Baron Wolman

The precipitous cliffs of Masada, which rise more than 1,300 feet above the nearby Dead Sea, prevented the Romans from mounting a general assault all along the walls of the 20-acre fortress. Instead, the Romans built an immense ramp in order to roll their siege engine, a huge battering ram mounted like a swing in a tower with wheels, up to the base of the wall. In this aerial view to the north, the storerooms and administrative buildings of the northern palace appear at the upper point of the diamond; the Roman siege ramp rises on the left, near the middle of the diamond, to meet the outer wall beside the western palace. The double-walled casemate is still evident at many places on the mountain’s periphery.