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

Philippicus, who was also (called) Bardanes (Bardanus), reigned after Justinian for one year and 6 months. He was a man of great intelligence and great eloquence and ingenuity. When Pope Constantine was leaving Constantinople, he warned the emperor Justinian not to undertake severer measures against this Philippicus whom he had already banished to Cherson; but Justinian would not follow his advice, and sent ships against Philippicus with the intention of slaying him. Justinian moved forward with all the men he could raise in Constantinople and Thrace; and there followed a serious battle in which he and his son Tiberius (Tyberius) were left dead after the dispersion and flight of his men. By this victory Philippicus obtained the sovereignty; and he soon turned away from the Christian papal ordinances, and on the erroneous advice of a heretic, he sent letters to the Roman pope and clergy to bless him in his undertakings. But the pope, together with his clergy, refused to gratify his wishes, and, on the contrary, excommunicated him at the request of the Roman people; and he ordained that neither in matters sacred or profane, nor in any other dealings should his name or his sovereignty be mentioned. And so his rule did not endure for long; for as soon as Pope Constantine died, Philippicus was deposed by a Constantinopolitan citizen named Anthemius, also called Anastasius. Philippicus was taken prisoner, deprived of his sight, and cast into prison.[Philippicus, Roman emperor in the East (711-713), became distinguished as a soldier under Justinian II. His proper name, which indicates his Armenian origin, was Bardanes. He made some pretensions to the throne on the outbreak of the first rebellion against Justinian. These led to his banishment to Cherson by order of Justinian. Here Bardanes successfully incited the inhabitants to revolt, and on their assassination of Justinian assumed the purple. Among his acts were the summoning of a conciliabulum (‘unlawful council’) of Eastern bishops, which momentarily restored Monothelitism. His domains were attacked at once by Terbelis, king of the Bulgarians in Europe, and the Saracens in Asia. His reign was ended by a military conspiracy.]

Anastasius, surnamed Anthemius, reigned as emperor for three years after Philippicus; and, as aforesaid, he deprived the said Philippicus of his sight. He sent letters to the Roman pope offering to act as a strong and mighty protector of the Christian faith. Now after this emperor had offered his respects to the pope, and had received confirmation according to the custom, he began to attack the Saracens as enemies of the Christian faith, and ordered a mighty fleet to proceed against Alexandria; but on the way the generals and captains mutinied and ignored the emperor and deposed him; and his successor, Theodosius, compelled him to accept holy consecration, so that as a consecrated person he could not again aspire to the sovereignty.[Anastasius II, Roman emperor in the East, whose original name was Artemius (not, as the has it, Anthemius), was raised to the throne of Constantinople in 713, on the deposition of Philippicus, whom he had served in the capacity of secretary. Anastasius sent an army under Leo the Isaurian, afterwards emperor, to defend Syria against the Saracens; adopted wise and resolute measures for the defense of his capital; attempted to reorganize the discipline of the army; and equipped and dispatched to Rhodes a formidable naval force. The troops of the Opsician province, resenting the emperor’s strict measures, mutinied, killed the admiral, and proclaimed Theodosius emperor. After a six months’ siege, Constantinople was taken by Theodosius; and Anastasius, who had fled to Nicaea, was compelled to submit to the new emperor, and retiring to Thessalonica, became a monk (716). In 721 he headed a revolt against Leo, who had succeeded Theodosius; but though he besieged Constantinople, the enterprise failed, and Anastasius, falling into Leo’s hands, was put to death by his orders.]

Theodosius, the third of that name, ruled the empire for one year after Anastasius. He was not of noble birth, but a scribe in the public revenues. But having attained the sovereignty, he labored as a Christian emperor, and caused the pictures of the holy fathers, which Philippicus had destroyed, to be restored; but before the end of the first year of his reign he was deposed by Leo the Third, and retired to a monastery.[Theodosius III, emperor of the East (716-717) was a financial officer, whom a Byzantine army rebelling against Anastasius II unexpectedly proclaimed monarch in his place. He captured Constantinople after a six month’s siege and deposed Anastasius, but in the following year was himself forced to resign by a new usurper, Leo III. Theodosius ended his life in a monastery.]

Emperor Leo the Third, together with his son Constantius, reigned for twenty-four years after Theodosius; and everything about Constantinople was in a bad state because of the tedium of his reign. He was opposed to the Christian life and unfavorable to the Roman popes, while under him the provinces subject to the empire suffered much damage; for in the first year of his reign, when Athinus and Amortrus attacked the nearer Spanish territory, a great horde of Saracens, who lived in Asia, marched into Thrace; and the leader of their hosts had a thousand ships and besieged Constantinople by land and sea. And although the city of Constantinople was not taken by the enemy at that time, it suffered a frightful calamity, and was depopulated by a plague in which three hundred thousand persons died. Although these things should have drawn the emperor Leo to a course of goodness, yet, as soon as he was relieved of the fear of the Saracens, he thought of nothing but of robbing Rome and Italy of their money, and the churches of their ornaments; and commanded the pope to do away with the pictures and to burn them. However, Pope Gregory would not give his consent to that, but admonished all Christians not to be frightened by the cruelty of this tyrant. And while he (Leo III) persisted in such obstinacy, he finally died, excommunicated and cursed.

Leo III, called The Isaurian, was emperor of the East from 717 to 741. Born about 685 in the Syrian province of Commagne, he rose to distinction in the military service, and under Anastasius II was invested with the command of the Eastern army. In 717 he revolted against the usurper Theodosius III, and marching upon Constantinople, was elected emperor in his place. The first year of Leo’s reign saw a memorable siege of his capital by the Saracens, who had taken advantage of the civil discord in the Roman Empire to bring up a force of 80,000 men to the Bosporus. By his stubborn defense the new ruler wore out the invaders who, after a twelve months’ investment, withdrew their forces. An important factor in the victory of the Romans was their use of Greek fire. Having thus preserved the empire from extinction, Leo proceeded to consolidate its administration, which in the previous years of anarchy had become completely disorganized. He secured its frontiers by inviting Slavic settlers into the depopulated districts and by restoring the army to efficiency; when the Arabs renewed their invasions in 726 and 739 they were decisively beaten on both occasions by the imperial forces.

His civil reforms include the abolition of the system of prepaying taxes, which had weighed heavily on the wealthier proprietors, the elevation of the serfs into a class of free tenants, the remodeling of family and maritime law. These measures, which were embodied in a new code, published in 740, met with some opposition on the part of the nobles and higher clergy. After an apparently successful attempt to enforce the baptism of all Jews and Montanists in the realm (722), he issued a series of edicts against the worship of images (726-729). This prohibition of a custom which had undoubtedly given rise to grave abuses, seems to have been inspired by a genuine desire to improve public morality, and received the support of the official aristocracy and a section of the clergy. But a majority of the theologians and all monks opposed these measures with uncompromising hostility; and in the western parts of the empire the people refused to obey the edict. A revolt that broke out in Greece, mainly on religious grounds, was crushed by the imperial fleet (727); and two years later, by deposing the patriarch of Constantinople, Leo suppressed the overt opposition of the capital.

In Italy the defiant attitudes of Popes Gregory II and III on behalf of image-worship led to a fierce quarrel with the emperor. The former summoned councils in Rome to anathematize and excommunicate the image-breakers (730, 732); Leo retaliated by transferring southern Italy and Greece from the papal diocese to that of the patriarch. The struggle was accompanied by an armed outbreak in the exarchate of Ravenna (727), which Leo finally endeavored to subdue by means of a large fleet. But the destruction of the this naval armada by a storm decided the issue against him.