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

on all the mountains and elevations in Saxony and Thuringia; and for this purpose he levied a tax. But as this did not bring sufficient revenue, he contrived the attack of the nearest villages and farms, as though by an enemy, so that the people in the vicinity would at all events be compelled to fortify and preserve the buildings that he had begun. And so that he himself might not openly be suspected of ravaging the country, and in order to conceal his evil purpose by an appearance of goodness, he incited the archbishop of Mainz, by every means, to collect tithes of Thuringia (as he had previously often attempted to do), offering to stand by the archbishop and to assist him in the attempt, and by royal authority coerce those who resisted; but this he made conditional, namely, that a portion of such tithes be given to the king in order to enable him to complete the buildings he had undertaken. Accordingly, the bishop called a council at Erfurt; and on the day appointed, came the king, the archbishop, Bishop Herman (Hermanus) of Bamberg, and others, who were called upon to consider and decide the matter. The Thuringians placed their hope and faith chiefly in the abbot of Fulda and of Hernelda, who had many churches and estates in Thuringia that were receiving tithes. And when they were openly requested to give them over, they urged the archbishop, that above all things, and for God’s sake, he cause to remain undiverted that which since ancient times had been given to the cloisters—a right which the papal see had often confirmed by documents, old and new, and which his predecessors in the archbishopric of Mainz had never attempted to disturb. When the archbishop would not desist from his purpose, the Thuringians appealed to the papal see; but the king refused to permit this on pain of death. Immediately after that followed the Saxon war; and after that no tithes of any kind were demanded. And the Thuringians rejoiced that they had found occasion for protecting by force of arms the laws which had been given them and their forefathers. This so severely grieved the king that he almost lost his kingdom, together with his life. In this city lie interred the remains of many saintly persons, attested by celebrated men, namely, the holy bishops Adolarius, Eobanus, Severus, and Vincent, to whom churches have been built. The venerated university had its beginning here in the Year of the Lord 1392, and from it emanated many distinguished and highly learned men, versed in the Holy Scriptures, in jurisprudence, in medicine, and in philosophy. On a number of occasions, this city suffered great loss by fire. On the feast day of Saint Gervasius, in the year 1472, this city was so damaged by fire, involving the churches of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Severus, the merchant’s bridge, the vegetable market, and the place before the steps in the buildings of the laity and the clergy, that almost one-third of the city went up in flames.

Erfurt, in Prussian Saxony, in Germany, is located on the river Gera, about midway between Gotha and Weimar. The origin of Erfurt (Med. Erpesfurt; Latin Erfordia) is involved in obscurity. According to legend it was founded in the eighth century by a certain Erpes, and after him was originally called Erpesford, or Erphesford. It is also certain that in the eighth century it already existed as a city; for in 741 Boniface considered it of sufficient importance to found a bishopric here, when he came to Thuringia to convert to Christianity the indigenous peoples. However, the bishopric that he set up in 741, ceased with the martyrdom of Adolar in 755, after which it was absorbed into the archbishopric of Mainz. In 805 the place received certain market rights from the emperor Charlemagne. Here also, in 936, Henry I held his last Reichstag, and caused his son Otto to be chosen as his successor. Later the overlordship was claimed by the archbishops of Mainz on the strength of charters granted by the emperor Otto I; and although they succeeded in upholding their claim to it, they encountered many difficulties, and the city succeeded in maintaining a certain independence. In 1080 Erfurt was reduced to ashes in the course of the Thueringian-Saxon war; but it was soon rebuilt. From 1109 to 1137 it remained under the over-lordship of the Landgraf of Thuringia, but in 1118 it was taken by Duke Lothar of Saxony. In 1164 Landgraf Ludwig of Thuringia leveled the walls, which the archbishop Siegfried had built in 1070. Five years later they were rebuilt by the archbishop Christian. In 1181 the Reichstag was held at Erfurt, on which occasion Henry the Lion, of Saxony, submitted to the emperor Frederick I. In 1255 the archbishop of Mainz granted the city municipal rights, and Erfurt became practically a free town. Its power was at its height at the beginning of the fifteenth century, when it joined the Hanseatic League. It grew in territorial extent by purchase as well as conquest of additional ground. Its wealth was so great that in 1378 it established a university, the first in Europe that embraced the four faculties. In 1480 over 850 students attended. At this time Erfurt was reckoned one of the greatest cities in Germany, although its population was largely overestimated; for, in the middle of the fifteenth century it had only 32,000 inhabitants. Due to the Saxon war, the great fire of 1472, and the decrease in commerce, the city’s welfare suffered considerably. Nor did the feuds with Mainz, and the religious struggles of the sixteenth century further its development. During the Thirty Years’ War Erfurt was for a time occupied by the Swedes, to whom it opened its doors. In 1664 it was captured by the troops of the archbishop of Mainz, and remained in the possession of the electorate until 1802, when it came into the possession of Prussia.

The city of Erfurt lost its university in 1816, when it was suppressed and its funds devoted to other purposes, among these being the endowment of an institution founded in 1758, and called the Academy of Sciences, and the support of the library which now contains 60,000 volumes and over 1,000 manuscripts. In December 1993, however, the Thuringian state parliament voted to reestablish the university. The university was officially refounded on January 1, 1994, though its first classes did not begin until the start of winter term in 1999.