chapter  11
Dura Deserta: e Death and Aerlife of Dura-Europos
ByJ. A. Baird
Pages 24

Dura-Europos has long been called the ‘Pompeii of the Syrian desert’ (Rostovtze 1938, 2; Sommer 2004, 154), and while the application of the so-called ‘Pompeii premise’ is another topic (Allison 1992; Binford 1981; Cameron 2006; Schier 1985), the reason the epithet has been applied to Dura is due to its supposed sudden abandonment, with its population assumed to have been deported by conquering Sasanian forces in c. AD 256 (Leriche 1996b). Little survives of contemporary textual sources which deal with Dura specically (although see the irteenth Sibylline Oracle in Potter 1990, and the ŠKZ discussed below); but from the late Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, quoted above, it is known that by AD 363 Julian was able to hunt among the abandoned ruins of the city.