Titus' Victory March

Having completed his sack of Jerusalem, Titus departed for Rome, taking hundreds of Jewish captives carefully chosen for their height and appearance. To the roar of cheering crowds, the Jewish prisoners marched through the imperial city, bearing holy Temple vessels, including the Menorah. Arriving at the temple of Jupiter, one of the rebel leaders was publicly beheaded, and another thrown into prison.

To commemorate the victory, a monument was constructed, which still stands today. The Arch of Titus, depicting the scene of Jewish captives carrying the holy objects of the Bais Hamikdash, was complemented by coins minted to commemorate the great Roman victory over the Jews. With Emperor Vespasian on the front, the coin’s reverse depicts a weeping woman with bound hands, for the Jewish people, with a Roman legionnaire standing haughtily nearby. The caption reads JUDEA CAPTA — Judah is captured.


After the Jewish nation was conquered, one stronghold still held out -– the seemingly impregnable fortress of Masada, standing on a high hilltop in the Judean desert. Built as a palace by King Herod, Masada had its own water supply, food stores, and even a mikva, a ritual bath, constructed according to all rigorous legal standards.

Approximately 1,000 Zealots — men, women, and children — occupied the mountaintop fort, hoping to outlast the might of Rome. As the Jews held out atop Masada, Roman Legion X methodically constructed adjacent earthworks, and on top of these a high tower, from which they operated their battering rams and hurled missiles into the fortress. Although the Jewish defenders courageously repulsed the Romans, eventually the attackers were ready to storm the outpost. On the first day of Pesach, 73 CE, Elazar ben Yair, the Zealot leader, delivered an impassioned speech imploring the Jews to take their lives rather than submit to Roman slavery. A suicide pact was drawn up, and men slew their wives and children before killing themselves. When the Romans entered Masada, they were greeted by an eerie silence. Two women and five children, who had hidden to avoid the mass suicide, told them what had happened. Filled with respect for the Jews' dogged determination, the Romans did not celebrate their hard-won victory.

With the fall of Masada, all Jewish resistance in Eretz Israel came to an end.