Syriac Timeline
1st Century

Syriac Timeline (001-100 A.D.)




6 AD

Earliest datable Syriac writing is in the form of inscriptions from Birecik, dating from the month Adar, AG 317 = March 6 AD. Bibliography:

Maricq A. “La plus ancienne inscription syriaque: cell de Birecik” Syria 39 (1962), pages 88-100.
Pirenne, J. “Aux origines de la graphie syriaque” in Syria 40 (1963).
Drijvers, H. Old-Syriac (Edessean) Inscriptions (Leiden: Brill, 1972).
Han J.W. Drijvers and John F. Healey, "The Old Syriac Inscriptions of Edessa and Osrhoene", 1999 Brill (This edition contains an image, a transcript and a translation. A copy of which can be found on another website:-


7 to 13 AD

Marsquonu IV son of Marsquonu III Saflul becomes ruler of Osrhoene.


9 AD

Archelaus, Tetrarch of Judea was banished beyond the Alps to Vienna 'a city of Gaul'. Archelaus had behaved so harshly, that he was accused before Caesar. This behaviour led to his banishment.

In the immediate aftermath of the banishment of Archelaus, senator Kurinius, (Cyrenius) who had been consul, became governor of Syria as mentioned in Jos. AJ 17, p. 42 & AJ 18, p. 1. One of his first tasks as governor was the third enrollment which was a local enrollment which occurred in 9 AD as an audit of Archelaus' former territory. This census was confined to Archalaus' defunct domains and was conducted to assess the taxation value of the kingdom of Archalaus now confiscated by the state, (Josephus).

The governorship of Judea passed to Coponius (a Roman knight) at the same time.

[11], pp. 466 - 7
[7], pp. 9-12
Josephus Ant. Jud. 17 ch13. Josephus Ant. Jud. 18 chs 1 - 2.
[12], p. 285
Luke 3 v 1.

9 AD

Abortive revolt of Judas the Galilean, Hillel a Gaulonite from the Galilean city of Gamala. This was triggered by the political vacuum and the local census. This Judas also introduced the theocratic, anti-Roman philosophy of the Zealots which steadily gained in popularity and ended in the war with Rome around AD 70. He is referred to in the Dead Sea scrolls as, 'The Teacher of Righteousness', [49].

Josephus Ant. Jud. 18 ch1
For this revolt, see Acts 5 v 37
[49], p. 39

10 AD

Died Judas the Galilean, Hillel.

[49], p. 39

13 AD

Abgar V Ukomo, (or Ukama = dark) of Urhai (Edessa) son of Marsquonu III rules Osrhoene for the second time: AD 13 to AD 50. His first reign was from 4 BC to 7 AD. Tacitus calls him, 'Akbar, king of the Arabs.'

[17], p. 144
[35], pp. 31 &ndash 32

14 AD
19th August

Death of Augustus at the age of 75 years and the first year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar

[9], p. 110

19 - 45 AD

Reigns of Gundaphorus and Gad who were rulers of an Indus kingdom, whose encounter with Thomas the Apostle is recorded in the 'Acts of Thomas', [7]. King Gundaphar was a historical monarch of first century AD India. This is known from coins which include his name found during recent archaeological excavations, [60].

The 'Acts of Thomas' as we now have the text is mythical in character. However there is sufficient historical information remaining in the text to show that it was re-written based upon an earlier, more factual account. This work survives in several Syriac manuscripts, the oldest of which is a 5th century vellum palimpsest preserved in the Saint Catherine Monastery, Mt Sinai, Egypt.

[7], pp. 150 – 151
[60], p. 42

27 AD

A Jewish Sabbatical year, they occur every 7th year.

See under 34 BC.

28 AD
15th year of Tiberius' reign.

Jesus Christ starts His public ministry.
in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. Pontius Pilatus is already installed as Roman Governor.

Luke 3 v 1
[17], pp. 146-7 has various dates.

c. 29 AD

Syro-Phoenician woman meets Jesus Christ.
Evidence of early Syrian believers in Jesus and Jesus' largely ignored healing and preaching activities in the Roman province of Syria.

Mark 7 v 24 - 31

c. 30 AD

Jesus Christ and his disciples stayed in villages near Caesarea Philippi the capital of Philip's Tetrarchy. These villages were Arab settlements.

Mark 8 v 27
[35], p. .40, note 45.

c. 30 AD

Abgar, king of Edessa sends his envoy Ananias with a letter asking Christ for his healing.

[17], p. 195.

30 AD
Approximately mid April.
14th Nisan AG 341
17th year of Tiberius.
During the Roman Consulate of Rubellius Geminus and Fufius Geminus.

Yeshu`a Meshiha or, as His name is written in the west, Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion whilst celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem by Pontius Pilatus, Roman governor of Judea. His resurrection after three days and three nights began the Christian Church.
Date attested by Julias Africanus and the Edessene Syriac city archive. The latter also cross-checks with consuls for the year given by Tacitus, see [17].

[10], p. 365
The Four Gospels.
[17], pp. 147, 187
[19], p. 113 for the date of Passover.

30 AD
Late May

Partheans and Mesopotamians were present during Pentecost in Jerusalem. Evidence of early exposure of Jewish people from the Edessa area to the Christian gospel.

Acts 2 v 9
[19], p. 113 for the Pentecost time of year.

35 AD

Lucius Vitellius becomes Roman governor of Syria.
Artabanus was king of Parthia at this date.

[9], p. 268.

c. 35 AD

Stephen, a Greek speaking Jewish convert to Christ was martyred by stoning.
Conversion and baptism of Paul and his time in Damascus. Paul flees for his life from Damascus to Arabia - probably Bostra a city in the Hawran mountains, a region also known as Auranitus south of Damascus.
The historian Hippolytus, (c. 170 - c. 236) preserves a record of Timion one of the 72, (Luke 10v1) who was the first bishop of Bostra and an associate of Ananias who had baptized Paul.
Foundation of the church at Antioch, Syria.

Acts 7 - 8
[7], p. 19
Acts 9 v 5 & 25
Acts 11v 19
[35], pp. 42, 50-51, 51:note13, p97:map
[49], p. 45

35 - 37 AD

Thomas the Apostle preaches the gospel in Mesopotamia on his way to India, [16]. The other apostles scattered after the martyrdom of Stephen began preaching the gospel in Phoenicia, Cyprus and in the city of Antioch in Syria, (Acts). From the first, the believers in Jerusalem and in these new places were culturally divided into two groups, the Jewish converts to Christianity who were called Nazarenes and the Greek converts who were called Christians, [49].

Acts 11v19-20, 26
Acts 24v5
[49], p. 50

36 AD

Death of Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea.

[49], p. 49

c. 36 AD

Paul returns to Damascus after lying low in Arabia, (probably Bostra, in the Hawran mountains).

Galatians 1 v 17
[35], pp. 42, 50 p71:map.

37 AD
16th March

Death of Tiberius at an age of 77 years and the first year of the reign of Gaius (Caligula) Caesar.
Artabanus was king of Parthia at this date and definitely a pagan.

[9], p. 329
[9], pp. 147, 159.

37 to c. 45 AD
([16] has 65 AD, but this date is probably too late)

The apostle, Mar Addai or Thaddeus, lived in Edessa. He died c. 45 AD of natural causes. Addai was one of the 70 Apostles. He went to preach the gospel in Mesopotamia, (Edessa and Nisibis).
Some of the books of the Old and the New Testament were copied into Syriac in Edessa during this period.


Bar Hebraeus via [17], p. 158

37 AD, (based on Addai's date of arrival)

Abdu, son of Abdu second only to king Abgar of Edessa healed after Mar Addai prayed.
This man Abdu, is mentioned by Tacitus, [10].
Addai quotes the Gospel of Mark 16 v 15, part of the last 8 verses of Mark's gospel which are missing in some Syriac versions.

[17], p. 145
[10], Annals VI 31 & 32
[17], pp. 7 & 148

39 AD

Martyrdom of the Apostle Ya`cob (or James), the brother of the Apostle John, who was beheaded by king Herod Antipas.
Paul goes to Jerusalem to meet Peter and Ya`cob (or James) the 'Just' for the first time and then returns to Antioch in Syria and then to his home to Tarsus in Cilicia. Paul does not meet the apostle John, (he is also absent from the body of the Apostles at this time as recorded in Acts 12 v 17).
Death of Herod Antipas at Caesarea Maritima.

Acts 12 v 2
Acts 22 v 17
Galatians 1 v 18.
Acts 12 v 19 – 23
[49], p49

40 AD

The Jews destroy a Greek altar in Jamnia, [49]. In response, Caligula Caesar orders his own statue to be placed inside the Jerusalem Temple. To accomplish his aim, he ordered Petronius, legate of Syria to go to Jerusalem with an army. This Roman action was averted when king Herod Agrippa I persuaded Caligula to change his mind, and the statue was never installed.

[7], p. 12
[12], p. 285
[49], p. 49

40 AD

Death of Aretas IV king of Nabataea, an independent Arab kingdom at this time.

[35], p. 72

41 AD
24th January

Death of Caligula after reigning 3 years, 10 months and 8 days and the beginning of the reign of Claudius Caesar.

[9], pp. 329 & 183

41 AD

Herod Agrippa I, becomes (Roman client) king of Judea.

[7], p. 9
[49], p. 49

43 AD

Peter moves home from Jerusalem to Rome and starts to preach.

[17], p. 35

44 AD

Death of Herod Agrippa I, king of Judea. He was succeeded by his son, Herod Agrippa II, then only 16 years old. At this time, Gaius Cassius Longinus was President of Syria and Cuspius Fadus was made Procurator of Judea by the emperor Claudius.

[7], p. 9
Josephus Ant. Jud. 15 ch 11.4
Tacitus Annals XII.11, [10].
[49], p. 49

c. 49 AD

Claudius ejects all Jews from Rome, (including Priscilla and Aquila) probably due to the intensely hostile reaction of conservative Jews to the gospel message of Jesus as their Messiah, [49].
Paul the Apostle preaches in Corinth, (this was the first time the gospel of Jesus Christ had been preached there).

[9], p. 202
Acts 18 v 2 ff.
[49], p. 58

49 AD

Cassius and Abgar V 'the Arab king of Edessa' meet at Zeugma. Izates was king of Adiabene and Gotarzes was king of Parthia at this time.

Tacitus Annals XII.12-14, [10]

c. 49 AD

Abgar V moves the capital of Osrhoene from Nisibis to Edessa, together with all the city records, archives, pagan gods etc. and deposits them between two schools in Edessa, one dedicated to Greek studies and one to Syriac studies.

[17], pp. 126, 142

50 AD

Death of Abgar V Ukama of Edessa who was succeeded by his son, Marsquonu V whose mother's name was Augustin.

[17], pp. 13 & 155
[35], p. 32

c. 50 AD

A bilingual inscription by /srn/ = 'Tsaren' queen of Adiabene in Syriac and Palestinian Aramaic was found just outside Jerusalem, near the Damascus Gate. Josephus refers to her using a Greek name, 'Helen'.

[3], pp. 180, 243
Josephus Ant. 20.4.3 §95

51 AD

Vologeses becomes king of Parthia

[10], p. 398

53 AD

Council of Jerusalem. Peter travels from Rome to attend. Paul, Titus and Barnabas visit Peter, James the Just and John the apostles meet in Jerusalem. Paul and his companions return to Antioch afterwards.

Galatians 2 v 1- 9
Acts 15 v 1 - 35

54 AD
13th October

Death of Claudius during the 14th year of his reign and the beginning of the reign of Nero Caesar.

[9], pp. 212 & 329

54 AD

Peter the Apostle travels from his home in Rome and preaches in Antioch, Syria.

Galatians 2 v 11


Paul is arrested and tried before Ananias the Jewish High Priest.

Acts 23 v 2

57 AD

Death of Marsquonu V son of Abgar V king of Osrhoene, succeeded by Marsquonu VI, who is thought to have returned to Paganism.


62 AD

Died Festus, the Roman procurator of Judea. Herod Agrippa II deposes the high priest, Joseph Kabi son of Simon who had only recently become high priest and replaced him with Ananus son of Ananus who was a Sadducee.

[49], p. 58

c. 62 AD

James the Just, bishop of Jerusalem and the half-brother of Christ martyred in the city. Ananus who was the Jewish high priest at that time had organized a show trial and the subsequent murder of James.

[7], p. 19
Ananias mentioned Acts 23 v 2.
[49], p. 58

c. 62 AD

Symeon son of Clopas the uncle of the Lord and James the Just, also called 'James the Righteous' became bishop of Jerusalem, (Hegesippus).
Lucceius Albinus is sent as procurator of Judea to replace Festus. Herod Agrippa II deposes the high priest Ananus whom he had installed, [49].

Hegesippus via Eusebius HC 4.22.8
[49], p. 59

65 - 87 AD

The apostle Thaddeus or Addai who had died earlier after preaching the gospel in Urhay = Edessa was succeeded by Mar Aggai (or Aggaeus) who continued to preach the gospel in Mesopotamia, (Edessa and Nisibis).

[17], pp. 18 & 21

66 AD

The Apostles and the Christian community abandoned Jerusalem and fled to Pella, a town east of the river Jordan.

[60], p. 13

c. 66 AD

The Pharisees meet at Jamnia to decide the future of Judaism and they decide to expel the Christian Jewish sect from their synagogues.

[60], p. 24

66 AD

The emperor Nero crowns Trdat I as king of Armenia.

[44], p. 4

66 - 72 AD

The Jewish war with Rome, destruction of Jerusalem, Masada etc.

[7], p. 9

68 AD

Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter, Peter's wife and Paul, (Peter crucified and Paul beheaded by Nero). This occurred 25 years after Peter moved to Rome.


69 AD
Early January.

Death of Nero followed by Roman civil war until the middle of 70 AD.

[9], pp. 216, 244, 246 & 329.

70 AD
1st July

Vespasian becomes Roman emperor.
Vologeses (or Vologaesus) was king of Parthia at this date.

[9], pp. 246, 283, 291 & 329

71 to 91 AD

Abgar VI Bar Marsquonu VI becomes king of Osrhoene


73 AD
October, (the former Tishri AG 385)

Dated Syriac tomb inscription to a man named Ma'nu at Serrin in the kingdom of Osrhoene

[30], pp. 14, 16, 31

77 AD

Vologeses I reign ends in Parthia

[10], p. 398

77 - 78 AD
(AG 389)

There survives an unsubstantiated record of Aggai or Aggaeus, the disciple and successor of Addai or Addaeus the Apostle, making a copy of an ancient gospel in Edessa.

[17], p. 158

79 AD
23rd June

Death of Vespasian and the beginning of the reign of Titus Caesar.


81 AD
1st September

Death of Titus and the beginning of the reign of Domitian Caesar.
Vologaesus was still king of Parthia at this date.

[9], pp. 298, 300 & 329

88 - 121 AD

Mar Mari preached the gospel in Mesopotamia.


91 AD

Abgar VI Bar Marsquonu VI was deposed as king of Osrhoene. Afterwards, no king reigned there until 109 AD.


96 AD
18th September

Death of Domitian and Nerva becomes emperor. He reigned until AD 98, [49].
John the Apostle returns from exile on Patmos to live in Ephesus. Probable date of the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation.

[2] + Eusebius HC 3.20.
[9], p. 312
[49], p. 144

97 AD
[9], [49] have 98 AD

At the death of Nerva, Trajan becomes emperor

Eusebius HC 3.21
[9], p. 329
[17], p. 63
[49], p. 144

100 AD

Death of Herod Aggrippa II, the last of the Herodian dynasty.

[35], p. 34