Abgar the Great was most remembered for his alleged conversion to Christianity in about 200 CE and the declaration of Christianity as the official religion of the city at that time. It has been suggested that a cross shown on the tiara of Abgar VIII in coins he minted have Christian meaning.
Osrhoene was a client state of the Roman Empire in this era, Prior to Abgar VIII, in 165 CE, the Roman military had reinstated Abgar VII, and they continued to have a significant presence in the region. However, Abgar VIII's behavior indicates that he was not wholly loyal to Rome nor was closely monitored by Rome. While Abgar VIII's coins bear the image of the Roman Emperor Commodus, Abgar's goals were to maintain a degree of independence and to extend his influence geographically as much as possible without disturbing the greater powers of Rome and Parthia. Abgar VIII supported Pescennius Niger as Roman Emperor in 193 CE, who was swiftly challenged and deposed by the Emperor Septimius Severus. Abgar VIII's submission to Septimus Severus is portrayed on the Arch of Severus in Rome. He was not deposed, but Osrhoene was made a Roman province and Abgar's kingdom was reduced to a rump state containing just the city of Edessa. Abgar was fully reconciled with Septimus Severus and was later received with honor as a guest of Septimus Severus in Rome. In an additional display of loyalty, Abgar VIII took Severus' name as his own.
Christianity spread in Edessa significantly during Abgar VIII's reign. The Chronicle of Edessa (540 CE) reports that a Christian church building in Edessa was damaged in a flood in November 201 CE. The Christian philosopher Bardaisan lived in Abgar VIII's court.
Upon his death in 212 CE, Abgar the Great was succeeded by his son Abgar IX surnamed Severus in contemporary Roman fashion. Though Abgar Severus was summoned with his son to Rome in 213 CE and murdered at the orders of Caracalla. A year later Caracalla ended the independence of Osroene and incorporated it as a province into Roman Empire.
- It was maintained also that Abgar the Great should be regarded as Abgar IX, however, according to A. R. Bellinger and C. B. Welles, the assertion is incorrect.
- Abgar VI was also known as Abgar bar Ma'nu.
- Some sources say 176-211. Healey (2009, p. 15) lists both dates and probably contains an explanation.
- Healey 2009, p. 15.
- Ball 2016, p. 98.
- Drijvers & Healey 1999, p. 37.
- Dewing, Kaldellis & Mladjov 2014, p. 98.
- Guscin 2016, p. 9.
- Segal 2005, p. 14.
- Ross 2000, p. 46.
- Harris 1903, p. 29.
- Smith & Wace 1877, p. 7.
- Babington 1880, p. 1272.
- Ball 2000, p. 91.
- Shahid 1984, p. 47.
- Sayles 1998, p. 61.
- Healey 2009, p. 14f.
- Ball 2000.
- Ross 2000, p. 60-61.
- Babington, Churchill (1880). "Money". In Smith, William; Cheetham, Samuel. A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities: Being a Continuation of the Dictionary of the Bible. Vol. 2. London: John Murray. p. 1272.
- Ball, Warwick (2000). Rome in the east: The Transformation of an empire. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-11376-8.
- Ball, Warwick (2016). Rome in the east: The Transformation of an empire. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-29635-5.
- Dewing, H.B.; Kaldellis, A.; Mladjov, I. (2014). The Wars of Justinian. Hackett Classics. Hackett Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN 978-1-62466-172-3. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
- Drijvers, H.J.W.; Healey, J.F. (1999). Der Nahe und Mittlere Osten:. 1] (in German). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-11284-1. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
- Guscin, Mark (2016). The Tradition of the Image of Edessa. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4438-8875-2.
- Harris, J.R. (1903). The Dioscuri in the Christian Legends. C. J. Clay and sons. p. 29. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
- Healey, John F. (2009). Aramaic Inscriptions and Documents of the Roman Period. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925256-5.
- Millar, Fergus (1987). "Empire, Community and Culture in the Roman near East: Greeks, Syrians, Jews and Arabs". Journal of Jewish Studies. Journal of Jewish Studies. 38 (2): 143–164. doi:10.18647/1337/jjs-1987. ISSN 0022-2097.
- Ross, S.K. (2000). Roman Edessa: Politics and Culture on the Eastern Fringes of the Roman Empire, 114 - 242 C.E. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-134-66063-6.
- Sayles, W.G. (1998). Roman Provincial Coins. Ancient Coin Collecting. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-87341-552-1. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
- Segal, J.B. (2005). Edessa: The Blessed City. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 1-59333-193-2.
- Shahid, Irfan (1984). Rome and the Arabs: A Prolegomenon to the Study of Byzantium and the Arabs. Dumbarton Oaks. ISBN 0-88402-115-7.
- Smith, W.G.; Wace, H. (1877). A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines: Being a Continuation of 'The Dictionary of the Bible'. A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines: Being a Continuation of 'The Dictionary of the Bible'. John Murray. p. 7. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
- Mason, E.F. (2011). A Teacher for All Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism. Brill. p. 937. ISBN 978-90-04-22408-7. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
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