Baron Wolman

Its audacious setting at the very tip of Masada makes the northern palace (lower left) the site’s most spectacular feature. But was it the location of the mass suicide? The sentence in Josephus on which that question hangs refers to a palace Herod built “at the western ascent … within and beneath the walls of the citadel, but inclined to its north side.” The northern palace fits much of this description. Two of its three levels lie dramatically beneath the citadel walls, while its top level lies within the walls. However, the northern palace is not near the western ascent (right of center), on which the Romans built a siege ramp.