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

so that he might end their hostility through fear of punishment. To these judges he gave the power to promptly punish, without interference or favor, those who violated their oaths, or committed any other offense. And for this purpose he chose brave men, lovers of justice, who could not be suspected of persecuting the innocent. But when respectable and middle-class men were later found hanging on trees in the forests, great fears seized the Westphalians; and thereby they were kept in the faith. The practises and usages of this Westphalian tribunal, which is called secret, are known throughout Germany; wherefore lengthy description is here avoided.


HESSE, a mountainous country, lies between Westphalia and Franconia. It extends from the Rhine on the north to Thüringia. The prince of these people, a landgrave, during our own time was called to rule the empire, but considering himself unequal to the task, preferred to usefully govern a small principality left him by his parents, than to fail in a greater undertaking. He said that he considered his lack of knowledge of the letters hindrance in the management of Christian affairs; yet he was an augmenter and protector of the law, which he caused to be interpreted to him according to his father’s tongue. Although matters were often heard before him, it has never been said of him that he pronounced an unjust judgment. This prince went to a cloister with the intention of reforming it. The cloister-people invited him to dine with them, and it has been suspected that by this means poison was administered to him and to the abbot who favored the reforms. They died soon thereafter.