Had you been in that fortress on the night before the Romans stormed it, what would you have done? To avoid cheap ways out, let's assume the zealots have already voted for mass suicide and the discussion is over. The remaining options are not so favorable. Adding info link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masada There is a movie about it too which is good. Today the Israeli Defence Force uses a gondola to swear in all it's new recruits on the summit of Masada and sets flame to a big sign which says "Masada will not fall again."