The Gigantic Ramp of Masada

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Image Source: Wikipedia

Should you ever visit the South District of Israel, make sure you take a trip to the amazing site of Masada — once a Jewish stronghold that sits atop an enormous isolated plateau of rock in the Judean Desert that was once only surmountable by way of an enormous 375ft high ramp, built by the army of Roman governor Lucius Flavius Silva in the year 73.

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Image Source: Pennina Neumann

The ramp was built with one objective in mind: to offer Silva’s army an entrance point into the fortress, practically unreachable any other way due to its location approximately 1000ft above the mainland.

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Image Source: Laboratory for CAD & Lifecycle Engineering

Silva preceded the ramp’s construction by orchestrating the erection of a seven mile wall around the plateau, built in order to trap any potential escapees once the fortress walls had been overcome.

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Image Source: S. Alan Moore

Then came the ramp. Over the course of the next few months, Silva’s 4/5000-strong army transferred and compacted many thousands of tons of rock and earth, and slowly built what would become an enormous inclined walkway that reached the fortress walls.

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Image Source: James Brink

On April 17th of 73, with the ramp in place, a giant battering ram was pushed to the top of the 100ft high ramp. In no time at all, Silva’s men gained access to the fortress and readied themselves for resistance from the 900+ Jewish inhabitants of Masada.

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Image Source: Wikipedia

However, on entrance to the stronghold, all that awaited Silva were the lifeless bodies of approximately 960 Sicarri rebels. Days previous, upon hearing of the ramp’s construction, they had taken their own lives in a mass suicide.

The ramp of Masana still stands today.