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

Demosthenes was the prince of all the orators of Greece. And by the authority of Hermippus[There are several individuals who have this name in the ancient world. This one must be the philosopher and biographer from Smyrna who lived c. 250-200 BCE.] it is indicated that his father manufactured swords. And from the testimony of Juvenal (we learn) that his father, blinded with the soot of a blazing mass, sent Demothenes from coal and tongs and making swords, and from the forge and dingy Vulcan to learn rhetoric.[] And he, drinking in the fluent eloquence from Plato, became the greatest orator. His eloquence was praised by Aeschines (Eschines) (who from his youth was a student and lover of Socrates). Valerius says of him that when Philip, the Macedonian king, besieged the city of Athens and asked the Athenians to give him ten orators, Demosthenes counseled the Athenians by means of a fable: The wolves advised the shepherds to make friends with them and to give them their dogs in settlement of the dispute. And after the wolves had received the dogs from the shepherds, the wolves tore the flocks to pieces. And so Philip would treat the Athenians. When the Athenians heard this, they followed the advice of Demosthenes; and so the city was saved from danger.[Schedel incorrectly attributes this story to Valerius Maximus. In fact, it is found in (‘The Etymologies or Origins') 1.40.7 of Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636). Isidore's work was the most popular compendium in medieval libraries. Its popularity continued unabated in the Renaissance, as at least 10 printed editions of it between 1470 and 1530 clearly attest.] To one who asked him how to speak, Demosthenes replied: Speak of nothing but what you know well.

Demosthenes, greatest of Athenian orators, was born about 385 BCE. At the age of 7 he lost his father, who left him and his younger sister to the care of guardians, relatives and friends. The guardians squandered the estate and neglected his education. He nevertheless received instruction from Isaeus. It is very doubtful whether he was taught by Plato and Isocrates , as some suppose. In time he came forward as a speaker in the public assembly. His first effort was ridiculed, for he labored under great physical disadvantages. His voice was weak, his utterance defective. It is said he spoke with pebbles in his mouth to cure himself of stammering; that he repeated verses of the poets as he ran uphill, to strengthen his voice; that he declaimed on the seashore to accustom himself to the noise and confusion of the popular assembly; that he lived for months in an underground cave, constantly writing out the history of Thucydides, to form a standard for his own style. By 355 he acquired a reputation as a public speaker, and his eloquence soon gained him the favor of the people. He clearly saw Philip's resolve to subjugate Greece, and therefore devoted all his hours to resist the aggressions of the Macedonian. For 14 years he continued his struggle against Philip, and neither threats nor bribes could turn him from his purpose. His first Philippic, delivered in 352, was his earliest attempt to arouse his countrymen. His three Olynthiac orations, delivered three years later, had the same purpose, but without results. In the meantime the aggressions of Philip continued until by 338 he had seized Elatea. The Athenians heard of his approach with alarm; and succeeded, mainly through the efforts of Demosthenes, in forming an alliance with the Thebans. However, the allied forces were defeated by Philip in a decisive battle which ended Greek independence in the same year. Demosthenes was present at the battle, and fled like thousands of others. For this he was later reproached, but the Athenians, judging better of his conduct, requested him to deliver the funeral oration over those who had fallen, and celebrated the funeral feast in his house.

The death of Philip in the year 336 roused the hopes of the hopes of the patriots of Greece, and Demosthenes was the first to proclaim the joyful tidings of the death of Philip of Macedon, and to call upon his countrymen to unite their strength against Macedonia. But the youthful Alexander compelled the Athenians to sue for peace. He demanded the surrender of Demosthenes and other leaders of the popular party, and with difficulty allowed them to remain at Athens. In the course of events, however, Demosthenes was forced into exile; but not for long. On the death of Alexander the Greek states rose against Macedonia. Demosthenes was recalled from exile, and his return to the city was a glorious triumph. His voice rang out like a trumpet, calling Greece to arms. In the following year (322) the battle of Crannon decided the Lamian War against Greece. Antipater, as a condition on which he would refrain from besieging Athens, demanded the surrender of the leading patriots, and this of course included Demosthenes. The condemned men fled to Aegina, but Demosthenes went on to Calauria, a small island off the coast of Argolis. He took refuge in an ancient sanctuary, the temple of Poseidon. Here he was pursued by the emissaries of Antipater. He thereupon took poison, and died in the temple.

Aristotle, prince of all philosophers, and a master of natural philosophy, was a native of the small town of Stageira (Stragyra). His father was Nicomachus, who was a teacher of medicine and held an important position under Amynthas, the Macedonian king, and father of Philip. Aristotle's mother's name was Phaestias (Phestiada), a woman of noble birth. Aristotle spent his youth in Macedonia, and (as they say) came to Athens at 17 years of age. He was a student of (literally "listened to") Plato for 20 years. He left no body of knowledge behind that he did not treat perfectly. After the death of Plato he went to Hermias, the tyrant of Atarneus, and there he stayed three years. Afterwards King Philip recalled him to Macedonia and put Alexander under his instruction for ten years. When Alexander marched into Asia with his army, Aristotle returned to Athens, and there he had a school for thirteen years. He caused to be written on his seal (as one says): Wiser is he who conceals what he knows, than he who exposes what he does not know. Aristotle was versatile and (as Jerome says) was undoubtedly a leader in his knowledge of the entire realm of nature. But finally, through envy, he was accused by other natural philosophers of speaking evil of the gods; and being concerned that he might suffer the same fate as Socrates, he made no effort to defend himself, but fled to Chalcide. There he flourished in the full exercise of all his faculties and strength of mind. And he lived 62 years, and died there.[Aristotle the philosopher was born at Stageira, a town in Chalcide in Macedonia, in 384 BCE. His father Nicomachus was physician in ordinary to Amyntas II, king of Macedonia, and the author of several treatises on subjects connected with the natural sciences. His mother Phaestis (or Phaestias) was descended from a Chalcidian family. His father's studies may account for Aristotle's investigations of nature, an inclination which is perceived throughout the son's life. Aristotle lost his father at 17. In 367 he went to Athens to pursue his studies, and there became a pupil of Plato, who named him "the intellect of his school." Aristotle lived at Athens for 20 years, till 347. During the last ten years of his residence at Athens he gave instruction in rhetoric. On Plato's death he left Athens, returning to live with his friend Hermias of Atarneus. When Hermias was killed by the Persians, Aristotle fled to Mytilene. Two years later he became the instructor of Alexander the son of Philip, then thirteen years of age. On Alexander's accession to the throne Aristotle returned to Athens, assembling about him a large number of distinguished scholars, to whom he lectured on philosophy. His school soon became the most famous in Athens, and he presided over it for thirteen years. During that time he also composed the greater part of his works. In these labors he was assisted by the kingly liberality of his famous pupil, who not only presented him with 800 talents, but also caused large collections of natural curiosities to be made for him, to which posterity is indebted for his . After Alexander's death Aristotle was looked upon with suspicion as a friend of Macedonia, and the charge of impiety was trumped up against him; but he escaped to Chalcis in Euboea where he died the same year (322).]

Epicurus was, according to the testimony of Metrodorus, an Athenian philosopher. Heraclitus says that he was raised on Samos. He came back to Athens at the age of eighteen, when Xenocrates was teaching at the Academy, and Aristotle had his school at Chalcide. But after the death of Alexander, and with Macedonian and Greek affairs against king Perdiccas in a bad way, he went to his father at Colophon. There he gathered disciples and returned to Athens under Anaxicrates. After he, with others, had taught for some time, he originated the sect called after him. And although one called Epictetus (Epitectus) strove against him, all other philosophers were agreeable to him.[Epictetus (c. 55–c. 135 CE) was a famous Greek Stoic philosopher who lived more than three centuries after Epicurus, so he could only in a metaphorical sense ‘strive against' Epictetus. Perhaps the chronicler suggests that] In his native land he was honored with bronze statues. Diocles says that Epicurus lived on a very scant diet. He was born seven years after the death of Plato, and died at Athens at the age of 72 years by a stone blocking the exit of his urine.[Epicurus was born in 342 BCE on the island of Samos. At 18 he came to Athens, and there probably studied under Xenocrates, who at that time was head of the Academy. After a short stay Epicurus went to Colophon, and later resided at Mytilene and Lampsaeus, in which places he taught philosophy for five years. At 35 he again went to Athens and established a philosophical school, called after him, the Epicurians. there he spent the remainder of his life with numerous friends and pupils. His mode of living was simple, temperate and cheerful; and the aspersions of comic poets and later philosophers opposed to him, describing him as a person of sensual pleasures, do not seem entitled to credit. He took no part in public affairs, and died at the age of 72 after a long and painful illness, which he endured with true philosophic patience and courage. He is said to have written 300 volumes, and of these the most important was , in 37 volumes. All his works are lost except some fragments of this one. He made ethics the most important part of his system, since he regarded human happiness as the ultimate end of all philosophy. Pleasure with him was not a mere momentary and transitory sensation, but he conceived it as something lasting and imperishable, consisting in pure and noble mental enjoyments, free from all influences which disturb one's peace of mind. Peace of mind was his sumum bonum.]

Callisthenes (Callistenes), the celebrated philosopher, was a disciple of Aristotle and flourished at this time. He often earnestly chided Alexander the Great and spoke to him: If you are God, you should show it by your goodness toward mankind, and not take it away. If you are a human being, always keep in mind what you are. At these remarks Alexander took offense and ordered him put to death. He caused him to be locked up with a dog in a dreadful cave.[Callisthenes, a relative and pupil of Aristotle, accompanied Alexander the Great on his expedition into Asia. In his intercourse with Alexander he was arrogant and forward, taking every opportunity of exhibiting his independence. He expressed his indignation when Alexander adopted Oriental customs, and especially at the requirement of the ceremony of adoration. He thus rendered himself very obnoxious to the king, and was finally accused of being privy to the plot of Hermolaus to assassinate Alexander. After being kept in chains for seven months he was either put to death or died of disease. He wrote an account of Alexander's expedition; a history of Greece in ten books and other works, all of which have perished.]

Xenocrates, the Chalcedonian philosopher, was the son of Agathenor. From early youth he was a disciple of Plato; and (as Laertius states) was slow-witted. In comparing Aristotle and Xenocrates, Plato said: One needs a bridle and the other spurs. In other respects, he was always of a solemn and grave character and expression. He lived much in the Academy, and when at times he went into the city, an entire crowd of impudent people would watch as he passed by in order to bother him. At one time Phryne (Philene), a courtesan, who had been intentionally sent to him in his room by some people, was begging him (to share) part of his bed, and he allowed it. But at last, in spite of all her entreaties, she departed without having been able to succeed in her purpose, saying as she left that she had not come from a man but from a statue. Although he was a strict and exacting person, he scorned excessive pride. And as he often inclined to meditation, he consumed many an hour in silence. He succeeded Speusippus in the Academy, and led that school for twenty-five years. He died at night, after injuring himself with a pan, at the age of 82.

Xenocrates was a native of Chalcedon. He was born in 396 BCE, and died in 314, at the age of 82. He attached himself first to Aeschines the Socratic, and afterwards, while still a youth, to Plato, whom he accompanied to Syracuse. After his return to Athens he was repeatedly sent on embassies to Philip of Macedonia, and at a later time to Antipater during the Lamian War. He is said to have lacked quick apprehension and natural grace; but these facts were more than compensated by persevering industry, pure benevolence, freedom from all selfishness, and a moral earnestness, which obtained for him the esteem and confidence of the Athenians. He became President of the Academy even before the death of Speusippus, who was bowed down by sickness, and he occupied that post for 25 years. Of his numerous works only the titles have come down to us.

Schedel's mini-biography of Xenocrates comes from a Latin translation by Ambrose the Camaldulian (born Ambrogio Traversari, 1386-1439) of Diogenes Laertius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, a work probably written sometime c. 225-250 CE.