Historically, the only way to reach the fortress could be by a single pathway.
This path was too narrow for men to walk and it earned the name “Snake Path” for the way it zig-zags and twists all along the way to the top.
It is believed that Masada was the place where David rested after fleeing from his father-in-law, King Saul.
According to the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus Flavius, Herod the great had built the fortress of Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.
Herod furnished this fortress and based it as a refuge for himself.
After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple (70 CE) by the Roman General Titus, a group of Zealot Jewish families fled from Jerusalem and took refuge in the Fort.
After the Rebellion was crushed, the new governor of Palestine, Lucilius Bassus, was assigned with the task of “mopping-up” the last pockets of Jewish Resistance.
Those last strongholds were Herodium, Machaerus, and Massada.
He did not live to complete his task due to illness and was replaced by the Roman General Lucius Flavius Silva.
Then, Silva moved against the Last Jewish stronghold at Massada, massing a force of 4,800 Auxiliary Soldiers and Jewish Slaves which were captured earlier in the rebellion.
The Jewish Defenders in Masada consisted of a small force of less than a thousand Jewish Sicarii Force(which also included non-combatants such as Women and Children).
The Romans had camped in the Mount of Olives and demanded the defenders to surrender, but after those were rejected, he began his move against the fort.
When the Romans finally breached the walls after a year, they discovered a scene:
All of the surviving remaining Jewish defenders had chosen death in a mass suicide.
The Jewish-Roman Historian Josephus Flavius described the fort of Masada has as “a lozenge-shaped table-mountain” that is “lofty, isolated, and to all appearance impregnable”.
This fact was probably one of the main explanations of how a small group of rebels managed to hold the fort for over a year against the unstoppable and overwhelming Roman Legion.