Feb. 12th, 2017
After the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Masada remained the only point of Jewish resistance. Few surviving Jewish fighters that managed to travel across Judean mountains joined the defenders of Masada, and it became the rebels' base for raiding operations.
In 72 C.E. the Roman governor resolved to suppress this outpost of resistance. He marched against Masada at the head of the Tenth Legion, its auxiliary troops, and thousands of Jewish war prisoners, total ten to fifteen thousand people. The troops prepared for a long siege; they established eight camps at the base of the Masada rock and surrounded it with a high wall, leaving no escape for rebels.
Then Romans started to build an assault ramp to the top; thousands of slaves, many of them Jewish, have done that in nine months. After the ramp was complete, the Romans succeeded to move the battering ram up and to direct it against the wall. They broke the stone wall, but the defenders managed to built a wall of earth and wood that was flexible and hard to break. Eventually Romans managed to destroy it by fire, and decided to enter the fortress the next day.
At night Eleazar gathered all the defenders and persuaded them to kill themselves rather than fall into the hands of Romans. The people set fire to their personal belongings, and then ten people chosen by a lot killed everyone else and then committed suicide. In the morning Romans entered a silent fortress and found only dead bodies. Two women and five children survived the mass suicide by hiding in a cave; they came out to Romans. Josephus describes all the dramatic details of the last hours of the Masada defenders as told by these survivors. source
"But if deprivation was one form of control, a far more insidious and malicious one was the annual Christmas holidays, where gluttony and binge drinking was almost mandatory. During those six days, the enslaved could do what they chose, and while a few spent time with distant family or hunting or working on their homes, most were happy to engage in playing sports, "fiddling, dancing, and drinking whiskey; and this latter mode of spending the time was by far the most agreeable to the feelings of our masters. ... It was deemed a disgrace not to get drunk at Christmas." To encourage whiskey benders, the "masters" took bets to see who could drink the most whiskey, thus "getting whole multitudes to drink to excess."
Douglass sounds even angrier at these obligatory orgies – he calls them "part and parcel of the gross fraud, wrong, and inhumanity of slavery" – than at other, more direct forms of cruelty."
"According to Roman mythology, the priests of Lupercus would perform a traditional purification ritual, slaughtering goats to the god, and after consuming wine, they would run through the streets of Rome holding aloft the skins of the goats touching anyone they met.The occasion compelled floods of young women to the streets in the belief that being touched would improve their chances of conceiving and bring forth easy childbirth."source