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

Ptolemy Euergetes, son of Philadelphus, and the third Egyptian king, reigned 26 years. He avenged his sister Berenice, whom Antiochus Galericus and his mother Laodice had deprived of the kingdom of Syria Cicilia; and he devastated a part of Asia and came away with countless spoils of war.

Ptolemy III (surnamed Euergetes), king of Egypt, was the eldest son of Ptolemy II (Philadelphus). When a mere child he was betrothed to Berenice, the daughter of Magas; but it was not till after the death of Magas, and the assassination of Demetrius the Handsome, who had made himself master of Cyrene, that their nuptials were solemnized. Ptolemy succeeded quietly to the extensive dominions of his father, and to these he now reunited Cyrene in right of his wife. On learning of the death of his father Philadelphus, Antiochus II, the king of Syria, put aside his wife Berenice, the daughter of the Egyptian king, and recalled his former wife Laodice, who soon sacrificed to her resentment, both her faithless husband and her rival Berenice and her infant son. Ptolemy appears to have taken up arms on receiving the first news of danger to his sister; but finding himself too late to save her he invaded Syria at the head of a large army to avenge her fate. The cruelties of Laodice, and the unhappy fate of Berenice, excited general disaffection, and many cities voluntarily joined Ptolemy. Neither the youthful Seleucus nor his mother were able to oppose the progress of the Egyptian king, who made himself master of the whole company south of Mt. Taurus. But instead of crossing the ridge and pursuing Seleucus himself, he turned eastward, crossed the Euphrates, advanced as far as Babylon and Susa, receiving the submission of all the upper provinces of Asia. But in the course of his conquests he was recalled to Egypt by news of seditions. On his return he carried with him an immense booty, including all the statues of the Egyptian deities which Cambyses had carried to Babylon from Persia. In elation his Egyptian subjects bestowed upon Ptolemy the surname Euergetes—‘the Benefactor.' While he was making his conquests in the east, his fleets were reducing the maritime provinces of Asia. After his return to Egypt, the provinces in the east soon fell back into the hands of Seleucus, but Ptolemy retained the maritime regions and a great part of Syria.

Euergetes is scarcely less celebrated than his father as patron of literature and science. He added largely to the Alexandrian Library. General opinion is that he died a natural death, although some are of the opinion that he was poisoned by his son. He reigned 25 years in uninterrupted prosperity. By his wife Berenice he left three sons—Ptolemy, who was his successor; and Magas and Arsinoe, afterwards married to her brother Ptolemy Philopater.

Ptolemy Philopator, the fourth Egyptian king, reigned 17 years. He killed his father and strangled his brother. From these crimes he was called Philopator.[Philopator means ‘Father-Lover'—obviously ironic in this case.] And just as he was indifferent to the affairs of his kingdom, so too was he lazy and neglectful in the rule of it. He gave himself up to carnal pleasures, in consequence of which Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria, was able to subdue many cities. But when he later recovered all he had lost and had plundered the kingdom of Antiochus, in which matters luck was with him, he finally fell into debaucheries, and after the murder of his wife Euridice, he became promiscuous in his intercourse with voluptuous women. He died and left a son five years of age. The dissolute women (who had slept with him) were hanged to avenge the murder of the queen, while the Alexandrians sent (the boy) to the Romans so that they might take care of the orphan.

Ptolemy IV (surnamed Philopater), king of Egypt, was the eldest son and successor of Ptolemy Euergetes. He lacked the virtues of his father, and his reign initiated the decline of the Egyptian kingdom. One of his earliest acts was to put to death his mother, Berenice, and his brother Magas (of whose influence and popularity with the army he was jealous), as well as his uncle Lysimachus, the brother of Ptolemy Euergetes. In all these murders his minister Sosilius was his ready instrument, and probably his adviser. Having thus, as he conceived, secured himself from all danger from domestic enemies, Ptolemy gave himself up to a life of indolence, luxury, and sensual indulgence, while he abandoned to Sosilius the care of political affairs. But Sosilius was as incompetent as his master. The army was neglected, and the kingdom was allowed to fall into a sate of disorder. Of this condition Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, was not slow to avail himself. But Ptolemy roused himself, and in the end defeated Antiochus at Raphia on the borders of the desert. Peace was finally established, the indolent, luxury loving Ptolemy preferring to return to his life of ease rather than follow up his successes. And now he gave himself up entirely to every species of vice and debauchery. He died in 205, after a reign of 17 years, leaving only one son, a child five years of age.

Steeped in vice and debauchery as he was, Philopator appears to have inherited something of the love of letters for which his predecessors were so conspicuous. The schools continued to flourish in his reign, and he was on intimate terms with philosophers and men of letters.

Dion of Syracuse was a noble philosopher. He was slain in the city of Syracuse after being involved for a long time in the tyrannies of both Dionysiuses. For Dionysius the Elder demanded of Dion that he give him his sister Aristomache in marriage. By her two sons were born to him, Hipparus and Niseus, and as many daughters. One of these daughters he gave his son Dionysius, to whom he left the kingdom; and the other he gave to the uncle Dion. Aside from his noble birth, the good reputation of his parents, and his praiseworthy character, he was a man of good learning, versed in all the arts and of personal virtue. From his father he received by inheritance many possessions that he himself, through the gifts of the tyrant, increased. And, therefore, he loved Plato so much that he devoted himself to him. Nor was Plato less delighted by him.

Dion, a Syracusan, was the son of Hipparinus, and a relative of Dionysius. His sister Aristomache was the second wife of the elder Dionysius; and Dion himself was married to Arete, the daughter of Dionysius by Aristomache. Dion was treated by Dionysius with the greatest distinction, and was employed by him in many services of trust. Of this close connection he seems to have availed himself to amass great wealth. He made no opposition to the succession of the younger Dionysius to his father's power, but he became an object of suspicion to the youthful tyrant, to whom he also made himself personally disagreeable by the austerity of his manners. Dion was apparently a man of stern and proud character, and having become an ardent disciple of Plato when that philosopher visited Syracuse in the reign of the elder Dionysius, he carried to excess the austerity of a philosopher, and viewed with undisguised contempt the debaucheries and dissolute pleasures of his nephew. From these he endeavored to withdraw him by persuading him to invite Plato a second time to Syracuse; but the philosopher, thought received at first with the utmost distinction, failed in obtaining a permanent hold on the mind of Dionysius; and the intrigues of the opposite party headed by Philistus, were successful in procuring the banishment of Dion. He retired to Athens, where he lived in habitual intercourse with Plato and his disciples; but Plato having failed in procuring his recall (for which purpose he visited Syracuse a third time), and Dionysius having confiscated his property, and compelled his wife to marry another person, he attempted to expel the tyrant by force. He sailed from Zacynthus with a small force and obtained possession of Syracuse without opposition, while Dionysius was in Italy, leaving Dion undisputed master of the city in 356 BCE. His despotic character, however, soon caused great discontent, and the people complained with justice that they had only exchanged one tyrant for another. He caused his chief opponent, Heraclides, to be put to death, and confiscated the property of his adversaries. Callippus, an Athenian, who had accompanied him to Greece, formed a conspiracy against him, and caused him to be assassinated in his own house in 353.

Schedel's mini-biography on Dion is taken (with significant abridgment) from Cornelius Nepos (c. 100-24 BCE), Liber de Excellentibus Ducibus Exterarum Gentium (‘Lives of the Eminent Leaders of Foreign Nations') 10.1.1-2, 10.2.3:

1.1. Dion, Hipparini filius, Syracusanus, nobili genere natus, utraque implicatus tyrannide Dionysiorum. Namque ille superior Aristomachen, sororem Dionis, habuit in matrimonio; ex qua duos filios, Hipparinum et Nisaeum, procreauit totidemque filias, nomine Sophrosynen et Areten; quarum priorem Dionysio filio, eidem, cui regnum reliquit, nuptum dedit, alteram, Areten, Dioni. 2 Dion autem praeter nobilem propinquitatem generosamque maiorum famam multa alia ab natura habuit bona, in his ingenium docile, come, aptum ad artes optimas, magnam corporis dignitatem quae non minimum commendat, magnas praeterea diuitias a patre relictas, quas ipse tyranni muneribus auxerat.
2.3 Quem Dion adeo admiratus est atque adamauit, ut se ei totum traderet. Neque uero minus ipse Plato delectatus est Dione.

The last two sentences (a paraphrase of Nepos 10.2.3) are not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

The Cimmerian Sibyl (Sibilla Chimica), was a native of Italy. She is clothed in a sky-blue dress. Her golden locks are spread over her shoulders, and she is young. She spoke thus: In the first appearance of Virgo will arise a girl of beautiful countenance, with long locks of hair, seated on a chair of rushes, nursing a child, giving it its own broth to eat, consisting of milk sent from heaven.

Anaximenes, the great rhetorician, was the master of Alexander in the art of speaking. He is said to have written the history of Alexander. Of him Valerius[] says: When once upon a time Alexander, in a rage, was about to destroy the city of Lampsacus (Lausatum[A (spelling?) mistake for Lampsacus.]), Anaximenes came to meet him; and Alexander knew he would plead for the city. Alexander had sworn that what Anaximenes would ask of him he would refuse. So Anaximenes spoke to Alexander: I pray you to destroy Lausatum. And thus the city was saved. The same is said to have occurred with reference to Athens.[Anaximenes of Lampascus, accompanied Alexander the Great to Asia, and wrote a history of Philip of Macedon; a history of Alexander the Great; and a history of Greece in 12 books, from the earliest mythical ages down to the death of Apaminondas. He also enjoyed a great reputation as a rhetorician, and was the author of a scientific treatise on rhetoric, usually printed among works of Aristotle.]

Carneades (Carmeides), the philosopher, is said to have flourished at that time when he, together with Diogenes, was sent by the Athenians to the Roman senate. He was so taken up with learning and meditation that while seated at the table he forgot to bring his hand to his mouth; and Melissa (Mellissa), whom he had with him in the capacity of a wife, guided his hand in taking sustenance; for his life was nourished by his soul, and he appeared to be encased, as it were, in a foreign body. And finally, in the hundredth year of his life, he ended his philosophizing, as Valerius Maximus in his fourth book sets it down.

Carneades, a celebrated philosopher, born at Cyrene, about 213 BCE, was the founder of the third or new Academy at Athens. In 155 he was sent by the Athenians to Rome with Diogenes and Critolaus to deprecate the fine of 500 talents which had been imposed on the Athenians for the destruction of Oropus. At Tome he attracted great notice by his eloquent declamations on philosophical subjects, and it was here that he delivered his famous orations on Justice. He contended that justice was not a virtue, but a matter of compact for the maintenance of civil society. Thereupon Cato moved the senate to send him home to his school, and save the Roman youth from his demoralizing doctrines. He died in the year 129 at the age of 85. He was a strenuous opponent of the Stoics, and maintained that neither our senses nor our understanding supply us with a sure criterion of truth. The Diogenes here referred to is Diogenes the Babylonian, a Stoic philosopher, native of Seleucia in Babylonia. The third ambassador, Critolaus, also studied philosophy at Athens, and succeeded Ceos as the head of the Peripatetic school.

Carneades was a hard-working and long-serving soldier of wisdom. After he had completed ninety years, the end of his living and his philosophizing was the same. So marvelously had he devoted himself to the operations of learning that when he had lain down to take a meal, wrapped in thought he would forget to stretch out his hand to the table. But Melissa, whom he had in lieu of a wife, adjusted her duty so as on the one hand not to interrupt his studies and on the other to minister to his fasting, adapting her own hand to the necessary uses. So Carneades enjoyed life only with his mind, enveloped by a quasi-alien and superfluous body. The same, when about to hold a debater with Chrysippus, used to purge himself with hellebore with a view to bringing forward his own intellectual resources with more concentration and rebutting those of Chrysippus with greater vigour. What draughts did Diligence make attractive to men axious for true glory!

(D. R. Shackleton Bailey, Valerius Maximus, Vol. II; Loeb Classical Library, 2000; pp. 233, 235)

The order of the mini-biographies devoted to Anaximenes and Carneades are switched in the German edition of the Chronicle (most likely due to the different arrangment of the woodcuts devoted to these two men).

Sextilia, a vestal virgin, was buried alive at the Porta Collatina[Porta Collatina (‘The Collatine Gate') is mentioned only by Festus (37): Collatia oppidum fuit prope Romam . . . a qua porta Romae Collatina dicta est. He has probably confused Collatina with Collina. The Via Collatina diverged to the southward from the Via Tiburtina outside the Porta Tiburtina. The Porta Collina is a gate in the Servian wall at the north end of the agger, named Collina, because it was on the collis Quirinalis.] for the loss of her virginity by her own fault.

Sextilia, who according to tradition was buried alive in 273 BCE, is an illustration of the fate of a vestal virgin who neglected her vow of chastity. Vesta was the Roman hearth goddess. In an early community fire was hard to make, and therefore it was desirable that at least one fire should be kept always burning. This duty would naturally devolve upon the chief or king, and the actual maintenance of the fire would naturally fall to his young daughters, since slaves, if he had any, would hardly be trusted with a duty considered holy, while he and his sons would be out most of the day, and his wife would be busy with the household. Much of the actual preparation of food would also fall upon the daughters, as soon as they were old enough, for a Roman housewife in early days might not grind corn or cook food for her husband. For these reasons we get, in early historical times, besides the private cult of Vesta, a public cult of a sacred royal hearth, never allowed to go out, tended by girls, called Vestal Virgins, whose service begins when they are from six to ten years old, and lasts originally for five years, till they are old enough for marriage, or at least betrothal. The earliest cult of this kind is supposed to have been that at Lavinium; the most famous was at Rome.

In the Republican times, the pontifex maximus took the place of the king for many sacred purposes. The Vestals, whose number was six, and whose term of service had now been lengthened to 30 years, were in his charge, being freed from the potestas of their own fathers. They must, when chosen, be of the required age, free-born of free and respectable parents (although later, daughters of freedmen were eligible), having both parents alive, and free from physical and mental defects. If a vestal let the fire go out she was beaten. If found guilty of unchastity, she was subjected to an ordeal which amounted to a horrible form of capital punishment; she was shut up with a little food in an underground chamber which was covered over with earth.

Besides tending the fire, the vestals also prepared the sacred foodstuffs for ritual purposes. They also had the custody of various holy objects. They took part in ceremonies of various kinds, beside Vesta's own elaborate daily ritual.

The shrine of Vesta stood in the forum, near the Regia, or palace of the kings. It was not technically a temple but a round structure, a stone imitation of the primitive "bee-hive" hut.

Xenophilus, the Pythagorean philosopher, a native of Chalcedonia (Calcidonem), was greatly esteemed at this time. He was a man who, so they say, had never experienced any human misery when he was still alive at the age of 105. Then, at the highest splendor of knowledge and perfection, he died.[Very little is known of this individual with the exception that he may have been a student of Pythagoras.]