The date given in the first sentence is our a.d. 112. But the Greek era commences 311 or 312 b.c., and therefore a.g. 416 would answer to a.d. 105
, so there appears to be some error in the date. Moreover, the king reigning in the fifteenth year of Trajan was not Abgar VII, but Maanu Bar Ajazath, the seventh king of Edessa after Abgar I "the Black".
The anecdote at the end beginning "This Barsamya ... " is evidently a later addition by a person unacquainted with chronology: Fabianus was not made bishop of Rome till the reign of Maximinus Thrax, about the year 236. The mention of Fabianus probably arose from the fact of his having instituted notaries for the express purpose of searching for and collecting the Acts of Martyrs.
Words in angled brackets have been supplied by the translator.
Acts of Sharbil, Who Was a Priest of Idols, and Was Converted to the Confession of Christianity in Christ
In the fifteenth year of the Autocrator Trajan Cæsar, and in the third year of King Abgar the Seventh, which is the year 416 of the kingdom of Alexander king of the Greeks, and in the priesthood of Sharbil and Barsamya, Trajan Cæsar commanded the governors of the countries under his dominion that sacrifices and libations should be increased in all the cities of their administration, and that those who did not sacrifice should be seized and delivered over to stripes, and to combs, and to bitter inflictions of all tortures, and should afterwards receive the punishment of the sword.
Now, when the command arrived at the town of Edessa of the Parthians, there was a great festival, on the eighth of Nisan, on the third day of the week: the whole city was gathered together by the great altar which was in the middle of the town, opposite the Record office, all the gods having been brought together, and decorated, and sitting in honour, both Nebu and Bel
together with their fellows. And all the priests were offering incense of spices and libations [before the god Zeus]. and an odour of sweetness was diffusing itself around, and sheep and oxen were being slaughtered, and the sound of the harp and the drum was heard in the whole town. And Sharbil was chief and ruler of all the priests
; and he was honoured above all his fellows, and was clad in splendid and magnificent vestments; and a headband embossed with figures of gold was set upon his head; and at the bidding of his word everything that he ordered was done. And Abgar the king, son of the gods, was standing at the head of the people. And they obeyed Sharbil, because he drew nearer to all the gods than any of his fellows, and as being the one who according to that which he had heard from the gods returned an answer to every man.