Masada

A mesa on the western shore of the Dead Sea. It rises about 820 feet above the surrounding valleys and was used as a stronghold between 142 B.C. and A.D. 73.

Jonathan Maccabeus first fortified the rock. Herod the Great made it a monument to his building activity. A band of rebellious Jews held it briefly during the first revolt against Rome (A.D. 66-73). After a long struggle to recapture the fortress, the Tenth Legion raised an enormous siege ramp and broke through the walls. They found the bodies of over 900 men, women, and children, victims of a suicide pact to keep the Romans from taking them as prisoners.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
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