The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews and Christians at Institute for the Study of the Ancient World
Ceiling Tile with Portrait of Heliodoros, an Actuarius (Roman Fiscal Official), Clay, with a Layer of Painted Plaster, H. 30.5 cm, W. 44.0 cm, D. 6.7 cm. From the House of the Scribes, Dura-Europos, 200–256 CE. Yale University Art Gallery , Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos: 1933.292. Photo: © 2011 Yale University Art Gallery.

NEW YORK, N.Y.- The ancient city of Dura-Europos, which stood at the crossroads of the Hellenistic, Persian, and Roman worlds for some five centuries, is the subject of an exhibition at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW). Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos tells the story of life in the city, located in present-day Syria, from the mid-second to mid-third century CE, when it thrived as a Roman military garrison. The exhibition is on view from September 23, 2011, through January 8, 2012.

Founded at the end of the fourth century BCE by Macedonian successors of Alexander the Great, Dura-Europos was successively occupied by Parthians and Romans before its destruction in the middle of the third century CE. It was home to an unusually multicultural population that—hailing from across a wide geographic swath—lived, worked, and worshipped side by side, speaking and writing in an exceptional variety of languages.

The thousands of archaeological treasures that have been uncovered at Dura include the world’s best-preserved ancient synagogue, with paintings of Biblical scenes that revealed a figural tradition in Jewish art, previously believed not to exist; the earliest Christian house-church, with the earliest-known baptistery; and numerous places of pagan worship.

Edge of Empires explores Dura’s multiplicity of religions, languages, and cultures through a presentation of 77 significant objects from the city and a display devoted to the history of archaeological excavation and discovery there. Artifacts on view range from elaborately painted ceiling tiles from the famous synagogue, to a painted shield, to such quotidian objects as a child’s leather shoe and an engagement ring.

ISAW Exhibitions Director and Chief Curator Jennifer Chi states, “The site of influential archaeological finds, Dura is an apt subject to be explored by ISAW, which is dedicated to illuminating the connections among various places and cultures of the ancient world. Moreover, as a city of extraordinary cultural diversity, Dura has great resonance for the modern world, where multiculturalism shapes the very nature and quality of daily life.”

The objects in Edge of Empires are on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery, and are drawn from material jointly excavated in the 1920s and 1930s by Yale University and the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.

Strategically sited above the Euphrates River, at the intersection of a major east-west trade route and the trade route that ran along the Euphrates, Dura-Europos was bordered on the east by the River and on the north and south by deep ravines. The city was therefore geographically protected on three sides, with only its western border open to attack, a vulnerability that was remedied in the later second-century BCE, with the construction of a large wall that became one of Dura’s salient features. Thus “Dura,” the Assyrian term for a fortified place, was used in addition to the name “Europos,” which reflects the Macedonian city of its founders.

Despite its natural and human-built fortifications, in the late second-century BCE Parthians traveling westward from Iran captured Dura. The city then served as an economic and administrative center on the western edge of the Parthian empire until 164 CE, when the Roman emperor Lucius Verus brought Syria, and thus also Dura-Europos, under Roman control. The city flourished as a military garrison until 256 CE, when it was destroyed by the Sasanians. Never again occupied by a significant number of people, the site of the cosmopolitan Roman town was exceptionally well preserved, with a wealth of artifacts that, upon their discovery, fundamentally altered our understanding of religious and military practice in the late Roman period.

The mix of distinct populations in Dura may be traced not only to the city’s history of rule by Greeks, Parthians, and Romans, but also to its role as an important way-station for caravans traveling from Arabia, Persia, and Syria toward the Mediterranean. Indeed, Hellenistic, Roman, Syrian, Arab, Jewish, and Christian soldiers, merchants, and slaves could all be found in Dura.

Excavation at Dura-Europos
Dura remained virtually unexplored from its destruction in the mid-third-century CE until its accidental rediscovery in 1920, when British troops digging a rifle pit came upon ancient wall-paintings in what turned out to be the Temple of the Palmyrene Gods (or Temple of Bel), one of the most spectacular pagan structures to be found at Dura.

Systematic excavations were begun by the French Academy in 1922, followed by a collaboration between the Academy and Yale that extended from 1928 until 1937.

The Yale–French team made thousands of discoveries, many of which had a dramatic impact on conventional notions of the ancient world. In addition to numerous places of worship, these included military equipment, papyri and parchments, and objects of daily life. Together, these provided a complex picture of the physical and social fabric of the Roman city and initiated some of the modern era’s most influential scholarship on the Late Antique period.

After a long hiatus, excavations at Dura began again in 1986, under the Mission Franco-Syrienne d’Europos-Doura, and are currently under the direction of archaeologists Pierre Leriche and A. Al Saleh.

Exhibition Overview
Edge of Empires begins with an installation of archival photographs that provide an overview of archaeological work and discoveries at Dura. These include images of the legendary directors of the Yale-French excavation, Franz Cumont and Michael Rostovtzeff, in the field, and of both the interiors of architectural spaces and exteriors of some of the city’s major monuments. Together, these reveal the extraordinary scale and nature of discoveries at the site, as well as its breathtaking geographic location and the astonishing degree of preservation of many of its architectural finds.

The exhibition next examines salient aspects of the life and culture of Roman Dura through the thematic display of important artifacts, several of them recently restored. This begins with an exploration of Roman military life and practice in the city. Articles of military equipment and dress, for example, include the superbly painted Roman military shield, or scutum, the best-preserved example of its type and distinctively High Imperial in character. Also on view are several Celtic-influenced bronze belt-ornaments, demonstrating the internationalism of the Roman military, which raised troops from all parts of the empire. Nearby, a series of well-preserved elements of bronze horse-armor and an iron Sasanian helmet give a sense of the heavily armed nature of combat between Roman soldiers and their Near Eastern opponents.

The Yale–French excavation at Dura uncovered inscriptions and graffiti that revealed the concurrent use of Greek, Aramaic, Latin, Parthian, Middle Persian, Hebrew, and Safaitic, bringing vividly to life the international character of the city’s population in the third century CE. A ceiling tile from the synagogue, for example, uses Aramaic for the names of some of the building’s donors, while a relief representing the goddess Nemesis and a priest, from one of the city gates, has a bilingual inscription in Greek and Palmyrene, a local Semitic dialect spoken in the nearby city of Palmyra. A wonderfully preserved altar is inscribed in Greek despite its dedication to a Palmyrene god. Indeed, Greek, the language of Dura’s founders, remained the language of culture and international business in the Roman period, and was the most commonly spoken and written of the many languages in Dura-Europos.

With caravans traveling to and through Dura on both north-south and east-west routes, the city was an active participant in international trade. This is reflected in the exhibition by a selection of pottery from the site. Fragments of fine glossy red-orange plates and bowls imported from ancient Tunisia and the Aegean coast are displayed alongside locally produced green-glazed pieces. More utilitarian wares include a plain, locally produced water jug and a large amphora from the Aegean that may have once contained a particular vintage of wine or olive oil.

Finally, the co-existence of multiple religions at Dura is evident in some of the most compelling objects to be unearthed at the site. A relief showing the god Herakles struggling heroically with the Nemean lion, and another in which he brandishes his club and holds the skin of the now-slain animal attest to the pagan god’s popularity at Dura, likely driven by the military population. Ten ceiling tiles from the synagogue, which have never before been on display as a group, not only indicate that Judaism flourished in third-century Dura, but also reveal the richness of this building’s interior decoration: the depiction of garlands, pine cones, and floral motifs on the tiles was clearly intended to convey the idea of abundance and fertility. Large-scale paintings from the baptistery of the earliest known Christian house-church provide an unprecedented look at church decoration during a period when Christians were still being persecuted. The paintings directly illustrate some of the miracles of Jesus and are part of a program that emphasizes salvation through baptism.

ISAW | Pagans | Jews | Christians |

Last Week News

September 24, 2011

Copyrights and images from Marilyn Monroe's first photo shoot to be auctioned

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Turkish Republic reach agreement for transfer of top half of Weary Herakles

The Morgan Library & Museum holds major exhibition this fall celebrating the birth of Charles Dickens

Richard Serra: Two new sculptures, Junction and Cycle, on view at the Gagosian Gallery

Works by world's preeminent contemporary artists sold at Christie's New York to benefit Artists for Haiti

"Wizard of Oz" ruby slippers up for sale at California auction house Profiles in History

Focused survey of installation art by Sanford Biggers at the Brooklyn Museum

Seeing Stars: Visionary Drawing from the collection on view at the Menil Collection

Sotheby's London to offer important newly discovered and unseen early photographs by Linnaeus

Arco Gallerywalk, new idea from Arco Art Fair to boost visits to art galleries in Madrid

Large scale steel sculptures by Jonathan Prince at The Sculpture Garden at 590 Madison Avenue

First solo show in Mexico by Darío Villalba at Luis Adelantado Gallery in Mexico City

Longtime Michener Director/CEO Bruce Katsiff announces plan to step down

De Hallen Haarlem presents an international group exhibition centering on an artwork by Louise Bourgeois

"What would you name a new worm?" asks UK museum

Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby: Ascent on view at Haunch of Venison in London

The Rencontres D'Arles: Photography festival 2011 breaks attendance record

The Whitney announces team for second volume devoted to Warhol's films

Looters plunder $8.5M from Ivory Coast museum

Poland receives 2 stolen paintings seized in New York

September 23, 2011

"MemyselfandI: Photo portraits of Picasso" opens at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne

Historical importance of paintings by Frank Stella Examined in exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Recently rediscovered early body of work by Ad Reinhardt on view at The Pace Gallery

Exhibition of Bob Dylan's drawings and paintings on view at Gagosian Gallery in New York

Photographer Elliott Erwitt's archive to be housed at University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center

J. Paul Getty Trust and the Hellenic Republic sign agreement creating framework for cultural cooperation

Boldini and Dore highlight Christie's 19th Century European art sale in New York

Faces of the New China: Christie's announces the evening sale of an important private collection

Exhibition of new paintings by Belgian painter Raoul De Keyser at David Zwirner

Banksy's iconic Monkey Detonator sells for £97,250 at Bonhams Urban Art sale     

Beatles' anti-segregation 1965 contract sold for $23,000 by Nate D. Sanders Auctions

Chinese Gilt-Bronze Bell achieves $482,500 at Doyle New York's Asian works of art sale

Exhibition of paintings from the 1960s to the 80s by the late Milton Resnick at Cheim & Read

Phillips de Pury & Company to auction historic collection of over 4350 Swatch watches in Hong Kong

Photos, films find profound in ordinary people

Newly acquired portraits of Johnny Vegas, Matt Lucas, and Jimmy Carr in National Portrait Gallery display

Site specific retrospective installation by pioneering Los Angeles artist Betye Saar at Roberts & Tilton

World's oldest running motor car to be auctioned at RM's Hershey sale

Carsten Höller wins the Enel Contemporanea Award 2011

September 22, 2011

Tate Britain unveils John Martin's lost masterpiece for the first time in almost a century

The Rijksmuseum presents Johan Maurits & Frans Post: Two Dutchmen in Brazil

Sotheby's contemporary art evening auction to be highlighted by four masterworks by Clyfford Still

Marlborough Gallery presents an exhibition by Red Grooms on the theme of New York

Exhibition of artwork by Brigitte Kowanz, Shirley Shor, and Ingo Günther at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Sotheby's to sell the BAT Artventure Collection formerly known as the Peter Stuyvesant Collection Part III

South African artist William Kentridge exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest

Chiara Parisi appointed new Director of the cultural programs at the Monnaie de Paris

British artist Tris Vonna-Michell exhibits new work at Metro Pictures in New York   

Exhibition of photographs in the spirit of alchemy at Galerie Guido W. Baudach

Picasso and Braque: first exhibition to unite works from pivotal years at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Major collection of antique telephones will keep collectors "engaged" at Morphy Auctions

Russian art gets younger, less politicized as fourth Moscow Biennale opens

Florian Maier-Aichen's defiant new works at Baronian_Francey in Brussels

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' fine jewelry and timepieces auction realizes over $3 million

Sotheby's sale of the philatelic collection of Lord Steinberg brings a total of $4.2 million

Rare blue diamond by Bulgari sells for 1.9 million pounds in Bonhams Fine Jewellery sale

Swedish artist target of murder plot

Bonhams Fall salon jewelry and watches sale a starry success

Frieze Art Fair 2011 announces works to be installed at Sculpture Park

September 21, 2011

Art Moscow welcomes over forty national and international Contemporary art galleries

Exhibition of portraits by Andy Warhol of the late Elizabeth Taylor at Gagosian Gallery

Works by Roy Lichtenstein from his celebrated Entablatures series at Paula Cooper Gallery

Museo de Arte de Ponce announces exhibition of masterpieces from the Prado Museum

Christie's announces fashion and accessories sale from the Elizabeth Taylor Collection

Cherry and Martin restages landmark 1970 exhibition "Photography into Sculpture"

National Portrait Gallery announces Lucian Freud portraits exhibition in February 2012

Medieval works of art from the Marquet de Vasselot Collection to be sold at Christie's in Paris

China Institute Gallery presents Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974-1985

Sotheby's to sell an important private collection of works by Alexander Benois this November

Circus poster exhibition sensationally brings to life America's first colossal entertainment industry

World Monuments Fund announces two major grants for sites in Tanzania and Cambodia

Nelson-Atkins Museum Major Lender in Pan-Asian Buddhist Art Exhibition at Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

Exhibition about the fragility and awe-inspiring nature of our oceans at the Pelham Art Center

Polish Jewish museum to open in April 2013

Mussolini's duds sell for $5.5K at Texas auction

Contemporary art from the Estate of Dr. Edmund P. Pillsbury, Oct. 26, at Heritage Auctions

InterAsia Auctions, the market leader in Asian philately, to hold stamps sale

Exhibit explores American Folk Art of quilts

September 20, 2011

Pompidou exhibition throws new light on the work of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch

Warhol, Katz, Henry paintings among $2.8 Million Irish bad bank auction at Christie's

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston acquires Gustave Caillebotte's "Man At His Bath"

Sotheby's New York announces sale of Nicolai Fechin paintings from National Cowboy Museum

DANDAN: Solo exhibition by Japanese artist Tabaimo on view at James Cohan Gallery

Exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Jenny Saville at Gagosian Gallery

Christo and Jeanne-Claude 40 Years, 12 Exhibitions opens at Annely Juda Fine Art

Swann Galleries' announces autumn auction of African-American fine art in October

UK museums to benefit as Art Fund announces details of schemes worth 1 million to boost collections

Hard-luck comic strip character Ziggy creator Tom Wilson Sr. dies at age 80 in Cincinnati

DeCordova presents Temporary Structures: Performing Architecture in Contemporary Art on view this fall

First solo exhibition with Los Angeles painter Pamela Jorden opens at Romer Young Gallery

Installation Design by Zaha Hadid creates dynamic setting for exhibition of her recent product designs

Exhibition in Houston re-creates a day in the life of fashionable 18th-century Parisians

Exhibition at the Smithsonian Documents Impact of the Railroads on the Native Southwest

University of Richmond Museums presents Achachis y Bordados: Storytelling Embroideries from Peru

Lori Eklund promoted to Deputy Director at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Endangered 1972 New York City public mural could be restored

Bonhams expands Chinese and Japanese art departments in Europe, Asia and Australia

Stolen 17th century paintings returned to Bolivia

September 19, 2011

Exhibition by artist Tomas Saraceno opens at the Museum for Contemporary Art in Berlin

Gothic tapestries from Spain, recently restored, on view together for first time at the National Gallery of Art

MoMA presents first major retrospective devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning

Extended Drawing: Exhibition by artists Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Bruce Nauman & Richard Serra

Tony Curtis Collection tops $1 million at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills; more than twice the presale estimate releases its first commissioned limited edition multiple with Lawrence Weiner

Jusepe De Ribera's masterpiece Mary Magdalene on view at the Meadows Museum

Hockney in Los Angeles: Iconic prints from the 70's and 80's at Leslie Sacks Fine Art

Peter Saul Print Retrospective, 1966-2010 opens at Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati

Christie's in New York to offer two exceptional photograph sales this October

Sotheby's in Hong Kong announces 20th century Chinese art autumn auction

William H. Bunch to auction private collection of classic cars, estate art, antiques and fine jewelry, Oct. 4

"Raw/Cooked": A series of five exhibitions by emerging Brooklyn artists at the Brooklyn Museum

Solo exhibition of new work by Linda Karshan at Cain Schulte Contemporary Art

Refurbished, re-configured, restored and re-hung: The De Morgan Centre re-opens

(e)merge Art Fair in Washington DC, a virtual fair also!

Sotheby's to offer fine & decorative arts from the collection of Edward P. Evans

Overview of the overlooked Southern California artists at the Robert Berman Gallery

New exhibit presents stunning collection of photorealism

"CIRCA 1986" exhibition at Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful