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Masada, fine art painting in the Judean desert

Masada in Israel is a World Heritage Site, Symbol of Freedom.
This fine painting hauntingly is symbolic and evocatively atmospheric as is Masada.

This and other paintings of  Israel, a series created some 23 years previously have been attracting considerable attention recently so here is some “further reading” for you.

Gordon Frickers painted after a lengthy visit to the site which included choosing not to use the cable car preferring to climb the zig zag path, betterto understand the “feel” of Masada.

Now almost 25 years later this and the other paintings of Israel by Gordon Frickers have taken on an historic significance of their own because the land has changed so dramatically.

You could inspire, encourage  a painting of Israel by commissioning Gordon Frickers via Contact Us, page http://www.frickers.co.uk/contact.html


Masada is a mountain.
Masada is a legend.
Masada is an inspiration.


Masada is a place of starkly majestic beauty.

Masada rises in splendid isolation from the Judean Desert and the Western shores of the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is unique.
Sometimes called the Salt Sea or La Mere Mort, is the lowest habitable land on this planet Earth and has been one of the most desolate regions on earth.
You can purchase our hauntingly symbolic original painting of “Sunset over Masada” or order one similar securely here using Paypal by going to page: https://www.frickers.co.uk/art/home-page2/contact-gordon-frickers-and-orders/making-a-payment/
Or contact us.
Masada was/is the site of a very extra ordinary International archaeological dig. 10 years work was completed in 3 years.

Masada once thought to be no more than a colourfull legend has been proven to exist.
Masada was the site of one of the most dramatic recorded episodes in human history.
Almost twenty centuries ago on this gaunt plateau, a small group of free people stood against the tyrannical might of the superpower of their age, ancient Rome.
The Last Stand of a free people in Israel before the longest exile in history was involuntarily started by that people.
A people who against all odds, never lost their identity, never gave up their claim on their land, have returned from a terrible holocaust yet still have to fight for their lives, land and freedom.

Empires and religions have come and gone but still some how the Jews continue.

If I was a muslim I’d think on that. It seems seriously bad luck to persecute Jews?

The summit of Masada was a fortified settlement guarding the ancient highly profitable spice road from the Yemen Northwards.
Masada had been fortified by King Herod the Great during the first century BCE.
Masada was and still is only accessible by 2 very steep paths or today by a cable car.
King Herod’s constructions at Masada included a wall around the mountain’s perimeter with numerous defense towers, extensive storehouses, a series of huge underground cisterns to hold rain water, barracks and a magnificent palace.

Tragedy came to Masada in 70 CE.
Roman  religious intolerance and persecution lead to a full-scale Jewish revolt against Rome.
In scale not unlike the Scots choosing to take on the U.S.A. today!
Initially the war went well for the Jews who though out the campaign fought with desperate courage.
The Jews aspired to repeat the success of the Maccabees who lead the successful war of liberation some 3 centuries earlier against the Hellenistic Greeks.
After several serious et backs the Romans sent in their best general and best legions.
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, himself a former “revolting” Jew and later a Roman hostage recorded the events in his remarkable book “The Jewish War”.
A book to the Roman’s credit, open honest and effectively sponsored by Emperor Vespasian.

In Israel,just as  Flavius Josephus had proficied to Vespasian, General Vespasian (who had perfected his grisly trade as conqueror of much of a remote barbaric Celtic island called Britannia) was called to Rome to be made Emperor, nice for him.
Vespasian’s son, the Roman General Titus, succeeded his father General Vespasian.

Not so nice, Titus troops conquered and sacked Jerusalem, destroyed The Temple, leveled most of the city, ravaged the land.

It is often forgotten that Titus enslaved and dispersed 80% (not all) of the people through out the Roman Empire.
The Jews never voluntarily gave up their land and at every opportunity through history have and will continue to return.

Those who seek to denigrate and destroy modern Israel would do well to ponder the meaning of this extraordinary occurrence.

Thus started the longest exile in world history and one of the greatest myths of history, a favorite myth with many anti smites today.
That there were no Jews in Israel for 1800 ish years.
Jews remained surviving in Israel.

They just weren’t enough and certainly not strong enough to resist subsequent waves of invaders.
A fate not unlike the Celts of Western Europe.

Returning to the account by Josephus Flavius, a number of warriors evaded capture at Jerusalem and joined the group at Masada.
Together they numbered less than 1000 souls.
For two years their control of Masada remained unchallenged.
Then, in 72 CE, the Roman governor Flavius Silva moved a 15,000-man strong force including the veteran Tenth Legion to subdue them.

The 10th Legion camped at the foot of the mountain stronghold and besieged the Jewish survivors on Masada’s summit.
The Romans rapidly built a wall encircling Masada, you can see it still today from the sumit.
4 fortified camps were built as well as a massive ramp of boulders and compacted earth up the steep side of the mountain.
Much of the ramp can still be seen today.
A fighting tower was laboriously hauled up the ramp and used to breach Herod’s wall.
We are told by Josephus Flavius he based his story on the testimony of the very few survivors (2?).
The defenders he wrote, watched these preparations for the onslaught but would not “attack” the Jewish slave labour, their brethern.

When the defenders’ leader, Eleazar ben Ya’ir, realized that the end was tomorrow morning, he called a meeting of his followers.
In an impassioned speech implored them to remain true to their cause and principals for which they had fought so long and so valiantly.
Let us rather die“, “than be enslaved by our enemy.
Let us leave this world in freedom”.

What would you have chosen?
What will your grand children choose if a suppressive tyrant over runs Europe and tries to turn it into an Islamic state?

Remember of course being a Roman slave was not a very promising career move…

Nine hundred and sixty men, women and children died by their own hands.
The men embraced their wives and children and put them to the sword.
Ten men were chosen to take the lives of their comrades. 

Next, Josephus Flaviustells us 10 lots were cast. Historiand did not believe Josephus Flavius.

Modern archaeologists actually found 10 potter lots with 10 Hebrew names on them.

What do you think,  maybe the originals?
Finally, the last surviving warrior set fire to the palace but not the grain or weapons stores, to show the Romans they died with adequate supplies.
Then he fell upon his own blade.

Next morning the Romans, up for a desperate fight, rape and slaves and martial fun entered an uncannily silent fortress.
The defenders had left untouched abundant supplies of food and water, so that the Romans might know that the Jews had preferred death to enslavement.
Throughout subsequent Jewish history, the sacrifice of Eleazar ben Ya’ir and his comrades has remained a symbol of the determination of the Jewish people to be free in its own land and an inspiration to countless other peoples. 

Today most Jewish servicemen take an oath on Masada, can you guess what it is?
The heroism of Masada calls down the centuries and remains relevant in modern times to all people who wish to be free.

You can purchase our original painting securely here using Paypal by going to page: https://www.frickers.co.uk/art/home-page2/contact-gordon-frickers-and-orders/making-a-payment/

Gordon Frickers 2009 ©