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Ancient Art

Depinto Picture and Inscription

ca. 323 B.C.–A.D. 256

Paint on plaster

20.32 × 28.58 cm (8 × 11 1/4 in.)
Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos
1933.299
Zabdo(i)us (written in Greek) presumably names the calm, mounted huntsman who aims his Parthian recurved bow at an onrushing lion. He is also labeled VICTOR (Latin for victorious). Zabodus’s dress and frontal riding pose reveal cultural influences from the Parthian empire. Found on the walls of the scribal offices of the Temple of Azzanathkona, the relief uses imagery and text to express military and political prowess. Mounted archers hunting lions are found throughout ancient Near Eastern art. The lion hunt displayed the courage and vigor of a ruler capable of defeating dangerous predators who symbolized chaos and evil.
Geography: 
Excavated in Dura-Europos, Syria
Culture: 
Syrian, Dura-Europos
Period: 
Greco-Roman or Parthian
Classification: 
Inscriptions
Provenance: 

Excavated by the Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos, present-day Syria, 1928–37; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 329, no. 14, pl. 14.

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), 112, no. 17, ill.

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.