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

Aratus (Aracus), the highly renowned astrologer and poet, distinguished himself, as Augustine states, in that, together with Eudoxus, he comprehended and described all the stars. However, Augustine states that this is contrary to the Scriptures, in which God spoke to Abraham, saying: Look at the stars, count them if you can. But how can they all be counted since they cannot all be seen? And as Aratus was not unfamiliar with astrology, he wrote an excellent book of beautiful verses on the subject[Aratus was the author of two Greek astronomical poems, which have generally been joined together, as if parts of the same work. The design is to give an introduction to the knowledge of the constellations, with the rules for their risings and settings; and of the circles of the sphere, amongst which the milky way is reckoned. The positions of the constellations, north of the ecliptic, are described by reference to the principal groups surrounding the North Pole (the Bears, the Dragon and Cepheus), while Orion serves as a point of departure for those to the South. The immobility of the earth, and the revolution of the heavens about a fixed axis are maintained; the path of the sun in the Zodiac is described; but the planets are introduced merely as bodies having a motion of their own, without any attempt to define their periods; nor is anything said about the moon's orbit. The opening of the poem asserts the dependence of all things upon Zeus. From the general lack of precision in the descriptions it would seem that Aratus was neither a mathematician nor an observer; or, at any rate, that in this work he did not aim at scientific accuracy. Such is the first poem, which consists of 732 verses. The second, consisting of 422 verses, is made up of prognostications of the weather from astronomical phenomena, with an account of its effects upon animals. The style of these two poems is distinguished by the elegance and accuracy of their diction, resulting from a study of ancient models; but it lack originality and poetic elevation; and variety of matter is excluded by the nature of the subjects. Several other poetical works on various subjects, as well as a number of prose epistles, are attributed to Aratus; but none of them have come down to us.], to which Cicero gives witness in the first book of his On the Orator: "It is established among scholars that Aratus, a man ignorant of astrology, has spoken about the sky and the stars in the most ornate and finest lines of poetry."[Cicero, (‘On the Orator'), 1.16. The German edition of the does not cite the quote from Cicero's text, nor does it even mention the actual book by Cicero, stating only: "to which Cicero gives witness."]

In the midst of the city of Rome appeared a horrible gap or crevice, and the soothsayers interpreted this as portending the burial of a living person. Then at Rome (as Livy states), the earth opened up in a public place, and a wide chasm was formed without displacement of the soil or other force; and it could not be filled with any material. Marcus Curtius heard about this, and he thought of the temples of the gods in the vicinity. He mounted his beautiful horse, and fully accoutered, he leaped into the chasm for love of his country. And when he died the chasm closed.[Mettus or Mettius Curtius (Marcus Curcius), a distinguished Sabine, fought with the rest of his nation against Romulus. According to one tradition, the Lacus Curtius, which was part of the Roman forum, was called after him, because in the battle with the Romans he escaped with difficulty from a swamp into which his horse had plunged. But the more usual tradition respecting the name of Lacus Curtius is that in 362 BCE the earth in the forum gave way, and a great chasm appeared, which the soothsayers declared could only be filled up by throwing into it Rome's greatest treasure; that thereupon M. Curtius, a noble youth, mounted his steed in full armour; and declaring that Rome possessed no greater treasure than a brave and gallant citizen, leaped into the abyss; upon which the earth closed over him.]

Aesop (Esopus) Adelphus, the highly renowned poet and teller of fairy tales, flourished in the time of Cyrus, the Persian king. He was a Greek, intelligent and witty, and composed excellent fables, which Romulus afterwards translated from the Greek tongue into Latin and sent to his son Tibertinus. In his stories Aesop taught people how they were to conduct themselves; and to this end he gave speech to the birds, trees and irrational animals. If these fables are carefully studied, one will find in them not only matter for admonishment and laughter, but for sharpening of one's wits. It is said that Aesop was slain in the first year of Cyrus.

Aesop, author of Fables about animals, generally with a didactic purpose, which have given their name to a whole class of stories, lived about 620 to 560 BCE. According to tradition he was the slave of Iadmon of Samos and met with a violent death at the hands of the inhabitants of Delphi. When a pestilence came upon them the Delphians offered a reward for his death, and it was claimed by Iadmon, grandson of Aesop's old master. Herodotus, who is authority for this (2.134), does not state the cause of Aesop's death; but various reasons have been assigned by later writers – his insulting sarcasms, embezzlement of money entrusted to him by Croesus for distribution at Delphi, and the theft of a silver cup.

Aesop must have been freed by Iadmon, or he could not have conducted the defense of a Samian demagogue (Aristotle, Rhetoric 2.20). Legend says that he afterwards lived at the court of Croesus, where he met Solon, and dined in the company of the Seven Sages of Greece with Periander at Corinth. The obscurity in which the history of Aesop is involved has induced some scholars to deny his existence altogether.

Very recently Rinutius, a certain learned man, translated all those fables, together with the life of Aesop himself, most accurately into Latin

Rinutius translated Aesop's fables in 1478 in Milan. This book may be the first printed edition of a Greek author (the text provides both the Greek original and a Latin translation) in Western Europe.

This sentence does not appear in the German edition of the Chronicle

for cardinal Antonius of the holy parish church Chrysogonus (Crisogonus).[Saint Chrysogonus (San Crisogono in Italian) is a church in Rome (Trastevere) dedicated to the martyr Saint Chrysogonus. The church was one of the tituli (as the notes), the first parish churches of Rome, known as the Titulus Chrysogoni. It was probably built in the 4th century under Pope Silvester I (314–335), then rebuilt in the 12th century by John of Crema.]


In the twelfth year of the kingdom of Artaxerxes, and 300 years [The German edition of the changes this number of years to 202.] after the building of the city of Rome, when Menevius and P. Saxtillus Capitolinus were consuls, the Romans decided to suspend the power of the consuls, and elected ten men by whom the city was to be ruled without tumult. The period of their rule was a happy one (as Livy says); but they later exceeded their authority and fell. After a year had elapsed, they were removed because of the misdeeds of Claudius Appius.[Appius Claudius was consul in 451, and on the appointment of the decimvir in that year, he became one of them, and was reappointed the following year. His real character now betrayed itself in the most tyrannical conduct toward the plebeians till his attempt against Virginia led to the overthrow of the decemvirate. Appius was impeached by Virginius, but did not live to abide his trial. He either killed himself, or was put to death in prison by order of the tribunes. For more on the ‘Ten Men' and their period of rule (451-449 BCE), see Livy, (‘From the Founding of the City') 3.]


Inasmuch as the Romans had no laws up to this time, and a dispute arose between the tribunes, who judged various matters for the common people, and the consuls, the Romans, in the 13th year of Artaxerxes, sent messengers to Athens, who not only brought back the laws of Solon, but also the laws and customs of other Greek cities. From these laws ten tables were prepared, and two tables were added to those by the Romans; so originated the celebrated Law of the Twelve Tables, in which the entire law was codified.


Greed for riches gave rise to a fourth conflict; so the common people created magistrates. Fabius Ambustus, the father of two (daughters), gave one to Sulpicius, a man of patrician blood, and the other to a plebeian.[According to the story recorded by Livy, (‘From the Founding of the City') 6.34, Marcus Fabius Ambustus had two daughters, of whom the elder was married to Ser. Sulpicus, and the younger to C. Licinius Stolo. The younger daughter (Fabia) induced her father to assist her husband in obtaining the consulship for the plebeian order, into which she had married.] The tribunes of the people were created in the 16th year of Artaxerxes[Here Artaxerxes II is meant. He ruled from 404-358 BCE.]; and although this office was not of particular importance, it was greatly respected in the state.[The office of tribune is one that was born of the oppression of the people by rulers against whom they rebelled. In compromise the people were allowed to choose their own magistrates from their own order, who were to have the power of opposing with effect every measure which they might judge in anyway prejudicial to their interest. These new magistrates were to be elected annually. At first they were five in number, but in time they were increased to ten. They were called tribunes because the first of them was chosen from among the tribune militum of the different legions. Their authority was confined to the city limits and one mile beyond the walls. Two officers, called Aediles, were appointed to aid them. The Aediles had charge of the public buildings, and later, also of the games, spectacles, and other matters of police within the city. By the appointment of the tribunes the aristocracy was to a certain extent weakened, and the government took on even more distinctive aspects of a ‘representative-democracy.']

Veturia, the mother of Coriolanus, the Roman consul, was an old woman at this time. By good works she lengthened her years to eternal youth. When Coriolanus without cause besieged the city, and refused to see the embassies that were sent to him, and would not listen to the high priests, his mother diverted him from his stubborn anger and from the course which he had entered upon. He abandoned the siege and released the city. In gratitude to those women the Romans erected a temple; and afterwards no honor was withheld from the women by the men. And the Romans ordained that the people should stand up for the women, and give them the right of way; a custom which to this day is still observed by the respectable. It was also considered fit and proper for the women to wear gold, purple dresses, and golden girdles and ornaments.[Coriolanus is the hero of one of the most interesting early Roman legends (and a later life by Plutarch, which in turn was the basis of Shakespeare's play, ). His original name was C. Marcius, and he received the surname Coriolanus from the heroism he displayed at the capture of the Volscian town of Corioli. But his haughty bearing toward the common people excited their fear and dislike, and when he was a candidate for the consulship they refused to elect him. After this, when there was a famine in the city, and a Greek prince sent corn from Sicily, Coriolanus advised that it should not be distributed to the commons until they should give up their tribunes. For this he was impeached and condemned to exile in 491 BCE. He now took refuge among the Volscians, and promised to assist them in a war against the Romans. He was appointed general of the Volscian army, took many towns, and advanced unresisted until he came to the Cluilian dyke close to Rome in 489. Here he encamped, and the Romans in alarm sent to him embassy after embassy, consisting of the most distinguished men of the state. But he would listen to none of them. At length the noblest matrons of Rome, headed by his mother Veturia, and Volumnia, his wife, with his two little children, came to this tent. His mother's reproached, and the tears of his wife and the other matrons, bent his purpose. He led back his army, and lived in exile among the Volscians till his death; though other traditions relate that he was killed by the Volscians on his return to their country.]


Marcus Curtius (Curcius), the noble Roman youth, fully accoutered and mounted on his beautiful steed, is depicted in the act of plunging into the great chasm that opened in the earth in the region of the forum, as related in the text and accompanying note. Rider and horse are sinking into the earth, which immediately closed over them, sealing the gap. The title is unsually large for such a relatively small-sized image.