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

Lycurgus, according to Eusebius, was a distinguished and highly renowned man. He made the laws for the Lacedaemonians. Although a pagan, he made very just laws, equally applicable to natural and divine rights. He ordained nothing for which he himself had not furnished a precedent. He refused to tolerate the use of gold and silver, or any other material that might become an instrument of wantonness. He divided the land equally among all the people, so that the inheritance of one person would not be larger than that of another. In order that riches might not be secreted, he ordained that all transactions should be public. To each youth he permitted but one outfit of dress per year. No one was to go about more elegantly dressed than another, nor to dine more sumptuously. He also made certain regulations, not for the sake of money, but to facilitate exchange. He decreed that children of sufficient age should not be placed in trade, but upon the farms, to spend their early years in work and labor, and not in wantonness and luxury; nor were they to employ any bedding on which to sleep. They were to live on vegetables alone, and were not to frequent the cities until they had become grown-up men. He also decreed that maidens were to be married without a dowry, so that wives would not be chosen for money alone, and so that the men would take their courtship more seriously and without money as the incentive. The greatest honors were accorded to the aged, and not to the rich and mighty. But as these and other laws, contrary to the loose customs of the people and difficult of observance, met with opposition, Lycurgus assured the people that he had secured them from the Delphian Apollo, a pagan god. To give these laws permanence, Lycurgus obligated the people by an oath to observe them, and not to make any changes in these divine commandments until he returned home; in the meantime he would pay another visit to Apollo to inquire what could be done about these laws. But instead, he went to the island of Crete, to which he voluntarily exiled himself for the remainder of his life. He made provision that in the event of his death his remains be placed in a lead casket and thrown into the sea; for should his body be brought home, the Lacedaemonians might interpret his return as releasing them of their obligation.[According to the Spartan tradition preserved by Herodotus, Lycurgus was a son of Agis I and brother of Echestratus. On the latter's death he became regent and guardian of his nephew Labotas (Leobotes), who was still a minor. Other accounts give him a different origin, and make him regent of Charillus. According to Herodotus he introduced his reforms when he became regent; but the generally accepted story is that after being regent for some time, and spending several years in travel, he returned to Sparta and carried through his legislation when Charillus was king. He is said to have visited Crete, Egypt, and Ionia, and some versions even took him to Spain, Libya and India. In any case, details of his career are almost entirely mythical. Herodotus derives his constitutional ideas from Crete, but there is a fifth century tradition ascribing them to the initiative of Delphi. Herodotus says that Lycurgus changed all the customs; that he created the military organization, and instituted the ephorate and the council of elders. To him also are attributed the foundation of the apolla (the citizen assembly), the prohibition of gold and silver currency, the partition of the land into equal lots, and in general, the characteristic Spartan training. It is said that some of these statements are false. The council of elders and the assembly are not peculiar to Sparta; the ephorate is generally not considered to be his, and the partition of land never seems to have taken place at all—it is probably an attempt to give traditional sanction to the ideas of Agis and Cleomenes in the third century. Tradition presented him as finding Sparta the prey of disunion, weakness and lawlessness, and leaving her united, strong, and subject to the most stable government that the Greek world had ever seen.]

Jehu (Hieu), son of Jehosaphat, king of Judah, and the tenth king of Israel, anointed by Elisha, slew Jehoram with the entire house of Ahab, and destroyed the house of Baal, putting all its prophets to death. But he did not leave the calves of gold at Bethel and Dan; for which reason Azahel, the king of Syria, as a visitation from the Lord, slew many in Israel. And he himself died there in the 28th year of his reign.[Jehu (Hieu), "son" of Jehoshaphat, a general in the army of Joram, slew his master and usurped the throne of Israel. He reigned 28 years. His history is to be found in I Kings 19:16-17 and II Kings 9:10. And although he slew Jezebel and zealously destroyed the priests of Baal, the Bible states that his heart was not right with God; for his "zeal for the Lord" was really a zeal for himself; for he continued the worship of the golden calves, and Jehovah began to cut Israel short. The Syrians took his eastern frontier, and his dynasty was extinguished in the fourth generation. (Hos. 1:4)]

Isaiah (Ysayas), a noble prophet, is said by the blessed Jerome to be more evangelist than prophet. Alone during the reign of four kings in those times was he considered famous on account of the clarity of his prophecy.[This paragraph does not appear in the German edition (though, surprisingly, the image of Isaiah does!). Isaiah is one of the major prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, and is considered the most important Old Testament prophet by Christians. Jerome, in the preface to his translation of Isaiah in the Vulgate said that Isaiah "should be called an evangelist rather than a prophet."]

Jehoahaz (Joachas) was, together with all his people, almost entirely dispersed by Hazael (Azahel), king of Syria; and so he called on the Lord, and was somewhat comforted.[Jehoahaz I was a son and successor of Jehu, king of Israel. He reigned 17 years. In punishment for his sins and those of his people, Israel was invaded and reduced to great extremities by the Syrians under Hazael and Ben-hadad. The king humbled himself before God, and deliverance came by the hand of Joash, his son.]

Hosea (Osee) the prophet, first of the twelve sent against the ten tribes, was a son of Beeri, although we find no prophecy by Beeri. Hosea prophesied in the time of Jeroboam, king of Israel, the son of Joash, and the same, who with Uzziah (Osia) the king of Judah, reigned for fourteen years. In Judah were four kings – Uzziah (Osia), Jotham (Joathas), Ahaz (Achaz) and Hezekiah (Ezechias); and under these Hosea prophesied.[Hosea was probably the first of the prophets in chronological order exercising his office from the early part of Uzziah's long reign – which coincided with the last 14 years of Jeroboam II of Israel (II Kings 14:23; 15:1) – until sometime in Hezekiah's reign.]

Joash (Joas) defeated the Syrians three times, according to the prophecy of Elisha (Helizei), and he took the cities from the power of Ben-hadad, son of Hazael (Azahel), and brought them back into his own kingdom. He also punished Amaziah, and not willfully but involuntarily, humbled him. He began to reign in the 37th year of Joash, king of Judah.[Joash, or Jehoash, here first referred to, was the son and successor of Jehoahaz, king of Israel. He had great regard for the prophet Elisha, and visited him on his deathbed, where by a divine oracle he was assured of three victories over the Syrians. He was also victorious when forced to give battle to Amaziah, king of Judah, when he broke down the north wall of Jerusalem and despoiled the temple. Although one of the best kings of Israel, worship of the golden calf continued during his reign. The other Joash here mentioned was the seventh king of Judah, only son of Ahaziah not slain by Athaliah.]

Joel (Johel), the second of the twelve prophets of Judah, prophesied his own future tribulation.[Joel, one of the 12 minor prophets, lived in Judah at a time when the temple and temple worship still existed (Joel 1:14; 2:1, 15, 32; 3:1). He prophesied in the reign of Uzziah, nearly 800 BCE.]

Jeroboam was a very warlike and successful man. He drove off the king of Syria, and restored the kingdom of Israel to its former status; and he also took Damascus.[Jeroboam II, here referred to, was the 13th king of Israel, and was the son and successor of Joash. He was the 4th of the five kings of Jehu's dynasty, which was the 4th in the northern kingdom, and his reign was the most prosperous of all. It continued for 41 years. He followed up his father's successes over the Syrians, took Hamath and Damascus, and all the region east of the Jordan down to the Dead Sea, and advanced to its highest point the prosperity of that kingdom. After him the kingdom rapidly declined, and his own dynasty perished within a year, fulfilling the prediction of Jonah. (II Kings 14:23-29; 15:8-12)] Mark how unsteady is the status and rule of kingdoms. Israel was dispersed and humbled in the end; and the Syrians were elevated; but now they in turn were miraculously oppressed by misfortune. He who was on top is now underneath. Then again he who was at the bottom rises up, only to fall again thereafter. This is the revolving wheel of time. Therefore it is not to be wondered that but few of the world are taken up by the Lord, and that the understanding and considerate men of the human race flee with all their might from participation in such uncertainties. Compare what Augustine says in many places in his City of God: If good men rule many men they do good, and the opposite if evil men etc.[This last sentence has been deleted from the German edition of the .]


Lycurgus, the great lawgiver of Sparta, is represented by a woodcut which represented Franco at Folio XXXVIII recto and Naashon (Naason) at Folio XXX recto.


Isaiah, who is not mentioned in the text; Hosea, first minor prophet of Israel; Joel (Johel), second minor prophet of Israel. Note the early pair of eyeglasses held by Joel (scholars believe that the first pair of eyeglasses were invented in Italy sometime between 1285-1289).


The Lineage of the Israelite Kings is here continued from Folio XLIX verso, which there ended with Jehoram (Joram) and is now resumed as follows:

  1. Jehu (Hieu).
  2. Jehoahaz (Joachas).
  3. Joash (Joas).
  4. Jeroboam (II).