National Geographic : 1985 Jul
Citadel of courage, the hill of Masada(right) near the Dead Sea was occupied by Jewish Zealots besieged by the Romans in AD. 70. The Roman general,Flavius Silva, commanding the Tenth Legion, finally breachedMasada'swall in A.D. 73. With defeat imminent, the Jewish commander, Eleazar ben Yair, exhorted960 of his followers to commit suicide ratherthan surrender.The men complied, first killing theirfamilies. Today recruits in the IsraeliArmy go to Masada to swear an oath: "Masadashall not fall again." Using a metal detectorand a Boy Scout knife, a stockbroker on vacationfrom Manhattanin 1975 located a bronze head and breastplateof the EmperorHadrian (below) in afield near Bet Shean, 130 kilometers from Masada.In the second century Hadriandecreed that a Roman city would be built on the ruins ofJerusalem,thus helping to incite the bloody Bar Kokhba revolt in which the Jews were crushed.