First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
THE BEGINNING OF THE KINGDOM OF THE PERSIANS[This title does not exist in the German edition of the .]

Cyrus the first and mightiest king of the Persians, in this year, being the 30th of the Captivity of the Jews, and the 55th Olympiad, founded the kingdom and empire of Persia; and he reigned 30 years. He was a grandson of Astyages, king of the Medes by his daughter Mandane. As Herodotus and Justinus state, Cyrus defeated this same Astyages, and added his kingdom to Persia. After subjugating many of the cities that had been antagonistic to him, he made war against Belshazzar, king of Chaldea and Babylonia, and defeated him; and soon afterwards he destroyed Babylon. Cyrus then marched against Croesus, the Lydian king, who had given aid to the Babylonians, defeated him, and deprived him of all his wealth of empire, reducing him to poverty. After he had subjugated Asia, that is, almost all the lands to the East, he attacked the Scythians, who were then under the leadership of Queen Tomyris (Tamiris). In the first engagement he defeated and killed her son and his entire army. When Tomyris learned of the death of her only son and the defeat of her people, she did not cry as women in general do, but assembled and encamped the remainder of her people in a manner to give the impression that she had no faith in the mountains, and luring Cyrus into the narrow passes of the high mountains, killed him and his force of two thousand, not a man escaping. She had a search made for the corpse of Cyrus, and when found, had his head struck off and submerged in a vat which she had prepared for the purpose, filled with the blood of his own people, as a fitting grave for the haughty king. And she said: Cyrus, take the blood for which you have always thirsted! But his body was taken to the city of Pasargadae and buried in a park. The following epitaph was placed upon the grave: O man, I am Cyrus, king of Asia, who founded the Persian Empire.

Cyrus I was the founder of the Persian Empire. The account of Herodotus best preserves the Persian legends and romances interwoven in the history of his life. Cyrus was the son of Cambyses, a noble Persian, and of Mandane, daughter of the Median king Astyages. In consequence of a dream, which seemed to portend that his grandson should become the master of Asia, Astyages sent for his daughter, when she was pregnant; and upon her giving birth to a son, he committed the child to Harpagus, his confidential attendant, with orders to kill the babe. But Harpagus gave the child to a herdsman who was to expose it. However, since the herdsman's wife had brought forth a still born child, they substituted the latter for Mandane's child, which they reared as their own. When the child was ten years of age, his true parentage was discovered, and Cambyses sent for the child, in whose person he discovered the son of his daughter Mandane. The king forgave the herdsman, but revenged himself on Harpagus by serving up to him at a banquet the flesh of his own son. When Cyrus grew up, he conspired with Harpagus to dethrone his grandfather. They defeated him and the supremacy of Persia passed to Cyrus. He next overthrew the Lydian monarchy, subdued the Greek cities in Asia Minor, made ware against the Assyrians, and captured Babylon. In his later attempt to subjugate the Massagetae, a Scythian people, he was slain, as related in the Chronicle. In the East Cyrus was long regarded as the greatest hero of antiquity, and hence the fables by which his history is obscured.

His sepulcher at Pasargada was visited by Alexander the Great; and although the tomb has perished, his name is found on monuments at Murghab, north of Persepolis.

Persia is a country in Asia Major and derived its name from Perseus,[Perseus, the famous Argive hero, was a son of Zeus and Danae, and grandson of Acrisius. He occupies an important place in Greek mythology as the slayer of the Medusa, rescuer of Andromeda, etc.] grandson of Acrisius,[Acrisius was a son of Abas, king of Argos. Danae, his daughter, was the mother of Perseus by Zeus, who defeated the plans of her father to keep her a virgin, by coming down upon her in her prison chamber in the form of a shower of gold.] king of the Argives. He made Persepolis (Persipolim) the capital of the kingdom. This city was later burned by the Greeks, who conquered the country. Persia borders on Carmania, Bactria and Media, and is divided into many small countries. Quintus Curtius (Curcius)[Quintus Curtius was the Roman historian of Alexander the Great. Nothing is known of his life. Some place him as early as Vespasian, others as late as Constantine. The earlier date is more probable. His work, (‘The Accomplishments of Alexander the Great') consisted of ten books. The first two are lost, and there are many gaps in the remaining eight. Although taken from good sources, the author frequently shows his ignorance of geography, chronology and tactics.] writes of this in his fourth book on the history of Alexander the Great. The country is largely mountainous, and because of the heat and wind it is not productive. It is said there are many wealthy cities in it, such as Persepolis and Pasargada,[Pasargada was the oldest of the two capitals of Persia, the other and later one being Persepolis. Pasargada is said to have been founded by Cyrus the Great on the spot where he gained his victory over Astyages. The tomb of Cyrus stood there in the midst of a beautiful park. Persepolis was situated in the heart of Persia, in the region called Hollow Persia, not far from the border of the Carmanian desert, in a beautiful and healthy valley. The city stood on the north side of the Araxes, and had a citadel on the level surface of a rock. It was enclosed by triple walls, rising one above the other to the height of 16, 58 and 60 cubits, within which was the palace with its royal sepulcher and treasures. In the palace Alexander the Great found immense riches, which were said to have accumulated from the time of Cyrus. It had been greatly enlarged and adorned by Darius I and Xerxes, and preserved its splendor till the Macedonian conquest, when it was burned. Alexander set fire to the palace, as the story goes, with his own hand, at the end of a revel, at the instigation of Thais the courtesan in 331 BCE. It was not, however, so entirely destroyed as some historians think, for it appears frequently in subsequent history, both ancient and medieval. It is now deserted, but its ruins are considerable.] and many others, which lie in the uppermost region of Gabiana (Gabiis). Several rocky mountains, which Cambyses (Cambises), the king's son, later added to the kingdom, lie between Persia and Susa, which contained many great buildings erected by Arphaxat. And although the kingdom of Cyrus was formerly great, it was afterward broken up by the Macedonians and reduced in size. Nimrod (Nembroth) the giant was the first to teach the Persians to worship the sun and fire as gods, and to make sacrifices to the moon and Minerva. But now they have given up this idolatry, and follow the law of Mohammed (Mahumeteam legem). From this city, as Pliny states in book 15, comes the fruit called Persica.[Persica, the Latin name for the peach, which belongs to the almond family. The peach is a native of Persia, though now cultivated in all temperate climates.] This region or the city of Persepolis is glorified by the victories of that most holy martyr and knight, Saint George.[The legend of St. George comes from the East. Although we generally associate him with England, the particular veneration paid him in that country dates from the time of Richard I, who in the wars of Palestine, placed himself and his army under the especial protection of St. George. It was not until 1222 that his feast was ordered to be kept as a holiday throughout England; and the institution of the Order of the Garter, in 1330, seems to have completed his inauguration as a patron saint. Previous to the Normans, Edward the Confessor was the patron saint of England. St. George is particularly honored by the Greeks, who place him as a captain at the head of the noble army of martyrs, with the title of The Great Martyr. The reverence paid him in the East is of such great antiquity that one of the first churches erected by Constantine was in honor of St. George, and this within twenty years after the Saint's death, as is supposed. This is the same St. George who slew the dragon. He was a native of Cappadocia, and was born of noble Christian parents. He is said to have lived in the time of Diocletian and to have been a tribute in the army. It is related that in travelling to join his legion he came to a certain city, called Selene, in Libya, which was being greatly troubled by the ravages of a monstrous dragon. And to this St. George put an end. At this time Diocletian issued his edict against the Christians, which was affixed to the gates and temples in public places. Other men read it in terror, but St. George tore it down and trampled it under foot. For this he suffered martyrdom, enduring all manner of torture, finally being dispatched by the sword. According to legend St. George was condemned to martyrdom by Dacian, the proconsul. Unfortunately the chronicler does not give the authority upon which he connects the saint with the city of Persepolis.]

Anaximander, philosopher and celebrated scholar, was at first a disciple of Thales (Taletia), and in time (as Eusebeus states) he became his successor in his school. He was the first to teach things about the heavens and invented the notation of the hours. He first described the course of the earth and the sea, and the circuit of the heavens. Therefore Pliny in his second book called him a master of the stars. He died at the age of 64.[Anaximander of Miletus was born in 610 BCE and died in 547, in his 64th year. He was one of the earliest philosophers of the Ionian school, and the immediate successor of Thales, its first founder. He first used the Greek word denoting the origin of things, or rather the material out of which they were formed. He was a careful observer of nature, and was distinguished by his astronomical, mathematical and geographical knowledge.] There is also another Anaximander of Miletus, a historian of no mean reputation, of whom Laertius writes.

Anaximenes, a philosopher and scientist, was a disciple of the Anaximander last mentioned. He contended that the air was the origin (of all things), and that the stars do not move but pass by the earth endlessly. He died on the day (as Laertius says) Sardis was taken.[Anaximenes of Miletus was the third in the series of Ionian philosophers. He flourished about 544 BCE; but as he was the teacher of Anaxagoras (c. 480 BCE), he must have lived to a great age. He considered air to be the first cause of all things, the primary form, as it were, of matter, into which the elements of the universe are resolvable.]

Ionian Philosophers

The Ionian school of philosophers had its inception with Thales of Miletus, its founder (Folio LIX recto), and is here continued as follows:

  1. Anaximander, immediate successor of Thales. The youthful portrait of the Latin edition is replaced by an aged gentleman in the German edition.
  2. Anaximenes, third of the series of Ionian philosophers.

NOTE: This page has a headpiece of orb, crown and scepter in the usual form.