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Ancient Art

Ceiling Tile with Heliodoros, an Actuarius

ca. A.D. 200–256

Clay with painted plaster

30.5 × 44 × 6.7 cm (12 × 17 5/16 × 2 5/8 in.)
Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos
This tile from the ceiling of a house bears a Greek inscription that identifies the bearded man by name, Heliodoros, and occupation, actuarius (an official responsible for distribution of wages in the Roman military). The use of Greek to identify a Roman official is typical of the multicultural environment at Dura-Europos. The style and technique of the figure—the frontal pose, large eyes, subtle shading, and earth-toned pigments—recall other painted decoration in the city’s buildings.
Excavated in Dura-Europos, Syria
On view
Syrian, Dura-Europos
Roman (3rd century A.D.)

Excavated by the Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos (block L7 A31, House of the Scribes), present-day Syria, 1928–37; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Michael I. Rostovtzeff, Dura-Europos and Its Art, 1st (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938), 83, pl. 15:1, ill.

Alan Shestack, ed., Yale University Art Gallery Selections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1983), 18–19, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 271, ill.

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 114, fig. 111.

Simon T. James, The Excavations at Dura-Europos,1928 to 1937: Final Report VII, 7 (London: The British Museum Press, 2004), xxvi, 40, pl. 3.

Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 356, no. 49, pl. 49, ill. cover.

Jennifer Chi and Sebastian Heath, eds., Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos, exh. cat. (New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 2011), 50, no. 15, fig. 2–14.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.