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The archaeological illumination of Josephus’ narrative of the battles at Yodefat and Gamla

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Chapter Summary

There are four detailed narratives in the Jewish War of the sieges and battles at Yodefat, Gamla, Jerusalem, and Masada. Josephus' narrative of Yodefat concerning the ramp is one of the more detailed and he describes how stones, soil, and wood were collected by the Romans and piled on the northern slope. Josephus' descriptions of the two sites are very accurate. Many scholars have reflected on the accuracy of his geographical descriptions in the cases of Masada, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, and more. There are some remains of walls, discovered by a survey and minor excavations that hint at a fortifying operation. At Gamla, the field signs suggest that an earthwork was conducted in front of the round tower, and at least in one place along the wall. At Yodefat, however, the signs are much clearer. In both sites there are remains of the Roman artillery attack.

Keywords: Gamla; Jerusalem; Josephus' Narrative; Masada; Roman artillery; Yodefat



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