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

duke of Bavaria. To Otto the Great was born Otto the Red. To this same Otto the Second was born Otto the Third. To Henry, the Duke of Bavaria, was born Henry the Pious, and the former died (in the year) from the Incarnation of the Lord 995, and was buried in Saint Haimrand’s (Hemerammi) Monastery at Regensburg. This same Duke Henry had two sons and a daughter. One son was Henry the Good, who afterwards became emperor; the second was Bruno, who became bishop of Augsburg. The daughter, named Gisela (Geysila), was espoused to King Stephen of Hungary, and through her that kingdom was converted to Christianity. But as Saint Henry, the emperor, loved his spouse as a sister, and never knew her, and consequently no issue was born by her, he converted earthly things to heavenly ones, founding a bishopric in honor of Saint Peter and Saint George, and performing many other good works. As this emperor Henry approached death, a great number of devils with much rustle and tumult appeared before the cell of a holy hermit. The hermit asked one of the devils where he was bound. And he answered, To the emperor’s death, to see whether we can find anything against him. The hermit adjured the devil to return and report what happened. And the devil returned, saying they had accomplished nothing; for when the good and the evil were placed into the scales and we thought that the balance was in our favor, there came the burned Lawrence, who placed a golden pot on the side of the good, so that that side weighed more. At this action, in a rage, I broke an ear off the pot. Now this was a cup that the devil called a pot, and it was so large that it had two ears. The cup is shown at Merseburg to this day, for the emperor, to the honor of Saint Lawrence, brought it there. Afterwards it was discovered that Emperor Henry died at the same time, and that the ear was missing from the cup.

Charles (Carolus) the Great begot Louis (Ludovicum), and this Emperor Louis, surnamed the Pious, begot three sons: Charles, King of Gaul; Louis, King of France; and Siegfried, Count Palatine on the Rhine. Siegfried (Sigifridus), by his wife Matilda (Machtildis), begot: Theodoric, bishop of Metz; Adelbert, a canon there; Henry (Heinricum), Count Palatine on the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria; and this holy Kunigunde (Kunegundis). She was espoused to Emperor Henry. Although she lived with him in chastity and piety, yet through prompting of the devil, Henry suspected her with a knight, and to remove any scruples as to her innocence, she was compelled to walk on glowing ploughshares. And she said, O God, as you know me to be untouched by Emperor Henry and all others, so help me. And she walked on the glowing shares unharmed. After having lived for fifteen years in a cloister that she had founded in Hesse, she died, and was buried beside Emperor Henry at Bamberg. Because of her many miracles she was enlisted among the saints.[Kunigunde was the daughter of Siegfried, Count of Luxemburg, and spouse of Emperor Henry II, whom she bore no children. She was active in the founding of the bishopric of Bamberg in 1007. The story of Henry’s suspicions of infidelity, and the consequent ordeal of the ploughshares, are probably fictions. The story is recorded a century later in unauthentic sources. After Henry’s death in 1024 she took the veil in a cloister, which she founded at Kaufungen, near Cassel, and died there on March 3rd, 1031. She was buried in the cathedral at Bamberg beside her husband. She was sainted in the year 1200, and her day is March 3rd.]

In the time of Emperor Henry, while a priest was conducting mass on holy Christmas in the church of Saint Magnus, in a village of the bishopric of Magdeburg, eighteen men and 15 women began to dance and sing in the churchyard there; and they confused the priest in his office, but would not desist. The priest cursed and condemned them to dance and sing for an entire year without cessation. During this time neither rain nor dew fell upon them; nor did they get hungry or tired; nor did their clothing or shoes wear out. After the expiration of a year the archbishop released them. Some of them soon died; some slept for three successive nights; while others trembled the rest of their lives.[See note on Illustration of Dance of Death, Folio CCLXI recto, below.]

Willigis (Villegisus), archbishop of Mainz, was the son of a cartwright. In order that he might not forget his origin, his father wrote the following in his chamber in large letters: Willigis, think from where you have come. He also hung wheels on the wall. For this reason the church of Mainz has a wheel in its coat of arms. He consecrated Henry.[Willigis, archbishop of Mainz, was born at Schoeningen of free parents of humble origin, and educated for the clergy. In 975, Emperor Otto II elevated him to archbishop and to chancellor of Germany. Owing to his prudence and circumspection, the crown of Otto II devolved upon his minor son Otto III as against the pretender, Henry the Quarrelsome. He also supported the regency of Theophano, the mother of Otto III, during his minority. Willigis began the building of the Cathedral of Mainz, restored several monasteries, built a bridge, and supported the schools. He died in 1011. He is said to have adopted the wagon-wheel as his emblem, in virtue of the fact that his father was a cartwright.]

Gisela (Geisia), a very noble virgin, was espoused to Stephen, King of Hungary. Through her zeal the king and the Hungarian people completely accepted the Christian faith.


The Dancers in the Graveyard. Four couples are promenading arm in arm in a graveyard, to bear out the text that once upon a time 18 men and 15 women were dancing and singing in a graveyard to the annoyance of a priest, who was saying mass, as told in the accompanying text. A fifer and a drummer, standing on a flat tombstone, furnish the music for the occasion.


Willigis (Willegisus ep(iscopu)s), archbishop of Mainz, in Episcopal Vestments, holds a crozier in one hand, and a wagon wheel, symbolical of his origin as the son of a cartwright in his left.