Abgar

Abgar

[see ABGARUS, in vol. 1, p.14] is the name of several kings of Edessa, who reigned, according to the chronicle of that city, at various periods from B.C. 99 to A.D. 217. Of the ten kings who are said to have borne the name of Abgar, we have only to do with the last six. The first of the name was Abgar Phika "the Dumb,'' who reigned with Bacro two years and four months, and by himself twenty-three years and five months (B.C. 93-67). His son Abgar reigned fifteen years (67-52), and is mentioned by Dion Cassius as having made a treaty with the Romans in the time of Pompey. He is the same who treacherously deceived Crassus in his expedition against the Parthians (B.C. 53), and is called by Appian (De Bello Parth. p. 140) — φύλαρχος τῶν Α᾿ράβων, In Plutarch his name is written Α᾿ριαμνης . The eleventh and twelfth kings of Edessa bore the same name, according to Dionysius; but nothing is recorded of them except that the latter was surnamed Sumoko, "the Red." We now come to the one with whom the name is most conspicuously associated the — fifteenth king — Abgar surnamed Ucomo, "the Black," who reigned, according to the chronology of Dioniysius of Telmahar, A.D. 9-46, but according. to the rectification of Gutschmid, A.D. 13-50. Moses of Chorene traces his descent from the Parthian king Arsaces. Procopius has a story of the romantic attachment which he excited in Augustus when on a visit to Rome, and of the device he was obliged to employ before the emperor would allow him to return to Edessa. The narrative of Eusebius we have already given. The Syriac version of the story given in Cureton's

Ancient Syriac Documents is obviously an elaborate expansion of Eusebius. In all probability, the only fact in connection with Abgar which has come down to us is to be found in Tacitus (Anals. 12:12-14), where he appears in, a not very creditable light — first seducing the young Parthian king Meherdates to waste precious days in luxurious indulgence at Edessa, and then treacherously abandoning him on the battle-field (A.D. 49).

Abgar VI bur-Manu, according, to Dionysius, reigned for twenty years (A.D. 65-85), which Gutschmid reckons from 69 to 89. The dynasty now seems to have changed; and the next king, Abgar VII bar-lzat, who purchased the kingdom from the Parthians, and reigned A. D. 108-115, was of the royal race of Adiabene. It was this Abgar, in all probability, who behaved with such caution when Trajan made his expedition to the East. According to Dion Cassius, he did not go in person to meet the emperor at Antioch, but sent him gifts and friendly messages. He was afraid of Trajan, on the one hand, and of the Parthians, on the other; and therefore deferred his meeting with Trajan until he came to Edessa, where he entertained him at a banquet, at which he introduced his son Arbandes dancing some of his native dances. The emperor was greatly captivated with the young Arbandes. The Abgar of the time of Antoninus Pius must be Manu bar- Manu, as Assemani suggests.

 
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