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

In the 224th year after the building of the city of Rome, when the line of the Roman kings came to an end, the people appointed consuls in the place of kings, who were to govern for but one year so that in the passage of years they would not become too arrogant. Of these we will here mention the foremost. The first two conducted a war against Porsena (Porsemia)[Porsena or Porsenna, Lars, king of the Etruscan town of Chisium, marched against Rome at the head of a vast army in order to restore Tarquinius Superbus to the throne. But the campaign did not accomplish its object.], king of the Etrurians. Brutus had two sons who wanted to re-establish the kingship. Brutus caused them to be beaten with rods and then to be killed with an axe. Collatinus was relieved of his office, for it was decided that the name of Tarquinius was to be banished from the city of Rome.[L. Junius Brutus was the son of M. Junius and Tarquinia, the sister of Tarquinius Superbus. His elder brother was murdered by Tarquinius, and Lucius escaped his brother's fate only by feigning idiocy, from which he received the name Brutus. The story of the rape of Lucretia, wife of L. Tarquinius Collatinus, by Sextus the son of Tarquinius Superbus, and the consequent expulsion of the latter and his sons has already been related. It was Brutus who incited the Romans to this course, and it was he and Tarquinius Collatinus who were set up as the first consuls to govern the empire in lieu of a king; but as the people could not endure the rule of any of the hated race of the Tarquins, Collatinus resigned his office and retired from Rome to Lavinium.]

The Cumaean Sibyl (Sibylla Cumana), who lived in the time of Tarquinius Priscus, is clad in a dress of gold, and has a tall open book in her hand, and also a book in the left hand, resting on her knee. Her head is bare. She foretold that out of eternity a miraculous birth would take place in this world through a virgin; and that the iron people would come to an end and a golden people would spring up.[Sibyls were first mentioned by the chronicler at Folio XXXV verso, and two others were spoken of later (Folios XLVI verso and LVI verso). The mention of the Cumaean Sibyl at this point is apparently intended merely as a description of the opposite portrait, which, however, in no way conforms to the description. In the portrait she has no book in either hand, nor on her knee. She is not bareheaded, but wears a flowing veil. Her hands are in an attitude of gesture.]

These two Romans (referring to woodcut opposite) defeated the Sabines and were accorded a triumph; but Valerius died poor.

The reference is apparently to P. Valerius Publicola and Posthumus. Publicola took part in the expulsion of the Tarquins, and was thereupon elected consul with Brutus (509 BCE). He secured the liberties of the people by several laws and ordered the lectors to lower the fasces before the people as an acknowledgement that their rights were superior to those of the consuls. He became a great favorite with the people, receiving the surname Publicola (‘Honored by the People' or ‘Guardian of the People'). He died in 503.

In the opposite portrait Publicola is associated with Postumus without text reference to the latter.

Two hundred twenty-five years after the building of Rome, the Romans, having been defeated by the Sabines, elected a regent whom they called a dictator, with authority and powers greater than those of the consuls. This was a worthy office.

Manlius (Manilius) Torquatus, son of Laelius Manlius, made war against the Gauls. He slew a Gaul who challenged him, took away his golden necklace, and put it about his own neck. For this reason he and his descendants were called Torquati, which means necklace.

T. Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus, son of L. Manlius Capitolinus Imperiosus, dictator in 363 BCE, was a favorite hero of Roman story. Manlius is said to have been dull of mind in his youth, and was brought up by his father in the in the country. When the tribune M. Pomponius accused the elder Manlius on account of the cruelties he had practiced in his dictatorship, he endeavored to excite public enmity against him by representing him as a cruel and tyrannical father. As soon as the younger Manlius heard of this he hurried to Rome, obtained admission to Pomponius early in the morning and compelled the tribune by threatening him with instant death to take an oath to drop the accusation against his father.

In 361 Manlius served under the dictator T. Quintius Pennus in the war against the Gauls, and in this campaign earned immortal glory by slaying a gigantic Gaul, from whose dead body he took the chain (torquis) which had adorned him, and placed it about his own neck. From this circumstance he obtained the surname Torquatus. He was dictator in 353 and again in 349. He was also consul three times. Torquatus and his colleague P. Decius Mus gained a great victory over the Latins at the foot of Vesuvius, which established forever the supremacy of Rome over Latium. Shortly before the battle, when the two armies were encamped opposite one another, the consuls published a proclamation that no Roman should engage in single combat with a Latin on pain of death. But the young Manlius, the son of the consul, provoked by the insults of a Tuscan noble, accepted his challenge, slew his adversary, and bore the bloody spoils in triumph to his father. Death was his reward. The consul would not overlook this breach of discipline, and the unhappy youth was executed by the lector in the presence of the assembled army. This severe sentence rendered Torquatus an object of detestation among the Roman youths as long as he lived; and the recollection of his severity was preserved in after ages by the expression Manliana imperia.

The Senonian Gauls were by nature a cruel and uncivilized people, and by reason of their great stature and their weapons a frightful race born, as it seems, for the extinction of mankind and the destruction of the city of Rome. These barbarians leveled and devastated the whole city with fire and sword for six months.[The Senones were a powerful people in Gallia Lugdunensis, who dwelt along the upper course of the Sequana (Seine). Their chief town was Agendicum, afterwards called Senones (Sens). A portion of this people crossed the Alps about 400 BCE, in order to settle in Italy; and as the greater part of Upper Italy was already occupied by other Celtic tribes, they were obliged to penetrate a considerable distance to the south, and took up their abode on the Adriatic Sea between the rivers Utis and Aesis (between Ravenna and Ancona) after expelling the Umbrians. In this country they founded the town of Sena. They extended their ravages into Etruria; and it was in consequence of the interference of the Romans, while they were laying siege to Clusium, that they marched against Rome and took the city in 390 BCE. From this time we find them engaged in constant hostilities with the Romans, till they were at length completely subdued and the greater part of them destroyed by the consul Dolabella in 283.] At that time Manlius, awakened by the cry of a goose, drove down the hill those who were attempting to enter the city by night.[When Rome, in 390 BCE, was taken by the Gauls, the Roman consul Marcus Manlius took refuge in the Capitol. One night when the Gauls endeavored to ascend the Capitol, Manlius was aroused from his sleep by the cackling of the geese. Hastily collecting a body of men, he succeeded in driving off the enemy, who had just reached the summit of the hill. From this heroic deed he is said to have received the surname Capitolinus. In 385 he defended the cause of the plebians, who were suffering from their debts and the cruel treatment of their harsh patrician creditors. The patricians accused him of aspiring to royal power, and he was thrown into prison by the dictator Cornelius Cossus. The plebians put on mourning for their champion, and were ready to take up arms in his behalf, when the patricians became alarmed and released Manlius; but this act of concession made him bolder, and he instigated the plebeians to open violence. In the following year the patricians brought him to trial on a charge of high treason. He was condemned, and the tribunes threw him down the Tarpeian rock. The members of the Manlia gens accordingly resolved that none of them should ever bear in future the praenomen of Marcus.]

Popilia, a Vestal virgin, was, by reason of the loss of her virginity, buried alive.

In the time of these two Romans (referring to a dual portrait of Marcus and Aeneas Manlius), occurred the Vientian (Vegentian) wars in which as many of the victorious Romans fell as defeated Vientians.[Veii (Veiens, Veientis or Veientanus) was one of the most powerful and ancient cities of Etruria, situated on the river Cremera, about 12 miles from Rome. It possessed a strongly fortified citadel, built on a steep hill. It was one of the twelve cities of the Etrurian Confederacy, and apparently the largest of all. It was about seven miles in circumference, equal in size to Athens, and was a powerful city at the time of the foundation of Rome. The Veientians were engaged in almost constant hostilities with Rome for more than three and one half centuries, and there is a record of fourteen distinct wars between the two peoples. Veii was at length taken by the dictator Camillus after a siege which is said to have lasted ten years. The city fell into his hands, according to the common story (doubted by Livy and Plutarch), by means of a cuniculus or mine that was dug all the way from the Roman camp under the city into the citadel of Veii. So well built was the city that the Romans were anxious after the destruction of their own city by the Gauls in 390 BCE to remove to Veii; but the eloquence of Camillus against this plan finally prevailed. So Veii was abandoned; but after the lapse of ages it was colonized by Augustus, and made a Roman municipum. But by the time of Hadrian the city again sank into decay. From this time Veii disappears entirely from history. It stood in the neighborhood of the present Isola Farnese.]


In the ninth year after the conclusion of the Roman line of kings (as Eusebius states) the new office of Dictator was established in Rome; also that of Master of the Horse, who was subordinate to the dictator in all things. Largus became the first dictator, and Sp. Cassius the first Master of the Horse. The dictator was superior in power to the consuls against the enemies of the state.

A dictator in ancient times was an extraordinary magistrate in the Roman commonwealth. The earlier official title was magister populi (‘Master of the People [i.e., the infantry]') as opposed to his subordinate, the magister equitum (‘Master of the Horse [i.e., the cavalry'). Emphasis was thus placed on the military aspect of the dictatorship, and, in fact, the office seems to have been instituted for the purpose of meeting a military crisis too serious for the annual consuls with their divided command. The repression of civil discord was one of the motives for the institution of a dictatorship. This function of the office is attested by the internal history of Rome. In the crisis of the agitation at the time of the Licinian laws (367 BCE) a dictator was appointed. The dictator appointed to meet the dangers of war, sedition, or crime, was described as "the administrative dictator." For minor purposes we find dictators appointed to hold elections, to celebrate games, to establish festivals, and to drive the nail into the temple of Jupiter – an act of natural magic that was believed to avert pestilence. These dictators retired from office as soon as their function was completed; but the administrative dictator held office for six months.

The powers of a dictator were a temporary revival of those of the kings, with some limitations. He was never concerned with civil jurisdiction. His military authority was confined to Italy; and his power of life and death was limited. By the lex Valeria of 300 BCE he was made subject to the right of criminal appeal within the limits of the city. However, all the magistrates of the people were regarded as his subordinates. The dictator was nominated by one of the consuls. But the senate claimed authority over the magistrates, and suggested not only the nomination but also the name of the nominee. After the nomination, the imperium of the dictator was confirmed by a lex curiata. To emphasize the superiority of this imperium, the dictator might be preceded by 24 lectors, and, at least in the earlier period of the office, these lectors bore the axes, the symbol of life and death, within the city walls.

The first dictator is said to have been created in 501 BCE; the last of the "administrative" dictators belongs to the year 216 BCE. The epoch of the Second Punic War was marked by experiments with the office, such as the election of Q. Fabius Maximus by the people, and the co-dictatorship of M. Minucius. The emergency office of the early and middle republic has little in common with the dictatorship as revived by Sulla and by Caesar. That of the former took on the form of a provisional government. Sulla was created dictator "for the establishment of a republic." Caesar's renewed dictatorships created a temporary monarchy, whatever may have been his wishes as to its permanency. Ostensibly to prevent its further use for such a purpose, M. Antonius in 44 BCE carried a law abolishing the dictatorship. The term is used in our day to designate a tyrannical ruler.

This happened first when Porsena (Porsemia), king of Chisium (Clusium) (that was an an Etruscan state) had tried with his army to restore Tarquinius Superbus. And so that this might not occur, a dictator stopped him. But when peace had been made, Porsena became friends with the Roman people and retreated with the highest honors.[For the interesting history between Porsena and Rome, see Livy, (‘From the Founding of the City') 2.9-15. This sentence and the two sentences preceding it are not in the German edition of the .] Quintius (Quincius) Cincinnatus[L. Quintius Cincinnatus was a favorite hero of the old Roman republic, and a model of old Roman frugality and integrity. He lived on his farm, cultivating the land with his own hand. He was born about 519 BCE and played a conspicuous part in the civil and military transactions of the period in which he lived. He particularly distinguished himself as a violent opponent of the plebeians. In BCE 460 he was appointed consul suffectus in the room of P. Valerius. Two years afterward, according to the common story, Cincinnatus was called from the plough to the dictatorship, in order to deliver the Roman consul and army from the perilous position in which they had been placed by the Aequians. The story of the manner in which he effected this is given in Livy. During his dictatorship, in defiance of the tribunes, he held the comita for the trial of Volscius, whose evidence had condemned his son Caeso, and whom he now charged with perjury. The accused went into voluntary exile. After holding the dictatorship for 16 days, Cincinnatus returned to his farm. In 439 BCE, at the age of 80, he was again appointed dictator to oppose the alleged machinations of Spurius Maelius. This is the last event recorded of him.] was later taken away from his plough by the Roman consuls, and made dictator; and he was one of the most noted. He accepted the office reluctantly. He not only rescued the besieged Romans, but brought countless spoils of war back to Rome, and many prisoners. Thus, with the expedition completed, he returned to his oxen, understanding that the victory was secure.[This sentence is not in the German edition of the .]

Under the consulship of this Valerius (referring to the portrait opposite), the exiled citizens and the fugitive slaves invaded the capitol and burned it. It was a gruesome war, and the consul himself was slain. Publicola as well, who was also a Roman patrician, to whom the name previously had been Publius Valerius, at this time, when the Tarquins had been expelled, together with Brutus was made consul in place of Collatinus (as mentioned above). He himself, when the battle had been engaged in which Brutus died, killed fifteen thousand three hundred men from the army of the Tarquins. And with this victory he was the first of the consuls who, carried in his chariot, celebrated a triumph, a thing that provided a very lovely spectacle to the common people without any envy. He was, moreover, a man of great justice and fairness.[The last four sentences in this paragraph are not in the German edition of the .]


The Lineage of the Roman Consuls begins here. It consists of a panel of the following portraits:

  1. Brutus and Tarquinius (Tarquinus) Collatinus, jointly the first consuls of Rome, until the latter was forced to resign; represented by a commonplace double portrait of two men facing one another and gesturing.
  2. Valerius Publicola and Postumus, a commonplace dual portrait of men in medieval dress.
  3. Largus, first dictator, a rather imposing portrait of a distinguished looking medieval citizen—gesturing as usual.
  4. The Decem Tribuni, a group of ten magistrates of ancient Rome, injected into the lineage of the Roman consuls. They are represented by a small group-portrait.
  5. Marcus and Aeneas Manlius; dual portrait of not particular significance.
  6. Valerius, apparently a relative of Valerius Publicola; represented by a woodcut of an old man.


The Cumaean Sibyl has been assigned a portrait that does not agree with the text of the Chronicle. The portrait here used has already done service for the Sibyl Persica, Folio XXXV verso.


Manlius (Manilius) Torquatus, strangely represented holding an open book instead of being portrayed as a soldier.


Popilia the Vestal Virgin; small woodcut of a rather sad looking middle-aged woman, without headdress or veil, arms folded.