The extraordinary preservation of the archaeological remains at Dura-Europos, in modern-day Syria, provides a vivid picture of a thriving multicultural city on the eastern edge of the Roman Empire. A variety of religious communities—pagan, Jewish, and Christian—lived and worshipped together there in the decades before the city was conquered by the Sasanians. One of these communities worshipped the god Mithras, whose cult involved secrecy, initiation, and rituals that remain enigmatic. Lisa Brody, Associate Curator of Ancient Art, looks at the Mithraeum from Dura, which provides some of the best evidence for the cult. The display and preservation of this shrine are particularly important now, in light of the unrest and devastation in the Middle East.
Space is limited. Please meet in the Gallery lobby.