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Masada and Qumran

After the Jewish Revolt

sunny

We went farther afield today, traveling down beside the Dead Sea to Masada, the site of one of King Herod’s mountain palaces, now an important Jewish icon of their people’s struggle for freedom from oppression. After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 66 AD, Jewish Zealots arose in a Great Revolt, fled Jerusalem, and conquered Masada. Masada then became the last bastion of Jewish freedom fighters. Although other Jews joined the community, they were overpowered by 8000 Roman troops after a two year siege. When there was no hope of survival, members of the community agreed that they would rather die than be enslaved by the Romans. And so ten leaders were chosen, each to kill all the members of his family. then lots were drawn and one man chosen to kill the nine and then fall on his own sword, leaving no survivors on the mountain.

We ascended the site by cable car (see below) and walked through the ruins, perplexed and troubled by every aspect of this tragic event. Below Andrea Harris focuses her camera through a window looking at the ruins of the Roman camps. Also photos of the calidarium, a bath chamber warmed by hot air circulated through the walls and under the floor.

Next we drove to Qumran, a community of Essenes which existed from the second century BC until 68 AD. We moved slowly because the temperature was 108 degrees, but not hot enough to keep us from our awe over seeing the caves where ancient manuscripts were hidden until they were discovered in 1948.

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Posted by HopeEakins 12:30 Archived in Israel

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