Siege of Dura Europos (256)

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Siege of Dura Europos (256)
Part of the Roman-Persian wars
Map of Dura-Europos in Roman times.
Date 256
Location Dura-Europos, (present day Syria
Result Sassanid victory
Sassanids capture Dura-Europos.
Sassanid Empire Roman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Shapur I
unknown unknown

The Siege of Dura Europos took place when the Sassanids under Shapur I besieged the Roman city of Dura-Europos in 256 after capturing Antioch.

The siege was notable for the early use of chemical weapons by the attacking Persian army. During the siege the attackers dug several underground shaft mines under the city walls. The Romans dug tunnels to reach the mines and fight the diggers underground. In one such tunnel, when the Romans broke through into the Sassanid tunnel the tunnelers ignited a mixture of sulfur and pitch, producing a cloud of sulfur dioxide which killed twenty Roman soldiers. Archaeologists excavated the scene in the 1930s. In 2009 tests showed the presence of sulfur dioxide inside the tunnel.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ “Death Underground: Gas Warfare at Dura-Europos,” Current Archaeology, November 26, 2009 (online feature) (accessed October 3, 2014)
  2. ^ Samir S. Patel, “Early Chemical Warfare – Dura-Europos, Syria,” Archaeology, Vol. 63, No. 1, January/February 2010, (accessed October 3, 2014)
  3. ^ Stephanie Pappas, “Buried Soldiers May Be Victims of Ancient Chemical Weapon,” LiveScience, March 8, 2011, (accessed October 3, 2014).