is an American television miniseries that first aired on ABC
in April 1981. It is a fictionalized account
of the historical siege
of the Masada citadel in Israel by legions of the The Roman Empire
in AD 73 during the first Jewish Revolts
. The TV series' script is based on the novel The Antagonists
by Ernest K. Gann while also using details from historical sources by Flavius Josephus
It was directed by Boris Sagal and starred Peter O'Toole
as Roman legion commander Cornelius Flavius Silva, Peter Strauss as the Jewish Sicarii commander Eleazar ben Ya'ir, Barbara Carrera as Sheva (Silva's Jewish mistress), Anthony Quayle as Rubrius Gallus, David Warner
as Pomponius Falco and Timothy West as Emperor Vespasian. O'Toole was nominated for an Emmy for his performance. It was his first appearance in an American miniseries. Warner won the Best Supporting Actor Emmy. Jerry Goldsmith
and Morton Stevens composed the series' score, which earned Goldsmith an Emmy Award.
The story is set three years after the fall of Jerusalem
in AD 70. Flavius Silva, commander in Roman Judea, wants to reach a reasonable compromise with the Jewish Zealot faction known as Sicarii, and withdraw his legion. Political pressure in Rome, however, leads to his besieging the fortress of Masada, the Last Bastion
of the Zealots. There the engineering genius of the Romans must fight both the harsh climate and landscape, and the passion and ingenuity of leader Eleazar ben Ya'ir and his people.
This miniseries provides examples of: