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

Jodoc (Iodocus) the holy hermit, was renowned in these times for his virtue; and although the son of a king of the Britons, he disdained royal honors and worldly pomp and went to the wilderness. And there he lived in piety for a long time. He performed many miracles, and finally died in blessedness.[Jodoc (or Josse; in Latin Iodocus), and his elder brother Judicael (commonly called Giguel), were the sons of Juthael, king of Brittany, in Gaul. The older brother became king in the year 630 but renounced the crown in favor of Jodoc, and retired to a monastery; but Jodoc did likewise. They joined a company of pilgrims who planned to go to Rome. They first went to Paris, where a duke prevailed upon them to settle on his estate, and built them a chapel and cells in which they lived as hermits. Jodoc died in 669.]

Etheldreda (Egiltrudis), queen of England, was renowned at this time. Although espoused to three men, she remained a virgin. Eleven years after her burial her body was found still undecayed.

Etheldreda (in Anglo-Saxon her name is spelled ‘Æthelthryth’). According to Bede, King Egfrid (‘Ecgfrith’ in Anglo-Saxon)took to wife Etheldreda, daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles. She had before been given in marriage to Tonbert, chief of the Southern Girvii, who inhabited the counties of Rutland, Northampton, and Huntingdon, with part of Lincolnshire, and had their own princes, dependent upon the kings of Mercia. But he died soon after he had received her, and she was given to the aforesaid king. Though she lived with him 12 years, yet she preserved her virginity; and according to Bede, the miraculous circumstance that her flesh, being buried, could not suffer corruption, is a token that she had not been defiled by familiarity with man.

Etheldreda requested the king to permit her to lay aside worldly cares, and to serve Christ. And having at length prevailed, she went into the monastery of the Abbess Ebba, who was aunt to King Egfrid. A year later she was made abbess in the country called Ely, where, having built a monastery, she became the virgin mother of many virgins dedicated to God. It is said that from the time of entering the monastery she never wore linen, only woolen garments, and rarely washed in a hot bath, unless just before great festivals, and then only after having first washed the other servants of God there present. She seldom ate more than once a day, except on some urgent occasion. From matins she continued prayer until it was day; some also say that by the spirit of prophecy she foretold the pestilence by which she was to die and the number that should be then snatched away out of her monastery. She died seven years after she had been made abbess, in the midst of her flock, and, as she had requested, was buried in such a manner as she had died, in a wooden coffin.

Aurea, most holy virgin, disciple or Saint Eligius, flourished at Paris at this time, renowned for her chastity, holiness and great patience. She was of noble parentage. Because of her piety and knowledge Eligius made her the superior over three hundred virgins.[Aurea was appointed abbess of a nunnery settled by Eligius at Paris. She is usually represented as holding a nail, or seated on a chair studded with nails that pierce her flesh. She is said to have recited the Psalms daily for seven years in such a chair as self-punishment for venturing to correct a deacon for infringing a rule.]

Fursey (Forseus), son of a Hibernian king, with two brothers, scorning the pomp of royalty, entered monastic life. He built a monastery, and after his brothers were consecrated, he died in blessedness. Four years later his body was disinterred by bishops Eligius and Ausbertus, and no signs of decomposition were found.[Fursey (Forseus), son of an Irish king, was abbot of a monastery in an Irish diocese where now stands the church of Kill-fursa. King Clovis II invited him to France, where he died.]

Oswald (Oswaldus), king of Northumbria, was slain by Penda, the Mercian king, in the first year of Emperor Heracleonas. He ruled over people of many tongues, namely the Picts, Scots, Britons and English. His right hand with which he bestowed many alms, together with his arm, head and sinews all undecomposed, are still to be seen, although the rest of his body has gone to ashes. The hand is shown as a relic at Bamburgh (Bembaburch).

Oswald (c. 605-642), sixth Christian king of Northumbria, who was expelled on the accession of Edwin, although he himself was a son of Edwin’s sister. He spent some time in exile in Ionia, where he was instructed in Christianity. In 634 he defeated the British king of Ceadwalla, thereby avenging his brother Eanfrigh, who had succeeded Edwin in Bernicia, and became king of Northumbria, raising his realm to the position it held in the time of Edwin, with whom he is classed by Bede as one of the seven great Anglo-Saxon kings. He brought under his dominion all the nations and provinces of Britain. His close alliance with the Celtic church is the characteristic feature of his reign. In 635 he sent to the elders of the Scots for a bishop, and when Bishop Aidan arrived, he assigned to him the Island of Lindisfarne as his see, near the royal city of Bamburgh (Bamborough). Bede records that when he was at dinner on the holy day of Easter with this bishop a silver dish full of dainties before him, and they were just ready to bless the bread, the servant, whom he had appointed to relieve the poor, suddenly came in and told the king that a great multitude of needy persons from all parts were sitting in the streets begging some alms of the king. The king immediately ordered the meat set before him to be carried to the poor, and the dish to be cut up in pieces and divided among them. At which sight, the bishop who sat beside him, much taken with this act of piety, laid hold of his right hand, and said, ‘May this hand never perish;’ which fell out according to his prayer, for his arm and hand being cut off from his body, when he was slain in battle, remain entire and uncorrupted to this day, and are kept in a silver case, as revered relics, in St. Peter’s church. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, “This year (642), Oswald, king of the North-humbrians, was slain by Penda and the South-humbrians at Maserfeld on the Nones (5th) of August, and his body was buried at Bardney. His sanctity and his miracles were afterwards manifested in various ways beyond this island, and his hands are at Bambrough, uncorrupted.”

According to another entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, for the year 909, the body of Oswald was at that time removed from Bardney into Mercia.

Saint Gertrude (Gerdrudis) of Nivelles, died in the 20th year of the emperor Constans. She was a daughter of Ida, widow of King Pepin, who, with the consent of the holy Amandus, built a cloister, and placed her daughter in it over the virgins. On the day of her death she appeared to an abbess at Trier, who knew of her reputation, and to her, announced her death. She was illustrious for many miracles.[Gertrude. See illustrations below.]

Leodegar (Leodegarius), the bishop during the time of Constans the emperor, was tortured in many ways, imprisoned and starved by Ebroïn (Ebronius), a rogue whom Theodoric, the emperor, had received hack into his good graces. After cutting out his eyes, tongue, and vitals, and lacerating his heels, he was beheaded. After his death he became illustrious for many miracles. [The life of Leodogar (Leodogarius in the , and later known as Leger in French;) is involved in that of Ebroin (Ebronius in the ), Frankish “mayor of the palace,” a Neustrian, who wished to impose the authority of Neustria over Burgundy and Austrasia. In 656, at the moment of his accession to power, Sigebert III, the king of Austrasia, had just died, and the Austrasian mayor of the palace, Grimoald, was attempting to usurp the authority. The great nobles, however, appealed to the king of Neustria, Clovis II, and unity was re-established. But in spite of a very firm policy Ebroin was unable to maintain this unity, and while Clotaire III, son of Clovis II, reigned in Neustria and Burgundy, he was obliged in 660 to give the Austrasians a special king, Childeric II, brother of Clotaire III, and a special mayor of the palace, Wulfoald. His efforts to maintain the union of Neustria and Burgundy were opposed by the great Burgundian nobles, who rose under Leodogar, bishop of Autun, defeated Ebroin, and interned him in the monastery of Luxeuil (670). Soon, however, Leger was defeated by Wulfoald, and himself confined at Luxeuil. Ebroin and Leger then left the cloister. Each looked for support to a different Merovingian king. Leger was besieged in Autun, forced to surrender and had his eyes put out; on October 12, 678, he was put to death after undergoing prolonged tortures.]

Vigilius, the bishop of Autesiodorum,[Now Auxerre; formerly a town of the Senones in Gallia Lugdenensis. The Latin edition of the misspells Autesiodorum as Antisiodorenum.] of noble birth, illustrious for his piety, administered the said bishopric for 26 years. And there, outside of the city, he built a church to the Blessed Mary together with a cloister. By reason of his piety he despised the enemies of righteousness; for this reason he was slain in the forest by Warachus, an officer of the king of France. This same Warachus was a relative of Ebroϒn (Ebrionio), who persecuted Leodogar. This same Ebroϒn was seen as he was carried to hell by demons. But when Vigilius was being taken home through the city of Sens (Senona), the chains of the prisoners broke and they emerged from their cells; and they brought their chains to the aforesaid church.[Very little is known about Vigilius. However, the basic facts seem to be the following: Vigilius was assassinated about 684 in a forest near Compiègne, doubtless at the instigation of Gilmer, son of Waraton, mayor of the palace.]


Jodoc (Jodocus), the hermit, is portrayed as a pilgrim. He wears a broad-brimmed hat, turned up in front and faced with an escallop-shell affixed to it. Fuller, in his Church History says that shells were employed by pilgrims because they were made use of as cups and dishes by the pilgrims in Palestine, and that Nicholas de Villers, the first of the family who attended Edward I on crusade, bore the escallops to denote a tour to Palestine. According to Fosbroke’s British Monachism these escallops were denominated by ancient authors, the Shells of Gales, or Gallicia, plainly applying to a pilgrimage to Compostella, and not to Jerusalem. It was usual to return by way of Compostella, and the shells appear to have implied this. The legend which the old Spanish writers offer in explanation of this badge is given in Cutt’s Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages. As a pilgrim this saint also carries a staff around which is woven or bound a list or long narrow strip of cloth, crosswise. I have not been able to discover its significance, but note the observations of Reverend Cutts: “We may call to mind the list wound crosswise round a barber’s pole, and imagine that this list was attached to the pilgrim’s staff for use, or we may remember that a vexillum, or banner, is attached to a bishop’s staff, and that a long, narrow riband is often affixed to the cross-headed staff of the Savior in medieval representations of the Resurrection.” From the end of the staff, as here portrayed, is suspended, by a ring, another object resembling a purse or wallet, the so called “scrip,” a small bag which contained the pilgrim’s food and his few necessities. There is nothing in the text to bear out the representation of Jodoc as a pilgrim. He may have made a pilgrimage at some time, according to accounts not now available, and may therefore have been represented as a pilgrim. This occurred occasionally when some prominent or wealthy person returned from Palestine, and requested that his effigies after death might be sculptured in his pilgrim’s habit.


Oswald, 6th king of Northumbria, is portrayed with crown, orb and sceptre. It is the usual representation of a king in the Chronicle, except that in this instance a black raven, in silhouette, has perched upon the orb, a ring in its bill. The raven was the standard of the Norsemen, and among the ancient Greeks and Romans was dedicated to the sun-god Apollo. Like the magpie of later days it was held to be a symbol of ill-fortune. When these birds therefore are introduced in Christian art, as Hulme (Symbolism in Christian Art) observes, they ordinarily reflect the prevalent idea. Thus in some manuscripts they are represented as perching in the tree from which Eve gathers the forbidden fruit. The raven is connected with the history of some of the saints; it is placed at the feet of St. Benedict; it bears a ring in its mouth to St. Ida; brings a letter to St. Oswald, and guards the body of the sainted martyr Vincent, whose corpse was thrown to the dogs in the street. In the present instance the raven has just perched on the orb in the hands of Oswald, and is apparently bringing him the ring it holds in its bill, no doubt to give significance to some legend woven into the life of the saint but not recorded in the Chronicle.


Gertrude (Gerdrudis), daughter of the Frankish major-domo Pepin, is here portrayed as a nun or abbess, for such she was--of the convent of Nivelles. She was born in 626 and died in 659, and as the patron saint of travelers, is equivalent to the ancient pagan goddess Freyja. In this portrait she has a distaff before her and is spinning from it by hand. Four black mice, in silhouette, are introduced. One is climbing up the distaff, while another has already reached the top and appears to be nibbling at the wool or flax about to be spun. A third mouse is running up the shoulder of the saint, while a fourth has reached the top of her head. This Gertrude of Nivelles, in Brabant, is a favorite saint in Belgium, where she is invoked for protection against mice, rats and moles, the water from a spring in the crypt of her church having been long used to sprinkle fields infested by vermin. She often appears in ecclesiastical decoration and illuminated manuscripts, surrounded by mice and rats, or, as here, with rats and mice running up and down her spinning wheel. she is said to have been specially attached to cats, being the natural enemy of their prey. Butler describes her as the daughter of Pepin, of Landen, mayor of the palace of the French kings of Austrasia. She was born in 626 and died on March 17, 659.