Monday, August 16, 2010

Dura Europos profiled in Archaeology Magazine

THE SITE OF DURA EUROPOS and its history are profiled in Archaeology Magazine:
Dura-Europos: Crossroad of Cultures

August 11, 2010
by Carly Silver

A Lost Civilization of the Ancient Middle East

In 1920, British soldiers digging trenches near the Euphrates River came across ancient wall paintings. In the sands of eastern Syria, they uncovered the remains of the ancient town of Dura-Europos. Located on the Euphrates River, the long-buried settlement was ruled successively by the Macedonians, Parthians, and Romans until its destruction in A.D. 256. Today, the site is known for its buildings, including the world’s oldest church, one of the earliest synagogues ever found, and numerous Greco-Roman temples.

Covering about 180 acres, Dura-Europos was founded around 300 B.C. Scholars like Lisa Brody, associate curator for ancient art at the Yale University Art Gallery, which houses many artifacts from the site, affectionately call it by its original name of “Dura.” The town was built by Nicanor, a general of Seleucus I, one of Alexander the Great’s successors who took power in this region after the Macedonian king’s death. In his Parthian Stations, the geographer Isidore of Charax, who probably lived under the early Roman emperors, calls it “the city of Dura Nicanoris, founded by the Macedonians, also called by the Greeks ‘Europus.’”

For much more on Dura, go here and follow the links.