2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

How Assassins Became Heroes: A Historical Examination of the Facts and Myths Surrounding the Siege of Masada
Shannon L. Crowder
Dr. Thomas Zoumaras, Faculty Mentor

The siege of Masada in the first century is an inspirational rallying point, a David and Goliath story that has struck chords with the oppressed for centuries. In its shift from event to narrative, several facts have changed fundamentally. This paper explores the various problems with researching the siege of Masada, especially the difficulties in understanding the Roman interest in the site and the use of documents to understand archaeological finds. How the myth of Masada developed, and how the original narrative of the historian Josephus has been altered to fit the public's changing tastes, are also critical. National myths reveal the political and social climate in which these myths developed. By examining the Roman primary documents, especially the account of Josephus; modern scholarly interpretation; and archaeological sources, this paper explores how and why the siege has become the symbol that it is today.

Keywords: Masada, Ancient Rome, Ancient Judea, Archaeology, Myth Making

Topic(s):History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 50-1
Location: VH 1320
Time: 1:15 pm

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