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

Pittacus (Pitacus) of Asia was the fourth of the Seven Sages. He was not only brilliant in learning but performed valorous deeds in the war between the Athenians and Mytilenaeans. He led the hosts of the latter. He fought a personal encounter with Phrynon (Firmone), leader of the Athenians. He concealed a net under his shield; with it he entangled Phrynon, slew him, and thus freed his country. The Mytilenaeans conferred the sovereignty on him, and he ruled over them for ten years, bringing the city into good order. At the end of that time he abdicated; and he lived another ten years. Although he might have become wealthy, he scorned all riches. When he saw an abundance of wine growing on the island of Mytilene, he made a public law against drunkenness, doubling the punishment for crime when committed by a drunkard; for he said that wine was good and evil—evil through excess, good by nature. He stated that reciprocal righteousness is the greatest virtue. The earth is a faithful thing, the sea a treacherous one. He lived seventy years, having flourished in the time of Joachim, king of Judah.[Pittacus (Pitacus) was a native of Mytilene, in Lesbos, and was born about 652 BCE. He was highly renowned as a warrior, statesman, philosopher, and poet. He is first mentioned as an opponent of the tyrants of Mytilene. With the brothers of Alcaeus he overthrew and killed the tyrant Melanchrus in 612. In 606 he commanded the Mytilenaeans in their war with the Athenians for the possession of Sigeum, on the coast of Troad, and signalized himself by killing in single combat Phrynon, the Athenian commander. He entangled his adversary in a net, and then dispatched him with a trident and dagger, in the same fashion in which the gladiators, called retiarii, long afterwards fought at Rome. The war was terminated by the mediation of Periander who assigned the disputed territory to the Athenians; but internal troubles continued and Pittacus was chosen absolute ruler. He held the office for ten years, resigning after having restored order. He died in 569 at an advanced age.]

Bias of Asia was the fifth among the Seven Sages. War arose between the Prienesians and the Messenians, in which the warriors of the former carried away many of the Messenian virgins. Bias sympathized with them and cared for them as he would for his own daughter. He furnished them new apparel, gave each a present, and returned them to their parents under dependable escort. And thus he showed kindness to the enemy. When at another time Alyattes (Aliatus) besieged Priene in the hope of starving it out, Bias concealed the city's want and shortage of food by causing two well fed mules to be led out of the city so that they might, as if inadvertently, be captured by the enemy. When Alyattes saw the mules he concluded the city was abundantly supplied with necessities, sustenance and food. So he invited Bias to come to him in order to negotiate a peace. But Bias would not go to him, but asked him to send messengers into the city. He caused a heap of sand to be thrown up, and this he covered with grain. He called the pile to the attention of the messengers, who reported to Alyattes that great quantities of grain were still at hand in the city; and he, so believing, made peace and departed. And so, by the wisdom of Bias, the city was relieved. At another time, after a change of fortune, the enemy invaded the country. Those who felt so disposed fled, carrying their valuables with them. When Bias was asked why he was not taking his possessions, he replied, I carry all my wealth with me—for he carried it in his heart—not such wealth as is visible to the eye, but as is looked up in the mind. He said the best thing in life is a disposition which is inherently conscious of righteousness. And so a single thing may be dear to one. Bias flourished in the time of Zedekiah, the king, and he wrote many useful things. After his death, the people of Priene erected a temple to him.[Bias of Priene was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. He flourished about 550 BCE. Priene was one of the twelve Ionian cities on the coast of Asia Minor, and stood in the northwest corner of Caria, at the southern foot of Mt. Mycale, and on the north side of the Sinus Latinicus. Its foundation was mythically ascribed to Neleid Aepytus, in conjunction with Cadmeans. It was originally located on the seashore, but a natural change in the coast left it some distance inland. It was of much religious importance in connection with the Panionian festival on Mt. Mycale, at which the people of Priene took precedence because they were supposed to be descendants of those of Helice in mainland Greece.]

Cleobulus (Cleobolus), philosopher from Lindos, sixth of the Seven Sages, flourished in the time of Zedekiah the king of Judah, Cleobuline (Cleobola) his daughter, was a poetess of hidden questions, called riddles. And among others this was one of the riddles. There was a father who had twelve sons and to each of these was born thirty sons of unlike appearance. Some of these were white of countenance, and some were black; and although they are immortal, they are nevertheless destroyed and grow fewer. This is the year, father of the twelve months, etc. These are his teachings: Do well by a friend in order that he may become friendlier. Labor to make a friend of your enemies; for we should guard ourselves against the envy of a friend more than against the wiles of an enemy. The latter is open, while the former is a hidden evil; for the deceit which we do not expect is the more powerful. The more you are tempted to take a wife outside your own class, the less should you be inclined to do so; for if you take one of a higher class, you will have her family members as your master. Do not laugh at the unfortunate, for they will hate you for it. Do not be haughty in your good fortune, nor cast yourself into poverty; but submit bravely to the changes of fortune. He wrote three thousand riddles in verse form. And he died when he had completed seventy years of his life.[Cleobulus (Cleobolus) of Lindus in Rhodes, was a son of Evagorus. He lived about 580 BCE. He wrote lyric poems, as well as riddles, in verse. He is said to have been the author of the riddle concerning the year, but which is generally attributed to his daughter. He was greatly distinguished for strength and beauty of person. His daughter was renowned for her skill in riddles, of which she composed a number in hexameter verse.]

Periander, the Corinthian philosopher, and seventh of the above mentioned sages, flourished in the days of Zedekiah king of Judah. He embodied many useful teachings in two thousand verses. His best known teachings are these: Those who wish to become tyrants[Tyrant (tyrannos), according to the original meaning of the term in ancient Greece, signified that one who exercised absolute power without legal warrant, whether ruling well or ill—a dictator, but not necessarily one who ruled cruelly or oppressively. ] must equip themselves with good will and not with weapons. Fortunate and unfortunate friends should be treated with equality. What you promise should be performed. Periander, moreover, was famous in the time of Hezekiah, king of Judah. Periander died at the age of eighty years.[Periander was a son of Cypselus, whom he succeeded as tyrant of Corinth 625 BCE, and reigned for 40 years. His rule was mild and beneficent at first, but later became oppressive. It is said that this change was due to the advice of Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, whom Periander consulted on the best mode of maintaining his power, and who is said to have taken the messenger through a cornfield, cutting off as he went, the tallest ears, and then to have dismissed him without committing himself to a verbal answer. His action, however, was correctly interpreted by Periander, who proceeded to rid himself of the most powerful nobles in the state. He made his authority respected at home and abroad. Like many of the Greek tyrants, he was a patron of literature and philosophy, and was generally reckoned one of the Seven Sages, although by some he was excluded in favor of Myson of Chenae in Laconia. Periander's life was marred by misfortune and cruelty. He married Melissa, daughter of Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus. She bore him two sons, Cypselus and Lycophron, and he passionately loved her; but he is said to have killed her by a blow during her pregnancy, having been roused to a fit of anger by false accusation against her. Her death embittered the remainder of his days, partly through remorse, and partly through the alienation of his younger son Lycophron, inexorably exasperated by his mother's fate. The young man's anger had been aroused chiefly by Procles, and in revenge Periander attacked Epidaurus, and having reduced it, took his father-in-law prisoner. He sent Lycophron to Corcyra; but when he was himself advanced in years, he summoned Lycophron back to Corinth as his successor, seeing that his elder son was unfit. But Lycophron refused to return to Corinth as long as his father was there. Periander offered to withdraw to Corcyra if Lycophron would come home and take over the government. To this he assented; but the Corcyraeans, not wishing to have Periander among them, put Lycophron to death. Shortly thereafter Periander died of despondency at the age of eighty.]