly.

    I do not dismiss Josephus. I dismiss his editors.

  27. Reply

    Hi Geoff,

    "Mules and donkeys would have gone up the snake path on the eastern side". I know this path well enough, through my own feet. This path IS the most dangerous option to take if you are on the top and need supply. anyway – at least 2 Roman camps are close to its lower parts, thus threatening all effort to use it in war time. the easiest way to approach the top is from its west side, where the ramp is (and i'm glad we have agreed on that at last). if I follow your idea: after King Herod concluded to build the fortress atop Masada, he (his men) left the construction ramp, so when the Romans came they've found it "ready to use". right? and this might explain your notion that the siege was treally short. right? it could make sense if we assume that the builders left a ramp so contrasting their initial goal – defense.

    Geoff – you know I don't think the Sicariis were heroes. these bastards did nothing when others were fighting the Romans elsewhere. I'm not sure the Masada siege took 4 years. but I can't see how it took only 3-4 days, unless we follow your idea, that the ramp was there when the Romans came; this possibility is not making to much sense, I believe.

    what I've just told you about the Masada heroes is included in a paper I wrote many years ago to be delivered to my professor. he didn't like it but couldn't refute me. I'm sorry that the mountain and its story became national myths. we all know that Josefus was not there when things happened. we all know how appologetic he was. but all that makes no difference when we talk about physical evidence, and what you call "the ramp" IS one. your explanation is a bit problematic. I'm willing to delete mine – so what is a "ramp explanation"?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 16, 2009
    Reply

    How did King Herod get building materials up the mountain unless it was by a ramp.

    The ramp was lowered after Herod had completed his work.

    You are right about the sicarri doing nothing. They are a figment of the editors imagination. They were substituted for messianic priests.

    A paper wrote many years ago for your professor? Who was that? And here I was thinking that you were doing a Ph.d. Who was your professor Eldad?

    The fortress was defended by a few. They were more than likely taken by surprise.

    The coins of the so-called revolt were coins of peace. The land sales were resumed.

    Josephus was there alright, as Neros historian and translator.

    "L Flavius Silva Nonius Bassus was adlected to patrician and praetorian rank in 73 and passed straight into his Judean command; 81 saw him as regular consul, an unusual honour for a man of equestrian origin." Vespasian, B Levick. In other words he could be bought. "Silva achieved high honours, but significantly, not triumphal decorations."

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 20, 2009
    Reply

    Do you really believe that there was only one stronghold still in rebellion come 73? When L Flavius Silva Nonius Bassus came to power in Judea, he certainly saw it subdued by war, but it was a war made by Titus to destroy the temple for its wealth, to support his father, at a time of peace in Israel.

    Eleazar, the “potent man, and the commander of these Sicarii”, had supposedly captured Masada from its Roman occupants, and had been living on the supplies which he supposedly found in abundance, for over seven years, left there by king Herod the Great. “These fruits (corn, wine, oil, pulses, dates) were also fresh and full ripe, and no way inferior to such fruits newly laid in, although they were a little short of a hundred years from the laying in these provisions [by Herod,] till the place was taken by the Romans; nay indeed, when the Romans got possession of those fruits that were left, they found them not corrupted all that while.” (War 7.8.1,4).

    I have a suggestion. The king was in fact king Herod Agrippa II. It was he who had recently stored-up provisions on Masada. It was “Menahem” who had got possession of Masada, probably shortly after (or before) he killed Agrippa II in an aqueduct. “Menahem” returned to Jerusalem in the status of a king. (War 2.17.8.) “Manahem”, called the son of Judas, was a short-lived temporary substitute for Ananias. And Eleazar was Ananias’s son.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 21, 2009
    Reply

    So do you Eldad, believe that the "fruits" were nearly 100 years old? For that is what the text seems to be saying here.

  28. Reply

    Hi Geoff – i'm back. no, I don't believe the fruits were nearly 100 years old – this is exactly why the "brave defenders" robbed their neighbors. I believe what ever the historical evidence allows me to, unless I have strong reasons to reject it. I wrote my Masada paper years ago, during my M. A. now I'm on my Ph.D. the Sicariis were sort of the worst (other) Jews haters and violent people, so their crimes match the context. the ramp: even if Herod, the paranoidic king, built a useful ramp, and lowered it, leaving it reaching that far up the cliff is totally not reasonable. as for Josefus: I tend to follow the scholars who think he was not even near Masada when it was under siege. just as I think he was not such a hero in Jotapata (Hebrew: Yodfat).

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 22, 2009
    Reply

    Josephus was nowhere near Gallilee, just as Vespasian wasn't. It was all makebelieve to fill in the time of peace. There was no battle of Jotapata, but there was a real one at Qumran. Believing whatever the historical evidence allows, unless you have strong reasons to reject it, could mean you end-up down the wrong road of history. Masada being taken last in War, in 73, by a Roman commander who was bent on progression, is unbelievable. It was the first and main place to be taken.

    Who was your professor Eldad.

    Herod built the ramp. I am wondering where the entrance was to the citadel on the western side. If the gate was at the top of the ramp then Herod did not lower it.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 23, 2009
    Reply

    So which University are you doing your Ph.d at then Eldad? And who is your Ph.d professor.

  29. Reply

    Hi Geoff. as for my former Prof. name: since my Ph.D is still "cooking", this name will remain hidden for a while. my dissertation is in Bar Ilan, Israel, and my Ph.D Prof. is Rosenfeld, the head of the Jewish History DPT. a great open minded guy. the subject is the Rabbinic academy in Tiberias 235-360 CE; its people, socio-economic layout etc.

    "If the gate was at the top of the ramp then Herod did not lower it." – and yes, it was and still is. so: does it make any difference?

    the Battle of Qumran? I guess it was nothing more than a slaughtering festival. the Qumranites were definitly not a "fighting force", whatever their number was.

    I'm not sure there was no Jotapata battle at all; but I suspect it was not as horrible as Josefus depicted it. I might even agree that there was no battle at all. but then: what happened in Gamala, up in the Golan heights? archaeology shows there was a battle, and a serious one: arrows heads, catapults stones, etc.

    and now: why was the Masada first to be taken?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 23, 2009
    Reply

    King Herod (the great) would have entered the fortress of Masada by the western gate at the top of the ramp, then. Masada was vulnerable.

    Masada was Japha, a city that lay near Jotapata (Qumran). Japha (Masada) was protected by a double wall. Vespasian (really Nero), commanded Trajan, the commander of the tenth legion, to take two thousand horsemen and two thousand footmen to attack the citadel. When Trajan came to the city, he found it hard to be taken, because of its natural strength and and it was protected by a double wall. The Jews came out of the city beyond the first wall and began to fight him. They made a short resistance but then tried to retreat behind the first wall, only to be pursued by the Romans. When they tried to get within the second wall their own citizens shut them out.

    Japha (Masada) was THE FIRST city to be taken.

    The Sicarii were fictitiuous makebelieve. They were priests, as were the defenders at nearby Qumran (Jotapata) which was a fortress.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 24, 2009
    Reply

    Was the 'circumvallation' wall Herodian (built by Herod the Great), or was it built by someone else.

    I understand from Guy Stiebal, that the 'circumvallation' wall was built with a number of small camps integrated, which is what I thought. But "all the material culture is from the time of the revolt! Coins, pottery weapons and weapons and so forth! They are simply not Herodian in date,"

    By Herodian, I presume he means king Herod the Great.

    But we read in War 7.8.4: “for here were laid up corn in large quantities, and such as would subsist men for a long time; here was also wine and oil in abundance, with all kinds of pulse and dates heaped together; all of which Eleazar found there, when he and his Sicarii got possession of the fortress by treachery. These fruits were also fresh and full ripe, and no way inferior to such fruits newly laid in, although they were little short of a hundred years from the laying of these provisions [by Herod,] till the place was taken by the Romans; nay, indeed, when the Romans got possession of those fruits that were left, they found them not corrupted all that while…..There were also found there a large quantity of weapons of war, which had been treasured by that king,”

    Now you do not believe that the food was fresh after nearly 100 years. Nor do you believe that the weapons of war were still there and still serviceable after 100 years. Either the story is false, or there is a high degree of truth in it, and the writer was dissembling by making out that the king was Herod the Great. I prefer the latter. I believe the king was Agrippa II.

    A by-product of this, is the fact that the ‘Sicarii’ were not short of food, and that their raid on Ein Gedi was not for food, but simply for revenge – the story was a cover-up.

    Agrippa II was appointed king of Judea at a young age. I now realise that the wall was built by Agrippa II, not by Herod the Great – “all the material culture from the camps are from the time of the revolt! Coins, pottery, weapons and so forth! They are simply not Herodian in date.”

    The ‘circumvallation’ wall with the small camps was built by Agrippa II.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 24, 2009
    Reply

    Why does Masada not receive any mention outside of the actual story? It must have been a very important place for Herodian kings, such as Agrippa I, and I dare say Agrippa II.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 25, 2009
    Reply

    If the food was so fresh, and the weapons were greased, who had lived on Masada, if not Agrippa II.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 25, 2009
    Reply

    And his Idumean soldiers.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 27, 2009
    Reply

    So Eldad, now we have it. The wall was built by Agrippa II to defend himself from those who sought to depose him. (War 7.8.4) These were the priests, who were messianic. Agrippa II was king of Judea from when he was seventeen. The Romans hid that information from us.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 28, 2009
    Reply

    I understand from Guy Stiebal that the cave with the skeletons can only be reached from the mountain's top. This is probably one reason why Joe Zias thinks that the skeletons were Roman.

    But were the skeletons those of Idumean guards together with Herodians. These would have been murdered by the insurgents – messianic priests who occupied Masada while Agrippa was away in Rome seeking support from Nero – he never did go to Alexandria (War 2.15.1).

    At that time Berenice was in Masada with her guards. (War 2.15.1) The writings attributed to Josephus put it like this: "She could have no reverence paid to her, nor could she escape without some danger of being slain herself." Her guards were killed. Her hair was cut off. And she was killed too.

    The hair was the hair of Berenice. And the skeletons were those of her guards and other Herodians. And Joe Zias you are wrong.

    Such is the extent of Roman propaganda.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 28, 2009
    Reply

    "This happened upon the sixteenth day of the month Artemissus, [Jyar.] Now on the next day the multitude, who were in a great agony, ran together to the upper market-place, and made the loudest lamentations for those that had perished." (War 2.15.2)

    The market-place was where the Essenes or prophets sold produce.

    Florus was fictitious. There were no Romans involved. It was the high priests who were the culprits.

  30. Reply

    Hi Geoff. We have our indeoendence day today, which reminds me of the habit to swear in the name of Masada; things like: "Masada will never fall again". the IDF used to take young soldiers here to declare their loyalty to the state. I'm glad this habit is almost totally over; there's nothing heroic in this mountain.

    now: "Masada was Japha, a city that lay near Jotapata (Qumran). Japha (Masada)…" I admit – this is hard. Japha was and still is a city on the west shore, a port city (now close to TLV). this could be the reason that Japha was THE FIRST city to be taken; as you say: "city", and Masada was NOT a city, not even a town or village – only a fortress, by all means. I quote Guy Shtible: "In AD 73/4 Masada was the last remaining rebel stronghold in Judaea. Under the command of Flavius Silva, the Legio X Fretensis and a few small auxiliary units laid siege to the mountain." well – last to be taken, after all. (http://archaeology.huji.ac.il/depart/classical/guys/masada.asp).
    Jotapata is Qumran? I can not "take" it. Althoug I agree that the battle of Jotapata might be a fiction, I still think the town is a Galilean one.

    "The Sicarii were fictitiuous makebelieve. They were priests, as were the defenders at nearby Qumran (Jotapata) which was a fortress." The Qumran was a village and NOT a fortress; again – by all means. No traces of fighting found in Qumran, so I don't understand why you call these people "defenders". but yes: the Romans slaughtered them anyway.

    like you, I don't believe the food was fresh and I guess this was the reason for the raids: these people on the mountain, whoever they were, simply needed food.

    you ask: "Why does Masada not receive any mention outside of the actual story?" It did, in the Roman army records, which were Yosefus' sources, I believe. As a Rabbinic literature scholar I think the dangerous Political implications were the reasons the authors of this literature rejrected this story. The possible part the priests had in the story (on this side or the other) could well be another reason; the Rabbinic literature authors did not like the priests so much; the old priesthood heirs had a power stuggle with the sages, and the sages won. The Herodian house was even more hated, although Agripa II was a unique ecception.

    the skeletons: IF these are Jewish skeletons, the only reason that they lay in this cave so unorderly is that they were buried hastily and under extreme pressure and stress. the other reason might be that they were on the top as corpses, and someone just "got rid" of them by "burying" them with no too much attention. if this was the case, we can not know whether or not they were Jews. Joe Zias might be wrong, just like all of us. things happen, you know.

    I'm not an archaeologist, but I think we all have to change our attitude to the Masada: excavate it with no bias and evaluate the finds objectively, using all available sources and knowledge. and I wish the Talpiot Tomb would receive the same attitude.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 29, 2009
    Reply

    I cannot believe that you are a Jewish scholar, Eldud.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 29, 2009
    Reply

    In a passage which is entirely fabricated (War 2.Chapter 14) re Florus, there is a remarkable statement used by the fabricators that gives the game away: "at the same time began the war, in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, and the seventeenth of the reign of Agrippa, in the month of Artemissus [Jyar.]" It refers to the seventeenth year of Agrippa II's reign with no mention of whether he is king of Judea. The assumption must be exactly that.

    A similar statement occurs in War 2.15.2 after the killing of Berenice whose hair was discovered in the northern palace. "This happened upon the sixteenth day of the month Artemissus [Jyar]." Here there is no mention of the rule of Nero and Agrippa, but it is fairly obvious that the same event is being referred to. The death of Berenice marked an important phase of the civil war between the messianic priests and the ruler Agrippa who was sympathetic to prophets. But it would not be long before Agrippa would come to a sticky end.

  31. Reply

    Hi Geoff. You may believe what ever you decide to; it's up to you. I might wonder why you cannot believe I'm a Jewish scholar, but here, again, you will decide whether to tell me or not. Anyway – you said nothing about the quotation from Shtible; does it mean you do not believe he is a Jewish scholar as well? Shtible recommends the use of the Rabbinic literature, to which I agree. See his article in the link in my former post. Unfortunately, the Masada is NOT included in this body of sources.

    I admit: for some months now I'm trying to understand what are you up to, and I still wonder; what are you trying to prove? That Yosefus was a liar? That the Romans were?

    You say: "the civil war between the messianic priests and the ruler Agrippa who was sympathetic to prophets." You compare the Sicarii to the Qumranites :"The Sicarii were fictitiuous makebelieve. They were priests, as were the defenders at nearby Qumran…". Those groups had nothing in common; there is no way they were identicalsimilar.

    If I follow you, then the Qumranites were the messianic priests, or at least part of them. So: who were the prophets?

    It's a key question when I try to follow you. The answer will be a key one as well.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 30, 2009
    Reply

    Shtible is spelt Stiebal. I do not recommennd the use of rabinnic literature. It is too late.

    If Flavian historians could write makebelieve, and complete chapters at that, then they were quite capable of writing prophets as non-descripts, or of giving them false names and titles. Who do you think Simon was, who was taken prisoner by Titus?

    After all, just to confuse everyone, they introduced Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.

    They had Cuspius Fadus, Tiberias Alexander, Cumanus, Felix the brother of Pallas, Festus, Albinus, and Gessius Florus as short-term fictitious rulers of Judea. They had Agrippa II appointed a king of Galilee upon the death of Antipas, only to appear as an all-important character in Judean affairs – he was a ruler of Judea at least seventeen years (see War 2.14.4 which has no reference to being the king of Galilee, simply a reign, where of, Judea of course). The same writers invented the Sicarii as a fictitious cover for the priests. As for prophets, look no further than the New Testament, or even the Didache.

    Japha on the west coast. Near to Jotapata (if it existed) in Galilee?

    How many people constituted a city. Masada was quite capable of housing up to 3000 people if you take account of the guards on the wall. The wall was built by Agrippa II.

    The so-called Qumranites were the priests (see Golb and Hirschfeld). They may have been out of popularity for a while early in their history, and exiled from the temple. Qumran was certainly a fortress, or a fotified Manor house. The tower surrounded by the revetment made the site defensible.

    "Qumran Stratum III suffered a violent destruction by fire, which de Vaux attributed to the Roman army at the time of the first revolt. The damage was evident throughout the site. The area to the south of the tower and other rooms in the main building were filled with the collapse of the walls and roofs to a height of 1.2 to 1.5 m. Iron arrow heads found in debris indicate that the destruction was caused by armed conflict. The arrowheads, which have three barbed wingtips, are characteristic Roman type of the first century CE." (Hirschfeld, Qumran in Context, page 163).

    There is no apparent evidence of this destruction in the writings attributed to Josephus. Unlike De Vaux, I attribute this destruction to the Roman army under Nero in 66 CE. The destruction of Jotapata, was an exaggerated destruction of Qumran.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 30, 2009
    Reply

    The priests who occupied Masada, Eldad, had no need of food. The food was there already, either growing, or in storage. Thus the raids on the surrounding countryside were for revenge. The priests didn't like the idea of 'Essenes' being friendly with Romans, but worse was something else.

    "So, on this basis I want to paint a picture of the people in Ein Gedi. Who were they? They were land tenants of the Roman regime. In fact, the people of Ein Gedi almost did not have any private land, it was state property, and the state then was the ruling Roman Empire." The quote by Shmaria Guttman is reproduced in Sacrificing Truth, the Archaeology and Myth of Masada by Nachman Ben-Yehuda, page 148. I agree that the residents of Ein Gedi were there by permission of the Romans, but it was an indirect tenancy, because Agrippa II was the king of Judea at the time. It was he who farmed out the tenancy. This was a raid (among a number of raids) on the king's property.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • April 30, 2009
    Reply

    The Qumranites were Sicarii who were the priests who were about to lose their right to sacrifice under the Roman army led by Nero in 66 CE.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 1, 2009
    Reply

    The prophets were the 'inhabitants', the 'citizens', the 'quiet people' who the high priest Ananus or Ananias was persecuting in the upper Market place. (War 2.14.9) Florus was a creation of Flavian authors who did not care about the implied criticism of a supposed Neronian appointee.

    "Florus ventured then to do what no one had done before had done before, that is, to have men of the equestrian order whipped, and nailed to the cross before the tribunal; who although they were by birth Jews, yet were they of Roman dignity not-withstanding." (War 2.14.9)

    Now as if the Roman government would permit this kind of behaviour. It is obviously original edited text. It should be something like:

    "Ananus ventured to do what no one had done before, that is to have men of the prophetic order whipped, who although they were by birth priests, yet they were of prophetic dignity not-withstanding."

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 1, 2009
    Reply

    A similar thing was said of Josephus.

    "The family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the [priests] {prophets}; [ ] nay, further, by my mother I am of the [royal] {prophetic} blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the dignity of a [king] {prophet}, for a long time together."

    Asamoneus never was a king. He was a priest and prophet.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 1, 2009
    Reply

    It makes more sense as:

    “The family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the priests; [ ] nay, further, by my mother I am of the [royal] {prophetic} blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the dignity of a [king] {prophet}, for a long time together.”

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 3, 2009
    Reply

    Here's something that Mark Goodacre and James Crossley could take note of, Eldud. It is Antiqities 20.1.1-3. It gives some background to priests and prophets. It shows that the appointment of Fadus was fictitious, and that Agrippa II was appointed as king on the death of his father. The incident over the high priests garments was fabricated – the editors were making out Agrippa II was in Rome, whereas he was in Judea. Agrippa II petitioned (wrote to Claudius) asking for control of the temple money and the sacred treasure, and the appointment of high priests – the cause of the dispute between the priests and prophets. The extant text has Herod Antipas petitioning for this control – its laughable. Finally, Agrippa removes the High Priest who has been the cause of the trouble, in my view Jonathan.

    {} = read in, [ ] = read out.

    "1.Upon the death of king Agrippa,

    [which we have related in the foregoing book,]

    Claudius Caesar sent [Cassius Longinus] {Agrippa Junior} as successor [to Marcus], out of regard to the memory of king Agrippa.

    [, who had often desired of him by letters, while he was alive, that he would not suffer Marcus to be any longer president of Syria].

    1.2 But [Fadus] {Agrippa}, as soon as he was come [procurator] {king} into Judea, found quarrelsome doings between the [Jews] {priests} [that dwelt in Perea], and the [people] {prophets} [of Philadelphia,] about their

    [borders, at a village called Mia] {temple}, [that was filled with men of a warlike temper;] for the [Jews] {priests} [of Perea] had taken up arms with[out] the consent of their [principal] {high} [men] {priests}, and had destroyed many of the [Philadelphians] {prophets}.

    When [Fadus] {Agrippa} was informed of this procedure, it provoked him very much that they had not left the determination of the matter to him, if they thought that the [Philadelphians] {prophets} had done them any wrong, but had rashly taken up arms against them. So he seized upon three of their [principal men] {high priests}, who were [also] the causes of this sedition, and ordered them to be bound{.}

    [, and afterwards had one of them slain, whose name was Hannibal; and he banished the other two, Areram and Eleazar.]

    [Tholomy] {Johnathan} [also], the [arch robber] {High Priest}, was [, after some time,] brought to him bound, and [slain] {imprisoned.}

    [, but not till he had done a world of mischief to Idumea and the Arabians. And indeed, from that time, Judea was cleared of robberies by the care and providence of Fadus. He also at this time sent for the high priests and the principal citizens of Jerusalem, and this at the command of the emperor, and admonished them that they should lay up the long garment and the sacred vestment, which it is customary for nobody but the high priest to wear, in the tower of Antonia, that it might be under the power of the Romans, as it had been formerly. Now the Jews durst not contradict what he had said, but desired Fadus, however, and Longinus, which last was come to Jerusalem, and had brought a great army with him, out of a fear that the rigid injunctions of Fadus should force the Jews to rebel, that they might, in the first place, have leave to send ambassadors to Caesar, to petition him that they may have the holy vestments under their own power; and that, in the next place, they would tarry till they knew what answer Claudius would give to that their request. So they replied, that they would give them leave to send their ambassadors , provided they would give them their sons as pledges for their peaceable behaviour. And when they had agreed so to do, and had given them the pledges they desired, the ambassadors were sent accordingly. But when, upon their coming to Rome, Agrippa, junior, the son of the deceased, understood the reason why they came, (for he dwelt with Claudius Caesar, as we said before,) he besought Caesar to grant the Jews their request about the holy vestments, and to send a message to Fadus accordingly.

    2.1 Hereupon Claudius called for the ambassadors; and told them that he granted their request; and bade them to return their thanks to Agrippa for this favour, which had been bestowed on them upon his entreaty. And besides these answers of his, he sent the following letter by them: "Claudius Caesar Germanicus, tribune of the people the fifth time, and designed consul the fourth time, and imperator the tenth time, the father of his country, to the magistrates, senate, and people, and the whole nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting. Upon the presentation of your ambassadors to me by Agrippa, my friend, whom I have brought up, and have now with me, and who is a person of very great piety, who are come to give me thanks for the care I have taken of your nation, and to entreat me, in an earnest and obliging manner, that they may have the holy vestments, with the crown belonging to them, under their power, – I grant their request, as that excellent person Vitellius, who is very dear to me, had done before me. And I have complied with your desire, in the first place, out of regard to that piety which I profess, and because I would have every one worship God according to the laws of their own country;and this I do also because I shall hereby highly gratify king Herod, and Agrippa, junior, whose sacred regards to me, and earnest good-will to you, I am well acquainted with, and with whom I have the greatest friendship, and whom I highly esteem, and look on as persons of the best character.Now I have written about these affairs to Cuspius Fadus, my procurator. The names of those that brought me your letter are Cornelius, the son of Cero, Trypho, the son of Theudio, Dorotheus, the son of Nathaniel, and John, the son of Jotre. This letter is dated before the fourth of the calends of July, when Ruffis and Pompeius Sylvanus are consuls." ]

    3.[Herod] {Agrippa}

    [also, the brother of the deceased Agrippa, who was then possessed of the royal authority over Chalcis]

    petitioned Claudius Caesar for the authority over the temple, and the money of the sacred treasure, and the choice of the high priests, and obtained all that he petitioned for.

    [So that after that time this authority continued among all his descendants till the end of the war.]

    Accordingly, [Herod] {Agrippa} removed the last high priest, called [Cimtheras] {Johnathan}, and bestowed that dignity on his successor Joseph, the son of Cantos."

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 3, 2009
    Reply

    It was Herod of Chalcis, Agrippa I's brother, who supposedly petitioned Claudius to have control of the temple, the temple money of the sacred treasure, and the choice of high priests. Unfortunately he has been rumbled. The petitioner was Agrippa I.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 5, 2009
    Reply

    And Claudius' letter is obviously fabricated.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 5, 2009
    Reply

    Perhaps not totally fabricated.

    "Claudius Caesar Germanicus, tribune of the people the fifth time, and designed consul the fourth time, and imperator the tenth time, the father of his country, to the magistrates, senate, and people, and the whole nation of the Jews, sendeth greeting. Upon the presentation of your ambassadors to me [by Agrippa, my friend, whom I have brought up, and have now with me, and who is a person of very great piety,] who are come to give me thanks for the care I have taken of your nation, and to entreat me, in an earnest and obliging manner, that [they] {you} may have the holy [vestments] {money}, with the [crown belonging to them] {authority to appoint high priests}, under [their] {your} power, – I grant their request [, as that excellent person Vitellius, who is very dear to me, had done before me]. And ]I have complied with your desire, in the first place, out of regard to that piety which I profess, and because I would have every one worship God according to the laws of their own country;and this I do also because I shall hereby highly gratify king Herod, [and Agrippa, junior,] whose sacred regards to me, and earnest good-will to you, I am well acquainted with [, and with whom I have the greatest friendship, and whom I highly esteem, and look on as persons of the best character. Now I have written about these affairs to Cuspius Fadus, my procurator.] The names of those that brought me your letter are Cornelius, the son of Cero, Trypho, the son of Theudio, Dorotheus, the son of Nathaniel, and John, the son of Jotre. This letter is dated before the fourth of the calends of July, when Ruffis and Pompeius Sylvanus are consuls."

  32. Reply

    Hi Geoff. Is it that you are trying to prove Yosefus' incredibility? Or, rather, you are on a "hunt" for the real authors of his writings? Yes, your goal is of the highest interest now, from my POV. What are you after?

    "Shtible is spelt Stiebal. I do not recommennd the use of rabinnic literature. It is too late." Written Stieble but spelt Shtieble here, in Israel. And since you advice me to use the NT as a source – it is late to the events as well. And this reminds me of something else: with all due respect, I don't take a doctor for my lawyer and vise a versa. I believe archaeologists and learn from them when they teach and talk about their profession. I don't learn history from archaeologists, although I urgently need their work and finds and professional analyses. Just the same as I don't learn archaeology from historians. Look for articles and books written by: Stern, Rapaport, Kasher, Fux (I forgot the others), regarding Masada. It might help!

    When, in your opinion, "war" has been written?

    "Japha on the west coast. Near to Jotapata (if it existed) in Galilee?" Certaily not. Japha is about 70 miles south of Jotapata. The latter existed indeed, but I doubt its "heroic" story and the battle for it.

    "Masada was quite capable of housing up to 3000 people if you take account of the guards on the wall." Was it? Designed as a king's fortified palace – I don't think so. "The priests who occupied Masada, Eldad, had no need of food. The food was there already, either growing, or in storage." Growing? up on Masada? Storage? For 3000 people?

    "Qumran was certainly a fortress, or a fotified Manor house. The tower surrounded by the revetment made the site defensible." Dear Geoff – you've never been there or in Masada – obviously. There was no battle, but a large massacre, as the arrows and fire traces may testify. But again, if I follow you, we have a problem: you said "The priests didn’t like the idea of ‘Essenes’ being friendly with Romans…" Do you really mean that? Because if you do, you have to explain the (so called) battle of Qumran ("the massacre" will do): why would the Romans slaughter their friends so brutally?

    Geoff, your analyses contain a few obscurities, and I guess an answer to my initial question in this post might help: what are you up to?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 6, 2009
    Reply

    With regard to Stiebal being spelt Shtible, the former is how he spells it on e-mails. You are making out that you are Jewish. 'Here in Israel', honestly. As for taking a doctor for a lawyer, I prefer not to take either. So you believe archaeologists. So do I, when it suits. I don't believe in such a rigid demarcation.

    I just think you must have been very busy not to have responded sooner. I wonder what you were doing?

    When was war written? Do you mean Josephus's war or the Flavian war? Josephus's war was written between just after 66 within a year. And it was written after his original Antiquities which was a schoolboy exercise while being raised in Rome with Nero.

    Who said the Qumranians were friendly with Romans? They were priests (see Golb and Hirschfeld). Whether it was a "massacre" or not, it was certainly turned into a full-blown battle of Jotapata by Flavian historians.

    What am I up to? Now that would be telling. But a more interesting question is: what are you up to?

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 6, 2009
    Reply

    What do you think about my interpretation of Antiquities, Chapter 20.1, Eldad. You may think what has this got to do with Masada? If what I have proposed is true, then it certainly does have implications for what happened at Masada. Agrippa II was king of Judea from the beginning. He immediately had a problem with priests and prophets at loggerheads over who should have control of the holy money or the temple treasure. He wrote to Claudius. Claudius responded by giving him permission to do what he wanted – have control of the money and appoint the high priest. The problem probably arose during the time that Agrippa II took to get to Jerusalem. There was a political vacuum after the death of Agrippa I. Do you agree.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 8, 2009
    Reply

    Let me make it easier for you Eldad. Original Ant 20:1 is shorter than I at first thought. It contains the first few lines:

    1."Upon the death of king Agrippa,

    [which we have related in the foregoing book,]

    Claudius Caesar sent [Cassius Longinus] {Agrippa junior} as successor [to Marcus], out of regard to the memory of king Agrippa."

    Agrippa II would already have inherited the right of control over the temple money and the appointment of high priests, from his father There was no need to petition Caesar. Herod of Chalcis was falsely given the authority. So periodicaly they (the editors) remind us that Herod, and later Agrippa II, removed this high priest and installed another, implying that Agrippa II's power was limited to just the temple in Judea.

    Fadus' appointment as procurator is also false, as are the events related to him.

    The purpose of these Governors/Procurators was to fill in the time of Agrippa II's kingship. The Flavian editors (Josephus not being one) were wanting Claudius' and Nero's appointees to look incompetent and the cause of Jewish unrest.

    Seventeen years was a long time to be king. Something must have been going right in that time.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 9, 2009
    Reply

    Here is an example of 'filling in the time' of Agrippa II's rule, and informing us how bad the Jewish affairs were getting under Nero. After a series of procurators/governors of ill repute, finally along comes Gessius Florus who is the worst of the lot. It is taken from Antiquities 20.11. The scene is one of a deteriorating situation in Judea, due, apparently, to Roman ineptitude by Nero. Gessius Florus, 'as though he had been sent on purpose to show his crimes to every body', 'necessitated' the taking of arms by the Jews. Now I don't believe that.

    1."Now Gessius Florus, who was sent as successor to Albinus by Nero, filled Judea with abundance of miseries. He was by birth of the city of Clazomene, and brought along with him his wife Cleopatra, (by whose friendship with Poppea, Nero's wife, he obtained this government,) who was no way different from him in wickedness. This Florus was so wicked, and so violent in the use of his authority, that the Jews took Albinus to have been comparatively their benefactor; so excessive were the mischiefs that he brought upon them. For Albinus concealed his wickedness, and was careful that it might not be discovered to all men; but Gessius Florus, as though he had been sent on purpose to show his crimes to every body, made a pompous ostentation of them to our nation, as never omitting any sort of violence, nor any unjust sort of punishment; for he was not to be moved by pity, and never was satisfied with any degree of gain that came in his way; nor had he any more regard to great than to small acquisitions, but became a partner with the robbers themselves. For a great many fell then into that practice without fear, as having him for their security, and depending on him, that he would save them harmless in their particular robberies; so that there were no bounds set to the nation's miseries; but the unhappy Jews, when they were not able to bear the devastations which the robbers made among them, were all under a necessity of leaving their own habitations, and of flying away, as hoping to dwell more easily any where else in the world among foreigners than in their own country. And what need I say any more upon this head? since it was this Florus who necessitated us to take up arms against the Romans,"

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 9, 2009
    Reply

    "The rabbinic tradition has a completely different remembrance of their last historical king." For the Jews there was only one Agrippa not two." (Taken from Wikipedia on Agrippa II)

    This is very interesting.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 17, 2009
    Reply

    And when you see how Agrippa I died, you can see why. The Jews believed the truth. There was only one Agrippa. The Flavian historians had Agrippa I die a ridiculous death. Judge for yourselves (Ant.19.8.2). The reason was to have a preamble for War with troubles under a series of fictitious Nero appointee governors. (See Ant.20) There was no Agrippa II. In effect the Flavian historians falsley blamed Nero for being the cause of the so-called war.

    Agrippa I only had three daughters by Cypros. These were: "Bernice (Berenice), Mariamne and Drusilla." (War 2.11.6) The words following were fabricated: "and a son born of the same mother, whose name was Agrippa: he was left a very young child, so that Claudius made the country a Roman province, and sent Cuspius Fadus to be its procurator," The country continued to be ruled by Agrippa I. Agrippa II never was raised up in Claudius' court, because Agrippa II never existed.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 18, 2009
    Reply

    The editors didn't know how old they should make Agrippa "junior" when they invented him in War – "he was left a very young child". (War 2.11.6) Yet when we look at Ant.19.9.1 (edited later) we read a more carefully constructed version: "And thus did Agrippa depart this life. But he left behind him a son, Agrippa by name, a youth in the seventeenth year of his age, and three daughters, one of whom Bernice was married to Herod, his FATHER'S brother, and was sixteen years old;" Now if Agrippa junior was seventeen years old, one could hardly say he was a "very young child", especially with a sister who was sixteen and married. The editor of War 2.11.6 has Agrippa last in the list of children, when apparently he was the eldest. The whole sentence in Antiquities is designed around Agrippa junior: "Agrippa by name"; "a youth in the seventeenth year of his age"; and the giveaway "his FATHER'S brother", a phrase about Bernice.

    "And thus did Agrippa depart this life" (Ant. 19.9.1) Agrippa had died how the editors described – a ridiculous contrived death.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 19, 2009
    Reply

    So naturally, one reads in the opening of Ant 20.1.1: “Upon the death of king Agrippa, which we have related in the foregoing book, Claudius Caesar sent Cassius Longinus as successor to Marcus, out of regard to the memory of king Agrippa, who had often desired of him by letters, while he was alive, that he would suffer Marcus, that he would not suffer Marcus to be any longer president of Syria.”

    There are a number of leading words in the above sentence: “Upon the death of king Agrippa”; “which we have related in the foregoing book”; “the memory of king Agrippa”; “while he was alive” (as if he would write letters when he was dead). The editor is falling over himself to convince us that king Agrippa had died.

    Now Claudius did send Cassius Longinus as successor to Marcus, but this was out of regard to king Agrippa who was still alive.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 20, 2009
    Reply

    FADUS

    Immediately after the removal of Marcus and his replacement with Cassius Longinus as governor of Syria (Ant 20.1.1), the editor introduces the fictitious Fadus who "found quarrelsome doings between the Jews that dwelt in Perea and the people of Philadelphia, about their borders, at a village called Mia, that was filled with men of a warlike temper; for the Jews of Perea had taken up arms without the consent their principal men, and had destroyed many of the Philadelphians."

    I suggest that this was based on future real events, known to the editor, who was writing retrospectively, to make-out that there was turmoil in Agrippa's nation after Agrippa was supposed to have died. The real events to come were the wrangling between priests ("men of a warlike nature") and prophets ("people of Philadelphia").

    Fadus' command to the high priests of Jerusalem to have the high priests garments under Roman control was contrived. It made way for Claudius to have the fictitious Agrippa junior at Rome with him. He apparently wrote: "Upon the representation of your ambassadors to me by Agrippa my friend, whom I have brought up, AND HAVE NOW WITH ME, and who is a person of very great piety….” Agrippa junior was quite capable, apparently, of giving diplomatic advice to Claudius, but not of ruling a nation.

    The time was peaceful. Agrippa (Agrippa I), who was very much alive, had his way with Claudius. He had just been granted the removal of Marcus and his replacement with Cassius Longinus. The nation was quite settled.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 21, 2009
    Reply

    The editors of Antiquities invented a cock and bull story about the "inhabitants" of Caesarea and Sebaste. (Ant 19.9.1,2) These were supposed to be Jews in the Roman army (although the text doesn't specifically say they were Jews). Yet there is no mention of the story in War. This was an example of supposed unrest ocurring after the supposed death of Agrippa. They were invented to give Claudius the excuse to send the fictitious Fadus as procurator. The soldiers were supposed to have gone to Agrippa's haouse and taken statues of the kings daughters and abused them, amid drunken celebrations – "and these were the very men that became the source of the great calamities to the Jews in aftertimes, and sowed the seeds of that war which began under Florus;" – the editors were looking to blame just about anyone.

    Conveniently, Agrippa junior was supposedly at Rome with Claudius. (Ant 19.9.2) Despite the fact that Agrippa junior was now supposed to be seventeen Claudius would not make him king, never mind that his son Nero was made emperor at eigthteen. So he supposedly sent Cuspius Fadus to be procurator, with the instruction that he should first punish the "inhabitants" of Ceasarea and Sebaste. But, unbelievably, they sent sent ambassadors to Claudius, "and got leave to abide in Judea".

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 22, 2009
    Reply

    "Now Agrippa, the son of the deceased, was at Rome, AND BROUGHT UP WITH CLAUDIUS CAESAR." (Ant.19:9.2)

    "But when upon their coming to Rome, Agrippa, junior, the son of the deceased, understood the reason why they came, (FOR HE DWELT WITH CLAUDIUS CAESAR, AS WE SAID BEOFRE,) he besought Caesar about the holy vestments, and to send a message to Fadus accordingly." (Ant. 20.1.1)

    "Upon the representation of your ambassadors to me by Agrippa my friend, WHO I HAVE BROUGHT UP, AND NOW HAVE WITH ME, and who is a person of very great piety"

    (Ant.20.1.2)

    It does not take a genius to realise that the editors had invented Agrippa II. They also invented Agrippa I's death, and Fadus, and all the other procurators. There was something going on with Agrippa I which the editors concealed.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 22, 2009
    Reply

    To complete the fictitious story about the authority over the temple, the money of the sacred treasure, and the choice of high priests, Herod of Chalcis is supposed to have petitioned Claudius for them, and supposedly got the authority. (Ant. 20.1.3) This text also says: "So after that time this authority continued among all his (Herod of Chalcis') descendants till the end of the war." Now unfortunately for the editors, upon the death of herod king of Chalcis, they gave his kingdom to the fictitious Agrippa II (War 2.12.1) who could not have been a descendant of Herod of Chalcis. The kingdom of Judea remained under Agrippa I until his death which was during the rebellion, and of course much later than the spurious account given in Ant.19.8.2.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 24, 2009
    Reply

    NERO AND AGRIPPINA

    The story about Helena and Izates ranks with that about Paulina and Mundus (Ant.18.3.4). They have both been garbled by Flavian historians.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 26, 2009
    Reply

    NERO AND AGRIPPINA

    The story (Ant.20.2) comes immediately after the apparent death of Agrippa I, and appears completely unrelated to what has gone before, but we will see that it is. And it has a bearing on the invasion of Judea and the taking of Masada. One would have thought that Ant.20 would have continued with the life of Agrippa. We wll see that he was instrumental in the conversion of Nero and Agrippina. Helena (Agrippina) and Izates (Nero) “embraced the Jewish customs” (Ant 20.2.1) – in this case, the Spirit of God.

    Ant. 20.2.1.About this time it was that Agrippina, and her son Nero, changed their course of life, and embraced the Spirit of God, and this on the occasion following: Claudius Caesar, who had also the name of Nero, fell in love with his brother’s daughter Agrippina, and took her to be his wife, and adopted her child. And when his son was adopted, he called him Nero. He had indeed Britannicus, his son, by Messalina also, as he had a daughter Ocatvia by her besides. He sent Nero, with many presents, to Agrippa and he committed his son's preservation to him. Upon which Agrippa gladly received the young man, and had a great affection for him, and embraced him after the most affectionate manner, and bestowed on him the country called Ein Gedi; it was a soil that bare amomum in great plenty: Accordingly, Nero abode in Ein Gedi until his father's death.

    Ant. 20.2.2. But the very day that Claudius died, Agrippina sent for all the senators, and for those that had the armies committed to their command; and when they were come, she made the following speech to them: "I believe you are not unacquainted that my husband was desirous Nero should succeed him in the government, and thought him worthy so to do. However, happy is he who receives a kingdom, not from a single person only, but from the willing suffrages of a great many." Upon the hearing of which, they said that they confirmed the emperor’s determination. Agrippina replied to this, that she returned them her thanks for their kindness to herself and to Nero; but desired that they would however defer the appointment till he should be of age himself. So since these men had not prevailed with her, they exhorted her to appoint Seneca, till he should come of age. The empress complied with this counsel of theirs, and set up Seneca.

    Ant.20.2. 3,4. Now, during the time Nero abode at Ein Gedi, a prophet, whose name was James, taught him to worship God in the Spirit. He also, at the earnest entreaty of Nero, accompanied him when he was sent for by Seneca to come to Rome. And he said that he might worship God without sacrificing, which worship of God was of a superior nature to sacrifice. He added, that the Spirit of God would cleanse him, though he did not sacrifice.

    Ant.20.2.5. 5.But as to Agrippina, the emperor’s mother, when she saw that the affairs of Nero’s empire were in peace, and that her son was a happy man, and admired among all men, and even among foreigners, by the means of God's Spirit over him, she had a mind to go to the city of Jerusalem, in order to worship at that temple of God which was so very famous among all men, and to offer her thank-offerings there. So she desired her son to give her leave to go thither; upon which he gave his consent to what she desired very willingly, and made great preparations for her dismission, and gave her a great deal of money, and she went down to the city Jerusalem, her son conducting her on her journey a great way. Now her coming was of very great advantage to the prophets of Jerusalem; for whereas the priests did oppress them at that time, and many prophets died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal, Agrippina sent some of her servants to Alexandria with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions, which was done very quickly, she distributed food to those that were in want of it, and left a most excellent remembrance behind her of this benefaction. And when her son Nero was informed of this persecution, he sent great sums of money to the prophets in Jerusalem.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 28, 2009
    Reply

    Do you recognise this?

    Ananus, who took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he thought he had now a proper opportunity to exercise his authority. Agrippa was now dead, and Nero was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the son of Judas, whose name was James, and some of his prophets; and when he had formed an accusation against them as false prophets, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who were the most equitable of the prophets, some of them went to meet Nero, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him. Whereupon Nero wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done. Now as soon as Nero was come to the city of Jerusalem, he used all his endeavours that the country might be kept in peace, and this by destroying many of the priests.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 28, 2009
    Reply

    And this from Ant.20.8.7?

    7.And now it was that a great sedition arose between the priests and the prophets, concerning their equal right to the privileges; for the priests claimed the pre-eminence. When the king heard of these disorders, he caught the priests, and tormented them with stripes, and by that means put a stop to the disturbance for a time. But the priests depending on their wealth, and on that account despising the prophets, reproached them again, and hoped to provoke them by such reproaches. However, the prophets, though they were inferior in wealth, they also for some time used reproachful language to the priests also; and thus it was, till at length they came to throwing stones at one another, and several were wounded, and fell on both sides, though still the priests were the conquerors. But when Agrippa saw that this quarrel was become a kind of war, he came upon them on the sudden, and desired the high priests to desist; and when they refused so to do, he armed his soldiers, and sent them out upon them, and slew many of them, and took more of them alive, and permitted his soldiers to plunder some of their houses, which were full of riches.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 29, 2009
    Reply

    And this from Ant.20.8.8?

    And such was the impudence and boldness that had seized on the HIGH PRIESTS (a slip-up), that they had the hardiness to send their servants into the threshing-floors, to take away those tithes that were due to the prophets, insomuch that it so fell out that the poorest sort died for want. To this degree did the violence of the priests prevail over the prophets.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 30, 2009
    Reply

    AGRIPPA GOES UP TO ROME WITH JAMES AND SIMON TO ACCUSE THE HIGH PRIESTS. (Ant 20.8.9)

    9.Now king Agrippa went up to Rome to accuse the high priests. Two of the prophets with him, James and Simon persuaded Nero to disannul the Jewish privileges which the priests hitherto enjoyed. So Nero ordered that an epistle should be written to that purpose. This epistle became the occasion of the following miseries that befell our nation; for, when the high priests were informed of the contents of this epistle, they were more disorderly than before, till a war was kindled.

    So now we can see why James was executed in the next Chapter. He was one of the "two principal Syrians". Portius Festus, Felix, Burrhus and the "Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea" were all fabricated. Nero took away the priestly privilege of collecting tithes from the Jewish population.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 31, 2009
    Reply

    THE RETURN OF AGRIPPA WITH JAMES AND SIMON ("TWO OF THE PRINCIPAL SYRIANS") FROM ROME (Ant 20.8.10)

    10.Upon Agrippa’s return to Judea, all the villages were set on fire, and plundered by the priests. They came frequently upon the villages belonging to the prophets, with their weapons, and plundered them, and set them on fire.

    The priest were up in arms. The epistle was a red rag to a bull.

    We know where they got the weapons, don't we? While the king was away in Rome they had raided the king's armoury in Masada, and murdered the kings daughter Berenice. This was now open warfare. The Roman "sicae" and the cloak and dagger killing of worshippers at festivals was a nonsense. And we know what happened at Ein Gedi too – the place where Nero had stayed in his youth. Men women and children were murdered.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 31, 2009
    Reply

    THE DEATH OF AGRIPPA (Ant.20.8.10b)

    10b."Ananus sent priests to fall upon the king's soldiers. Those priests that were sent destroyed both Agrippa, and those that were his soldiers also."

    This story appears in War 2.17.9:

    "But on the next day Agrippa, was caught where had had concealed himself in an aqueduct; he was slain."

    Agrippa's soldiers likewise were all killed (War 2.17.10):

    "but as soon as they had all laid down their shields and their swords, and were going away, Eleazar's men (priests) attacked them, and encompassed them round, and slew them."

    The text makes-out that the "Jewish" soldiers were allowed freedom. Roman soldiers remaining were fabricated. All the soldiers were probably Idumean.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • May 31, 2009
    Reply

    Agrippa building a large dining room in the royal palace at Jerusalem was a ridiculous story to make believe Agrippa was still alive. The whole of Ant 20.8.11 is fabrication.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • June 1, 2009
    Reply

    THE DEATH OF JAMES (Ant 20.9.1)

    1."And now Caesar upon hearing the death of Agrippa, came on the road to Judea, as commander of the Roman army. But Ananus, TOOK the high priesthood. He thought he had now a proper opportunity to exercise his authority; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the son of Judas, whose name was James; and when he had formed an accusation against him of treason, he delivered him to be stoned; but some of his prophets went to meet Nero, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him."

    James was put on trial for treason. He had gone with Agrippa and Simon to Nero. We have here the basis of the trial of Jesus. Simon, the other son of Judas, was not a pacifist.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • June 2, 2009
    Reply

    NERO CLEANS-UP (Ant 20.8.1-7)

    "But some of his prophets went to meet Nero, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him. Whereupon Nero wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done. Now as soon as Nero was come to Judea, he used all his endeavours that the country might be kept in peace, and this by destroying many of the priests. Ananus had been a hoarder up of money. He had taken away the tithes that belonged to the prophets by right. So Nero brought all those priests who seemed to him to be most plainly worthy of death, and ordered them to be put to death accordingly. He gave the prophets a largess of corn, and distributed oil among them. He gave the prophets leave to collect the tithes. If any one of them did labour for a single hour, they received their pay immediately. He did not obstruct them when they desired that the city might be paved with white stone."

    This was a time of liberation. Hence the celebratory coins of the four or five years of "the revolt".

    • Eve Smith
    • June 7, 2009
    Reply

    Hey! I am in high-school and am researching Masada for a project. I went there last june with my church on a trip to Israel. I was wondering if any of you knew how long the stores of food would have sustained a group as large as 960 people? I cant seem to locate it and you seem to be very knowledgeable in this field.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • June 11, 2009
    Reply

    The fortress had previously been occupied by Agrippa I, not by Romans as in the writings attributed to Josephus. It was well kept with plenty of supplies for what was probably a small army. "Manaham" (supposedly one of the sons of Judas), found plenty of supplies when he "retired" to Masada. He apparently, simply "broke open" "king Herod's" armoury. Now we are led to believe this was Herod the Great's armoury which would have contained rusty old weapons. In fact, it was king Herod Agrippa's armoury, full of the latest weapons. The priest's led by Ananus (Manahem) had somehow overcome the guards and entered Masada.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • June 12, 2009
    Reply

    The Flavian editors were were up to telling all sorts of lies making up their history as they went along. They lifted bits of history from here there and everywhere. Then they adpapted them for their own purposes.

    • John
    • June 29, 2010
    Reply

    Dr. Magness states: "For me archaeology is not a means of validating (or negating) personal faith and beliefs."

    In light of this statement, it would be interesting to know whether Dr. Magness intends to remain a member of the Society of Biblical Literature (at which she has played such a prominent role), or if she intends to follow Dr. Hendel in resigning from that organization. See Dr. Hendel's explanation here:

    http://www.bib-arch.org/bar/article.asp?PubID=BSB

    Furthermore, how does she feel about Dr. Hendel's demand that SBL resign from the American Council of Learned Societies? See his comment (# 59) here:

    http://www.sbl-site.org/membership/farewell.aspx

    • Geoff Hudson
    • July 29, 2012
    Reply

    SMALL CAMPS AT MASADA

    The small camps are integrated into the so-called 'circumvallation'wall. The small Camp A has supposedly been excavated by Shamaryahu Gutmann. It appears that his work has never been published. It also appears that no other small camp has been excavated.

    In Masada research, this is surely a major omission.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • August 2, 2012
    Reply

    SMALL CAMP A AT MASADA

    The concluding part of a report by Goldfus and Arabus on the excavation of camp F (directed by Goldfus, Arabus and Magness) has a comment about camp A which is built into the circumvallation wall (The Limes XVIII, Proceedings of the XVIIIth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies, page 210).

    They suggest that there were two Roman forces present at Masada. They arrived at this from the fact that camp F, on the western side near the ramp (which was the camp they excavated), was the main Roman headquarters. And camp B, of comparable size to camp F, on the western side was another independent headquarters. They point out that Shulten had previously identified two commander's tribunals.

    Camp F had defensive arrangements including stairways and watchtowers. Camp A was near to camp B. Camp A was similar to camp F with its defensive arrangements. In fact, camp A (integrated with the circumvallation wall) is described as "the only other camp with such similar defensive arrangements".

    Thus it was camp A that triggered their thoughts about two forces or two commanders. Yet camp A is separate from camp B.

    I would point out another possibility. The 'circumvallation wall' with its integrated camps was built by Herod to defend his palaces at Masada from attack by such as Cleopatra. Camp A was a part of that defensive system. Yes there were two forces at Masada, not two Roman, but one Roman and the other an earlier Jewish one under Herod.

    • Geoff Hudson
    • August 2, 2012
    Reply

    Correction to second para third line: And camp B, of comparable size to camp F, on the EASTERN side was another independent headquarters.

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