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

Arbaces, by birth a Mede, and formerly a vicar or satrap under Sardanapalus, founded the Median Empire in the sixth year of Hoshea. Sardanapalus was the last king of the Assyrians, and of him Diodorus Siculus has written much in his Greek histories. Justinus has also mentioned him. He was more depraved and lewd than any woman. When Arbaces, his vicar, found him in the company of villainous women, spinning costly silk on a distaff, and clad in female apparel, he became provoked; and he prevailed upon the nobility to enter into an alliance against him; and so the king was defeated in battle.[Arbaces, according to Ctesias, founded the Median Empire. In conjunction with Belesis, he is said to have taken Nineveh, and to have destroyed the old Assyrian empire in the reign of Sardanapalus in 876 BCE. Ctesias assigns 28 years to the reign of Arbaces, and makes his dynasty consist of eight kings.] Thereupon Sardanapalus went to his royal funeral pyre, which he himself had built, ignited it and burned himself and his countless treasures, and (as Tullius states) he ordered these words to be written at the place of his cremation: The things I had, I made; as well as those which have been produced by consummate licentiousness.[Sardanapalus was the last king of the Assyrian empire of Ninus or Nineveh, according to Ctesias, who states that the Assyrian empire endured 1306 years; that the first king was Ninus, who was succeeded by Semiramis, and she by Ninyas, and that he was followed by thirty kings, sons succeeding fathers without interruption; that all these kings from Ninyas downward were sunk in luxury and sloth, till their degradation became climaxed in Sardanapalus, who passed his time in his palace, unseen by his subjects, dressed in female apparel, surrounded by concubines, and indulging in every species of licentiousness and effeminacy. When Arbaces, satrap of Media, saw this, he resolved to throw off his allegiance to so worthless a monarch. Supported by Belesis, noblest of the Chaldean priests, he advanced against Sardanapalus with a formidable army. But suddenly the latter threw off his luxurious habits, placed himself at the head of his troops, and twice defeated the rebels; but at length he was worsted and obliged to shut himself up in Nineveh. There he was besieged for two years and when his condition became intolerable, he collected all his treasures and women, and placing them on an immense pyre, set it on fire and thus destroyed himself and them. The enemies then obtained possession of the city. The whole narrative of Ctesias is purely mythical, and cannot be reconciled to genuine history. The legend of Sardanapalus, effeminate at one time and heroic at another, probably arose from him being equated with the aged god Sandon who was worshipped in Asia both as a heroic and a female deity. "Then, a little above the sea (one comes) to Anichiale, which, according to Aristobolus, was founded by Sardanapalus. Here, he says, is the tomb of Sardanapalus, and a stone figure which represents the fingers of the right hand as snapping together, and the following inscription in Assyrian letters: "Sardanapalus, the son of Anacyndarxes, built Anichiale and Tarsus in one day. Eat, drink, be merry, because all things else are not worth this," meaning the snapping of fingers. Choerilus also mentions this inscription: and indeed the following verses are everywhere known: "Mine are all that I have eaten, and the delights of love that I have enjoyed; but those numerous blessings have been left behind." The whole of the epigram, as found in some of the MSS, is as follows: "Well aware that you are by nature mortal, magnify the desires of your heart, delighting yourself in merriment; there is no enjoyment for you after death. Mine are all the food that I have eaten, and my loose indulgences, and the delights of love that I have enjoyed; but those numerous blessings have been left behind. This to mortal men is wise advice on how to live." (Strabo, 14:5.9)] And so this greatest of empires after a long time came to an end and was taken over by Media after 1305 years (as Augustine states in book 8 chapter 22 of his City of God); and so also the time of Belus[Belesis, here called Belus, was a Chaldean priest at Babylon, who is said, in conjunction with Arbaces, the Mede, to have overthrown the old Assyrian empire. Belesis afterward received the satrapy of Babylon from Arbaces.] the first king, is reckoned. Under the Medes the empire endured 128 years, for he turned this monarchy, or the rule of the East (as Justinus states) over to the Medes with expectations and not by deeds. This was afterward accomplished by Darius. Yet there were kings in Assyria after Sardanapalus (although they were not actually rulers or monarchs) up to the time of the destruction of Nineveh. Media is a country in Asia Minor, bordering on Assyria and Persia, and on the Caspian (Hyrcanian) Sea; and in it are said to be four regions. Medus, son of Media, built the city of Media in honor of his mother, and there he also founded the empire of Media, named for himself. The government of this country and the rule of the East were at that time in his hands. Although the empire attained to greatness and renown under Astyages the king,[Astyages, son of Cyaxares, last king of Media, ruled from 594 to 559 BCE. Alarmed by a dream, he gave his daughter Mandane in marriage to Cambyses, a Persian of good family; but another dream induced him to send Harpagus to destroy the offspring of this marriage. The child, future conqueror of the Medes, was given to a herdsman to expose, but he brought it up as his own. Years later, circumstances arose which brought the young Cyrus to the notice of Astyages, who then discovered his parentage. He inflicted a cruel punishment on Harpagus, who waited his time for revenge. When Cyrus had grown up, Harpagus induced him to instigate the Persians to revolt, and, having been appointed general of the Median forces, he deserted with a great part of them Cyrus. Astyages was taken prisoner and Cyrus mounted the throne. He treated the captive monarch with mildness, but confined him until his death.] as stated in the first chapter of the Book of Judith, yet Cyrus the Persian king wiped it out and made it a part of Persia. After the Persians the Medes appear to have been subject to the Macedonians, and later to the Parthians.[Media was an important country of western Asia, occupying the extreme west of Iran. It was fertile, very productive, well populated, and altogether one of the most important provinces of ancient Persia. The early history of Media is involved in obscurity, and Herodotus and Ctesias (in Diodorus) give different chronologies for its early kings. The last king, Astyages, was dethroned by a revolution, which transferred the supremacy to the Persians, formerly a subordinate people in the united Medo-Persian Empire. Media/Persia fell to Alexander two centuries later. Then it formed part of the kingdom of the Seleucids, from whom it was taken by the Parthians.]

Caranus (Carnaus), the Macedonian, founded Macedonia, for he was quick of perception and active with his hands. After countless wars, which he conducted with great vigor against his nearest neighbors, the land of his origin became subservient to him, and there he set up his throne. As Eusebius states, he began to reign in the 12th year of Hoshea, and he reigned 28 years.[Caranus of Argos, a descendant of Hercules, and a brother of Phidon, is said to have settled at Edessa in Macedonia with an Argive colony about 750 BCE, and to have become the founder of the dynasty of Macedonian kings.] But they say that Macedonia is a part of Europe, and we find that it was first named after Macedon, the son of Osyridis (Osiris?).[Macedonia, a country in Europe, north of Greece, is said to have derived its name from an ancient king Macedon, a son of Zeus and Thyia, a daughter of Deucalion.] According to Solinus, this land is bounded on the east by Thrace, on the south by Epirote Thessaly, on the west by Dardania and Greece, and on the north by Paphlagonia. The empire was small in the beginning, but by the might, power, and strength of its kings, the ambition of its people and its oppression of its neighbors, it became so great (as Pliny writes) that it embraced 150 peoples. Although the various parts of the empire were known by different names, it is now, like a single body, called by the single name Macedonia. The Macedonian empire, particularly in the time of Alexander the Great, was a splendid and powerful one; but in the time of Onie,[Probably Onias. There were four high priests of this name.] the bishop of the Jews, it was destroyed. In that empire, indeed, we read that a certain memorable deed took place when the Illyrians and the Thracians, after gathering together, tried to destroy their neighbors, the Macedonians. After the battle had been engaged, the Macedonians were forced to flee. They brought the infant son of their dead king in his cradle, placed him next to the line of battle, and renewed the fight more fiercely, as if they had been defeated before because the fortune of their king of future victory was not with the soldiers fighting. Finally, with great slaughter, they routed the Illyrians, revealing to their enemies that in the earlier battle it was not courage that was lacking to the Macedonians, but their king, whose name, indeed, is unknown.

Here Hartman Schedel (the author/compiler of the Chronicle) paraphrases ever so slightly—but also somewhat awkwardly—Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum libri XLIV (7.6-12):

6 Sed Macedonibus adsidua certamina cum Thracibus et Illyriis fuere quorum armis, ueluti cotidiano exercitio, indurati, gloria bellicae laudis finitimos terrebant. 7 Igitur Illyrii infantiam regis pupilli contemnentes, bello Macedonas adgrediuntur. 8 Qui, proelio pulsi, rege suo in cunis prolato et pone aciem posito, acrius certamen repetiuere, 9 tamquam ideo uicti antea fuissent, quod bellantibus sibi regis sui auspicia defuissent, 10 futuri uel propterea uictores, quod ex superstitione animum uincendi ceperant; 11 simul et miseratio eos infantis tenebat, quem, si uicti forent, captiuum de rege facturi uidebantur. 12 Conserto itaque proelio, magna caede Illyrios fudere, ostenderuntque hostibus suis priore bello regem Macedonibus, non uirtutem defuisse.

The Macedonians had perpetual contests with the Thracians and Illyrians, and, being hardened by their arms, as it were by daily exercise, they struck terror into their neighbors by the splendor of their reputation for war. The Illyrians, however, despising the boyhood of a king under age, attacked the Macedonians, who, being worsted in the field, brought out their king with them in his cradle, and, placing him behind the front lines, renewed the fight with greater vigor, as if they had been defeated before, because the fortune of their prince was not with them in the battle, and would now certainly conquer, because, from this superstitious fancy, they had conceived a confidence of victory; while compassion for the infant, also, moved them, as, if they were overcome, they seemed likely to transform him from a king into a captive. Engaging in battle, therefore, they routed the Illyrians with great slaughter, and showed their enemies, that, in the former encounter, it was a king, and not valour, that was wanting to the Macedonians.

(Translated by the Rev. John Selby Watson; London, 1853)

And Macedonia, at that time, took possession of an empire of those lands that extend between two seas, the Aegean and the Adriatic. Its south flank touched the backs of Thessaly and Magnesia, while Paeonia and Paphlagonia were on its northern part, regions themselves which afterwards yielded to the power and authority of the Macedonians and were added to Macedonia. Also Epirus and the Illyrian land, the first south, the other north of Macedonia, extending to the Adriatic shore.[A large block of text, from the sentence that begins "In that empire, indeed, we read that a certain memorable deed…" to the end of this paragraph, has been deleted from the German edition of the .]


Crown, orb, and scepter, differently arranged in two groups, are here used as paragraph divisions in the manner of Folio XLV recto, Folio XXIV recto, Folio XVIII, recto and verso. Where these designs occur, empires and kingdoms are treated of in the text.