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

The Third Aurelian Council was undertaken at this time at the order of King Clovis (Clodovei). This is said to have been called by St. Mellanius; and so also, four other councils are said to have been held in this city (Aurelia), according to those versed in ecclesiastical jurisprudence.[King Clovis no doubt owed a great measure of his success to his alliance with the church. He took its property under his protection, and in 511convoked a council at Orleans, the canons of which have come down to us. But while protecting the church, he maintained his authority over it. He intervened in the nomination of bishops, and at the council of Orleans it was decided that no one, save a son of a priest, could be ordained clerk without the king’s order or the permission of the count. Orleans was an early trading post among the Gauls. The Romans called it Genadum. In the fifth century it had taken the name Aurelianum from either Marcus Aurelius or Aurelian; and thus the chronicler speaks of the city as Aureliensis in the first Latin edition. The German translator has carried the word over in this form.]

Arthur, king of the Britons, at this time (as it is said) attained to the sovereignty. He was a renowned, warlike, and very strong man. He had the most beautiful armor, as well becomes such a king. On his head he wore a golden helmet, upon which a dragon was engraved. He ordered a golden shield upon which was an image of the Mother of God; so that he might at all times have her before him as a spokeswoman in all matters. He also had a broad, long lance to be carried with him wherever he went; and a sword, with which he slew four hundred and sixty men in a single battle. They say he was a good Christian and an augmenter of the faith, and the conqueror of many kingdoms. At last, after having overcome many enemies in battle, he too was wounded and transported to an island; and there he disappeared, and was never seen again. And it is said of the Britons that they have been waiting for his return up to the present time.

Arthur, British king, and subject of the Arthurian Legend, is represented by Nennius in his Historia Britonum as a Christian warrior leading the kings of Britain against the Saxon kings of Kent. He enumerates 12 battles, of which the eighth battle was on the castle Guinnon, “in which Arthur bore the image of St. Mary the ever-virgin upon his shoulder, and the pagans were turned to flight. . . The twelfth battle was on the Mount of Badon, in which fell 960 men in one day at a single onset of Arthur; and no one overthrew them but he alone, and in all the battles he came out victorious.” There is no other record of these twelve battles, but Gildas who, writing in 550, without speaking of Arthur, mentions the battle of Mount Badon as taking place on the day of his birth, which would be c. 516. We may, therefore, conclude that a man named Arthur was born about the end of the fifth century, and that he was the general of the royal armies fighting in South Britain.

Of course, opinions differ as to whether such a character as Arthur ever lived. While the idea of a king Arthur whose dominions extended beyond the confines of the British Isles is now generally rejected, we may probably accept as a fact the existence of a chieftain of mixed Roman and British parentage, who learned the art of war from the Romans, and successfully led the forces of the British kings against the Saxon invaders. He was not a king, but a general of the royal armies. There is a hypothesis that he was betrayed by his wife and a near kinsman, and fell in battle. These meager facts constitute the historical nucleus about which his legend is woven. Yet he may simply be but a survivor of prehistoric myth, a hero of romance, and a fairy king. In his mystic character he slays monsters—the boar torch, the Giant of Mont St. Michel, the Demon Cat of Losanne. Andre de Coutances tells that Arthur was really vanquished and carried off by the Cat, but that one ought never to tell that tale before the Britons.

Cassiodorus, a monk of Ravenna and a highly learned man, was held in great esteem at this time because of his celebrated learning. At first he was a Roman consul, but later, moved by the Holy Spirit, he left the world, devoting himself to a monastic life. Before that he was the chancellor of Theodoric, king of Italy, and in the king’s name wrote numerous letters to many persons concerning temporal affairs. As a mental exercise he wrote an excellent interpretation of the Psalter. Later he also compiled a chronicle of the popes and emperors, in which he wrote many things about his contemporary, King Theodatus of Ravenna; also a book on the understanding of the soul and a book on orthography.[Cassiodorus. See Note to Folio CXLII recto, above.]

Priscian (Priscianum), a very learned man and philosopher of Caesarea, highly versed in the Greek and Latin tongues, flourished at Constantinople at this time. And as he was regarded as a prince among scholars in the first of the liberal arts, called grammatica, he wrote a very useful booklet upon this same art for the use and instruction of those who wished to grasp the Latin tongue. He also wrote other excellent books.[Priscian (Priscianus Caesariensis), celebrated Latin grammarian, lived around the year 500. His title Caesariensis points to Caesarea in Mauretania. Priscian was quoted by several writers in Britain in the 8th century (e.g., Bede and Alcuin). There is hardly a library in Europe that did not and does not contain a copy of his great work, , and there are about a thousand copies of it in manuscript. The first printed edition was put forth in Venice in 1470. The book is a systematic exposition of Latin grammar. It is divided into 18 books, of which the first 16 deal mainly with sounds, word-formation, and inflexions. The last two, which form about one-third of the whole work, deal with syntax. He has also preserved to us numerous fragments of the works of other writers, which otherwise would have been lost. He also wrote a number of other books.]

Arator, cardinal of the holy Roman Church, and a laureate poet, was in wonderful renown at this time by reason of his art. Among the works born of his intelligence and skill are the Acts of the Apostles in rhymed verse; and he wrote other elegant things.[Arator, Christian poet of Liguria, lived during the sixth century. He practiced as an advocate and held in influential position at the court of Athalaric. About 540 he took orders. His , written about 544, was much admired in the Middle Ages.]

Brandanus, holy abbot of Hibernia, was held in great esteem at this time for his piety and learning. He was a father to 3000 cloister-men, and of him many wonderful things have been written.[Brendan, Brandan or Brandon (Brandanus in the ) (c. 484-578), Irish saint and hero of a legendary voyage in the Atlantic, is said to have been born at Tralee in Kerry in 484. Medieval historians usually call him Brendan of Clonfert, or Brendan son of Finnloga, to distinguish him from his contemporary Brendan of Birr (573). Little is known of the historical Brendan, who died in 578 as abbot of a Benedictine monastery which he had founded twenty years previously at Clonfort in Eastern Galway. The story of his voyage across the Atlantic to the “Promised Land of the Saints,” afterward designated “St. Brendan’s Island,” ranks among the most celebrated of the medieval sagas of western Europe. Its traditional date is 565-573. The legend is found in prose and in verse, as well as with many variations in Latin, French, English, Saxon, Flemish, Irish, Welsh, Breton, and Scotish Gaelic. The oldest extant version of the legend is the 11th-century .]

Sidonius Apollinaris flourished at this time. In the city of the Averni[Auvergne.] he was promoted from governor to bishop. As a layman he was noble, well practiced in learning, and was a well informed man. He wrote many difficult epistles.[Sidonius Apollinaris was born at Lugdunum (Lyons) c. 431. At an early age he married Papianilla, child of Flavius Avitus, and upon the elevation of his father-in-law to the imperial dignity (456) he accompanied him to Rome, and celebrated his consulship in a poem still extant. Avitus raised him to senator, and nominated him prefect of the city. But the downfall of Avitus clouded the fortunes of Sidonius, who having been shut up in Lyons, and having endured the hardships of the siege, purchased pardon by a complimentary address to the victorious Majorian. The poet was not only forgiven, but rewarded with a laurelled bust, and with the title of count. After passing some years in retirement during the reign of Severus he was dispatched to Rome (467) as an ambassador from the Arveni to Anthemius, and on this occasion delivered a third panegyric, in honor of a third prince, for which he was raised to the rank of patrician. This was followed by still another honor; for though not a priest, the vacant see of Claremont, in Auvergne, was forced upon him in 472. During the remainder of his life he devoted himself to the duties of his sacred office, resisting the progress of Arianism. His extant works are: (1) , 24 in number, composed in various measures and on various subjects; (2) , containing 147 letters addressed to a wide circle of relatives and friends on topics political, literary and domestic, but seldom on ecclesiastical subjects.]

Bridget (Brigida), a very holy virgin of Scotland, born of Christian and noble parentage, illustrious during the reign of Justinus the Elder for her piety and miraculous works. From childhood she was entirely devoted to virtuous things, and particularly to chastity, modesty, sobriety, and moderation. At one time her mother sent her forth to collect butter from cow’s milk; but she gave it to the poor. When her mother demanded the butter, Bridget fell to prayer; after which she had more (butter) than her fellow-workers. When her parents wished to marry her off, she praised God for her crown of virginity. On one occasion, during the harvest, the rain overflowed all the land. However, in her field not a drop of water fell. Of the water she made beer; of the stones, she made salt. She gave sight to a person born blind; and she also worked other miracles.[Bridget (Brigida) (453-523), one of the patron saints of Ireland, was the daughter of a prince of Ulster. According to legend, she and her mother, who was a bondmaid, were sold to a wizard, who brought up the little girl, and on being converted to Christianity by her, he restored her freedom. She returned to her father’s house, where she gave many of his goods to the poor, and on her refusal to marry, he tried to sell her to the king of Ulster. The king was so struck by her piety that he freed her from parental control and she founded a church and monastery at Kildare. She died February 1, which is celebrated as her feast day.]