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

Constantine (Constantinus) the Fifth, son of Emperor Leo III, reigned alone for 33 years after the death of his father; and he followed his father’s evil ways. He disparaged the laws and ordinances of the holy fathers with all his might and spent his whole life in iniquity. He practiced the black arts and was addicted to excesses. After he had destroyed the holy images everywhere and had slain Constantine the bishop of the imperial city, who opposed his evil conduct, and had supplanted him with Nicetas, his fellow in crime, the pope sect his emissaries to Constantinople to admonish him under threat of excommunication, and demanding that he restore the images. But the obdurate Constantine scorned these papal admonitions and took into his good graces the Bulgarian king, Sabinus, against whom he had previously made war, and who had also destroyed the images. On the advice of Anastasius, the heretic and Constantinopolitan bishop, he also killed many monks and worthy lay Christians because of their faith. So great a plague occurred at this time that many houses died out altogether. Anastasius, the heretic, died a miserable death, excrement bursting from his mouth. And Constantine was seized with a wild ecstasy, and he died screaming, Although I am still alive, I have been consigned to an unquenchable fire. His son Leo, the fourth of that name, had previously been appointed heir to the empire.

Constantine V, son of Leo III, the Iconoclast, was emperor from 740 to 775. On his succession, and while fighting the Arabs, his brother-in-law, an Armenian named Artavasdus, a supporter of the image worshippers, was proclaimed emperor; and it was not until the end of 743 that Constantine reentered Constantinople. When he felt secure, he decided to settle the religious controversy. He assembled 338 bishops, by whom image worship was forbidden as contrary to Christian doctrine. But resistance to iconoclasm continued through the influence of many monks, resulting in a campaign against the monasteries which were closed and monks and nuns compelled to marry. As a result the pope defected and obtained protection from Pepin, king of the Franks. From this point on nominal dependence of Rome and the papacy on emperors at Constantinople ceased. Although reviled by medieval chroniclers as a monster of iniquity, Constantine is now generally regarded by historians as a very able ruler. He restored the aqueduct built by Valens, repeopled Constantinople after the plague, revived prosperity, and fought with success against the Arabs, Slavs and Burgundians.

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

Leo the Fourth, son of Constantine the Fifth, reigned as emperor and successor to his father for five years from the Year of the Lord 777. His father espoused him to Irene (Hirenem), most noble and beautiful among women; and she bore him a son named Constantine. During the reign of Leo, the empire merely existed in name; for the barbarians harassed the Eastern Empire constantly. The Romans, exhausted by wars, looked to the Gauls or Franks. And although the emperor marched to Syria with his forces, he returned home on the approach of the enemy, giving himself over to indolence and sinking into countless vices and evils. He so loved precious stones that he could not be appeased with the largest gems. He placed on his head the most costly crown in the treasury of Saint Sophia, and wore it through the city; by divine vengeance the jewels in the crown took fire and burned him; and so he suffered a death not unlike that of his father. After his life ended his wife Irene and his son Constantine received the empire.

Leo IV, called Chazar, succeeded his father Constantine V as emperor of the East in 775. He associated with him in the empire his young son Constantine, and suppressed an uprising led by his five stepbrothers, which broke out in consequence. Leo was largely under the influence of his wife Irene, and when he died in 780, he left her as the guardian of his successor Constantine VI.

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

Constantine (Constantinus) the Sixth, son of the aforesaid Leo, and born of Irene (Hyrene), reigned as emperor with his mother for 10 years. This most intelligent and god-fearing empress, very beautiful in person, ruled the empire with righteousness and gave peace to the people. She reared her son with much care, intending that he should not follow the evil habits of his father and ancestors, to which she believed him inclined by nature. She called a council of three hundred fifty bishops and thereby silenced the heresy of the iconoclasts. But her son, with whom ancestral evils gained the upper hand, would no longer endure the piety, devotion and goodness of his mother and deposed her from guardianship. Alone in the sovereignty and free to follow inherited inclinations, he indulged in cruel practices. One of these cruelties consisted in securing pleasure for himself by digging out people’s eyes and blinding them. The people of Constantinople therefore concerned themselves with discovering another ruler. To him was espoused a woman called Mary; but he forced her into a monastery, placing the imperial crown upon the head of a maid. For such misdeeds the citizens of Constantinople were moved to restore his mother Irene to the throne. When this was accomplished, Irene seized Constantine and blinded and imprisoned him. She reigned alone for five years, and during that time entered into an alliance with Charles (Carolo).[Constantine VI, grandson of Constantine V, succeeded his father Leo IV in 780 under the guardianship of his mother Irene. In 782, the Arabs penetrated as far as the Bosporus, exacting annual tribute as the price of an inglorious peace. After Constantine came of age, his mother still retained supreme power; but at length he caused her arrest, before he pardoned her in 792. In 796, she plotted against him and in the following year he was seized and blinded. According to some he died on the same day, while according to others he survived for several years.]

Aistulf (Aystulphus), Lombard king, reigned eight years. He attacked the country about Rome; but by means of gifts and supplications the pope moved him to peace hoping that he would observe it for a number of years. But soon afterwards Aistulf besieged Rome and ravaged the country all around it with great damage. Those of the city of Rome who should refuse to surrender, he threatened to hang or strangle. And when the pope admonished Aistulf with still greater earnestness, Aistulf remained unmoved. However, Pepin forced him to desist from his purpose and to keep the peace. After many wars Aistulf finally died of a stroke during a hunt.[Aistulf, king of the Lombards, conquered the Exarchate of Ravenna and converted it into a dukedom; after which he led his forces against Rome, then practically ruled by the pope though nominally subject to the Eastern emperor. Alarmed by the danger that menaced Italy, the pope, Stephen II, appealed to Pepin the Little, son of Charles Martel, first Carolingian king of the Franks. In 754 Pepin marched into Italy, besieged Aistulf in Pavia, his capital, and compelled him to purchase peace by ceding to the pope the places which he had seized in the Roman dukedom, along with the Exarchate of Ravenna and the marches of Ancona. But as soon as Pepin retired Aistulf renewed the war, encamped before Rome, and demanded the pope’s surrender as a condition of sparing the city. Pepin again entered Italy and enforced peace, compelling surrender of all the conquered territory. Although Aistulf secretly resolved to renew the war later, he was killed by a fall from a horse. After this the Lombard kingdom was distracted by a disputed succession.]