For a more detailed account of the Roman siege system employed at Masada, see Gwyn Davies, “Under Siege: The Roman Field Works at Masada,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 362 (2011), pp. 65–83.


It seems that after the fall of Jerusalem, Judea was organized in an unusual way so that the provincial governor was also, simultaneously, the commander (or “legate”) of its one legion garrison.


A violent sect who engaged in the assassination of their many political enemies in the pursuit of their messianic goals.


The alternate view of 72/73 is largely based on the discovery of a fragmentary papyrus from the Masada summit (presumably attributable to the Roman garrison left in place after the fall of the fortress) addressed to one Julius Lupus, possibly the same individual appointed as Prefect of Egypt in February 73, implying that the fortress must already have fallen to the Romans by that date. However, it is equally possible that this was a copy of a letter (or even an original that was never sent) written by an author who belonged to the post-conquest Masada garrison. For more details see Hannah M. Cotton and Joseph Geiger, Masada II: The Yigael Yadin Excavations 19631965, Final Reports: The Latin and Greek Documents (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1989), pp. 21–23.


See Amnon Ben-Tor, Back to Masada (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2009) for a lively summary of the eight volumes of reports that have so far been published from Yadin’s excavations.


Jodi Magness, “The Pottery from the 1995 Excavations in Camp F at Masada,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 353 (2009), pp. 75–107.


Josephus, The Jewish War, VII.276, H. St. John Thackeray, ed. and trans., Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1927).


The steep escarpment edge of the rift valley would have provided a natural delimitation between the two operational sectors, although a carefully engineered zigzag track exiting from Camp D served as a link between the two zones.


Ian A. Richmond, “The Roman Siege-Works of Masada, Israel,” Journal of Roman Studies 52 (1962), p. 154.


Josephus, Jewish War VII.305.


Josephus seriously overstates the dimensions of Silva’s agger. See Josephus, Jewish War VII.307.


For the most accessible version of this argument, see Benjamin Arubas and Haim Goldfus, “Masada. The Roman Siege Works,” in Ephraim Stern, ed., The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 5 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2008), pp. 1937–1940.