|From General interwebs|
That right may be the oldest representation of Jesus in existence, showing him healing the paralytic. Other ancient art may represent Jesus, but it's impossible to tell because a consistent iconography hadn't emerged yet. From context, this one portrays Jesus without a doubt. It was found at the Church at Dura-Europos, "the Pompeii of the desert", a Greco-Roman city in Syria that was abandoned after a Sassanid siege in the third century, never rebuilt, and covered by the drifting sand until its rediscovery in the 1920s.
While reading about Dura's modern excavation, I learned that archaeologists from Yale University had also uncovered a mostly intact and extensively illustrated Mithraeum, which they'd carefully dismantled, shipped back home, and... rebuilt... on display... in the University art gallery. In Connecticut.
Allow me to reproduce my email to mah wimmins, sent moments after reading that paragraph:
subject: The Yale University Art Gallery
THEY HAVE THE MITHRAEUM OF DURA-EUROPOS THE ACTUAL MITHRAEUM THEY
MOVED IT IN FROM SYRIA WE HAVE TO GO SEE IT LET"S GO TONIGHT!!!
An actual freakin' Mithraeum, less than three hours from my home. Holy fuckin' shit, dude.
Unfortunately, it turns out that since this book was written, the Mithraeum has been taken off display and packed into storage. Evidently the "curator" thought it was more "important" to protect the frescoes from "irreversible damage" due to "exposure to light" than for me to see a goddamn Mithraeum in person. Jerkface.