An alternative theory of
The Evolution of Christs and Christianities:
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
and perception and inference
together with their fallacies
are useful for self-understanding"
-- Dignaga (India, about 550AD)
I would like to thank the author for permission to reproduce substantial quotations from the book, specifically with reference to the first chapter entitled "Eusebius: The Master Forger", and in particular his excellent outline of the hypothetical forgery of both the Tacitus reference (Annals, 15.44), and the Suetonius reference (Lives, Nero, 16.) to "christianity" in the early second century.
I can recommend this book as an excellent introduction to the
latest developments in the field of Biblical Criticism and History.
Mountain Man Graphics,
Southern Winter, 2007
Introduction by the Author
To commence this review, it is expedient to allow the author to state the scope of his work, as summarised in his intoduction.
INTRODUCTIONAlthough the book has fifteen chapters, in my original plan I divided the work into five sections, with each one demonstrating a major proposition. The five major propositions are: (1) Eusebius was the master constructor of the still dominant paradigm of Christian history, (2) A woman probably named Mary was the original writer of a Christ play, perhaps loosely based on historical incidents, (3) Gospel writers changed a great deal of material about John the Baptist into material about Jesus, (4) The model for the crucified man was possibly a Samaritan magician named Simon, (5) An international proto-Christian Church of God existed with James the Just as their dying-founder, Christ figure. In order to demonstrate these things, I had to demonstrate the plausibility of many other interesting propositions. Thus the work has grown wildly into fifteen chapters after this introductory section.
THE ELABORATION OF MAIN CONCEPTSp.18 The safest thing we can say about early Christian history is that there were many Christs and Christianities. The New Testament texts tell us this. Josephus, the historian tells us this, and over two hundred Christian and Christian related texts from the first, second, third and fourth centuries tell us this. The multitude of Christs and Christianities is a simple fact. The development and authenticity of them are the points of controversy, both then and now. The second safest thing that we can say about early Christian history is that forgeries, interpolations and re-editing of documents was the norm. Many texts of the period express doubt about the authenticity of other Christian texts. Many texts contain anachronisms demonstrating that they were produced later than the time of their stated production. There were no consistent or widespread procedures for determining the age or authenticity of documents. p.19 We will argue that Eusebean History is indeed a fabulous construction of Eusebius. He has not related historical events in his history, but he has created a powerful source for discourse that is Christ-Church centered. Our problem is not just to show that Eusebean history was a fabulous creation of Bishop Eusebius, but to show what most or more probably did happen. Eusebean history will remain a central form of discourse until we proved an alternative source."
Eusebius - the Master Forger
The first chapter, and part of the second chapter, of Jay Raskin's "The Evolution of Christ's and Christianities" is directly related to an assessment of Eusebius --- as a master forger. It is notable that the author is of the opinion that the future of all studies in Biblical Criticism and History will commence to focus around the body of literature tendered by the author Eusebius.
In the following sections, with the author's permission, I have extracted various articles, and arranged them is a sequence of ideas, which provide a brief insight into the more complete exposition to be found in the book itself.
But at the outset I must crave
for my work the indulgence of the wise,
for I confess that it is beyond my power
to produce a perfect and complete history ...
-- Eusebius Pamphilius
Eusebius and the Miraculous Founding of the Christian Churches
p.63 To sum up what Eusebius tells us of the history of his own Church in Caesaria: he gives us five names Theophilus, Theocritus, Domnus, Theoctistus, Agapius. He asserts that Theophilus was bishop around 190 C.E., and Agapius (apparently) died in 306. ...[...]... Eusebius gives us no firm dates for when these men took office or when they left office. He tells us virtually nothing of their practices or lives. He only claims that the bishop before him, Agapius, was persecuted and martyred (although we cannot be certain that this is the claim he is making). This is suprising. Caesarea was perhaps the second largest city in Palestine. One may come up with a number of reasons for Eusebius' lack of interest in displaying knowledge about the history of his own Church of Ceasarea or in exploiting that history. Perhaps he did not want to be accused of self promotion and glorification by the other churches, or perhaps there was something that he considered shameful in this history of his church that he preferred not to go into. Still, if one looks at Acts of the Apostles, one finds lots of things happening at Caesarea. What is the relationship between that material and Eusebius' silence about the early history of his church? Misplaced Footnotes:  The little detail of an orthodox Christian Church functioning in Jerusalem for some 100 years after the death of Christ is one that Josephus and every other writer before Eusebius failed to notice. There is no evidence that such a church existed beyond the word of Eusebius. He repeats this in H.E. (4::5.1), listing the names without giving any source.  Note the popularity of Apollonius. Apparently, it was so great that Eusebius felt compelled to write a treatise specifically against him. Robin Lane Fox points to an Orace at Oenoanda, where a man asks Apollo if he could come near to the Gods through self examination and gets the reply that this privilege belongs only to "Egyptian Hermes, "Moses of the Hebrews: and "the wise man of the Mazacenes." The last epithet is a reference to Apollonius. Thus we find that at least one priest though Apollonius to be the equivalent of Moses and Hermes Trismegistus. Fox, Robin Lane, Pagans and Christians, Alfred Knopf, New York, 1986, pg. 191.  Eusebius, The Treatiese of Eusebius, the Son of Pamphilus, Against the Life of Apollonius of Tyana Written by Philostratus, Occasioned by the Parallel Drawn by Hierocles Between Him and Christ.
Eusebius and the Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus
p.78 The Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus, is another case where few writers have shown an understanding of the artificial nature of Eusebean History. The recent article by Ken Olson  which proved that Eusebius was the author of the Testimonium Flavianum is a recent turning point in New Testament Studies. Even after this, few writers have understood that the obvious forgeries found in Eusebius are not accidents of erroneous transmission or due to his bad judgment in source selection. Creating and presenting fictitious documents and quotes is his modus operandi. Olson demonstrated that the phrases and words in the TF reflected language Eusebius often used but Josephus never or hardly ever does. For example, the phrases "maker of many miracles," "tribe of Christians," and "until this day" are found throughout Eusebean texts and rarely in others. What Olson actually proved was not only did Eusebius write the Testimonium, but that he was a rather inept forger. Unlike good forgers with the ability to copy the language or voice of the works they interpolate into, Eusebius's text always sounds like Eusebius. It does not matter if he is quoting a first century Jewish Historian, a second century Christian Philosopher, or a third century group of Christian prisoners in Gaul, the voice is identical and identifiable as Eusebius's. In spite of our knowing this, Eusebius' narrative remains credible for academicians throughout the world. As Everett Ferguson declares, "However one evaluates Eusebius's achievement, his work remains foundational for our knowledge of the church in its first three centuries. And this foundation stands firm despite noticeable crack."  Knowing this should drastically affect every aspect of New Testament Studies. For example, the work Dialogue with Trypho of Justin Martyr is often used for dating other documents and to assert an early date for the Gospel of Luke. Yet scholars base the dating of this work to Justin's references to the Bar Kochbar War of 132-135 C.E. We must consider that Eusebius himself is the first person to mention this text and the first person to mention this date within the text. We must consider the possibility that he wrote this text and/or inserted this date reference into the text specifically to support his own chronology and history. If this is the case, when we date other works, based on the date of of Justin Martyr's Dialogue, we are following the chronology of Eusebius, whether scholars know it or not, or wish to acknowledge it or not. When we trace back almost all the certainties regarding the chronology of early Christian documents, we find that the certainties really are certainties because they match Eusebius's chronology and do not come from sources really independent of Eusebius. Eusebius provides the anchor for historical certainty for most scholars in the field.  K.A. Olson, "Eusebius and the Testimonium Flavianum," Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 61 (1999): 305-322.  Ferguson, Everett, Christian History, "The Problem of Eusebius," Nov, 2001, Vol.20 Issue 4, p8, 6c
The Tacitus and Suetonius Interpolation
In the following section, Jay Raskin examines the evidence for the hypothesis that the purportedly earliest "christian reference" by a Roman historian, Tacitus (c.110 CE) is in fact an interpolation by Eusebius.
Here is Jay's discussion:
p.98 So far we have established a number of interpolations to documents mentioned within Eusebius's History. This has been relatively easy to do as Eusebius's methodology seems to have been for the most part rather ad hoc. He figures out a good rhetorical point and then changes or invents documents to support that point. There are also what appear to be Christian interpolations in important historical works outside Eusebius's History. It is difficult to establish that Eusebius is the man behind these textual manipulations. Still there is evidence supporting such a hypothesis. Here we will try to establish that two early references to Christianity found in the historians Tacitus and Suetonius are likely from Eusebius. While non-mention of both these references in his History would seem to indicate they could not have been done by Eusebius, we should keep in mind that Eusebius lived at least ten years after he finished his History. If anything, he would have included their mention in his History if he had done them prior to his History, we may suggest that he did them subsequent to his History. The earliest reference to Christianity by a Roman historian comes from Cornelius Tacitus, writing circa 110-117. It is in his annals.
--- Tacitus, Annals, 15.44.
The next reference to Christianity appearing in a history book is in Gaius Suetonius's Lives of the Twelve Caesars, written circa 22-140 C.E.:
--- Suetonius, Lives, Nero, 16.
What is most interesting is the context of these two passages. Neither Tacitus nor Suetonius refers to Christians before  or after this point in their works. If we allow that they are both working from a third source, we must allow that it is quite a fantastic coincidence that they both chose to include exactly the same incident and do not choose any other incidents involving Christians from any other sources. We also have to account for the fact that neither mentions this third source and nobody else mentions a third source regarding Nero and the fire. We may reject the third source hypothesis as unnecessary to explain the phenomena we are studying. Since Suetonius is writing after Tacitus, we may suppose that he found only this one reference to Christians in Tacitus and summarized that one incident. This argument is bolstered by the fact that they both use the same phrase "mischievous superstition" in reference to Christianity. Actually there is an alternative to the hypothesis that the passage concerning Christianity was in Tacitus and Suetonius copied it. The alternative hypothesis is that someone interpolated the Christian reference into both works. Now, Suetonius writing only a decade or so after Tacitus requires the reference in Tacitus to be authentic. Conversely, if the passage in Tacitus is fake, we may assume that the passage in Suetonius is as well. Anybody who knew the historian Tacitus, we may expect to also know the historian Suetonius. If we prove the Tacitus passage a forgery, we may assume that the same hand worked on both passages. We will examine the passage in conjunction with Eusebius's Nero references in Church History. We will show how in these texts the relationship of Nero to the Christians was created and evolved. After demonstrating how the passage in Tacitus most likely came to be, we will show how the passage in Suetonius changed along with the Tacitus passage. Surprisingly, when properly understood, the Suetonius passage is not a witness to the existence of the Tacitus passage as we have received it, but a witness to the changes that the Tacitus text has undergone. There are numerous reasons to suspect that the passage in Tacitus is a forgery. It goes unmentioned in antiquity until Sculpitius Severus  apparently quotes from it in his Sacred History circa 425 C.E. Both Tertullian and Eusebius talk about Nero but do not quote the text. It is quite surprising that Tacitus refers incorrectly to Pontius Pilate by the title of procurator, instead of his correct title of prefect (praefectus). It is a bit like a historian of today confusing a general with a governor. It is also surprising that he gives us a title at this point at all. This indicates that he is mentioning him for the first time, by identifying him with his title - "in the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate." If Tacitus had already spoken about Pilate, we would already know that he was "one of our procurators" and there would be no need to repeat the information as if new. One would have expected that he would have told us something about Pilate when discussing the reign of Tiberius. After all, Pilate ruled over the important Roman province of Judaea for at least ten years. It is possible that nothing worthy of note happened in Judea during this time so that Tacitus would not even have recorded his name and title while writing about Tiberius in his Annals? Some of the most important Annals are missing, so we cannot be absolutely sure if Pilate was mentioned or not. still it is odd that Tacitus mentions a personage like Pilate over twenty-five years after his rule and does not refer us back to any prior reference to him. Why mention his name now if he did nothing to merit mention before. If mentioned before why not refer us back to that mention with something like "Pilate whom I told you before served under Tiberius and was so cruel to the Jews." While being suggestive and allowing us to be suspicious of the passage, none of these characteristics disqualify the reference from being authentic. Christians may have been hesitant to use a passage that referred negatively to Christianity. Eusebius may not have know Latin very well, and Tertullian may have been obliquely referring to it when he urged Romans to consult their records. Tacitus may have misheard and misunderstood a source about Pilate being a procurator. It is not necessary that Tacitus found anything interesting in Pilate during the time he lived to write about. Only in hindsight and because of his mention in the gospels does Pilate seem significant to us. Each of the objections to the passage have a plausible or at least possible counter. Still, instead of creating plausible reasons/excuses for these oddities, we may try a different approach. Darrell Doughty has already done a deconstruction of the passage taking out what he considers the interpolated material with the problems and restoring the original passage by Tacitus: "Therefore, to put an end to the rumour Nero created a diversion and subjected to the most extra-ordinary tortures those hated for their abominations by the common people. Nero had thrown open the gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or drove about in a chariot. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but glut one man's cruelty, that they were being punished."  This suggestion eliminated the numerous anomalies mentioned above. It explains all the anomalies. Nobody, including Eusebius and Tertullian, quotes the passage before 425 C.E. because there was originally no reference to Christians in it. Tacitus did not make the silly procurator-prefect mistake, and Tacitus did not refer to Pilate for the first time more than twenty-five years after the left office. We have to consider it a viable alternative hypothesis as it explains the anomalies as well as the plausible counter suggestions. However, there are several problems with this reconstruction. Our current copy of the passage has this line: "a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome ..." A Christian interpolator would not say that Christianity first broke out in Judaea, but would more likely claim Nazareth, Bethlehem or Galilee as the place where it started. This suggests that a Christian interpolator did not write this line but it was in the text prior to any interpolation. Secondly, the use of the tem "procurator" was probably in the original as an interpolator would have checked Pontius Pilate's status first and would not have inserted it. The term makes perfect sense when referring to an appointment by Nero. It only does not make sense when referring to Tiberius. Thirdly, the term "extreme penalty" would not be a term a Christian would use for the crucifixion of Jesus. We may take it that this term too was part of the original text. Fourthly, and most importantly, we find that Tacitus (Histories, Book 5) later refers to Judaism repeatedly as a superstition: "King Antiochus strove to destroy the national superstition, " "fostered the national superstition by appropriating the dignity of the priesthood as the support of their political power, " "Prodigies had occurred, which this nation, prone to superstition..." We may conclude from this that reference in the original to a superstitious people from Judaea was to Jews and not to Christians. We may reconstruct the original passage this way:
As with Tacitus, Suetonius never mentions Christians, neither before nor after his one sentence, "Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition." He does not mention Jews some four times before and four times after. As we noted before, if Tacitus is an interpolation then Suetonius must also be an interpolation. We may reconstruct the original sentence as "Punishment was inflicted on the Jews, a class of men given to an old and mischievous superstition." Now, almost any Christian could have decided that these passages referring to Jews was probably a mistake and needed slight corrections. However not many Christians would have had the opportunity to make the corrections. Certainly, no one before the time of Eusebius would have had the opportunity to make the corrections. Certainly, no one before the time of Eusebius would have had the necessary power and authority to do so. We may conclude from the fact that Eusebius did not quote the passages in his History that he had not done it before that point in time, but the way he handles the Nero material in his History may suggest that he did it afterwards. There are two clues here that point towards Eusebius. First, while he does not quote Tacitus's fire report, he does suggest that "many have recorded his history" which seems to be a reference to Tacitus and Suetonius. second, in the same passage he paraphrases the passage in Tacitus that leads into the report on Nero and the fire. This makes it certain that Eusebius did know the Nero fire passage. Here is the passage in Tacitus's Annals, before the fire passage, and the relevant passage in Eusebius's Church History.
and now the relevant passage in Eusebius's Church History ...
For Tacitus, Nero had committed every kind of depravity, save one: his depravity was complete when he became a cross-gender homosexual and married a man. For Eusebius, Nero had only left one thing out of his "catalogue of crimes:: his attack on the divine religion. Eusebius has copied the anti-Nero rhetoric of Tacitus, only changing the nature of the ultimate crime from becoming a wife to attacking Christians. This shows that Eusebius was familiar with the relevant section in Tacitus. We must conclude that he left out a direct reference to the following fire passage only because the passage in Tacitus did not contain a reference to Christians. While presenting a proof of Eusebius's involvement in the Tacitus/Suetonius interpolations lie outside the plan of the current work, we can at least put him down as a chief suspect in the case.  Suetonius does say "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome," The Life of Claudius, 25.4. This may be a changed or inserted reference to Christ and may mean Christians. I think this highly probable, but let us for the moment treat it as just a reference to Jews.  Severus, Sculpitius, Sacred History, Book 2, chapter 29.  Doughty, Darrell, Tacitus' Account of Nero's Persecution of Christians, retrieved January 14, 2005  A Christian would be unlikely to use the term extreme penalty in reference to the execution of Jesus, so we may suppose the interpolator found it there.  Josephus, Ant., 20:8.5. Yet did Felix catch and put to death many of those imposters every day, together with the robbers. Unlike the Prefect Pontius Pilate, Porcius Festus was a "procurator." We may also note that Tacitus was writing "Annals" accounts of events year by year. He would have been likely to have included a reference to Pilate in an earlier book. One would have expected Tacitus to refer back to this earlier mention. He does not.  A Christian would have referred to Bethlehem or Nazareth as the source of Christianity. We may suppose that the term Judaea was in the original.  Tacitus, Annals, 15:43.  H.E., 2:25.2.
Eusebius Forged the Vienne/Lyon Martyrs' Letter
I base this on 1) the parallels between Blandina and Perpetua, 2) the historical parallel of the Christian Attalus from Pergamum and the Greek Attalus from Pergamum and 3) Eusebius' refusal to give more names or even the number of the martyrs and/or survivors of the persecution.
If we look at the structure of the letter, we find strangely that the lead character appears to be a woman - Blandina. More is said about her than any other martyr. This naturally leads us to group the letter with Tertullian's "Acts of Perpetua" which also has a woman as its main martyr. Here are five narrative parallels that allow us to say that Blandina has been constructed based on Perpetua:
1. Both declare themselves Christians with the phrase "I am a Christian":
2.2 Hilarianus said, 'Are you a Christian?' And I replied, 'I am a Christian.'
5.1.19 But the blessed woman, like a noble athlete, renewed her strength in her confession; and her comfort and recreation and relief from the pain of her sufferings was in exclaiming, `I am a Christian, and there is nothing vile done by us.'
2. Both are dressed in a net, tossed by a bull, feel no pain and survive.
6.3. Moreover, for the young women the devil prepared a very fierce cow, provided especially for that purpose contrary to custom, rivalling their sex also in that of the beasts. And so, stripped and clothed with nets, they were led forth. The populace shuddered as they saw one young woman of delicate frame, and another with breasts still dropping from her recent childbirth. So, being recalled, they are unbound. Perpetua is first led in. She was tossed, and fell on her loins; and when she saw her tunic torn from her side, she drew it over her as a veil for her middle, rather mindful of her modesty than her suffering. Then she was called for again, and bound up her dishevelled hair; for it was not becoming for a martyr to suffer with dishevelled hair, lest she should appear to be mourning in her glory. So she rose up; and when she saw Felicitas crushed, she approached and gave her her hand, and lifted her up. And both of them stood together; and the brutality of the populace being appeased, they were recalled to the Sanavivarian gate. Then Perpetua was received by a certain one who was still a catechumen, Rusticus by name, who kept close to her; and she, as if aroused from sleep, so deeply had she been in the Spirit and in an ecstasy, began to look round her, and to say to the amazement of all, "I cannot tell when we are to be led out to that cow." And when she had heard what had already happened, she did not believe it until she had perceived certain signs of injury in her body and in her dress, and had recognised the catechumen.
5.1.56 And, after the scourging, after the wild beasts, after the roasting seat,44 she was finally enclosed in a net, and thrown before a bull. And having been tossed about by the animal, but feeling none of the things which were happening to her, on account of her hope and firm hold upon what had been entrusted to her, and her communion with Christ, she also was sacrificed. And the heathen themselves confessed that never among them had a woman endured so many and such terrible tortures.
3. After their encounter with the Bull, both die sacrificial deaths:
Perpetua: The rest indeed, immoveable and in silence, received the sword-thrust; much more Saturus, who also had first ascended the ladder, and first gave up his spirit, for he also was waiting for Perpetua. But Perpetua, that she might taste some pain, being pierced between the ribs, cried out loudly, and she herself placed the wavering right hand of the youthful gladiator to her throat.
Blandina: 5.1.56: she also was sacrificed.
4. Both are martyred along with one other female:
Perpetua: 5.1 Felicitas
Blandina: 1.25 Biblias
5. Both Die alongside two other Christian Men who wish for the “crown” of martyrdom and survive tortures:
Perpetua – Revocatus and Saturus:
6.2 Saturninus indeed had professed that he wished that he might be thrown to all the beasts; doubtless that he might wear a more glorious crown. Therefore in the beginning of the exhibition he and Revocatus made trial of the leopard, and moreover upon the scaffold they were harassed by the bear. Saturus, however, held nothing in greater abomination than a bear; but he imagined that he would be put an end to with one bite of a leopard. Therefore, when a wild boar was supplied, it was the huntsman rather who had supplied that boar who was gored by that same beast, and died the day after the shows. Saturus only was drawn out; and when he had been bound on the floor near to a bear, the bear would not come forth from his den. And so Saturus for the second time is recalled unhurt.
Blandina – Maturus and Sanctus:
5.1.38 Both Maturus and Sanctus passed again through every torment in the amphitheater, as if they had suffered nothing before, or rather, as if, having already conquered their antagonist in many contests,35 they were now striving for the crown itself. They endured again the customary running of the gauntlet36 and the violence of the wild beasts, and everything which the furious people called for or desired, and at last, the iron chair in which their bodies being roasted, tormented them with the fumes.
39 And not with this did the persecutors cease, but were yet more mad against them, determined to overcome their patience. But even thus they did not hear a word from Sanctus except the confession which he had uttered from the beginning.
40 These, then, after their life had continued for a long time through the great conflict, were at last sacrificed, having been made throughout that day a spectacle to the world, in place of the usual variety of combats.
One might argue about which account came first, but we cannot seriously argue that one character has not been created from the other. There is no need to make up a Platonic argument that they both used an unknown original earlier source.
A second interesting aspect of the letter is the second most important character Attalus from Pergamon. Here we find no parallel in the "Acts of Perpetua". This is because the author has gotten it from history.
Here is Eusebius' description of the Christian Attalus, followed by a passage on the Greek Attalus from Wikipedia:
43 "But Attalus was called for loudly by the people, because he was a person of distinction. He entered the contest readily on account of a good conscience and his genuine practice in Christian discipline, and as he had always been a witness for the truth among us.
44. He was led around the amphitheater, a tablet being carried before him on which was written in the Roman language 'This is Attalus the Christian,' and the people were filled with indignation against him. But when the governor learned that he was a Roman, he commanded him to be taken back with the rest of those who were in prison concerning whom he had written to Cæsar, and whose answer he was awaiting...
50. But the people being enraged because those who formerly denied now confessed, cried out against Alexander as if he were the cause of this. Then the governor summoned him and inquired who he was. And when he answered that he was a Christian, being very angry he condemned him to the wild beasts. And on the next day he entered along with Attalus. For to please the people, the governor had ordered Attalus again to the wild beasts.
51. And they were tortured in the amphitheater with all the instruments contrived for that purpose, and having endured a very great conflict, were at last sacrificed. Alexander neither groaned nor murmured in any manner, but communed in his heart with God.
52. But when Attalus was placed in the iron seat, and the fumes arose from his burning body, he said to the people in the Roman language: 'Lo! this which you do is devouring men; but we do not devour men; nor do any other wicked thing.' And being asked, what name God has, he replied, 'God has not a name as man has.'...
3.2. It runs as follows: "For a certain Alcibiades, who was one of them, led a very austere life, partaking of nothing whatever but bread and water. When he endeavored to continue this same sort of life in prison, it was revealed to Attalus after his first conflict in the amphitheater that Alcibiades was not doing well in refusing the creatures of God and placing a stumbling-block before others.
3. And Alcibiades obeyed, and partook of all things without restraint, giving thanks to God. For they were not deprived of the grace of God, but the Holy Ghost was their counselor." Let this suffice for these matters.
From Wikipedia, we read this about the most famous Greek Attalus before this time:
According to Pausanias, "the greatest of his achievements" was the defeat of the "Gauls"(Ga??ta?). Pausanias was referring to the Galatians, immigrant Celts from Thrace, who had recently settled in Galatia in central Asia Minor, and whom the Romans and Greeks called Gauls, associating them with the Celts of what is now France, Switzerland, and northern Italy. Since the time of Philetaerus, the uncle of Eumenes I and the first Attalid ruler, the Galatians had posed a problem for Pergamon, indeed for all of Asia Minor, by exacting tributes to avoid war or other repercussions. Eumenes I had (probably), along with other rulers, dealt with the Galatians by paying these tributes. Attalus however refused to pay them, being the first such ruler to do so. As a consequence, the Galatians set out to attack Pergamon. Attalus met them near the sources of the river Caïcus and won a decisive victory, after which, following the example of Antiochus I, Attalus took the name of Soter, which means "savior", and claimed the title of king. The victory brought Attalus legendary fame. A story arose, related by Pausanias, of an oracle who had foretold these events a generation earlier:
Then verily, having crossed the narrow strait of the Hellespont, The devastating host of the Gauls shall pipe; and lawlessly They shall ravage Asia; and much worse shall God do To those who dwell by the shores of the sea For a short while. For right soon the son of Cronos Shall raise a helper, the dear son of a bull reared by Zeus Who on all the Gauls shall bring a day of destruction.
Pausanius adds that by "son of a bull" the oracle "meant Attalus, king of Pergamon, who was styled bull-horned". On the acropolis of Pergamon was erected a triumphal monument, which included the famous sculpture the Dying Gaul, commemorating this battle.
We know that Eusebius was familiar with Pausanius and therefore familiar with the Greek Attalus from Pergamon. We may assume that when he wrote the martyr's letter, he was making some kind of statement regarding the historical Attalus from Pergamon.
Finally, I would like to note this strange passage that seems to show bad faith on the part of Eusebius:
(5.4.3.) Why should we transcribe the catalogue of the witnesses given in the letter already mentioned, of whom some were beheaded, others cast to the wild beasts, and others fell asleep in prison, or give the number of confessors still surviving at that time? For whoever desires can readily find the full account by consulting the letter itself, which, as I have said, is recorded in our Collection of Martyrdoms. Such were the events which happened under Antoninus.
As an historian, it was encumbant upon him to give the names of those killed or at least tell us the number. Also, by telling us the number of confessors who did not die, we could get a sense of how terrible or light the persecution actually was. If a 1,000 confessed and only the nine mentioned names of martyrs died, we could see that these were specially chosen. However if only 12 confessed and nine died, we could get a sense of how lucky the survivors were. As a Christian, he should have been glad to pronounce the names of those who died for Christ so gloriously. Eusebius assures us that he has already published the names and number in another work where we can find the whole letter. But really, how could Eusebius be sure his reader could have access to his other work. Eusebius has spent more than 60 paragraphs telling us the most minute details of the torture of his martyrs, yet refuses to tell us the size of the persecution. Imagine an historian who tells us that he will not tell us the size of troops in a battle because he has listed it in another place. Note that if the letter did not contain this information, we could excuse Eusebius for not informing us, but he instead informs us that it does, and yet does not give it to us.
The "Collection of Martyrdoms" to which Eusebius refers us to no longer exists. Nobody in antiquity ever read it either.
Thus, we add suppose from the relationship of Blandina to Perpetua that the letter is a work of fiction, and from the fact that it includes the historical character Attalus, it is likely to have been written by an historian familiar with the works of Pausanias, and from his refusal to give us the most elementary information about the persecution (number of people involved) that it was forged by Eusebius himself.