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

Constantine (Constantinus) the Third was raised to the sovereignty upon the death of his father Heraclius. Chosroes (Cosdroas), the king of Persia, flourished as a powerful victor and could not be prevailed upon to make peace. So Heraclius sent an army against this barbarian people, primarily to protect the city of Constantinople. And he put his son Constantine into the government as his associate, and he appointed the venerable patriarch Sergius and the capable man Bonosus to act as his preceptors. He was afterwards elevated to the throne in his father’s stead; but four months later he was put to death by poison by Martina, his stepmother, and Heracleonas, his brother, who were incited to this misdeed by Pyrrhus, the Constantinopolitan patriarch.[Constantine III, son of the emperor Heraclius by his first wife, succeeded as joint emperor with Heracleonas, the son of Heraclius by his second wife. Court intrigues nearly led to a civil war, which was prevented by the death of Constantine in May 641. He was supposed to have been poisoned by order of his stepmother.]

Heracleonas (Heraclion) took over the sovereignty after the death of his brother and in the time when Cyrus, Sergius and Pyrrhus furthered and held to the Acephalian heresy, to the effect that in Christ there is but one activity of will, though he was both man and God.

Acephali is a term applied to religious sects having no head or leader. It was applied particularly to a strict Monophysite sect that separated itself, in the end of the 5th century, from the rule of the Patriarch of Alexandria (Peter Mongus), and remained “without king or bishop” until it was reconciled by Mark I (799-819). Monophysites was the name given to those who held the doctrine that Christ had but one composite nature, and especially to those who maintained this position in the great controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries. The synod of Chalcedon, in 451, endeavored to steer a middle course between the so-called Nestorian and Eutychian positions. But the followers of Cyril of Alexandria, and with them those of Eutyches, saw in the Chalcedon decree of two natures only another form of the Nestorian duality of persons in Christ, and rose everywhere in opposition. During the period between the Council of Chalcedon and the death of Justinian, the movement on the whole gained in strength, especially in Egypt, and was the cause of civil disturbances in a number of cities. Justinian himself in his later days adopted it; but his successor Justin II took no action either way for six or seven years, and then instituted a quiet but thorough system of suppression, closing Monophysite churches and imprisoning their bishops and priests.

We find two principal varieties of Monophysitism. (a) Severus, bishop of Antioch in 513, and his followers, objected to Chalcedon only because it was an innovation; they fully acknowledged the distinctness of the two natures in Christ, insisting only that they became indissolubly united so that there was only one energy of Christ’s will. Severus laid great stress on the human infirmities of Christ as proving that his body was like ours, created and corruptible; and some of his followers extended this argument to Christ’s human soul, which they said was, like ours, limited in knowledge. (b) Julian, bishop of Halicarnassus, and his followers, held that Christ’s body was so inseparably united with the Logos as not to be consubstantial with humanity. Its natural attributes were so heightened as to make it sinless and incorruptible. The disintegration caused by Monophysitism may have contributed to the rapid and easy victory of Islam in Syria and Egypt.

In Church history the name Monothelites was given to those who, in the 7th century, while otherwise orthodox, maintained that Christ had only one will. Their theory was an attempt to effect some kind of solution of the vital unity of Christ’s person on the basis of the now firmly established doctrine of the two natures. The controversy had its origin in the efforts of the emperor Heraclius to win back to the church and the empire the excommunicated and persecuted Monophysites or Eutychians of Egypt and Syria; and so he broke with the doctrine that the divine and human natures in Christ, while quite distinct in his one person, had but one activity and operation. He upheld the doctrine of one divine-human energy. The controversy became so intense that his successor Constans II prohibited all discussion of the questions of the duality or singleness of either the energy or the will of Christ.

But after the death of Heraclius, Pyrrhus returned from Africa (to which he had been exiled for his heresy) to Rome; and he fell at the feet of Pope Theodore, pleading for mercy and pardon, because (as above stated) he had incited Martina and Heracleonas to an evil deed. Now as this Heracleonas secured the sovereignty after the death of Constantine, and administered the public affairs in an evil and unworthy manner, the Constantinopolitan senate and the people became enraged against Martina and Heracleonas; and they caused her tongue and his nose to be out off, and sent them into exile; and in their fury the people slew Pyrrhus.[Heracleonas (whose official name was Constantine Heraclius, but who never outgrew his diminutive nickname which means ‘little Heracles’) was Roman emperor in the East from February to September 641. He was the son of Heraclius by his second wife Martina. At the end of Heraclius’s reign he obtained through his mother’s influence the title of Augustus (638), and after his father’s death was proclaimed joint emperor with his half-brother Constantine III. The premature death of Constantine, in May 641, left Heracleonas sole ruler. But a suspicion that he and Martina had murdered Constantine led soon after to a revolt, and to the mutilation and banishment of the supposed offenders. Nothing is known about Heracleonas after 641.]

Constans, the Constantinopolitan emperor, and son of the emperor Constantine, was elevated soon after Heracleonas; while Paul, the patriarch, was put into the place of the dead Pyrrhus by the senate and the people, of which mention was made in the description of Pope Martin. And Constans planned an invasion of Italy, not (as he let it be known) to drive the Lombards out of Italy, but to rob the city of Rome and its dependencies of their riches and treasures. Now, when Constans came to Rome he was met before the city by Pope Vitalianus and the clergy, and a great number of the people. He first escorted the emperor to Saint Peter’s, and then to the other churches. The emperor inspected them for five days, one after the other; and he resolved to carry away their treasures. What he saw, made of bronze and marble, he managed to carry away, or to take by force and to load into ships; so that in seven days he deprived the city of Rome of more treasures than the barbarians before him had taken in two hundred fifty-eight years. After this he went to Naples and from there he shipped to Sicily and remained at Syracuse; and there he was slain in his bath by Misesso, an Armenian, in the twenty-eighth year of his sovereignty. In his place Mezezius (Mezentius), by whose deceit they believe Constans was killed, was made emperor by the soliders.

Constans II, emperor of the East from 641 to 668, was the son of Constantine III and Gregoria, and was born November 7, 630. He succeeded after an interval due to the usurpation of Heracleonas, in 641, with Valentine as regent. His reign is notable for disasters at the hands of the Arabs and the Lombards. He fitted out an expedition to recover Egypt then occupied by the Arabs, and tried to get assistance from China. The only result was that the Arabs attacked Greek North Africa, and while he was engaged there Mu-Awijah took Syria and Cyprus and ravaged Cicilia. In 651 the Arabs extended their hold on Sicily and captured Rhodes. In 655 the loss of the sea fight off Lycia endangered Constantinople itself, but Constans profited by the internal dissension of the Arabs and won some successes on the Danube. The Lombards invaded Northern Italy at the beginning of his reign. Constans decided to turn them out, and made the last recorded attempt to establish Rome as the center of the united empire. He left for Italy in 662, and although successful at first, he failed and went to live in Syracuse. Africa now revolted under a new tribute and was lost, and the reign closes with further losses in Italy and the Greek provinces. Constans died mysteriously in his bath at Syracuse in 668. His reign is also notable for heretical disturbances. An edict of Constans, the Typus, prohibited all religious discussion. In 653 the exarch Calliopas captured the pope.

The last sentence in this paragraph is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Pope Martin (Martinus) held a council of one hundred fifty bishops at Rome, against Paul, the Constantinopolitan patriarch. The messengers which said pope had sent (as above stated) to Paul, were, at the command of the emperor Constans, exiled to various islands. When Martin heard this, he first of all, in this same council, revived the excommunication of Cyrus, Sergius and Pyrrhus; and he excommunicated Paul, then patriarch of Constantinople, and sought to deprive him of his office. In the meantime the peace of Italy which had lasted for thirty years between the Romans and the Lombards, was broken; for the Lombards sought to manage matters according to their own wishes, while the Romans opposed themselves to what was undertaken contrary to justice and fairness.