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

In this statement of the location and nature of Germany, or the German nation, we note the observation of Strabo, who said: The Germans, like the Gauls, are erect in body, and of a white or ruddy complexion, and resemble them in stature, bearing and manners. Therefore the Romans did not call them Germans without reason, for they wished to describe them as brothers of the Gauls. According to the Roman tongue, Germani means true or lawful brother. Germania, or the German nation, has been much neglected by the ancient historians, for at that time their interior and their homeland, and the approaches thereto were rendered in accessible by the rivers. Hemmed in by the forests and the sea, they remained fixed in their coarse pastoral manners, never making their abodes on the renowned and celebrated rivers. But after discarding idol worship, and adopting Christian ways, this German nation became more disciplined and prospered greatly. The country is very extensive. To the east lie Poland and Lower Hungary; to the south, the Algau, or the mountains; to the west, Gaul; and to the north, the German Sea. Germany has the most celebrated rivers of Europe, the Rhine, the Danube, the Elbe, and countless other memorable streams. The Rhine’s source is in the highest peak of seven mountains, and in this vicinity also arises the Rhone which waters the regions of Lyons and Narbonne. The Padus or Po waters Italy. The "Tranus," (Ticinus, now Tesino) enters the Po at Pavia (Ticinum). The Etsch (Athesis, now Adige) flows through the region of Trent and Verona, and finally into the Adriatic Sea. But the Rhine runs through the valleys and the adjacent mountains, and where it passes through the Churian country, it becomes navigable. Soon thereafter it forms two lakes, called the Bodensee (Lake of Constance) and the Zeller Sea (Untersee) with the city of Constance between them. From hence it meanders here and there, tearing at its banks, and hemmed in by many a sharp and sudden crag, it gives off a terrific roar, making caverns along its banks. It flows through Basle, tearing away the banks which resist it, and seeking new channels, to the great damage of those along its shores. It flows by Strassburg, Spires, Worms, Coblentz and Cologne, the noble cities of Germany. It receives into itself many navigable streams, such as the Main, Neckar, Limnat, Moselle and Maas, and then discharges itself into the German (North) Sea in many places, creating large islands. Some of these are inhabited by Frisians, some by Geldrians, and some by Hollanders. Secondly: There is the Danube, the most celebrated river of Europe which has its source in the "Arnobian" mountains, where the Black Forest begins, in a village called Donaueschingen. It slowly flows from west to east to Ulm, a two days’ journey; and there, reinforced by the Blau and the Iller, and other rivers, it becomes navigable, and with increased current flows from thence through many lands and along many cities. The Danube receives sixty streams, mostly navigable. Finally it flows into the Black Sea at six different places. Thirdly: The Elbe arises in the mountains which divides Silesia and Bohemia. With the Moldau, it flows into Bohemia, and hence through the Bohemian Forest; from there through Meissen, Magdeburg, and other cities of the Mark (Brandenburg) and Saxony, and finally into the German Sea at Hamburg. There are other renowned rivers, but for the sake of brevity I will not speak of those. Fourthly there is a forest called Hercynia (Silva), which at this time the inhabitants call the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), and which is the source of the Danube. According to Pomponius Mela this forest is 60 days’ journey in length, and it is better known and larger than any other foreSt. It has many branches, which the inhabitants and others have given various names. From its beginning to the Neckar it retains the name Schwarzwald; from the Neckar to the Main it is called Odonwald (Adenwald); and from the Main to the Lahn (Lonam), near Coblentz, it is called Westerwald. From hence it extends to the east, and divides Franconia from Hesse and Thuringia. Then it divides, and encircles Bohemia, and reaches forth into the mountains of Moravia, extending between Hungary on the right, and Poland on the left as far as the tribes of the Daci and the Getae, under various names. Germany is a very extensive region of Europe. Through contact and association with the Romans, and with the holy faith it was brought to gentleness and good manners. Germany is a noble country, and is watered by rivers. There we find great happiness and bliss, a temperate climate, fertile fields, wonderful mountains, dense forests, and all manner of grain in abundance. The hills bear grapes, and there is a sufficiency of rivers and springs which water the whole country. Trade and commerce prevail everywhere. Germany is kind to its visitors and generous to the needy. In ingenuity, customs, might and men it yields to no other nation, and is foremost in matters of war. It excels in wealth of metals, for all the Italian, French, Spanish and other nations secure their silver from German merchants. Without external help the German nation can raise sufficient men, foot or horse, to readily defend itself against other nations. Many other excellent things might be said concerning its Christian life, its laws, faith, and fidelity, but these I must forego for the sake of brevity.