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

Islands are so called according to the Latin Tongue because they lie in the sea. The following are the most notable and the largest, namely, Britain, generally called England. It lies off France and opposite Spain, and has many rivers and warm springs; also coal, and many metals and valuable minerals. Item: Thanathos, an island in the Great Sea, is separated from Britain in many places by the Gallic Sea.[Probably the Isle of Thanet, or extreme northeastern portion of Kent, England, insulated by the two branches of the river Stour. Its name is said to have been derived from the Saxon tene , a beacon or fire, probably from the number of watch-fires maintained on this easily ravaged coast.] Item: Thyle [Tile], the last island of the Great Sea.[Probably Thule, according to ancient geography, the most northern land of the world; so named by the voyager Pytheas Massilia, and variously identified by moderns with Norway, Iceland, and the Shetland and Orkney Islands; often called Ultima Thule, or farthest Thule.] Item: Tylos is an island in India,[Tylos is the modern island of Bahrain, according to Brotier, still famous for its pearl-fisheries. It is mentioned by Pliny (, vi.c.32; xll.c.21). Bahrain is really an archipelago named from its chief island, in the gulf of the same name, occupying the angle formed by the Qatar peninsula and the Hasa coast of Arabia. Bahrain island is 27 miles long and 10 miles wide. The archipelago is the headquarters of the Persian Gulf pearl trade, in which over a thousand sailing boats are engaged, and employ some twenty-thousand men.] as Solinus says,[C. Julius Solinus was the author of a geographical compendium, containing a brief sketch of the world as known to the ancients, diversified by historical notices, remarks on the origin, habits, religious rites, and social conditions of various nations, together with details regarding the remarkable productions of each region, animal, vegetable, and mineral. The material is derived almost exclusively from Pliny’s , although the writer nowhere indicates his source. There is no information with reference to Solinus himself, nor to what country he belonged. His time is also doubtful. He is quoted by Jerome, Ambrose and Augustine, who belong to the end of the fourth century. Solinus was much studied in the Middle Ages, and many editions appeared in the infancy of printing. The first came from the press of Jenson (Venet. 1473).] which has palms, oil, and vineyards; and it exceeds the wonders of all other lands in the single fact that its trees are never without leaves. There also are the Caucasus Mountains, which with their loftiness and peaks penetrate the greater part of the world. There are also pepper trees similar to juniper bushes.Item: The Orchades[Probably the Orkneys, an island group north of Pentland Firth, Scotland.] are islands of the Great Sea, and they lie in Britain. Of these ten are wastelands, and ten are habitable. Item: Scotland, or Hibernia (Ireland), an island, lies near Britain. Although it is a limited territory, it is very productive by reason of its location. It stretches from Africa on the left in a northerly direction.[Apparently the author thinks Scotland and Ireland to be identical, and he appears to not know the legend of St. Patrick.] There are no snakes or bees, and seldom a bird.

Item: The island of Gades lies at the end of the country of Baetica, and divides Europe from Africa. Therein are the Pillars of Hercules.[Gades, the Cadiz of our day, is a very ancient town in Hispania Baetica, west of the Pillars of Hercules. It was founded by the Phoenicians and was one of the chief seats of their commerce in the west of Europe. It was situated on a small island of the same name (I. de Leon), separated from the mainland by a small channel. Gades gave its name to the Fretum Gadiatanum , which we know as the Straits of Gibraltar.] Item: Certain islands are called the Fortunate Islands, which means the Islands of the Blessed, because of the abundance of their fruits. Through a mistake of the pagans they are considered to be Paradise. The first is called Membronia; the second, Minona; the third, Capraria; the fourth, Thoode; and the fifth, Vinaria.[The early Greeks, according to Homer, placed the Elysian Fields into which favored heroes passed without dying, at the extremity of the earth, near the river Oceanus. In later poems an island is clearly spoken of as their abode. It was placed beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Hence, when, just after the time of the Marian civil wars, certain islands were discovered in the Ocean off the west coast of Africa, they were called Fortunatae Insulae (‘The Fortunate Islands’). As to the names of the individual islands and the exact identification of them by their modern names, there are difficulties. But it is safe to say that the Fortunatae Insulae of Pliny, Ptolemy and others, are the Canary Islands, and probably the Madeira group. Quoting Juba, Pliny says that the first of these islands is Ombrios; the second, Junonia; the third, Capraria; the fourth, Ninguaria; and another, Canaria, which, he says, contains vast multitudes of dogs, of very large size. While all these islands abound in fruits and birds of every kind, this one produces in great numbers the date palm, which bears the caryota, also pine nuts. Honey too abounds here, and in the rivers papyrus, and the fish called silurus are found. These islands are greatly annoyed by the putrefying bodies of monsters, which are constantly thrown up by the sea (Pliny, , vi. c. 38).] They lie in the Great Sea to the left of the country of Mauretania.

The Gorgodes [Gorgondes] are islands in the ocean.[Probably refers to Gorgon or Urgo, the Gorgona of Ptolemy, a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea between the coast of Etruria and Corsica, and distant about twenty miles from the mainland. It is only about eight miles in circumference, but elevated and rocky, rising abruptly out of the sea, which renders it conspicuous from a distance.] Item: Espidum, Crise[Probably refers to Crisa, an ancient town of Phocis, on the sea, now Crissa.] and Argire[This may refer to Argyre, the capital of the large island of Jabadiu, which Ptolemy places south of the Malay Peninsula, and supposed by some to be Sumatra, and by others Java.] also Taprophana.[Taprobane is the ancient name for Ceylon, a great island of the Indian Ocean, opposite the southern extremity of India intra Ganges. The Greeks first became acquainted with it through the researches of Onesicritus in the time of Alexander, and through information obtained by residents in India. Information was also obtained from an embassy sent from the island to Rome in the reign of Claudius. Ptolemy makes it very much too large, and the peninsula of India too small.] So in the ocean lie other islands from the Hellespont[The Dardanelles.] to the Gorgodes. Firstly, Cyprus, also called Paphos, highly cele¬brated for its wealth, particularly in minerals, for there ore was first found and used.[Cyprus is the largest island in the Mediterranean. It has born a multitude of names. Its mountains contained copper (Pliny XII, 60, and XXXIV, 20) as well as gold and silver. Its precious stones were famous in antiquity (Pliny XXXVII, 15), and the land is described as flowing with wine, oil, and honey (Pliny XI, 14).] Item: Crete, the island of Greece, a great part of which lies against the Peloponnesus. It has about 100 cities, for which reason it is also called Centopolis, after their number. It is wealthy in shipping and weapons. It first reduced the law to writing. It first taught horsemanship. It discovered certain forms of poetry. It is full of moun¬tain goats, but lacking in deer. It does not produce the wolf, fox, or other destructive wild animal; nor snakes, nor night owls. And when they are taken, they soon die. It is also generous in vines and trees. There the root diptannus grows, and large poisonous spiders are found there.

Crete has been known by various names, Cretaeus, Cretanus, Cretensis, Creticus, Cretis, and Kriti. The common European name of Candia is unknown in the island. The Saracenic “Khandax” became in the Venetian writers Candia. The city is situated in the Aegean basin of the Mediterranean. Mt. Ida, connected in an ancient story with metallurgy, was, as its name implied, covered with wood, which was extensively used in forging and smelting. The forests boasted of the fruit-bearing poplar trees, the cypress, palm, and cedar. According to Pliny everything grew better in Crete than elsewhere. Among the medicinal herbs for which it was famed was the “dictamnon,” (here called diptannus) so celebrated among physicians, naturalists, and poets. Dittany is a plant of the rue family, as the dittany of Crete, or the bastard dittany, named after Dikte, a mountain in Crete. The name also applies to a small American perennial of the mint family. Rue is a small bushy shrub with bitter acrid leaves, formerly much used in medicine for its stimulating effects. It was formerly also an emblem of bitterness or grief.

The ancients frequently speak of Cretan wines. The island of was free from all wild beasts and noxious animals (Pliny VIII, 83), a blessing that it owed to Hercules. But the Cretan dogs could vie with the hounds of Sparta, and the Cretan wild goat is the supposed origin of all our domestic varieties.

Item: Abydos, an island, of Europe.[Abydos is an ancient town of Mysia, Asia Minor, on the Hellespont, here scarcely a mile broad. Originally it was probably a Thracian town, afterward colonized by Milesians. Here Xerxes in 480 BCE crossed the strait on his bridge of boats when he invaded Greece. The city is celebrated for its resistance to Philip V of Macedon, in 200 BCE, and is famed in story for the loves of Hero and Leander. In later years its importance was transferred to the Dardanelles. I have found no mention of it as an island, except here.] Item: Cos,[Cos (or Stanko) is an island not far from the southwestern corner of Asia Minor, off the Gulf of Ceramus. It was settled by Dorian colonists who worshipped Aesculapius, whose sanctuary became a health-resort and the first school of scientific medicine. In the Hellenistic age Cos owed its prosperity to the friendship of the Greek dynasty of Egypt, who valued it as a naval outpost. As a seat of learning it was adopted for the education of the Ptolemaic princes; among its most famous men were Hippocrates, the most celebrated physician of antiquity (born 460 BCE), the painter Apelles, and the poets Philetas and Theocritus. The temple of Aesculapias, a sanctuary, was anciently the greatest object of interest in the island. A school of physicians was attached to it, and its great collection of votive models made it almost a museum of anatomy and pathology. Strabo describes the temple as standing in the suburb of the town; but the site has never been positively identified.] an island which lies off Attica, and where Hippocrates, the physician, was born; and here (accord¬ing to Varro) spinning was first invented as a feminine adornment. Item: Fifty-three islands lie in the Great Sea, which some Greeks call the Cyclades.[A group of islands in the Aegean Sea.] Among these Rhodes is the principal one.

In the midst of these islands is another called Delos, which in the Greek tongue means revealed; and it was so named because when the flood occurred in the time of Ogygys the king, and the world was in continual darkness for many months, this was the first land to receive the light of the sun, and therefore it was the first to be revealed.[Ogygys, or Ogyges, is said to have been the first ruler of the territory of Thebes, which was called after him Ogygia. In his reign the waters of Lake Copais rose above its banks and inundated the whole valley of Boeotia. This flood is usually called after him the Oxygian. They name of Ogyges is also connected with Attic mythological history, for in Attica an Ogygian flood is likewise mentioned, and he is described as the father of the Attic hero Eleusis, and as the father of Daira, the daughter of Oceanus.] This island was also called Ortigia. There the partridges were first seen.

Item: Rhodes is the first among the above mentioned islands; after it Carpathos.[Carpathos lies between Crete and Rhodes. Its chief towns were Posidium and Nisyrus.] Item: Cytherea. Item: Ycharia.[Ycharia, probably Icarus or Icaria, an island of the Aegean Sea; one of the Sporades, and west of Samos. Its name was derived from the myth of Icarus.]

Item: Samnia,[Samnia, probably Samos, one of the principal islands in the Aegean Sea, lying in that portion of it called the Icarian Sea, off Ionia, from which it is separated by a narrow strait. The Samians obtained great power at sea and founded many colonies. Their commerce extended to Egypt and the interior of Africa. They were members of the Athenian Confederacy until 440 BCE, when Pericles reduced them to subjection and deprived them of their fleet. Samos was one of the chief centers of Ionian manners, science and art. Its pottery was celebrated throughout the ancient world. It was illustrious in painting and literature. In the time of Herodotus, its capital Samos was reckoned one of the finest cities of the world, filled with works of art, which were plundered first by the pirates in the Mithridatic war, then by Verres, and lastly by M. Antonius. Nothing is left of it but traces of the foundations.] in which earthenware was first made. Item: Sicilia [Sicily] was named after Sichanus, the king of Sicania; and thereafter it was called Sicilia from Siculus. But before that time it was called Trinacria or Trinacia, after its three mountains. This is¬land is separated from Italy by a small sea. The land is productive and windy and full of sulphur. For that reason Mt. Aetna was ignited. In the Sea of Sicily are a mountain and a whirlpool, which are very dangerous to shipping, caus¬ing damage and loss by shipwreck. Sicily was the fatherland of those who had one eye in their foreheads, and was the sup¬porter of tyrants. The capital is Syracuse. Its sea bears corals; and it produces the agate. Its circumference is three thousand furlongs.[Sicily was supposed by the ancients to be the same as the Homeric island Thrinacia, and it was therefore frequently called Thrinacia, Trinacia, or Trinacris, a name which was believed to be derived from the triangular form of the island. Its more usual name came from its later inhabitants, the Siceli, whence it was called Sicelia, which the Romans changed to Sicilia. The sea besides the island was called Mare Siculum . Sicily originally was part of Italy, it is said, but was separated from it by volcanic eruption. Its most important mountain is Aetna. It was so celebrated even in early times for its grains that it was held sacred to Ceres. It also produces excellent wine, saffron, honey, almonds and other fruits. It was the birthplace of the philosophers Empedocles, Epicharmus, Dicaearchus; of the mathematician, Archimedes; of the physicians Herodicus and Acron; of the historians Diodorus, Antiochus, Philistus, and Tamaeus; of the rhetorician Gorgias, and the poets Stesichorus and Theocritus.] There are nine islands off Sicily. Those were for¬merly called Solie [Aeoli] after Aeolus the former ruler of these islands. The same Aeolus could by his arts prophesy winds and storms out of the mists and damps. For that reason the vulgar folk looked upon him as a ruler of wind and weather. The same island is also called Vulcan [now Volcano]. There are nine islands which have names of their own, namely, Lipparis [Lipara], Trafia,

Aeoliae Insulae (Lipari Islands) lie northeast of Sicily, where Aeolus, the god of the winds, reigned. Homer mentions only one Aeolian island, and Virgil speaks of only one Aeolia where Aeolus reigned, supposed to be Strongyle or Lipara. These islands were also called Vulcaniae, because Vulcan was supposed to have had his workshop in one of them called Hiera. They are also named Liparenses from Lipara, the largest of them. The names of these islands were Lipara (Lipari); Hiera (Volcano); Strongyle (Stromboli); Phoenicusa (Felicundi); Ericusa (Alicudi); Euonymus (Panaria); Didyme (Salina); Hicesia (Lisca Bianca); Basilidia (Basilizzo); Osteodes (Ustica). Pliny the following observation (Natural History, III, c. 14): “On this side of Sicily, etc., are seven islands, called the Aeolian, as also the Liparaean islands; by the Greeks they are called the Hephaestiades, and by other writers the Vulcanian Isles; they are called ‘Aeolian’ because in the Trojan times Aeolus was king there.”

There are now eleven of these islands instead of seven, some of which are supposed to have risen from the sea since the time of Pliny. The name Vulcanian originated from Vulcan, a god of fire, the Greek Hephaestus. Referring to Lipara, Pliny says: “Lipara is so called from Liparus, a former king, who succeeded Aeolus, it having been previously called Melogonis, or Meligunis . . . Between this island and Sicily is another, Therasia, now called Hiera, because it is sacred to Vulcan (now Volcano); it contains a hill which at night vomits forth flames. The third island is Strongyle (now Stromboli), lying one mile to the east of Lipara; it differs only from Lipara in the superior brilliancy of its flames. From the smoke of this volcano it is said that some of the inhabitants are able to predict three days beforehand what winds are to blow; hence arose the notion that the winds are governed by Aeolus.”

etc. Item: Sardinia, the island, is named after Sardus, the son of Hercules, who came from Libya with an army and conquered Sardinia. It produces neither snakes nor wolves. It has warm springs which give health to the sick, and the thieves who use its waters are blinded.[Sardinia is the largest island in the Mediterranean. As the chronicler states, the ancients derived its name from Sardus, the son of Hercules, who was worshipped in the island under the name of Sardus pater (‘Father Sardus’). Among the products of the island one of the most celebrated was the Sardonica herba, a poisonous plant, which was said to produce fatal convulsions in the person who ate of it. These convulsions agitated and distorted the mouth, so that the person appeared to laugh although in excruciating pain; hence the well-known risus Sardonicus (sardonic laugh). No plant possessing these properties is now found in Sardinia.] Item: Corsica, the island, has its origin from its inhabitants, the Lugurians, who call them¬selves after their duke. Aebosus[Ebusus (Iviza) is the largest island of the Pityusae Insule, off the east coast of Spain, reckoned by some writers among the Baleares. It was celebrated for its excellent figs.] is an island of Hispania. Item: There are two other islands in His¬pania, called the Baleares. Here the throwing of stones by means of a sling was first invented.[The Baleares, or Balearic Islands, are off the coast of Spain. There are two, distinguished by the names Major and Minor, whence their modern names of Majorca (Mallorca) and Minorca. Their inhabitants were celebrated as slingers, as the chronicler states, and were employed as such in the armies of the Carthaginians and Romans. In consequence of their piracies they provoked the hostility of the Romans, and were finally subdued 123 BCE by Q. Metellus, who assumed accordingly the surname Balearicus.] And there are many other islands; but as they are uninhabited they are not counted.