Arsu Riding a Camel Artist: Unknown

ca. 2nd century A.D.

Ancient Art

On view, 1st floor, Dura-Europos

The worship of Arsu, an Arab god, was probably introduced at Dura-Europos during the Parthian era by caravans and nomads. In the earlier of the two Arsu reliefs in the Yale University Art Gallery's collection (see also 1938.5311), the god rides a camel and approaches an altar. A crescent perhaps symbolizes his association with the evening star; the rose may signal divinity. After Dura became a Roman military garrison, worship of Arsu emphasized his military characteristics. The later relief above depicts a standing Arsu with weapons of the desert: a small round shield, a spear, and a sword.




13 × 17 1/2 × 2 3/4 in. (33 × 44.5 × 7 cm)

Credit Line

Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos

Accession Number



Parthian or Roman, 2nd century A.D.


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 L5 42, Temple of Adonis), present-day Syria, 1928–37; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Blair Fowlkes-Childs and Michael Seymour, The World Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019), 191, no. 135
  • 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), 53, no. 39, fig. 2–23
  • Lisa R. Brody and Gail Hoffman, eds., Dura-Europos: Crossroads of Antiquity (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2011), 353, no. 46, pl. 46
  • Hans Erik Mathiesen, Sculpture in the Parthian Empire : a study in chronology, 2 volumes (Aarhus Denmark: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 1992), 199–200, no. 179, vol. 1, appendix II, pp.78–80, fig. 58
  • Christa Bauchenss-Thüriedl, Erika Simon, and Ingrid Krauskopf, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, 8 vols. (Zurich: Artemis, 1981–97), vol. 2, p. 615, no. 3, pl. 440
  • Susan B. Downey, The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report III (Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA, 1977), 55–6, 195–199, no. 43, pl. 11, fig. 43
  • Ann Perkins, The Art of Dura-Europos, 1st ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 98–100, pl. 40, ill
  • Dorothy E. Miner, ed., Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, April 25–June 22, exh. cat. (Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum, 1947), 35, no. 76, fig. pl. X
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), reliefs, religious art

Technical metadata and APIs


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