The Masada Myth
Scholar presents evidence that the heroes of the Jewish Great Revolt were not heroes at all.
It should come as no surprise to find out that the most obvious conclusion from the cultural analysis is that the way Masada is presented in the various cultural manifestations that I examined is not at all consistent with the account provided by Josephus Flavius. As compared to Josephus, the Masada mythical narrative constitutes a significant deviation from the historical account.
Three main elements from Josephus' historical account are, more or less, kept in the mythical narrative. These are:
- The Jewish rebels who took part in the Great Revolt against the Roman Empire found themselves at the end of the rebellion on Masada
- The Roman imperial army launched a siege on the mountain in order to conquer the place and capture the rebels
- When the rebels realized that there was no more hope of either winning or holding out against the Roman army, they chose to kill themselves rather than surrender and become wretched slaves.
These details can be found in nearly all forms of the mythical narrative, both written and oral. Viewed in this manner, it is indeed easy to be impressed with the heroism of the rebels on top of Masada.
Many other no less important elements from the historical account are typically omitted altogether from the mythical account. Moreover, these omissions are frequently accompanied by factually unsubstantiated, imaginary (and sometimes quite creative, one must admit) "information."