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

Dreadful signs were seen by night in Italy in the Year of the Lord 570. Fiery rays were observed in the heavens and blood fell in drops from the clouds. This presaged that human blood would be spilled afterwards. Later it rained for many successive days, and the Tiber became so swollen that many people were drowned in the lowlands. This also occurred in other cities and countries.

Animals formed like men and women, with long hair extending to the hips, appeared in a river from morning until noontime. They say also that a mountain was torn asunder in Gaul, making a great noise; and immediately after many people and buildings were destroyed.

Leonard (Leonardus), a very holy man and a native of Cenomana, in Gaul, was baptized by Saint Remigius, who instructed him in wholesome learning, discipline, and wisdom. He did not wish to become a bishop, and deserting all, lived in the forest near the city of Lemona. A royal hunting lodge had been erected there. When the queen was in danger due to childbirth there, the king caused Leonard to be brought into the house from the woods. And the king asked him to pray for his wife. Leonard called upon God and secured a double joy for the king; for the mother recovered with the child. The king wanted to give him gold and silver; but Leonard scorned it, admonishing the king to give it to the poor, granting him instead the use of so much of the forest as he could ride about in a night. There he built a monastery in which he lived with two fellow monks in great moderation; and he became illustrious for many miracles. Prisoners who invoked his name soon went to freedom, finding their shackles broken. What other great miracles the Lord God worked through him are to be noted by the numerous and various forms of irons in his churches.[Leonard was from France, where his father held a high office in the palace of King Theodobert. Leonard had been baptized in early life, and without giving up his duties at court, fulfilled those of a devout and charitable Christian. He particularly delighted in visiting the prisons and ministering to the prisoners; and those for whom he interceded the king pardoned. He also devoted much of his substance to the liberation of captives from slavery. But life at court became distasteful to him, and he withdrew secretly to a deserted place near Limoges, turning hermit, and spending several years in penance and prayer. And it happened that while the king went on a hunt accompanied by the queen and all his court, she was suddenly seized with the pangs of childbirth and was in danger of death. The king and his attendants stood about her in perplexity. When Leonard heard of her grief, he prayed to the Lord, and she was relieved and happily delivered. The king then presented Leonard a portion of the forest; and he cleared the ground, and gathered about him a religious community. After many years spent in works of piety and charity, he died in 559. He is invoked by those who languish in captivity as prisoners or slaves. It was also a custom for those delivered from captivity to hang up their fetters in the churches or chapels dedicated to him, and he is usually represented with fetters in his hand. He is claimed by the Benedictines as a member of their order.]

Maurus, a Roman monk, was the particular disciple of Benedict, the holy father. Many of the Roman nobility, moved to spiritual life by the piety of Benedict, came to Mount Cassino. The Gauls, by messengers and letters asked Benedict to send them one of his disciples for instruction in the monastic life; and he sent Maurus, who taught them to live a wholesome and blessed existence. He also built many cloisters. At length, after the practice of many virtues and the performance of many miracles, he died at a good old age and not without the great blessings of piety.[Maurus, son of a Roman senator, was given to Benedict as a boy for education in the way of salvation, and became one of his favorite disciples.]

Columbanus the abbot, celebrated for his spiritual life and piety, flourished in the island of Hibernia during these times; and there he built many cloisters. Later he erected the cloister of Luxeuil, in Burgundy, gathering together innumerable people, and giving them the correct means and form of living. He took King Theuderich to task for committing adultery with certain concubines; for this action the king’s mother, Brunhilde (Brunichildis), became so enraged against him that the king ordered him ejected from the monastery; and that happened, but through God’s vengeance Theuderich was ignited with fire and burned up. Then Saint Columbanus, famous for his miracles, lived on the fruits of the trees. When his servant told him that while gathering fruit he discovered a bear eating the fruit which he had collected, Columban told his servant to divide the fruit and apples, and to give one portion to the bear, and to set aside the other for his use; and so the bear ate his portion, but not the other.[Columban (543-615) Irish saint and writer, was born at Leinster, and educated in the monastery of Bangor, County Down. About 585 he left Ireland with 12 other monks, establishing himself in the Bosges, in an ancient fortification, called Anagrates, in the department of Haute-Saone. Later he built the abbey of Luxeuil, for the congregation of which he drew up his Rule. His enemies accused him of keeping Easter according to Celtic uses, and a powerful conspiracy was organized against him at the court of Burgundy for boldly rebuking King Theuderich II and the queen-mother Brunhilde; being forcibly removed from the monastery, he withdrew to Switzerland, where he preached to the Suebi and Alamanni. Finally he was forced to retire to Italy, where he founded the monastery of Bobbio, in the Apennines; and there he died in 615.]

Herculanus, bishop of Perugia (Perusia), the city which was taken after a siege of seven years, was crowned with martyrdom. The general of the army of Totila beheaded this Herculanus on the walls of the city. He cut off the head and threw the body over the walls. Someone carried the head to the body and buried both, together with the body of a child, beside the wall. After forty days they searched for the body in order to lay it in the church. They found the body of the child full of crawling worms; but the body of Herculanus was so entire that no signs of decapitation were to be seen.[Herculanus was bishop of Perugia when the town was besieged by Totila, king of the Goths, in 549. He probably encouraged his people to defend the city with vigor, for he incurred the vengeance of the king. When the place was taken, the commander of the army sent to Totila to learn what was to be done with the bishop. The king ordered that a strip of his skin was to be cut off from his head to his foot, and that then he was to be executed. The Gothic commander, however, decapitated the saint first, and then cut the strip of skin as required. ]

Medardus, the holy bishop of Tournai, was also illustrious for his miracles. In his departure from this world, heaven was opened, and a divine light shone before him for three hours. He and Gildardus, his brother, the Rotomagian[Probably Ratomagus (or Rotomagus), now Rouen.] bishop, were born and became bishops on the same day.[Medardus was born at Salency, near Noyan, of a Frank father named Nectard, and a Roman mother named Protajia. The father was converted to the Christian faith by his wife, and allowed his son to be baptized. Medard was ordained by the bishop of Vermandois, whom he succeeded in the see on his death. As the little town which was his Episcopal seat was poorly defended, and the country exposed to the ravages of invaders, Medardus moved his seat to Noyan. On the death of Eleutherius, he became also bishop of Tournai. It was contrary to the canons that he should hold two sees, but this was a case of necessity, as no suitable person could be found to take Tournai. Medardus died at Noyan in 545, and his body was translated to the abbey called after him at Soissons. To him is attributed the institution of the festival of the Rose of Salency.]

Simeon of Antioch was the chosen one of his mother’s womb. Of him many miraculous things are told. At first he led a solitary life. Later he lived in a dry well. Finally he stood on a pillar for forty years, until the time of his death.[Simeon Stylites, in order to mortify his body, elevated himself on a pillar, first of six cubits, then of twelve, then of twenty-two, and finally of forty cubits in height; and there he stood for thirty-seven years with a chain about his neck, a spectacle to men and angels. The pillar top on which he stood was surrounded by a balustrade, and had a diameter not exceeding three feet, so that he could neither lie down nor even sit to rest. There was neither cell nor covering to ward off the weather. He took food only once in forty-one days, except the Eucharist, which was administered to him every eighth day. His time at prayer lasted from sunset to daybreak, during which time he made 1244 genuflexions or inclinations of the body. It is said that he stood on one foot for a whole year by way of penance. Twice a day he preached from the pillar to an immense crowd. He died on the pillar at the age of seventy-two.]


Rain of Blood and an Inundation. Fire is bursting from the clouds and blood is dropping from them. Rocks are tossed about in the air.


Animals in Human Form, appearing in the river, are represented by a nude man and woman, with long hair, in an attitude of prayer and waist-deep in swirling water.


Leonard, in the garb of a monk; open book in his right hand; lock and chain, his symbol as liberator of prisoners and slaves, in his left.


Simeon Stylites, portrayed as a bust figure; unkempt, long hair and beard; in an attitude of prayer. The bust rests on a very short pedestal, a rather diminutive form of the pillar of forty cubits on which the saint spent forty years of his life.