Let me tell you the story of a group of 960 Hebrew warriors who resisted the most powerful army in the world for 3 years.
Their fortress had a name that became synonym of bravery and courage throughout history. That fortress was called Masada.
It was a very tough period for Israel.
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The 8 year war between the Jews and the Romans broke out in 66 CE. After many years of tyrannical Roman government, the Jews revolted.
The Roman army was the best in the world, it conquered vast countries, so it was a difficult war for tiny Israel.
The Roman legions after a long and bloody military campaign against the Jews finally won.
The Jewish rebels were defeated by the Romans and Jerusalem destroyed by them.
Only one place remained in Israel that still resisted the Roman Invaders: Masada.
It was the last fortress that didn’t fall, even after the Romans captured all of Judea in 73 CE.
Masada is in the Judean desert, near the Dead Sea. The Jewish rebels and their families who wanted to remain free lived there.
Those Jewish zealots were known under the name Sicarii because it was the name of the curved sica or dagger they wore hidden under their clothes.
The Sicarii were 960, including their families. Only 350 of them were armed soldiers, they were all religious Jews who despised the Roman comfort and way of life. They gave instead utmost importance to a rich spiritual life.
Their leader was Eleazar Ben Yair.
But the Romans were determined to capture the last Jewish stronghold in Israel. They wanted their victory to be complete.
They sent a full legion, 10 000 soldiers, to besiege Masada and catch it.
The Roman general Flavius Silva built 8 camps, and also a thick siege wall around Masada to surround the fortress.
He also started to build an enormous ramp to attack Masada, and forced Jewish prisoners to build it.
The temperature there is extremely hot during the day and like every desert cold at night, but the Jewish zealots had a lot of food and water to continue the fighting for years.
The Jewish rebels in Masada succeded in resisting 3 years, in spite of the ruthless siege by the Romans.
But when the Roman battering ram started to breach their walls, the Jewish rebels realized their situation was finally hopeless.
The zealots chose to die by taking their own lives instead of surrendering and end up as slaves or worse.
They started to burn their houses and chose a group of 10 men. Their mission would be to kill the 960 other men, women and children.
And so they did.
The last man alive killed the other 9 zealots and committed suicide. All in order not to fall alive in the hands of a cruel enemy.
When the Roman soldiers finally broke into Masada they were in complete shock.
All the Romans saw were dead corpses everywhere.
The Jewish zealots left the Romans the daunting site of the silence of corpses.
As Flavius Josephus recorded, only two women and five children survived by hiding. You can read his book the Jewish War. He was a witness of that war.
The Roman soldiers weren’t happy at all that their enemies committed suicide, instead they admired their decision.
>> There is a mini series about Masada here on Amazon.
Posted in: Motivation