Abgar the Hagiographer (early 5th cent.) [Ch. of E.]

Abgar is named as the author of the martyrdom of Hormizd and his nine companions from Beth Garmai, who died at the end of Yazdgard’s reign (r.  399–420). P. Devos has convincingly shown that three other martyrologies — the martyrdom of Narsai of Beth Raziqaye, of Ṭaṭaq of Adiabene, and of Yaʿqub the Notary — must also have been written by Abgar. These four martyr texts are grouped together in ms. Berlin, Or. oct. 1257 and share similar content and style. The execution of all these martyrs took place at Sleq Ḥarobta, not far from Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and in the proximity of a monastery to which in all likelihood Abgar belonged. The ‘cycle of Abgar’, as Devos has named it, must have been composed between 421 and 424 (prior to the synod of Dadishoʿ and covers the very last years of Yazdgard I’s and the beginning of Vahram V Gor’s (r. 420–38) reigns. Abgar must have been a direct witness to many of these events, and he describes them in a sober style.


  • P.  Bedjan, Acta martyrum et sanctorum, vol. 4 (1894), 170–200.
  • P.  Devos, ‘Abgar, hagiographe perse méconnu (début du Ve siècle)’, AB 83 (1965), 303–28.

| Abgar the Hagiographer |


Front Matter A (73) B (53) C (26) D (36) E (27) F (5) G (30) H (22) I (31) J (15) K (11) L (12) M (56) N (19) O (3) P (28) Q (11) R (8) S (71) T (39) U (1) V (5) W (3) X (1) Y (41) Z (4) Back Matter
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