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Dura Europos A City for Everyman

Penny Young

published by Twopenny Press


The Seleucid city of Dura Europos on the Euphrates river in the east of Syria was excavated by archaeologists in the 1930s. Their discoveries included a unique synagogue and the earliest, dated, painted Christian ‘church’. The finds caused a sensation. They also challenged, rather uncomfortably, a whole range of preconceived ideas. It has meant that the city’s short but remarkable history has largely remained a subject for the experts. This is a pity. Dura Europos emerged from the mud as a tolerant, multi cultural and multi lingual city in which a variety of gods were worshipped. The people lived together side by side in apparent harmony and, at the end, fought together against their common enemy. Dura Europos A City for Everyman presents an account of the excavations, the discoveries made and the controversy that ensued. The story of the little lost city, whose people shared a common humanity, presents a series of challenges and messages that are absolutely relevant today.

Designed and produced by Gilmour Print, Stewarton Ayrshire Scotland

ISBN 978-0-9561703-4-7

336 pages with 55 illustrations including artwork from Dura Europos and colour photographs.

‘Ye places that here witnessed the life of man, in so many different ages, aid my recollection while I endeavour to trace the revolutions of his fortune ... let the experience of past ages become a mirror of instruction, and a germ of happiness to present to future generations.’ The Ruins or A Survey of the Revolutions of Empires, M Volney, 1807

‘... a truly remarkable book.. It was almost like a revelation. I would hardly have imagined that so unique a city and unique a society could ever have existed.’ David Hirst

Penny meticulously recounts the context of the art discovered in Dura Europos; especially the unusual synagogue art. Her whole book brings the writings and architecture of the city to life. Ian Sherwood

'I couldn't put it down.' Gratifyingly, several readers including Verna and Maro: 'We were always impatient to find out what the next dig would reveal!'

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