First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Milan (Mediolanum), the mighty city of the Insubres,[The Insubres were a Gallic people who crossed the Alps and settled in Gallia Transpadana in northern Italy. Their chief town was Mediolanum (present day Milan). They were a powerful tribe, but were conquered by the Romans shortly before the Second Punic War. It was taken by the Romans in 222 BCE and later became the residence of the emperors of the West, till the coming of Atilla, who plundered the town and induced the people to transfer the seat of government to the strongly fortified Ravenna. Mediolanum was one of the foremost cities of the empire, and on the fall of the Western empire it became the seat of Theodoric the Great and the capital of the Ostrogothic kingdom, surpassing even Rome in population and prosperity. It received a fearful blow in 539 CE, when, having sided with Belisarius, it was taken by the Goths under Vistiges, a great part of it destroyed and the inhabitants put to the sword. It again became important under the Lombards.] located on this side of the mountainous region of Gallia, and mother of other cities, had its origin, as narrated by Livy of Padua and Trogus Pompeius, with the Gauls, who under their commander Brennus marched into Italy. Many say this city was not built in the reign of king Assuerus by the Senonian Gauls, but was enlarged and improved by them. Yet others say it was built in the time of Joshua, the judge of the Hebrews, and was illustrious in the time of the Trojans. Then when the Sicambri,[The Sicrambri (Sygambri, Sugambri, Sigambri or Sycambri) were one of the most powerful peoples of Germany at an early time. They belonged to the Istaevones, and dwelt originally north of the Ubii on the Rhine, from where they spread toward the north as far as Lippe. They were mentioned by Caesar, who invaded their territory. They were conquered by Tiberius in the reign of Augustus, and a large number of them were transplanted to Gaul, where they received settlements between the Maas and the Rhine as Roman subjects. The portion who remained in Germany withdrew farther south, probably to the mountainous country in the neighborhood of the Taunus, a large range of mountains, at no great distance from the confluence of the Moenus (Main) and the Rhine. Shortly afterwards they disappear from history, and are not mentioned again till the time of Ptolemy, who places them much farther north, close to the Bructeri and the Langobardi, somewhere between the Vecht and the Yssel. At a still later period we find them forming an important part of the confederacy known under the name of Franci.] a people of Germany in the time of Samson, the judge, marched toward Milan with hostile intent, they were intercepted by Julius the Insubrian king; and they made peace, and entered into an alliance to become a single people and kingdom. Until the time of Brennus[Brennus was the leader of the Senonian Gauls. In 390 BCE he invaded Italy. He defeated the Romans at the Allia, some twelve miles from Rome. He then appears to have delayed a day or two, giving the Romans time to fortify the Capitol; he then sacked Rome, besieged the Capitol for six months, accepted the offer of the defenders to ransom themselves, and then, probably departed safely with his booty. It is difficulty to disentangle the facts of this invasion from the legends. We may or may not believe the massacre of the Patricians in their chairs; the night attack on the Capitol, the sacred geese and the exploits of Manlius; the false weights at the paying of the ransom, and the hurling by Brennus of his sword into the scales, with the famous words, "Vae Victus." Livy says that at the time of the payment, Brennus and his forces were wiped out by Camillus.] it was not a large city, but he increased it in a wonderful manner. It is the industrial center of the entire country of Lombardy, and it has a very fertile soil. Hercules Maximianus[Maximianus was Roman emperor from 286 to 305 CE. He was born of humble parents in Pannonia, and had acquired such fame in the army that Diocletian selected this rough soldier for his colleague, as one whose abilities were likely to prove valuable in the disturbed state of public affairs. Accordingly, he created him first Caesar (285), and then Augustus (286), conferring at the same time the honorary appellation of Herculius, while he himself assumed that of Jovius. After having been reluctantly compelled to abdicate, at Milan (305), he was again invested with the imperial title by his son Maxentius, in the following year (306) to whom he rendered the most important service in the war with Severus and Galerius. Having been expelled from Rome shortly afterwards by his son, he took refuge in Gaul with Constantine, to whom he had previously given his daughter Fausta in marriage. Here he again attempted to assume the imperial throne, but was easily deposed by Constantine in 308. Two years afterwards he endeavored to induce his daughter Fausta to destroy her husband, and was in consequence compelled by Constantine to put an end to his own life.] improved the city with battlements, surrounded it with another wall, enlarged the city, and named it Herculeum, after himself. In honor of Hercules he also built a temple, now dedicated to Saint Lawrence. After a long period of prosperity the city sustained a misfortune; for, while Saint Ambrose was still a bishop, it suffered from the Arian heresy.

Arianism was the belief of Arius, a presbyter of the church of Alexandria, who died in 336 CE. He held that Christ was the first and noblest of all created beings, but that, as there was a time when he did not exist, he was not the Eternal Son of God, and that there was no Trinity, as the Son was of the same substance as the Father.

Clovis, king of the Franks, was baptized at Rheims with 4000 of his followers in CE 496. He accepted the orthodox faith; on the other hand Ulfilas and those who had received Christianity through his influence were adherents of Arianism, a form of faith which had been declared heretical by the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.

Later the tyrant Atilla marched into Italy, and ravaged Milan. After its reconstruction the city was at peace for a brief period, but was then overrun by the Lombards. However, after Charles the Great subdued the Lombards, the city flourished for 360 years, but was then leveled to the ground by Frederick Barbarossa. Afterwards the Milanese, with the help of the Parmensians[Parmensians, the inhabitants of Parma or Parmensia (originally in Gallia Cispadana).] and Placentians[Placentians, the inhabitants of Placentia or Placentinus, now Piacenza. Formerly a Roman colony in Cisalpine Gaul.], rebuilt their city with such zeal that in three years the city became richer, mightier, and stronger than it formerly was, and increased marvelously. Pope Alexander writes that Milan has a very good natural position; that it suffers neither from extremes of heat nor cold—for that reason it is very habitable, has good air and fresh wholesome water; that it has 17 beautiful seas and 60 waterfalls which give moisture to the soil in this region. How the city flourished is indicated by the great temples which stood there, and which still stand there—the royal houses; the nobility of its celebrated buildings; its mighty lords and the assemblies of the clergy; the swarm of travelers and of the learned; its industries and trade in weapons, cloth, and many kinds of garments. The above named pope also states that Barnabas, a disciple with Paul, was the first bishop there; and not long after him came Saint Ambrose, who converted Saint Augustine to the Faith. In recent times the lords built a very tall castle there and a very praiseworthy hospital and a church to Our Lady was erected there. And they adorned the city in many other ways.

Milan was an important place from remote antiquity. It was founded by the Celts, and during the Roman period rose to be one of the chief cities of northern Italy, and in the fourth century it was often the residence of the emperors, particularly of Constantine the Great (324-37) and Theodosius (379-95) whose edicts in favor of Christianity were issued from there. The Lombard kingdom was overthrown by Charlemagne, whose successors ruled over the country by means of governors. It was against the walls of the Lombard cities that the power of the Hohenstaufen was broken. Their league was headed in 1167 by Milan, which was soon rebuilt after its destruction by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162. Feuds between the nobles and the people led in 1277 to domination by the Visconti, who by successful wars and diplomacy gained possession of a great part of northern Italy, and who proved famous patrons of the arts and sciences. Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1378-1402) founded the Cathedral of Milan and the certosa of Pavia. In 1450 the condottiere Francesco Sforza forced his way into power. He built the Castle and the Ospedale Maggiore, and invited Italian and Byzantine scholars to his court. Still more brilliant was the court of Lodovico Sforza, surnamed il Moro, who in 1477 usurped the guardianship of Francesco's grandson, Gian Galleazzo Sforza. During his sway Beamante and Leonardo da Vinci came to Milan, raising it to the pinnacle of its artistic fame. The marriage of the Emperor Maximilian I with Bianca, Gian Galleazzo's daughter, and Lodovico's diplomatic alliance with Charles VIII of France ushered in a European war for the possession of upper Italy. Expelled by Louis XII in 1499, Ludovico ended his days in a French prison, but the victory gained by Charles V at Pavia in 1525 resulted in the cession of the duchy to his son Philip II of Spain. In 1714 the War of succession transferred the duchy to the House of Austria. An insurrection in 1848 compelled the Austrians to vacate the city, and the patriotic agitations which ensued were happily ended by the desired union with the new kingdom of Italy in 1859.

The plain around Milan is extremely fertile, owing to the richness of the alluvial soil deposited by the Po, Ticino, Olona, and Adda, and to the excellent system of irrigation. From the cathedral roof it presents the appearance of a vast garden divided into square plots by rows of mulberry or poplar trees. To the east, this plain stretches as far as the eye can see towards Venice and the Adriatic; on the southern side the line of the Apennines from Bologna to Genoa closes the view; to the west rise the maritime Cottian and Graian Alps; while northward are the Pennine, Helvetic and Rhaetian Alps.

The principal architectural attraction is the Cathedral of Milan, built of brick cased in marble from the quarries that Gian Galeazzo Visconti gave in perpetuity to the cathedral chapter. Begun in 1386, it was then the largest church in existence, and now, after St. Peter's at Rome and the cathedral of Seville, it is the largest church in Europe. It covers an area of 14,000 square yards and has a capacity of 40,000 people. The interior is 486 feet long, 189 feet wide; the nave is 157 feet high, and the distance from the pavement to the top of the tower is 356 feet. The style is a very elaborate Gothic. The cathedral is regarded by the Milanese as the eighth wonder of the world. The roof, marble like the rest of the building, is adorned with 98 turrets, and the interior with upwards of 2,000 statues in marble. The stained glass windows in the choir are said to be the largest in the world. The church is cruciform in shape, with double aisles and a transept, the latter also flanked with aisles. The interior is supported by immense pillars.

The Castel Sforzesco, or Castle of Milan, stands in the Parco Nuovo. It was built in 1450 by Francesco Sforza on the site of the one erected by Galeazzo II. Visconti (1355-1378), and demolished in 1447 by the populace after the death of Filippo Maria Visconti. After many vicissitudes it was restored – including especially the splendid entrance tower by Antonio Averulino (Filarete, 1451-1453), destroyed by a powder explosion in 1521 – in the 15th century style, and it is now a most imposing structure.