First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
Of the Famous Islands of the Mediterranean Sea

Sardinia is an island of the sea which flows out of the great ocean that surrounds the earth, and which sea runs through the middle of the earth.[The Mediterranean Sea.] It was named after Sardus, the son of Hercules. This same Sardus with countless numbers migrated out of the land of Libya and overran the island of Sardinia, in the Tyrrhenian Sea[Tyrrhenum Mare was the name given in ancient times to the part of the Mediterranean Sea along the west coast of Italy. The name was originally employed by the Greeks, who generally called the people of Etruria Tyrrhenians, and was merely adopted by them from the Romans. It was the designation of that part of the Mediterranean that extended from the coast of Liguria to the north coast of Sicily and from the mainland of Italy to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia on the west.], which island the Greeks called Icus[Not Icus, but ‘Ichnusa,’ from its resemblance to the print of a foot. They also called it ‘Sandaliotis’ from its likeness to a sandal.]; and he called the island Sardinia after himself. The island is 98 miles wide and 220 miles long. Some say its circumference is 4000 furlongs. The island has many rough, sharp, and turbulent regions, but the remainder is in all things blessed and productive, particularly in wheat, cattle and pastures. There no wolf is born, nor are any snakes found. But in the summer time the most productive regions suffer from plagues and sickness. It has many cities, of which Calaria (Caralis or Cagliari) is the foremost. Large coral fisheries are found there. For a long time it was enlightened by the holiness of the blessed father, Augustine. In ancient times the island produced rams whose shaggy locks were used for wool. They were called musimones. The inhabitants of the island clothed and protected themselves with the skins of these rams, which at the same time served them as armor or breastplate. The inhabitants of the island were formerly called Jolenses (Iolai or Iliensis); and it is said that Iolaus, who was born of one of the love intrigues of Hercules to Sardinia, who lived there among the inhabitants. And they were thereafter called Sardinians. Item: The Peni (who came from Africa to the same place) later secured control of the country; and they undertook a war against the Germans, but were completely exterminated by them. The Romans for a long time sought to master this island, and after it had suffered many revolts, attacks, invasions and defeats at the hands of the barbarians, the Pisans and the Geneose, it finally fell into the hands and power of the Arragonians.

The statements of ancient writers with reference to the origin of Sardinia’s population are various and conflicting. According to Pausanias, the first inhabitants were Libyans, who crossed over under the command of Sardus, the son of a native hero or divinity, whom the Greeks identified with Hercules. He is supposed to have given the island its name, which was previously called Ichnusa by the Greeks for reasons already stated. But neither the name Ichnusa nor Sandaliotis were ever in common use. Though the theory of Pausanias is plausible, little value is to be attached to these traditions. He states that the next settlers were a Greek colony under Aristaeus, to whom some writers ascribe the foundation of Caralis; and these were followed by a body of Iberians under Norax, who founded the city of Nora. Next came Greeks from Thespiae and Attica, under command of Iolus, who founded a colony at Olbia. After this came a body of Trojans who had escaped the destruction of Troy, and who established themselves in the southern part of the island. But they in turn were soon expelled by a body of Libyans, who drove them into the mountainous regions, which they retained down to a late period under the name of Ilienses. They are mentioned by Livy as well as by geographers. The Iolai or Iolaenes, on the other hand, had lost their name in the time of Strabo. There is no account of any Greek colonies in Sardinia during the historical period. The first historical event is the island’s conquest by the Carthaginians, but the time cannot be definitely dated. The subsequent Roman conquest occurred 238 BCE, after which it became a Roman province.

The mountain tribes revolted in 181 BCE, but were put down with heavy losses. The number of captives brought to Rome on this occasion was so great that it is said to have given rise to the expression "Sardi venales," for anything that was cheap and worthless. Another revolt was suppressed in 114 BCE, the last war of importance in Sardinia.

In 456 CE Genseric, the Vandal, wrested Sardinia from Rome, and it was not recovered until 534 CE, in the reign of Justinian. It was again conquered by the Gothic king Totila in 551 CE. In the eighth century it was conquered by the Arabs.

Corsica, one of the islands of the above named sea, was first taken possession of by Cirinus (Cyrnus), brother of the aforesaid Sardus and son of Hercules, (who came there from Libya); and after him the island was named Cirinum (Cyrnus).[Cyrnus is the name by which Corsica was known to the Greeks; but the origin of this name is wholly unknown, though later writers, as usual, derived it from a hero, Cyrnus, whom they pretended to be a son of Hercules.] But once upon a time after that, a woman named Corsica (Corsa) was pasturing her bull in the land of Liguria; and the bull went into the sea and swam to this island. Without the knowledge of her parents, the woman sailed after the bull and came to the island. There she found him in fertile pastures. And she was greatly pleased with the beauty of the place. She made it her home, and named it Corsica after her own name.[Solinus, following authors now lost, who has written fully concerning Corsica, especially ascribes the first population of the island to the Ligurians, and this is confirmed by the legend of the Ligurian woman of the name of Corsa (not Corsica), who has fabled to have first discovered its shores. Corsica was probably the native name of the island, adopted form the people themselves by the Romans.] The island is 160 miles in length and 70 miles wide. It has a circumference of 3200 furlongs[The ancients exaggerated the size of the island. Its greatest length is 116 miles, and its greatest breadth about 51.] and lies in the Ligustian Sea[Ligusticum Mare was the name given by the ancients to that part of the Mediterranean Sea which adjoined the coast of Liguria, and lay to the north of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The name was applied (like all similar appellations) with considerable vagueness, sometimes as limited to what is now called ‘the Gulf of Genoa,’—in which sense it is termed the Ligusticus Sinus by Florus; at others it was used in a much wider sense, so that Pliny speaks of Corsica as an island "in Ligustico Mari." This is the more usual significance with which the name is used.], but to the north it is nearer the Tuscian Sea.[Tuscum Mare or Tyrrhenum Mare. The latter of these two names was given in ancient times to that part of the Mediterranean Sea that adjoins the western coast of Italy. It is evident from the name itself that it was originally employed by the people of Greece, who called the inhabitants of Etruria Tyrrhenians. The people more frequently called the sea on the west coast of Italy simply the "lower sea" (Mare Inferum). They called the Adriatic "the upper sea" (Mare Superum).] The distance between this island and Sardina is 20 miles; although Pliny says not more than 9 miles. In the time of Strabo, this island (as he writes) was badly constituted, and in many regions it was unsafe for travel. For in the mountains lived people who sustained themselves by murder and exceeded wild animals in cruelty.[Almost all of Corsica is occupied by a range of lofty and rugged mountains extending from one extremity of the island to the other, rendering it one of the wildest and least civilized portions of southern Europe. Strabo speaks of the inhabitants of the mountain district as "wilder than the very beasts," and of a character so untamable that when brought to Rome as slaves it was impossible to make any use of them, or to accustom them to domestic habits. Seneca was banished to Corsica in 41 CE, and there he lived for eight years in exile. Other political offenders were exiled there indicating that the island had a bad reputation among the ancients.] When the Romans afterwards gained dominion over the island, they found in it many fertile regions and good pasturage; so they built many cities there. At present there are six cities of no mean repute. In the time of Charles the Great the island became subject to the power of the Genoese; but later it passed under Pisan rule; and there it remained for a short time while the affairs of the Pisans prospered. For a time also it was subject to the Church of Rome. When the Pisans were defeated, the island was again brought under Genoese dominion; and there it has remained. In addition to producing the best wine it also grows the sweetest fruits. It is rich in oxen, mountain goats, sheep, and other animals; and it produces the best-dispositioned dogs.

Crete is also an island of the above-mentioned sea, and in it Cres, or Orion, Demogorgonis’s son, reigned (according to Eusebius) as the first king[Cres was the son of Zeus by a nymph of Mount Ida, from whom the island of Crete was believed to have derived its name. According to Diodorus, Cres was an Eteocretan, that is, a Cretan autochthon, or one sprung form the earth itself. Orion was a famous hunter, of giant stature, beloved by the goddess Artemis, with whom he lived on the island of Crete until the time of his death, after which he was transformed into a constellation.]. After him the island was named Crete. But at first it was called Aeria (which means ‘airy’), because of the good air that it derives from the heavens. Thereafter the Greeks called it Macoroneson (that is), the blessed island. Some say the island derived its name from Creta (Crete), the daughter of Hesperiadis. But there are others who say it is so called because of its loamy soil, which the word creta signifies. This island is now subject to the Venetians. It once belonged to Greece and has a lovely location. It stands out very brilliantly in the sea. At one time (as Isidorus writes) it was graced with one hundred prominent cities. Item: The inhabitants of the island built temples to the mother of the gods in the cities of Cnossus and Cybelis. The island was also first in the art of navigation and the use of arms. The teaching of music began there. Snakes and other noxious animals are not found there; nor the night owls. However, when a night owl is taken there it soon dies. The island is not far distant from Peloponnesus, or Arcadia (and, as it is said), in the middle of the world. The Aegean Sea[ The Aegean Sea (Aegaeum Mare) is that part of the Mediterranean bounded on the north by Macedonia and Thrace, on the west by Greece, and on the east by Asia Minor. At its northeast corner it is connected with the Propontis by the Hellespont. Its extent is differently estimated by the ancient writers, but the name is generally applied to the whole sea as far south as the island of Crete. The Aegaean Sea was divided into the following: ] is to the north, and the Ionian or Myrtoan Sea to the west, both of which belong to Europe. To the east is the Icarian and the Egyptian Sea[Egyptian Sea, portion of the Mediterranean off Egypt.], which both extend into Asia. Then also, it is bounded on the south and west by the African Sea[Libyan Sea, also called African Sea, being the portion of the Mediterranean between Crete and Africa.].

Sicilia (Sicily) is an island in the sea mentioned. There Siculus, the son of Neptune, who came there after Sicano his brother, reigned, and after him the island was called Sicily. But at first it was called Tinacria (Trinacria) and thereafter Sicania[The pre-Hellenic inhabitants of Sicily were called Sicani or Siculi, variant names of kindred tribes who migrated from northern Africa. It is convenient to retain the two names, applying the term Sicanian to the stone age and to reserve Siculan for the Chalcolithic and the bronze and iron ages, the first Siculan period being Chalcolithic, the second Siculan being the bronze age, while the beginnings of the iron, or third Siculan period, will be 900 to 700 BCE, and the beginning of the fourth Siculan may be placed at 700 BCE, when the native civilization is hybridized with the Greek.], and it is part of Italy. But now, through an earthquake (as Pliny states) it is separated from it by turbulent waves of the sea. The island is triangular, and in each of the three corners are opposing mountains. The one is Pachinus (Pachynus, now Passero); the second is Pelorus (Pelorum, now Faro) and the third is called Lylibeus (Lilybaeum, now Boeo). The first stretches to the south, while the second extends toward the north and is but 1500 paces away from Italy. The third extends westerly in the direction of Libya, and can be seen from Carthage. It is not more than 120,00 paces from Africa. The ancient Romans called the island a storehouse or granary, and it is more esteemed than any other region in Italy. It is noted for its fodder, saffron, honey and many other fruits, as well as for its cattle hides, wool and cheese, &c.[ This is to some extent a repetition of Folio XIX recto where Sicily is mentioned in the text.]

Cyprus, the island, was named Cetina after Cethin (Kittim), who was the third son of Javan, and Japheth’s grandson; for this same Kittim was the first to take possession. Among islands it is the most celebrated; for it has an abundance of everything. It is adorned with the treasures of the ancients, and a spirit of voluptuousness prevails; for which reason the island was dedicated to Venus, the goddess. After the decline of Rome, Cyprus was for some time under the power of the Greeks, who ruled after the Emperor Constantine of Constantinople. King Richard of England once sailed with a large navy against Jerusalem, but stormy weather carried him to this island. However, the inhabitants did not desire the king to land. And he was angry; and the weapons he had intended to use against the Saracens he now turned against the Greeks, took the island from them, plundered it, and left a large garrison in possession. Not long thereafter he gave possession of it to a Gaul, named Guido Lusunanus (Guy Lusignan), who was