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

Alexander the Great (Magnus), the twenty-fourth king of the Macedonians, began to reign in the last year of Arsanus (Arses), the Persian king; and he reigned 12 years and 6 months. He began to reign at the age of 20 years. After Philip the king died, Alexander soon subjugated Illyria (Illiria) (which now we call Slavonia (Sclavonia)), devastating it with fiery zeal. He conquered the islands of the Romans, and sailed to Africa and completely vanquished it. He then marched into hostile Syria and devastated it. He attacked Damascus and captured Sidon. He then moved swiftly against Jerusalem. There he honored the high priest of the Jews, marched into the city and allowed the Jews their freedom. In the meantime he silenced many hostile peoples, and allayed much discord in the East. By those accomplishments he attained to such power that he entered Greece without difficulty. Afterwards he resumed the war that his father had begun against the Persians. While upon this expedition he learned that the Athenians, Thebans, and Lacedaemonians had allied themselves with the Persians; but he armed his forces and speedily subdued Greece. And as the Athenians were the first to secede from him, so they were the first to suffer and rue the day. However, through Anaximenes the Wise they and Alexander again became reconciled, so that he restored to them freedom and peace. He set fire to the hostile Theban cities and reduced the Lacedaemonians to submission. He also marched into Egypt and there built a wonderful city, which he named Alexandria after himself. Afterwards, when he marched against the Persians, Darius disdained his youth; and Olympias, the mother of Alexander, sent him a message to come to her, for she was very ill. He returned homeward, and on the way conquered Phrygia. As he proceeded from greater Asia through the Hellespont into Asia Minor and reached home, he found his mother recovering. In consequence of that he again assembled his forces, and when he had subjugated all the regions along the river Euphrates, he made a bridge over which he marched; and he approached the city of Persepolis, in which Darius the king of the Persians resided. Alexander had thirty-two thousand footmen, four thousand five hundred horsemen, and 182 ships; and it seemed doubtful that he could conquer the world with such a small force. But Alexander decided that such a precarious war required not strong young men, but older men—such as had been men at arms under his father and had fought for him. So his warriors consisted of select men, and his leaders were likewise. No man was a commander under sixty years of age. In consequence none of them thought of flight in battle, but only of victory. Against them Darius sent six hundred thousand men; but those were defeated, no less by the wisdom of Alexander than by the strength of the Macedonians, and were forced to flight. After this victory the greater part of Asia joined Alexander. Later Alexander learned that Darius was again proceeding against him with a great and mighty army. So he took advantage of a narrow pass and hastened over Mt. Taurus, coming to the city of Tarsus. Being attacked by illness, he rested there. In the meantime Darius came up with three hundred thousand infantry and one hundred thousand cavalrymen in the lead. But by this time Alexander had recovered, and he turned his forces against the enemy. And a battle of great daring took place, in which both kings were wounded; and the result was long doubtful, until Darius decided to flee. In consequence of this battle the Persians were defeated; one hundred sixty thousand infantrymen and ten thousand cavalrymen were slain; and forty thousand were made prisoners. Of the Macedonians there fell 130 men on foot and 150 on horse. In the camp of the Persians was found a large quantity of gold and other forms of wealth. Among the prisoners were the mother, wife, sister and two daughters of Darius. And when Alexander saw the wealth of Darius, he was seized with wonderment; and he began to love Barsine (Bersane) because of her elegant manners. By her a child was born to him, and it was named Hercules. Darius fled to Babylonia. From there he offered Alexander a great sum of money for the release of the prisoners. Alexander desired no money, but the kingdom. Having given up hope of peace, Darius again prepared for war against Alexander, enlisting four hundred thousand footmen and one hundred thousand horsemen. And there was a battle. The Macedonians fought with fixed determination; and the Persians decided to die rather than suffer defeat. It has seldom happened that in a single engagement so much blood was shed. And when Darius saw that his troops were defeated, he also decided to die; but those nearest him desired him to flee. By this battle Alexander conquered the empire of Asia. He was so fortunate that from this time on no one dared resist him.

Darius was captured by his own people and, in order to gain favor with the conqueror, he was bound in golden chains. Then, pierced with many wounds, he died. And so ended the kingdom of Persia which had endured through 14 kings for 254 years. Afterwards he subjugated Hyrcania (Hircaniam) and the Mardians (Mardos). There the queen of the Amazons with 300 hundred thousand women[Justin's text ( 12.3), from which Schedel is compiling this section, says that only 300 women accompanied the Amazon queen.] encountered him. After these things he sought India, were King Porus (Porrus) was captured, and he obtained the kingdom of the Indians. Finally, when he had returned to Babylon, he gave himself over to leisure for many days. And then, when he had accepted a cup in the midst of drinking, suddenly, just as if struck by a spear, he groaned. He died of a poisoned drink given to him by Cassander, the son of Antipater, and which was so strong that it could not be kept in a vessel of bronze or iron, but in the hoof of a horse. And on the fourth day, sensing that his death was most certain, he said that he knew that he himself would suffer the fate of his ancestors. At last he ordered his body to be buried in the temple of Ammon (Hammontis). When he was asked what heir there should be to the Empire he responded: the most worthy. On the sixth day, being unable to speak, he took his ring from his finger and gave it to Perdiccas (Perduce). And so passed away Alexander, at the age of 33 years and one month; a man of superhuman power and endowed with magnanimity.

Alexander the Great, son of Philip II and Olympias, was born at Pella in 356 BCE. His early education was committed to Leonidas and Lysimachus; and he was also placed under the care of Aristotle, who acquired an influence over his mind and character, which manifested itself to the latest period of his life. At the age of 16 Alexander was entrusted with the government of Macedonia by his father when Philip was obliged to leave his kingdom to march against Byzantium. He first distinguished himself, however, at the battle of Chaeronea (338), where the victory was due mainly to his impetuosity and courage. On the murder of Philip (336), Alexander ascended the throne, at the age of 20, and found himself surrounded by enemies. He first put down rebellion in his own kingdom, and then rapidly marched into Greece. His unexpected activity overawed all opposition; Thebes, which had been most active against him, submitted when he appeared at its gates; and the assembled Greeks at the Isthmus of Corinth, with the sole exception of the Lacedaemonians, elected him to the command against Persia, which had previously been bestowed upon his father. He now proceeded against the barbarians of the north, marched across Mount Haemus, defeated the Tribali, and advanced as far as the Danube, which he crossed; and on his return subdued the Illyrians and Taulantii. A report of his death having reached Greece, the Thebans once more took up arms. But a terrible punishment awaited them. Alexander took Thebes by assault, destroyed all the buildings with the exception of the house of Pindar, slew most of the inhabitants, and sold the rest as slaves. He now prepared for his great expedition against Persia. In the spring of 334 he crossed the Hellespont, with about 35,000 men, of which 30,000 were foot and 5,000 horse; and of the former only 12,000 were Macedonians. Alexander's first engagement with the Persians was on the river Granicus in Mysia (May 334), where they were entirely defeated by him. This battle was followed by the capture or submission of the chief towns on the west coast of Asia Minor. Halicarnassus was not taken till late in the autumn, after a vigorous defense by Memnon, the ablest general of Darius, and whose death in the following year relieved Alexander from a formidable opponent. He now marched along the coast of Lycia and Pamphylia, and then north into Phrygia and to Gordium, where he cut or untied the celebrated Gordian knot, which it was said, was to be loosened only by the conqueror of Asia. In 333 he marched from Gordium through the center of Asia Minor into Cilicia.

Darius meantime had collected an army of 500,000 or more men, whom Alexander defeated in the narrow plain of Issus. Darius escaped across the Euphrates, but his mother, wife and children fell into the hands of Alexander, who treated them with the utmost respect.

Alexander now directed his arms against the cities of Phoenicia, most of which submitted; but Tyre was not taken until after an obstinate defense of seven months. Next followed the siege of Gaza, which again delayed Alexander two months. According to Josephus, Alexander then marched to Jerusalem, intending to punish the people for refusing assistance; but he was diverted by the high priest, and pardoned the people. Alexander next marched into Egypt, which willingly submitted, for the Egyptians hated the Persians. At the beginning of 331, Alexander founded at the mouth of the west branch of the Nile the city of Alexandria.

In the spring of the same year (331) Alexander set out to meet Darius, who had collected another army, said to have amounted to more than a million men. They met in the plains of Gaugamela, and the Persians were completely defeated. Darius fled to Ecbatana in Media. Alexander was now the conqueror of Asia, and began to adopt Persian habits and customs, by which he conciliated his new subjects. He next marched to Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis, and, according to some accounts, is said to have fired the palace in the revelry of a banquet, at the instigation of Thais, and Athenian courtesan.

At the beginning of 330 Alexander marched from Persepolis into Media, in pursuit of Darius, whom he followed into the deserts of Parthia, where the king was murdered by Bessus, satrap of Bactria, and his associates. Bessus escaped to Bactria, and assumed the title of king of Persia. In 329 Alexander marched into Bactria against Bessus, whom he pursued across the Oxus into Sogdiana, where Bessus was betrayed to him and put to death. At the beginning of 327 Alexander took a mountain fortress, in which Oxyartes, a Bactrian prince, had deposited his wife and daughters. The beauty of Roxana , one of the latter, captivated the conqueror and he made her his wife.

Alexander did not leave Bactria till late in the spring of 327, and crossed the Indus, probably near the modern Attock. He defeated Porus, an Indian king, at the Hydaspes, but restored to him his kingdom, and treated him with distinguished honor. He founded two towns, one on each bank of the Hydaspes: One he called Bucephala, in honor of his horse Bucephalus, who died here, after carrying him through many victories; and the other Nicaea, to commemorate his victory. From there he marched across the Acesines (the Chinab) and the Hydraotes (the Ravee), and penetrated as far as the Hyphasis (Garra). This was the furthest point he reached, for the Macedonians, worn out by long service, and tired of the war, refused to go on; and Alexander was obliged to lead them back. He returned to the Hydaspes, sailing down the river with about 8,000 men, while the remainder marched along the banks in two divisions. He reached the Indian Ocean about the middle of 326, and reached Susa in 325. Here he allowed himself and his troops some rest. Anxious to form his European and Asiatic subjects into one people, he assigned Asiatic wives to about 80 of his generals, and gave them rich dowries. He himself took a second wife, Barsine, the eldest daughter of Darius, and according to some accounts, a third, Parysatis, the daughter of Ochus. About 10,000 Macedonians followed the examples of their leaders. Alexander also enrolled large numbers of Asiatics among his troops, directed his attention to the increase of commerce, made the Euphrates and Tigris more navigable by removing obstruction, etc. On his way to Babylon, Alexander was met by ambassadors from every part of the known world. He entered Babylon in the spring of 324, intending to make it the capital of his empire. But on his return to Babylon he was attacked by a fever probably brought on by his recent exertions in the marshy districts about the city, and aggravated by the quantity of wine he had drunk at a banquet given to his principal officers. He died in 323 after an illness of eleven days, at the age of 32, after a reign of 12 years and 8 months.

The German edition of the Chronicle abridges this paragraph substantially (only half of its text is kept).