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

Year of the World 6403

Year of Christ 1204

Pope Innocent the Third, a native of Campania, whose ancestors were counts and whose father was Anagninus, was a man who led a most upright life in every way and was very learned. From youth he was devoted to study at Paris, and because of his Scriptural wisdom and good morals, he was made a cardinal by Pope Celestine. On the latter’s death Innocent was elected pope. His books and works, too numerous to mention, show what a highly celebrated and honored man he was. He so despised bribery that he ordered that nothing was to be accepted from a stranger by any official of the papal court, except the scribes and sealers, whose compensation was fixed. In order that every one might have free and sure access to papal officials, he prescribed that there was to be no doorkeeper to the chambers of the notaries or public scribes. When great turmoil and discord in Asia followed upon the death of Henry, Innocent, with remarkable zeal, sought to put an end to these misunderstandings; but his efforts were in vain. When he learned that the power and might of the Saracens had gained the ascendancy in Asia, he called a great council at Rome. Attending it were many distinguished and honorable men. Later he wrote many beautiful, valiant, and elegant books and manuscripts, treating on various subjects; and he compiled a book of the Decretals and of the Canon Law. He made three statutes, namely, one providing that whenever a prince sued another prince, the fine or penalty inflicted should be paid to the pope; another, that princes, no matter of what degree, should honor the priests; the third and last statute concerned elections. The dealings of this pope received no small measure of support and encouragement from the two men, Dominic and Francis. This pope condemned a book written by Abbot Joachim, as well as the errors of the heretic Almericus, who afterwards, together with his adherents, was burned, at Paris. This pope also performed acts of kindness, not without good results. At Rome he built a hospital dedicated to the Holy Spirit; also another called the Hospital of the Tower, and repaired the dilapidated Basilica of Saint Sixtus. After arbitrating the differences of the Genoese and Pisans, he went to Perugia, where he died in the eighteenth year, seventh month, and 16th day of his pontificate. In his life and dealings he was so upright and just that nothing could be urged against him after his death.

Innocent III (Lotario de’Conti di Segni), pope from 1198 to 1216, was the son of Trasimondo, count of Segni. He laid the foundations of his profound knowledge of scholastic philosophy at the University of Paris. At Bologna he studied canon and civil law. On his return to Rome, he became a canon of St. Peter’s, and was later made sub-deacon and cardinal-deacon in turn. In 1198, Celestine III died and on the same day Lotario, though not even a priest, was unanimously elected pope by the assembled cardinals, taking the name of Innocent III. His first acts were to restore the prestige of the Holy See in Italy, where it had been overshadowed by the power of Henry VI. The early death of that sovereign had left Germany divided and Sicily torn by warring factions. It was therefore easy for Innocent to depose the imperial prefect in Rome itself and to oust the German feudatories who held the great Italian fiefs for the empire. Spoleto fell; Perugia surrendered; Tuscany acknowledged the leadership of the pope; and papal rectores once more governed the patrimony of St. Peter. Finally, Henry’s widow, Constance, in despair, acknowledged the pope as the overlord of the two Sicilies, and on her death appointed him guardian of her infant son, Frederick. The effective assertion of this world power is the characteristic feature of Innocent’s pontificate. Other popes before him had upheld the theory of the supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal authority; but it was reserved for Innocent to make it a reality. In Germany his support of Otto IV against Philip of Swabia, then of Philip against Otto, and finally, after Philip’s murder (1208), of the younger Frederick II against Otto, effectually prevented the imperial power during his pontificate from again becoming a danger to the papacy in Italy. Concessions of the cost of the empire in Italy were in every case the price of his support.

Meanwhile, Innocent promoted the crusade that ultimately led to the Latin occupation of Constantinople. He was the first pope to nominate a patriarch for that city, and expressed the hope that from that point on the church would be “one fold under one shepherd.” In 1207, he proclaimed a crusade against the Albigensians. His authority within the church itself exceeded that of his predecessors, and the independent jurisdiction of metropolitans and bishops was curtailed. He brought the patronage of sees and benefices into his own hands by a system which led to intolerable abuses, and placed the church above the state. The 12th ecumenical council assembled at the Lateran under his presidency in 1215 is referred to in the following note.

In this year a Council was called by Innocent at the Lateran concerning the recovery of the Holy Land and Jerusalem. This was attended by thirteen hundred prelates, as well as the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople, seventy archbishops, four hundred and twelve bishops, eight hundred abbots, priors and convent brothers, the legates of the Greek and Roman empires, and the emissaries of the kings of Jerusalem, France, Spain, England, and Cyprus. And although many matters were considered, nothing of consequence followed, because of the war between the Pisans and the Genoese, and because of the difficulties in other parts of Italy.[The Fourth Lateran Council (12th ecumenical), convened by Pope Innocent III in 1215, was the best attended of all the church councils, and marks the culminating point of a pontificate which itself represents the zenith attained by the medieval papacy. Prelates assembled from every country in Christendom, and with them the deputies of numerous princes, besides the representative of absent prelates and a number of inferior clerics. The business before it, the disciplining of heretics and Jews, and the proclamation of a new crusade, etc, vitally concerned the states represented; yet the function of the great assembly was little more than to listen to and endorse the decretals read by the pope. The seventy decrees of the council begin with a confession of faith directed against the Cathars and Waldensians, which is significant if only for the mention of a transubstantiation of the elements in the Lord’s Supper. A series of resolutions provided in detail for the organized suppression of the heresy and for the institution of the Episcopal inquisition. On every Christian, arrived at discretion, the duty was imposed of confessing at least once annually and of receiving the Eucharist at least at Easter. Enactments were also passed touching procedure in the ecclesiastical courts, the creation of new monastic orders, appointments of offices in the church, veneration of relics, pilgrimages and dealings with Jews and Saracens. Finally, a great crusade was resolved upon, to defray the expense of which it was determined that the clergy should lay aside one-twentieth—the popes and the cardinals one-tenth—of their revenues for the next three years; while the crusaders were to be held free of all burdens during their absence.]

John (Iohannes) the Good, a restorer of the Order of Saint Augustine, and a native of Mantua, at this time led a very spiritual and holy life in Italy, and erected many monasteries. From this time on the brethren were named after him. And, full of days and good works, in the Year from the Nativity of the Lord 1222 he journeyed to the Lord.