Eusebius on Bar Kochba

Simon ben Kosiba, surnamed Simon bar Kochba ("son of the star") was a Jewish Messiah. Between 132 and 135, he was the leader of the last resistance against the Romans. After the end of the disastrous rebellion, the rabbis called him "Bar Koziba", which means "son of the lie".

One of the most important texts on the subject can be found in the History of the Church by the Palestinian bishop Eusebius of Caesaraea (260-c.340). In this work, he sometimes quotes older sources, such as Ariston of Pella and Justin, who were both contemporaries of the revolt of Bar Kochba. In a chronographical work, Eusebius treats the subject matter, too. The translations were made by K. Lake.       


Eusebius on Bar Kochba

[4.6.1] The rebellion of the Jews once more progressed in character and extent, and Rufus, the governor of Judaea, when military aid had been sent him by the emperor, moved out against them, treating their madness without mercy. He destroyed in heaps thousands of men, women and children, and, under the law of war, enslaved their land.

[4.6.2] The Jews were at that time led by a certain Barchochebas, which means "star",note a man who was murderous and a bandit, but relied on his name, as if dealing with slaves, and claimed to be a luminary come from heaven and was magically enlightening those who were in misery.

[4.6.3] The war reached its height in the eighteenth year of Hadrian in Betar, which was a strong citadel not very far from Jerusalem. The siege lasted a long time before the rebels were driven to final destruction by famine and thirst and the instigator of their madness paid the penalty he deserved.

Hadrian then commanded that by a legal decree and ordinances the whole nation should be absolutely prevented from entering from thenceforth even the district round Jerusalem, so that it could not even see from a distance its ancestral home.       

[4.6.4] Ariston of Pella tells the following story:

Thus when the city came to be bereft of the nation of the Jews, and its ancient inhabitants had completely perished, it was colonized by foreigners, and the Roman city which afterwards arose changed its name, and in honor of the reigning emperor Aelius Hadrian was called Aelia.

The Church, too, it was composed of gentiles, and after the Jewish bishops the first who appointed to minister to those was Marcus.