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Dura-Europus,ancient city, Syria: see DuraDura
, ancient city of Syria, E of Palmyra on a plateau above the Euphrates River. It is also called Dura-Europos or Dura-Europus. Founded (c.300 B.C.) by a general of Seleucus I, it prospered. In the 2d cent. A.D. the Parthians took Dura, and in A.D.
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(also Doura-Europos), a city in the middle reaches of the Euphrates (near modern-day Qal’at es Salihiye), founded by King Seleucus I Nicator circa 300 B.C. In the second half of the second century B.C. the city passed to the control of the Parthian Kingdom, and in 165 B.C. it came under Roman rule. In 256 A.D., Dura-Europos was destroyed by the troops of the Sassanids.
The city was of a regular plan during the Seleucid period, from which date an agora, the remains of temples, and a citadel. A palace and the ruins of numerous temples (Baal, Artemis Nanaia, Atargatis, Zeus Curiosus, Zeus Theos, Palmyrene Gods) with frescoes and reliefs have survived from the Parthian period. Remains from the Roman period include fortifications, thermae, a Christian church, a synagogue, and the temple of Mithras, the last three with unique wall paintings. Excavations were conducted from 1922 to 1937 intermittently by F. Cumont and M. I. Rostovtsev. In addition to the remains of architectural monuments, documents in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and other languages have been found (Dura-Europos was a major trade center and had an ethnically mixed population).
REFERENCESShishova, I. A. “Dura-Evropos—krepost’ Parfianskogo tsarstva.” Uch. zap. Leningradskogo universiteta, no. 192. Seriia istoricheskikh nauk, issue 21, 1956.
Rostovtzeff, M. Dura-Europos and Its Art. Oxford, 1938.
The Excavations at Dura-Europos. New Haven, 1929-59.