Relief of Aphrodite in a niche Maker: Unknown

ca. A.D. 200–256

Ancient Art

On view, 1st floor, Dura-Europos

This brightly painted relief, found in a private house, is one of three such reliefs from Dura-Europos that were made in the same mold. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and sexuality, brushes her hair and gazes into a mirror. The composition is derived from Hellenistic art, but the goddess’s attributes—her bracelets, anklets, breast ornaments, and lack of modesty—evoke images of nude Near Eastern fertility goddesses. This affinity may help explain her popularity at Dura-Europos.




20 1/2 × 10 5/8 × 2 3/4 in. (52 × 27 × 7 cm)

Credit Line

Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos

Accession Number



Greco-Roman or Parthian


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 records is ongoing.



Excavated by the Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos (block G5 C2, private house), present-day Syria, 1928–37; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • 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), 52, no. 38, fig. 2–21
  • Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 367, no. 66, pl. 66
  • Susan B. Downey, The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report III (Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, 1977), 40–1, 153–169, no. 21, pl.7, fig. 21
  • Ann Perkins, The Art of Dura-Europos, 1st ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 103, pl. 43, ill
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