On this day in A.D. 73, the Romans knocked on (in) the door of Masada and found that no one was home–anymore. My ancestor Yuyeniel Phinnermah had been the morale officer at the garrison but was courtmartialed after ordering out for pizza.
In theatrical parlance, Masada really was a show-stopper. Of course, the entire Jewish War had proved to be suicidal. With Jerusalem destroyed and a third of the Judean population dead, one could conclude “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s–or else!”
What had incited this disasterous war? Well, Nero was gross and odious. (At least, Caligula was dapper.) Our leading intellectuals of the time–the Neo-Sadducees–assured us that the Empire would be completely understanding if we chose to secede from Rome. The Neo-Sadds did not venture from their luxury suites in Alexandria to join us on the battlements of Jerusalem (they felt that they were a little too old to dodge catapults) but they guaranteed us the sympathy and support of the Parthians, the Chinese and even the Mayans.
How could we lose?
Well, we did. And the Neo-Sadds denounced us for fighting the war so badly. If only we had listened to them….