Now when Alexander [Janneus], the king of the Jews, observed the
nature of this place, he was the first who built a citadel here, which
afterwards was demolished by Gabinius, when he made war against Aristobulus.
But when Herod came to be king, he thought the place to be worthy of the
utmost regard, and of being built upon in the firmest manner, and this
especially because it lay so near to Arabia; for it is seated in a convenient
place on that account, and hath a prospect toward that country; he therefore
surrounded a large space of ground with walls and towers, and built a city
there, out of which city there was a way that led up to the very citadel
itself on the top of the mountain; nay, more than this, he built a wall
round that top of the hill, and erected towers at the corners, of a hundred
and sixty cubits high; in the middle of which place he built a palace,
after a magnificent manner, wherein were large and beautiful edifices.
He also made a great many reservoirs for the reception of water, that there
might be plenty of it ready for all uses, and those in the properest places
that were afforded him there. Thus did he, as it were, contend with the
nature of the place, that he might exceed its natural strength and security
(which yet itself rendered it hard to be taken) by those fortifications
which were made by the hands of men. Moreover, he put a large quantity
of darts and other machines of war into it, and contrived to get every
thing thither that might any way contribute to its inhabitants' security,
under the longest siege possible.