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

Fortunatus, bishop of Tudertinus[Tuder or Tudertinus, now Todi, a city in Umbria, near Perugia.], possessed the great gift and the power of expelling evil spirits, and in his time drove the devil out of hordes of people. By the sign of the cross he calmed down a shy and dangerous horse; and he made a blind man see. Even today, it is said that in the city of Tudertinus his corpse expels the devil daily, and cures the sick as he did in his lifetime.[Fortunatus (d. 537), Bishop of Todi, was reputed to have performed many miracles. He tamed a wild horse by the sign of the cross. When the Goths carried off two little boys of the town, he begged their chief to restore them; but he refused. Next day the chief was riding throughout the town, and his horse slipped, throwing the rider, and breaking his left leg. Regarding this as a punishment, he promised to restore the boys. Fortunatus prepared holy water and his deacon spray it on the leg of the Goth. And the man arose; and although he found his leg a little stiff, the bones were intact.]

Another Fortunatus, highly learned and eloquent, by writing and example encouraged the Gauls to emulate him in his devotion to God. For their king Sigebert (Sigibertum) he wrote a book on how to govern his kingdom. He also wrote the life of the Blessed Martin.[Fortunatus (530-609), Bishop of Poitiers, chief Latin poet of his time, studied at Milan and Ravenna in order to excel in rhetoric and poetry. He then journeyed to France, where he was received with favor by Sigebert, king of Austrasia. After a year or two he traveled through various parts of France, visiting persons of distinction, and composing verses. At Poitiers he visited Queen Radegunda, who induced him to prolong his stay indefinitely. He also enjoyed the friendship of Gregory of Tours. In 599 he was elected bishop of Poitiers. His later works include hymns, epitaphs, and verses in honor of Radegunda and her sister Agnes. He also wrote a long poem in honor of Saint Martin.]

Germain (Germanus), bishop of Paris, a very holy man, according to some, lived at this time. He kept the kings of France in office in this way: They vied with one another in devotional exercises and goodness; what good works they saw this bishop perform, they performed also. Thus great things are accomplished by the examples of good shepherds.[Germain, Bishop of Paris, was educated in an abbey at Autun. His fame reached the ears of King Childebert, and he was ordered to Paris, becoming abbot of the monastery of St. Vincent, later called St. Germain-des-Pres. Four years later he became bishop of Paris, and at his request Childebert built a church. Germain showed great courage in opposing the violence and dissolute manners of the king and his nobles. He even excommunicated King Charibert, who had put aside his legitimate wife to marry another woman. Germain died in 576.]

Samson (Sampson), bishop of Dol, was illustrious for his piety. During his ordination, a dove descended from heaven and rested on his head until he was consecrated.[Samson, Bishop of Dol, was born in Glamorganshire, in Britain, and as early as the fifteenth year of his age began the practice of fasting. He was educated in the Old and New Testament, and in geometry, rhetoric, grammar and arithmetic. On the day of his ordination as a deacon, a bird is said to have descended from the heavens and to have perched on his head until the ceremony was completed. He settled at Dol and erected a monastery there. He is said to have assisted at the council of Paris in 555 or 557.]

Amandus, bishop of Maastricht (Traiectensis), in Vasconia, in the time when the inhabitants were still very savage, brought the people to a better life by his piety and learning.

Amandus (c. 684), the apostle of Flanders, was a native of Herbauges, near Nantes. Although born of wealthy parents, he retired in his youth to the Isle of Oye, near LaRochelle, where he embraced a religious life in a monastery. To escape the importunities of his father, who looked to his worldly advantage, he fled the island and visited the tomb of St. Martin at Tours. There he received the clerical tonsure. He distinguished himself among the clergy of Tours, although he lived in a small cell near the cathedral in preparation for his future apostleship.

When Amandus entered on his apostolic career, he maintained his dignity and his virtues, and was loved by the rich and poor. For his mission he chose Belgic Gaul, especially the territory of Ghent, where idolatry still prevailed. Although the people had rejected former missionaries, he succeeded in converting them. He is credited with having restored to life a man whom he snatched from the gallows. Ater reaping an abundant harvest in Flanders, he resolved to preach to the pagan tribes in Germany. He tried to convert the Slavonic peoples, but failed. He returned to Gaul during the reign of King Dagobert. The king had a son, Sigebert, who loved Amandus as a father, and influenced him to accept the bishopric of Maastricht (the Traiectus Superior of the Romans). From this point on he exchanged his missionary work over scattered districts for the supervision of a single diocese. But the work was not to his liking. He preferred the missionary career. With the permission of the pope he shook off the burdens of his diocese and visited Gascony to preach to the Basques; but he met with no success. He therefore returned to Flanders, where he supervised the many monasteries he had founded. His death is variously placed between 661 and 684.

Gregory (Gregorius), archbishop of Tours, was consecrated in the eighth year of the emperor, Justin. He was renowned in all things, and held the office of archbishop for fifteen years. When Gregory the Great became pope, being a well educated man, he wrote a history of the kings of the Franks, and other matters.

Gregory of Tours (538-594), historian of the Franks, belonged to an illustrious senatorial family, many of whose members held high office in the church and bore honored names in the history of Christianity. He lost his father early, and was taken to Clermont-Ferrand to be brought up by his uncle Gallus and by his successor Avitus, and there he received his education. Although he studied the classics, religion occupied most of his time. However, the subtleties of theology did not interest him. At 25 he was ordained deacon. Falling seriously ill, he went to Tours to see a cure at the tomb of St. Martin; and there he lived with Euphronius. So great was the young man’s popularity that on the death of Euphronius in 573, the people unanimously designated him bishop. At that time Tours belonged to Austrasia, and King Sigebert hastened to confirm Gregory’s election. After the assassination of Sigebert (575), the province was ruled by Chilperic for nine years, during which period Gregory displayed great energy in protecting his town and church from the Frankish king. Despite all the king’s threats, he refused to give up Chilperic’s son Meroving, who had sought refuge from his father’s wrath at the sanctuary of St. Martin; and defended bishop Prepextatus against Chilperic, by whom he had been condemned for celebrating the marriage of Meramec and Brunhild. On the death of Chilperic, Tours remained for two years in the hands of Guntram, but when Guntram adopted his nephew Childobert, Sigebert’s son, it again became Austrasia. This change was welcome to Gregory, who often visited the court. We also hear of Gregory at Coblentz, Metz, and at Chalon-sur-Saone, whether he was sent to obtain from Guntram the ratification of the pact of Andelot. In 593 he was at Orleans, where Childobert had just succeeded his uncle Guntram. In the intervals of these journeys he governed Tours with great firmness, repressing disorders, and reducing the monks and nuns to obedience. He died November 17, 594. His History of the Franks is in 10 volumes. The first four cover the period from the Creation to the death of Sigebert, 575. The fifth and sixth books, dealing with matters within his own experiences, bring the record down to the death of Chilperic (584). Books seven to ten are in the form of a diary, recording each important event as it occurred. The last six books are of great historical value. Gregory also wrote seven books of miracles; twenty biographies of bishops, abbots and hermits; also a liturgical manual, as well as a life of St. Andrew from the Greek, and a history of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, from the Syriac.

Gregory was at great pains to be impartial, but did not always succeed. As an orthodox Christian he had nothing good to say for the Arians. He excuses the crimes of kings who protected the church, such as Clovis, but he had no mercy on those who violated ecclesiastical privileges. But at least he concealed nothing, and he invented nothing. We can correct his judgments by his own narrative.

Radegunda (Radegundis), a queen of the Franks, and a native of Thuringia, was stolen and carried away when her fatherland was conquered, and was safely reared by King Lotharius. Although later married to a temporal prince, she was not separated from the heavenly king; for afterwards, through Medardus, she was consecrated to the Lord to a monastic life. With God’s cooperation she built a monastery for the people of Poitiers pursuant to the wish of Lotharius the king. And there she lived with many nuns, in great moderation and performed many wonderful works. She concluded her praiseworthy and blessed life on the 1st day of August.[Radegunda, a queen of the Franks, was the daughter of Berthaire, king of the Thueringians. Berthaire was slain by his brother Hermannfried, who took Radegunda and educated her, but was himself slain by the Frankish kings Theuderich and Clotaire in 529, and Radegunda fell to Clotaire, who later married her. She left him when he unjustly killed her brother, and fled to Medardus, bishop of Poitiers, founded a monastery there, and lived for awhile in peace. She died August 13, 587.]

Gregory (Gregorius) the Great (on account of his piety and the sublimity of his surpassing moral wisdom), excelled all other learned men. He was born of noble senatorial Roman ancestry. He had as his father Gordian and as his mother Sylvia, very noble Romans. Although, in his youth, he attained to the highest point of natural philosophy and wisdom, and was possessed of great riches, he left all for a spiritual life; and this, though hampered by various temporal affairs requiring his attention. After the death of his father he built six monasteries in Sicily, and a seventh at Rome, in honor of Saint Andrew, in which he lived in humble apparel, scorning more costly clothes. He punished his body with such self-denial that he was barely able to survive with his shrunken stomach. He was held in great veneration for his holiness and piety. He wrote many excellent works at Rome and Constantinople for the benefit of the Christian life.[See note on Gregory the Great, Folio CXLVIII verso, below.]


Gregory the Great is represented in pontifical vestments, seated on his throne, and wearing the papal tiara. In his hands he holds an open book, no doubt symbolic of his homilies and other famous works attributed to him. Before him, on a table, struts what would appear to be a rather militant bird, its wings outspread. No doubt this is intended to represent a dove just descended from heaven, and which is the particular attribute of Gregory.