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

upward of the tower of the nobility, are the ruined buildings of the baths of the Emperor Constantine, and the great marble pillars of a half-naked age. Not far removed from it are marble horses with half-naked riders, wonderful works of art; also the vaulted baths of Diocletian—very wonderful and beautiful; and also many residences of celebrated persons. There too was a slaughterhouse, and St. Vitus Church. Adjoining this is the triumphal arch of Galicenus; and so there are many churches and innumerable other things. The hill, called Viminal, derived its name from Jove Vimineus, whose buildings are there. And although many houses were erected on this hill, a number are no longer there, except three of the most beautiful palaces in the whole city, namely those of M. Crassus, Q. Catullus, and C. Acquilius. The hill of Quirinal was named after the temple of Quirinus. Varro the teacher, called those elevations hills because they are small. Livy writes that Servius the king added the nearest two hills to the city in order to enlarge it; and in order to give this region prestige, he lived there himself. He surrounded the city with a wall and moat. Rome is closed on the east by the hill Tarquinus, where now stands the church of St. Mary of Popolo. A water, which is called virgin, flows through the recesses of the Quirinal hill, and now by its own force flows from the outer waters to the city of Rome. In the neighborhood of this hill is the Campus Martius, lying between the city and the Tiber.[Campus Martius, the "Plain of Mars," was in its widest significance, the open plain at Rome, outside the city walls, lying between the Tiber and hills Capitolinus, Quirinal, and Pincius; but more commonly it signified the northwest portion of the plain lying in the bend of the Tiber, which nearly surrounds it on three sides. The Campus Martius, it is said, originally belonged to the Tarquins and became the property of the state. It was consecrated to Mars on the expulsion of the kings. Here Roman youths performed their gymnastic and warlike exercises, and here the comitia of the centuries was held. At a later time it was surrounded by porticoes, temples, and other public buildings. It was enclosed within the city walls by Aurelian.] Some wonderful buildings were located there; but of these only the ruins are to be seen. There also is the Church of St. Mary in Ecuria; and the Temple of Isis (Isidis).[Isis, though an Egyptian divinity, was extensively worshipped in Greece. Her worship was introduced into Rome in the time of Sulla; and although the Senate made many attempts to suppress her worship, and ordered her temples destroyed, yet the new religious rites took deep root at Rome and became very popular. In 43 BCE the triumvirs courted the popular favor by building a new temple to Isis and Serapes. Augustus forbade any temple to be erected to Isis in the city; but his prohibition was later disregarded; and under the early Roman emperors the worship of Isis and Serapes became firmly established. The most important temple to Isis at Rome stood in the Campus Martius, whence she was called Isis Campensia. The priests and servants of the goddess wore linen garments, from which she herself is called linigera (‘linen-wearing'). Those initiated into her mysteries wore masks which represented the heads of dogs in the public processions. In works of art Isis appears in figure and countenance like Hera. She wears a long tunic and her upper garment is fastened on her breast by a knot. Her head is crowned with a lotus flower and her right hand holds the sistrum.] Here is also a memorable monument, where the elections of Roman senators took place. In Rome there were also twelve caves, wonderful structures, and aqueducts.[The word aqueduct is a term specially applied to the magnificent structures by means of which Rome and other cities of the Roman Empire were supplied with water. Aqueduct may be described in general terms as a channel, constructed as nearly as possible with a regular declivity from the source whence the water was derived to the place where delivered, carried through hills by means of tunnels and over valleys upon a substruction of solid masonry or arches. According to Strabo this device was neglected by the Greeks, and first brought into use by the Romans. The city of Rome by this means received an abundance of pure water from the hills which surround the Campagna. The Romans at first had recourse to the Tiber, to springs and to wells sunk in the city, and it was not until BCE 313 that the first aqueduct was constructed. Their number gradually increased to 14 in the sixth century of the Christian era.] And so one sees and reads about many triumphal arches through which the Roman emperors were escorted after their victories over the enemy. Some of these have been destroyed, some buried in ruin, and others replaced by new buildings; and thus the old has been removed from the sight of man. And so are seen the sights of different buildings and famous ruins. Therefore with these we leave the description of Rome.[This sentence and the one that precedes it are not in the German edition of the .]

Rome, it delights me to gaze upon your ruins. From its fall ancient glory is made clear. But your people today have baked hard marble dug up from its ancient walls into the pliancy of lime. If this impious people should live three hundred more years, there will be no sign left of its nobility.

This paragraph, which is an epigram (known as Carmina 1.51 De Roma) composed by Aeneas Silvius (1405-1464, and later Pope Pius II, r. 1458-64) is not in the German edition of the Chronicle. In verse it appears thus:

Gibbon cites this epigram as a footnote in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in support of the following comment (Chapter LXXI, section III): "A fragment, a ruin, howsoever mangled or profaned, may be viewed with pleasure and regret; but the greater part of the marble was deprived of substance, as well as of place and proportion; it was burnt to lime for the purpose of cement. Since the arrival of Poggius, the temple of Concord, and many capital structures, had vanished from his eyes; and an epigram of the same age expresses a just and pious fear, that the continuance of this practice would finally annihilate all the monuments of antiquity."