The First Spa in Human History
Greek & Roman period
Aristotle wrote about the remarkable waters. The Nabateans and others discovered the value of the globs of natural asphalt that constantly floated to the surface where they could be harvested with nets. The Egyptians were steady customers, as they used asphalt in the embalming process that created mummies. The Ancient Romans knew the Dead Sea as "Palus Asphaltites (Asphalt Lake).
The key transformation for the use of the Dead Sea is when queen Cleopatra of Egypt discovered its benefits to skin & body, she Built a palace on its shores to indulge her self with Its minerals. it was the first Spa in Human History & it was Built for Egyption royalty.
King Herod the Great built or rebuilt several fortresses and palaces on the western bank of the Dead Sea. The most famous was Masada, where in 70 CE a small group of Jewishzealots fled after the fall of the destruction of the Second Temple. The zealots survived until 73 CE, when a siege by the X Legion ended in the deaths by suicide of its 960 inhabitants. Another historically important fortress along the western bank was Machaerus where, according to Josephus, John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod Antipas and died.
Also in Roman times, some Essenes settled on the Dead Sea's western shore; Pliny the Elder identifies their location with the words, "on the west side of the Dead Sea, away from the coast ... [above] the town of Engeda" (Natural History, Bk 5.73); and it is therefore a hugely popular but contested hypothesis today, that same Essenes are identical with the settlers at Qumran and that "the Dead Sea Scrolls" discovered during the 20th century in the nearby caves had been their own library.
Josephus identified the Dead Sea in geographic proximity to the ancient Biblical city of Sodom. However, he referred to the lake by its Greek name, Asphaltites.
Various sects of Jews settled in caves overlooking the Dead Sea. The best known of these are the Essenes of Qumran, who left an extensive library known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The town of Ein Gedi, mentioned many times in the Mishna, produced persimmon for the temple's fragrance and for export, using a secret recipe. "Sodomite salt" was an essential mineral for the temple's holy incense, but was said to be dangerous for home use and could cause blindness. The Roman camps surrounding Masada were built by Jewish slaves receiving water from the towns around the lake. These towns had drinking water from the Ein Feshcha springs and other sweetwater springs in the vicinity