The Battle of King Abgar V with Herod the Great’s Army

The Battle of King Abgar V with HerodAbgar (died ca. 40 AD), son of Arsham, acceded to the throne in the twentieth year of the reign of Arshavir, the king of the Persians. Abgar was called “Avag Hayr” (Armenian: “Senior Father”) due to his extraordinary modesty, wisdom, and age. The Greeks and Syrians, unable to pronounce his name correctly, called him Abgaros.

In the second year of his reign, the entire Armenian country became a client state of the Romans, for, as stated in the Gospel of Luke, Emperor Augustus issued an order to make a census throughout the universe.

Roman officials were also sent to Armenia. They brought statues of Augustus that were to be installed in all temples. Around this time, Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born.

At the same time, a quarrel began between Abgar and Herod the Great (the King of Judea), for Herod ordered to set up his image in the Armenian temples next to the image of the emperor, with which Abgar did not agree, and Herod took advantage of this.

He sent the Thracian and Germanic troops to devastate the Persian country, ordering them to go through the lands of Abgar. Abgar opposed him, stating that the troops, according to the order of the emperor, should enter the Persian country through the desert.

Herod was offended by this but could not do anything personally: he was affected by many diseases since he had encroached on Jesus. There were worms in him, as historian Titus Flavius Josephus narrated. Instead, Herod sent his nephew Joseph who had married his daughter. His daughter had been previously married to his brother Perur.

Joseph with a big army approached the country of Mesopotamia and encountered Abgar in the region of Bugnan, an area that served as a military camp. Joseph perished in the battle, and his army was put to flight. Thereupon, Herod himself died, and Augustus appointed the son of Herod Archelaus as the leader of the Jewish people.

From the history of the Christian culture of Armenia

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