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

Otto the Third, son of the emperor Otto the Second, and who in the year nine hundred eighty-four succeeded his father in the sovereignty while yet a child, reigned for 18 years. He was not unlike his ancestors in virtue and as a defender of the Roman church. He fought many wars with great praise and renown. But when upon the death of his father, the emperor, daily sessions were held for the election of another emperor, some favored this Otto the Third, while others preferred Henry (Heinricum), duke of Bavaria, nephew of the emperor Otto the First. And the electors were of the opinion that the matters touching Crescentius Numentano should receive attention; and so the Germans who had frequently been at Rome, elected Otto the Third. In order that no uprising might occur, the pope confirmed the choice of the Germans. After Otto had been elected, he consumed 11 years in furthering peace and unity at home, before proceeding to Rome. Afterwards he was consecrated and crowned as emperor by his friendly kinsman, pope Gregory, and went to the Archangel Michael’s on Mount Gorganum, where he took his oath. He then returned to Rome, and from there went to Germany. But the Romans felt great resentment against Pope Gregory because he had crowned Otto as emperor. Through threats Gregory was compelled to follow after Emperor Otto in order to secure his assistance. Thus the emperor proceeded to Rome with a powerful army, as has already been stated under Gregory. Although historians have said little about these last two emperors, yet they were earnest and wonderful men; so that one earned the surname of the Red, or Pale Death of the Saracens, and the other, the surname, Wonder of the World. Now when this emperor Otto the Third had restored peace and tranquility in Italy, and was about to return to Germany, he was poisoned at Rome, and died. His remains were brought to Germany and were buried with his ancestors.

Otto III, surnamed “the Wonder of the World” (mirabilia mundi), was the only son of Otto II by Theophano, daughter of the eastern emperor, Romanus II. He was born 980, and was only three years of age when he succeeded his deceased father. Early in 984 he was seized by Henry II, the Quarrelsome, the deposed duke of Bavaria, who claimed the regency as a member of the reigning house, and probably entertained kingly aspirations for himself. However, due to strong opposition, Henry was compelled to hand over the young king to his mother. Otto’s abilities were carefully cultivated, and Gerbert of Aurillac, archbishop of Reims, was one of his instructors. The regency was in the hands of Theophano until her death, when control passed to a council.

In 995 Otto was declared of age, and in the following year he crossed the Alps and was recognized as king of the Lombards at Pavia. Before he reached Rome, Pope John XV, who had invited him to Italy, died; because of this he raised his own cousin Bruno to the papal chair as Gregory V. By this pontiff Otto was crowned emperor in 996. On his return to Germany Otto learned that Gregory had been driven from Rome, which was again in the power of John Crescentius, patrician of the Romans, and that a new pope, John XVI, had been elected. In 998, Otto led Gregory back to Rome, took the Castle Angelo by storm, and killed Crescentius. Soon afterwards John XVI died, and Otto appointed his former tutor Gerbert, who took the name of Silvester II.

Leaving Italy in the summer preceding the year 1,000, when it was popularly believed the end of the world would come, Otto made a pilgrimage to the tomb of his old friend Adalbert, bishop of Prague, at Gnesen, and raised the city to the dignity of an archbishopric. On his return to Rome, trouble arose between Otto and the citizens, and for three days the emperor was besieged in his palace. After a temporary peace he fled to a monastery near Ravenna. Troops were collected, but while conducting a campaign against the Romans, Otto died in 1002.


Adalbert of Prague was born in 956, of one of the most illustrious families of Bohemia. He was entrusted to his namesake, Adalbert, bishop of Magdeburg. On the death of the bishop in 981 Adalbert returned to Bohemia, and lived in youthful amusements, exercising the profession of arms. When the bishop of Prague died, Otto II appointed him to the vacant see. He was ordained in 982, and he never after smiled, so impressed was he with the responsibility left upon him.

Pope John XIV had been assassinated by order of Crescentius, who had also made away with Benedict VII; and John XV was expelled from Rome. An extraordinary council was convoked by the pope at Reims (995). Hugh Capet, the new French monarch, who planned the foundation of a Gallican church, independent of Rome, had deposed Arnulf, bishop of Reims. The German bishops and the pope condemned Hugh for this, and he was compelled to yield. The pope died the following year, and the emperor marched into Italy for the purpose of regulating the affairs of the church. Crescentius was speedily overcome and Otto placed the papal tiara on the head of Bruno, who assumed the name of Gregory V. Adalbert came from Prague to witness the ceremony, and Gerbert, one of the most profound reasoners of the age, was also present.

Adalbert was sadly disappointed in his efforts to reform the barbarous people of Bohemia, resigned his see, and retired into the peace of a cloister at Rome. But Gregory would not suffer him to shrink from his charge, and Adalbert again started for Prague. The Bohemians hearing of his intended return, massacred his family and burnt their castles. Finding it impossible to re-enter Prague, he went north to preach to the pagans in Prussia; and there he was slain by a party of Wends, near Danzig. His relics are venerated in the cathedral of Gnesen.

, born of noble Bohemian ancestry, was at this time in consideration of his extraordinary and distinguished piety and teaching, made bishop as successor to Dietmar (Ditimarum), and as bishop of Prague, was held in great veneration and esteem. But as he was not able to govern a people accustomed to rapine and adultery, he went to Rome and remained with his brother Gaudentius in the monastery of Saint Alexius until the pope ordered him to return to his flock. As this, however, was not acceptable to him, he went to Hungary and induced King Stephen and almost all the people in Hungary to submit to holy Christian baptism. He then went to Poland, and requested his brother Gaudentius to preach and make known the Gospel at the church in Gnesen. Finally he traveled to the people of Prussia, and while he was diligently expounding the Christian Gospel there, he was slain by the sword. In his honor Saint Stephen, the king, founded the archiepiscopal church at Gran (Strigoniensem).[Gran, a city on the Danube in Hungary; and archiepiscopate.]

Malatesta, the ancient royal family, at this time came to Italy from Germany, and was very helpful to the Roman Empire against the tyrants. For this service emperor Otto the Third gave this family the city of Arriminum as a fief, and endowed it with great liberties and privileges. From this house afterwards came many illustrious highly renowned princes and distinguished men of valor.

Wolfgang, the 11th bishop of Regensburg, was a Swabian, born of noble ancestors. He was learned in rhetoric and oratory. He was very intimate with the archbishop Henry (Heinrico) of Trier. He was a schoolmaster there, and was later consecrated and elected deacon. After the death of the archbishop at Rome, he was for some time attached to Bruno, the archbishop of Cologne. Afterwards he left the world and entered upon a monastic life. Saint Ulrich, bishop of Augsburg, consecrated him as a priest.Later, with the consent and permission of his abbot, he went forth to preach in Noricum, toward the east, in Pannonia, and to Austria and Hungary. There he lived the life of a hermit in all piety. Afterwards Pilgrim (Piligrini), bishop of Passau, and Emperor Otto the Second appointed him bishop of Regensburg. For 26 years he governed this church in all virtue, and performed many miracles. He died in blessedness in the year 994. Duke Saint Henry of Bavaria once came to the grave of Saint Wolfgang to perform his devotions; and there he found written two words: After Sixes. He thought that this meant that he would die in six years, six months, six days. But after the expiration of that period he was crowned as Roman king. Therefore he thanked God and Saint Wolfgang. And he was famous for innumerable other miracles.

Wolfgang, a native of Swabia, was educated in Reichenau, in the Lake of Constance, where he contracted a warm friendship with Henry, afterwards bishop of Treves. He accompanied Henry to Würzburg to finish his studies. He received priest’s orders from Ulrich of Augsburg, and at once went to Pilgrim, bishop of Passau, and offered himself for work in Pannonia. He was recalled from there in 972 to fill the vacant see of Regensburg, which Otto conferred on him. He at once set to work to remedy abuses in the religious houses and to institute necessary reforms. He allowed Bohemia to be cut off from his diocese and constituted into another see, and Dietmar, abbot of Magdeburg, was appointed first bishop of Prague (973).

Wolfgang, after a life spent in good works, fell ill on his way to Pechlava in Lower Austria, and died in 994. His body was brought back to Regensburg and placed in the church of St. Emeran. According to a popular tradition, when Wolfgang entered Regensburg, he asked the people whether they would rather have his body or his miracles, after his death. They elected to have his body, as, without that, they thought they could not have miracles. They have his body, but no miracles are wrought by it, whereas, in other churches dedicated to him, miracles are believed to be wrought by his intercessions.

The last two sentences in this paragraph are not in the German edition of the Chronicle.


Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg, is represented by a special portrait. He appears in Episcopal vestments, a crozier in his right hand, a model of a church (probably the church at Regensburg, which he governed from 26 years) resting on his left arm.