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

Ardisius, or Ardis, a native of Greece, and a man celebrated and renowned for his magnanimity, founded the empire of Lydia, and in the 48th year of the kingdom of Hoshea (Ozie) he began to rule over the Lydians. According to Eusebius, he reigned 26 years. Lydia is a district in Asia Minor, and is now in part called Morea. And, as Pliny would have it, it was formerly called Maeonia (Meonia); but thereafter it was called Lydia after Lydus, son of king Atys (Athis) and brother of Tyrrhenus (Tyrrenus). For as the two brothers by reason of the meagerness of the kingdom were not able to get along, Tyrrhenus went away to a district in Italy, by the lower sea. This he called Tyrrhenia (Tyrrenam) after himself. But Lydus stayed at home, and he called the land of Maeonia, Lydia, after himself. In it were the cities of Ephesus, Colophon, Clazomenae, and Phocaea. But this kingdom was not renowned or celebrated, for it was overthrown by the Persians under King Croesus (Cresius), who gave assistance to the Chaldeans against the Persians. This kingdom endured for 230 years under nine kings, whose names and times are as stated:

1.Aridisius36 years
2.Aliates (Aliaces)14 years
3.Meles12 years
4.Candaules17 years
5.Gyges (Gigius)36 years
6.Ardys (Ardis)37 years
7.Sadyattes (Sadyates)15 years
8.Alyattes (Aliactes)49 years
9.Croesus (Cresus)15 years[Lydia is a district in Asia Minor, in the middle of the west side of the peninsula between Mysia on the north, and Caria on the south, and between Phrygia on the east and the Aegean Sea on the west. Its boundaries varied from time to time. In early times the country had another name, Maeonia, by which alone it is known to Homer. In the mythical legends the common name of the people and country, Lydi and Lydia, is derived from Lydus, the son of Atys, the first king. The Lydians appear to have been a race closely connected with the Carians and the Mysians, with whom they observed a common worship in the temple of Zeus Carius at Mylasa. They also practiced the worship of Cybele, and other Phrygian customs. Lydia was a very early seat of Asiatic civilization, and it exerted a very important influence on the Greeks. The Lydian monarchy, which was founded at Sardis before the time of authentic history, grew up into an empire under which the many different tribes of Asia Minor, west of the river Halys, were for the first time united. Tradition mentions three dynasties of kings: the Atyadae, which ended about 1221 BCE; the Heraclidae, which reigned 505 years, down to 716; and the Mermnadae, 160 years, down to 546. Only the last dynasty can be regarded as historical, and the fabulous element has a large place in the details of its history. The names and computed dates of its kings are as follows: (1) Gyges, 716-678; (2) Ardys, 673-629; (3) Sadyattes, 629-617; (4) Alyattes, 617-560; (5) Croesus, 560 (or earlier) – 546. Under these kings the Lydians appear to have been highly civilized, industrious, and wealthy people, engaged in agriculture, commerce, and manufacturing, and acquainted with various arts. Among the inventions that the Greeks are said to have derived from them were weaving and dyeing; various processes of metallurgy; the use of gold and silver money, and various metrical and musical improvements. After being conquered by the Persian King Cyrus, they were forbidden to carry arms, and gradually they became known as a byword for effeminate luxuriousness. Under the Persians, Lydia and Mysia formed the second satrapy. After the Macedonian conquest, Lydia belonged first to the kings of Syria, and next (after the defeat of Antiochus the Great by the Romans) to those of Pergamus, and so passed by the bequest of Attalus III, to the Romans, under whom it formed part of the province of Asia.]

Olympiad (Olimpias) is a period of four years that the Latins and Greeks at times used in their histories and narratives, just as we now calculate our dates according to the year of Hoshea (Ozie), and it was instituted for the practice of games of war. From the capture of Troy to the first Olympiad was a period of 406 years. The first Olympiad was held in the second year of Aeschylus, judge of the Athenians. In the games of this same Olympiad Coroebus (Chorebus) of the city of Elis (Heliensis) was the victor. Those of the same city in the fifth year played games in which princes were leaders. These Olympiads were first instituted by Iphitus (Iphirus), son of Praxonidis or Hemonis. Some state that Hercules in the eighth year of Jair, a judge of Israel, first instituted such Olympiads among the Greeks on Mount Olympus, in honor of Jupiter; and he desired that those after the fifth year should take place every five years; from which time to the present is reckoned 405 years. But after the Greeks became accustomed to holding the games every fifth year, they also appointed princes for four years; and they called this period an Olympiad. The games occurred every fifth year as they might be forgotten if postponed longer. On the other hand, if they were held oftener than every four years, the cost would have been burdensome. Therefore an Olympiad includes four full years. Our Lord Jesus Christ is said to have been born in the 193rd Olympiad. From this time on it is said that the Greek histories are authentic; but before then they were contradictory.[An Olympiad, in Greek chronology, was a period of four years, used as a method of dating for literary purposes. The four years were reckoned from one celebration of the Olympian games to another. The first Olympiad began with 776 BCE, the last with 394 CE, when they were abolished during the reign of Theodosius the Great. The system was regularly used by the Sicilian historian Timaeus. The Olympia, usually called the Olympic games, was the greatest of the national festivals of the Greeks. It was celebrated at Olympia in Elis, the name given to a small plain to the west of Pisa, which was bounded on the north and northeast by the mountains of Cronius and Olympus, on the south by the river Alpheus, and on the west by Cladeus, which flows into the Alpheus. Olympia does not appear to have been a town, but rather a collection of temples and public buildings. The origin of the Olympic games is buried in obscurity. The legends of the Elean priests attributed the institution of the festival to the Idaean Heracles, and referred it to the time of Cronus. According to their account, Rhea committed her newborn Zeus to the Idaean Dactyli, also called Curetes, of whom five brothers, Heracles, Paeonaeus, Epimedes, Iasius and Idas, came from Ida in Crete, to Olympia, where a temple had been erected to Cronos by the men of the golden age; and Heracles the eldest, conquered his brothers in a foot-race, and was crowned with the wild olive tree. Heracles then established a contest, which was to be celebrated every five years, because he and his brothers were five in number. There are other legends as to the origin of these games. Strabo rejects all these legends, and says that the festival was first instituted after the return of the Heraclidae to the Peloponnesus by the Aetolians, who united themselves with the Eleans. Though these traditions are contradictory, they show that religious festivals had been celebrated at Olympia from the earliest times. The first historical fact connected with the Olympic games is their revival by Iphitus, king of Elis, who is said to have accomplished it with the assistance of Lycurgus, the Spartan lawgiver, and Cleosthenes of Pisa. The celebration of the festival may have been discontinued in consequence of the Dorian invasion, and we are told that Iphitus was commanded by the Delphic oracle to revive it as a remedy for intestine commotions and for pestilence, with which Greece was then afflicted. Iphitus therefore induced the Eleans to sacrifice to Heracles, whom they had formerly regarded as an enemy, and for this the games were regularly celebrated. The interval of four years between each celebration was called an Olympiad; but the Olympiads were not employed as a chronological era till the victory of Coroebus in the footrace 776 BCE. The most important point in the renewal of the festival by Iphitus was the establishment of a sacred armistice, the formula for proclaiming which was prescribed. The proclamation was made by peace heralds, first in Elis and afterwards in the other parts of Greece. It put a stop to all warfare in the month in which the games were celebrated. The territory of Elis itself was considered especially sacred during its continuance, and no armed force could enter it without incurring the guilt of sacrilege. When the Spartans on one occasion sent forces against the fortress Phyrcum and Lepreum during the existence of the Olympic truce, they were fined by the Eleans, according to the Olympic law, 2000 minae, being two for each hoplite. No women were allowed to be present or even to cross the Alpheus during the celebration of the games under penalty of being hurled down from the Typaean rock. Only one instance is recorded of a woman having ventured to be present, and she, although detected, was pardoned in consideration of her father, brothers and sons having been victors in the games. The number of spectators at the festival was very great; and these were drawn together not merely to see the games, but also because it afforded opportunity to do business with persons from distant places. The contests consisted of various trials of strength and skill, which were increased in number from time to time. There were 24 contests in which men took part, and 6 in which boys engaged, though they were never all exhibited at one festival, since some were abolished almost immediately after their institution, and others after they had been in use but a short time. The activities included foot races, chariot races, boxing, wrestling, horse racing, etc. The only prize given to the conqueror was a garland of wild olive, which, according to the Elean legends was the prize originally instituted by the Idaean Heracles. According to another account the olive crown was not given as a prize upon the revival of the game by Iphitus, and was first bestowed in the seventh Olympiad with the approbation of the oracle of Delphi. This garland was cut from a sacred olive tree, which grew in the sacred grove of Altis in Olympia, near the altars of Aphrodite and the Hours. Heracles is said to have brought it from the country of the Hyperboreans, and to have planted it himself in the Altis. A boy, both of whose parents were still alive, cut it with a golden sickle. The name of the victor and that of his father and of his country were then proclaimed by a herald before the representatives of assembled Greece. The festival ended with processions and sacrifices, and with a public banquet given by the Eleans to the conquerors in the Prytaneum.]

[Note: The "Origin of the Spartans," the text that follows the paragraph on the Olympiad in the Latin edition of the Chronicle on folio LIV verso, does not exist in the German edition.]


The origin of the Spartan race also itself was at this time. When Alcumene (Alcamenes?[The text seems fundamentally corrupt here (see also the following note). There is no King Alcumene in ancient Greece, nor a people known as the Lacedaeniums. King Alcamenes, however, is a name that appears in Sparta's king lists as a member of the Agiad dynasty, and he in fact is said to have ruled c. 740-700 BCE, exactly at the time when Sparta waged a long but ultimately successful first war against their neighbors to the west, the Messenians.]), the king of the Lacedaeniums (Lacedaemonians?) died, and their kingdom was destroyed, Justinus, in the third book of his Epitomes

Schedel's compilation skills are here quite suspect (perhaps accounting for the editorial decision in the ‘revised' German edition published six months later in 1493 to delete this paragraph?), for either he himself, the typesetter, or the scribe responsible for the text of Justin in Schedel's library made a mistake by substituting ‘Partheniai' for ‘Spartanoi' in the following passage (Justine, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus 4.1-16):

Under such a state of manners, the city acquired, in a short time, such a degree of strength, that, on going to war with the Messenians for offering violence to some of their maidens at a solemn sacrifice of that people, they bound themselves under a severe oath not to return till they had taken Messene, promising themselves so much either from their strength or good fortune. This occurrence was the commencement of dissension in Greece, and the origin and cause of a civil war. But being detained in the siege of this city, contrary to their expectation, for ten years, and called on to return by the complaints of their wives after so long a widowhood, and being afraid that by persevering in the war they might hurt themselves more than the Messenians (for, in Messene, whatever men were lost in the war, were replaced by the fruitfulness of their women, while they themselves suffered constant losses in battle, and could have no offspring from their wives in the absence of their husbands), they in consequence selected, out of the soldiers that had come, after the military oath was first taken, as recruits to the army, a number of young men; whom they sent back to Sparta with permission to form promiscuous connexions with all the women of the city, thinking that conception would be more speedy if each of the females made the experiment with several men. Those who sprung from these unions were called Partheniae (Virgins), as a reflection on their mothers' violated chastity; and, when they came to thirty years of age, being alarmed with the fear of want (for not one of them had a father to whose estate he could hope to succeed,) they chose a captain named Phalantus, the son of Aratus, by whose advice the Spartans had sent home the young men to propagate, that, as they had formerly had the father for the author of their birth, they might now have the son as the establisher of their hopes and fortunes. Without taking leave of their mothers, therefore, from whose adultery they thought that they derived dishonour, they set out to seek a place of settlement, and being tossed about a long time, and with various mischances, they at last arrived on the coast of Italy, where, after seizing the citadel of the Tarentines, and expelling the old inhabitants, they fixed their abode. But several years after, their leader Phalantus, being driven into exile by a popular tumult, went to Brundusium, whither the former inhabitants of Tarentum had retreated after they were expelled from their city. When he was at the point of death, he urged the exiles "to have his bones, and last relics, bruised to dust, and privately sprinkled in the forum of Tarentum; for that Apollo at Delphi had signified that by this means they might recover their city." They, thinking that he had revealed the destiny of his countrymen to avenge himself, complied with his directions; but the intention of the oracle was exactly the reverse; for it promised the Spartans, upon the performance of what he had said, not the loss, but the perpetual possession of the city. Thus by the subtlety of their exiled captain, and the agency of their enemies, the possession of Tarentum was secured to the Partheniae for ever.

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

, reports that the Spartans began in this way. The Lacedaemonians undertook a ten-year war against the Messenians. After a few years they were called back by the complaints of their wives after so long a widowhood. Afraid that they would lose the hope of future offspring through this never-ending war, they passed a law that their virgin daughters should sleep promiscuously with the young men left at home, supposing that pregnancy would occur sooner if each one of the women should try it with many men. Those born from these women were called Spartans, on account of the disgrace caused by their mother's shame; and, when they arrived at the age of thirty, being alarmed by the fear of poverty (for not one of them had a father to whose estate he could hope to succeed), they chose Phalantus, the son of Aratus, as their leader. And so, without taking leave of their mothers from whose adultery they believed they had had become dishonorable, they set out to seek another place to live, and being tossed about a long time, and suffering various misfortunes, they at last arrived on the coast of Italy, where, after besieging the citadel of the Tarentines, and driving out the original inhabitants, they established their homes in that place. Afterwards the Egyptian kings and the Jews eagerly sought their friendship, as the Books of the Maccabees[There are five separate texts listed under the name ‘Books of the Maccabees,' but the use of that phrase invariably means only the first two: 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. These deuterocanonical texts, perhaps written c. 100 BCE, describe the revolt of a Jewish faction from the rule of Antiochus IV, the Macedonian ruler of much of what is now known as the Middle East, in the years 175-134 BCE. Nowhere in either text is it mentioned that the Egyptian kings (i.e., the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt) sought an alliance with the Spartans, although Ptolemy III around 228 BCE did form an alliance with Sparta. The attempt by the Jews to make the Spartans (not the Partheniai!) their ally in their revolt from Antiochus IV occurs in 1 Maccabees 12:2ff.] bear witness. But several years later, their leader Phalantus, being driven into exile by a political uprising, went to Brundusium, where the former inhabitants of Tarentum had retreated after they were expelled from their city.


Crown, orb and scepter appear at the head of the page as usual in the case of empires and kingdoms, as was previously done at Folio XLV recto, XXIV recto and XVIII recto and verso.