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Exhibition: Photographs of Dura-Europos: 1922 – 2022 and Onward

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The exhibition connects the past, present, and future of research on Dura-Europos, Syria, and forms part of Yale’s centennial commemoration of the Yale-French Excavations. The contribution of Dura-Europos to our understanding of cultural diversity and religious life in the ancient Middle East is extraordinary. Houses renovated for use as a synagogue and a Christian building are among the nineteen religious buildings that have been excavated, providing us with a remarkable glimpse of the coexistence of polytheists and monotheists in the middle of the third century.

In about 256, Dura-Europos fell to the Sasanian Empire during an invasion, and the defensive earthen rampart that had been built against one of the city walls ended up preserving the synagogue, Christian building, Mithraeum, and multiple other structures in a remarkable microclimate. Located on the Euphrates River, the city had been a critical military outpost on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire since about 165, and was previously under the control of the Parthian (Arsacid) Empire since the late second or early first century B.C.E. Two centuries earlier, during the Seleucid period, Macedonian military settlers founded the colony “Europos” at the site with plots of land organized according to a grid pattern, and a cuneiform tablet inscribed with an earlier form of the name “Dura” (fortress) suggests that there was a much earlier settlement...

 

 

 

 


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