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

Year of the World 6173

Year of Christ 974

Donus the Second, a Roman, succeeded Pope Benedict. He was a pope of much modesty and integrity; but during his pontificate he accomplished nothing worthy of great praise; for he died in the first year of his pontificate and was buried in the Basilica of Peter. The seat was then vacant only two days.

Pope Boniface (Bonifacius) the Seventh, whose origin and surname are not mentioned because of his ignoble birth, acquired the pontificate by evil cunning; and he lost it in like manner; for through persecution on the part of pious citizens he was compelled to avoid the city of Rome. Therefore he left Rome, carrying with him the costly treasures of the Basilica of Peter and fled to Constantinople. There he stayed long enough to realize a large sum of money by the sale of these treasures. With this money he hoped, through bribes and gifts, to influence certain persons, and thus to recover the papal office. But he was opposed by certain pious people, particularly by a certain cardinal, whom he caused to be seized and deprived of his sight. Boniface died, ending his life in disgrace and discord. He sat only seven months and five days. The seat was then vacant twenty days.[Boniface VII was pope from 984 to 985. His family name was Franco. In 974 he was substituted by Crescentius and the Romans for Benedict VI was assassinated. He was ejected by Count Sicco, the representative of the emperor Otto II, and fled to Constantinople. On the death of Otto (983) he returned, seized Pope John XIV, threw him into prison, and installed himself in his place.]

Ulrich (Udalricus), bishop of Augsburg, born of the noble family of the counts of Dilligen, was reared in the monastery of Saint Gall; and he received instruction in the Scriptures and in divine service, with the purpose of entering the clergy. But a woman hermit warned him not to do this, prophesying that he would become a bishop. Afterwards his friends placed him with bishop Adalbert. Finally, by God’s will, he was elected to bishop; and he zealously devoted himself to divine contemplation and to the restoration of the church, and by virtuous practices and constant prayer he accomplished miraculous things, particularly in the Hungarian wars in which Emperor Otto was victorious. In this same war Saint Ulrich lost his brother Theobald (Diopoldum) and Regnibold, his sister’s son. Finally, after many trials of patience he died, in the Year of the Lord nine hundred seventy-three, at the age of eighty-three. He was buried by Saint Wolfgang, bishop of Regensburg, in the church of Saint Afra, at Augsburg. He was highly renowned for his piety and miracles.

Ulrich (or Udalric), bishop of Augsburg, was the son of Hupald, count of Dilligen, and Dietpirch (also called Theoberga), daughter of Burchard, duke of Bavaria. He was born in 893 and educated at the monastery of St. Gall. He returned home at the age of fourteen, and was confided by his parents to the care of Adalbert, bishop of Augsburg. In 909, at the age of sixteen, he went to Rome, and was well received by the pope. On the death of Adalbert, in 923, Ulrich, then thirty years of age, was appointed his successor as bishop of Augsburg. His biographers say much of his charity, frugality, and piety.

Henry I died in 936 and was succeeded by his son Otto I. His son Ludolf rebelled against the emperor in 951, and was joined by Arnulf, son of the late duke of Bavaria. Ulrich remained firm in his allegiance to the emperor, and Arnulf entered Augsburg, demolished the fortifications and pillaged the churches. He besieged the bishop in the castle of Mechinen, but was routed by the troops of the emperor. The bishop issued from his confinement, and passing between the camps endeavored, not successfully, to reconcile the emperor with his son; and peace was again established. Arnulf had fallen under the walls of Ratisbon (Regensburg); but a powerful party in Bavaria, headed by his brother Werner, was induced by hatred of Henry, duke of Bavaria, the close ally of the emperor, to have recourse to the Hungarians, whom they invited into the country. These barbarians boasted of their numerical strength, saying that their horses would drain every river in Germany. They besieged Augsburg, whose treasures attracted them. The bishop had rebuilt the walls, and had called to his aid his brother Theobald, his nephew Reginbold, and Burchard, of Swabia, who had married Liutgard, his sister. The barbarians were encamped on the river Lech outside the city walls. Their chiefs drove them into the trenches with long whips. At the first onslaught the Hungarian chief was killed, and his followers fell back in confusion. The weavers of Augsburg made a sally, and gained possession of the shield of the Hungarian king, which has ever since been borne by their guild. Otto assembled the carrier-ban of the empire, the Bohemians joined their forces with his, and fell on the Hungarian horde under the walls of Augsburg in August 955. The bishop sent forth by night all his retainers to join the emperor, and retired into the cathedral with the women to pray for success.

The Hungarians rapidly crossed the river, fell into the rear of the German army, and were pressing hard upon the Swabians, when the fortune of the day was turned by Conrad of Franconia and Lothringia, the husband Liutgard, daughter of the emperor. A large number of the enemy were drowned in attempting to escape across the river. Conrad was mortally wounded, and the brother of the bishop, and his nephew, were slain. It is said that 100,000 Hungarians fell in this great battle. Two of their princes were hanged on the gates of Augsburg. Few of the Hungarians escaped to their country.

St. Ulrich now set to work repairing the damage done by the war. He restored the church of Saint Afra. In 967, being now well along in years, he prevailed upon the emperor to give the see of Augsburg after his death to his nephew Adalbert; but this step caused general dissatisfaction among the Bavarian clergy. Ulrich was called upon to defend himself before a synod and pleaded his advanced years and a desire to retire from his labors into a Benedictine monastery. This was no answer to the charge of having violated the canons by this appointment. But the bishop was 82, and esteemed by all for his sanctity. No censure was voted, but it was decided that Adalbert swear that he accepted the office without knowledge that his appointment was in violation of the canons; and this he did. Adalbert died the following year, and St. Ulrich regarded this as a judgment on what had been attempted. He died a month or two later.

Pope Benedict (Benedictus) the Seventh, a Roman, immediately at the beginning of his pontificate condemned in council one Gilbert, a seditious necromancer, and restored to office Arnulf, the bishop, who had been driven out by Gilbert. Afterwards, with the consent of Emperor Otto the Elder, he crowned the latter’s son and his wife Theophano (Theophania) in the Lateran Church. This pope admonished all that in the election of a Roman emperor they should concern themselves with the status and general welfare of Christianity. He died in the eighth year and sixth month of his pontificate. And the seat was vacant for five days.[Benedict VII was pope from 974 to 983. He was elected through the intervention of a representative of the emperor, who drove out the intruder Franco (Boniface VII). Benedict governed Rome quietly for nearly nine years, something very rare in those days.]

Pope John (Ioannes) the Fourteenth, a Roman, or (as some will have it) from Pavia, was seized by the Romans in the third month of his pontificate, and imprisoned in the Castle Angelo. There he was so closely confined, that in the face of filth, hunger and distress, he died. For what reasons this was done is really not known.[John XIV (Pietro Canepanova), pope from 983 to 984, successor to Benedict VII, was born at Pavia. He was bishop of Pavia, and imperial chancellor of Otto II. Otto died shortly after his election, when Boniface VII, on the strength of the popular feeling against the new pope, returned from Constantinople and placed John in prison, where he died either by starvation or poison.]

Pope John (Ioannes) the Fifteenth, a Roman whose father was Leo, a priest from the region of Gallina Alba, having attained to the pontificate, became bitterly enkindled with hatred against the clergy; for this reason he was deservedly hated in turn by them. He favored his kin and near relatives in ecclesiastical and civil matters, in disregard of divine honor and the dignity of the Roman church. This mistake he passed on to his successors in such measure that it has come down to our own times. He died in the eighth month of his pontificate, and was buried in the Basilica of Peter.[John XV, pope from 985 to 996, generally recognized as the successor of Boniface VII, the pope John who was said to have ruled for four months after John XIV, being now usually omitted and classified as an antipope. John XV was the son of Leo, a Roman presbyter. His authority was hampered by Crescentius, patrician of Rome, but the presence of the empress Theophano in Rome from 989 to 991 restrained the ambition of Crescentius. He was succeeded by Gregory V.]

Conrad (Conradus), bishop of Constance, was highly renowned in this period for his sanctity, piety, learning, and other virtues. He was born of noble parents in Germany, and was first taught the Scriptures by Nothing (Nothingo), the bishop of Constance, a judge in ecclesiastical matters. Later he was elected provost. After the death of Nothing he was elected bishop by Saint Ulrich and the clergy. One Easter Day, while performing the office of the mass, trusting to God, he swallowed a spider that had fallen into the chalice; but it crept out of his mouth and on to the table; so he remained unharmed. He died on the 6th day of the Kalends of December in the 62nd year of his being a bishop.[Conrad, bishop of Constance, was the son of Henry, Count of Altdorf, of the Guelf family, and he had a brother named Rudolph. Conrad was brought up for the Church, and on being ordained priest, was at once invested with the office of provost of the cathedral of Constance. His rank and piety pointed him out to the electors in 934 as a suitable person to fill the vacant see on the death of Bishop Nothing. He was a friend of St. Ulrich of Augsburg. Conrad exchanged lands with his brother, so as to obtain estates near Constance, and with these he endowed the see. He made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem. One Easter Day a spider fell into the consecrated chalice. In those times spiders were considered poisonous. Conrad deemed it most reverent to swallow the spider, after which he sat in agony of mind, expecting death. An hour or two later he threw up the spider. He died in 976; the has misstated how long he was bishop by writing the Roman numeral lxii (62) in place of xlii (42).]