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

Saint Dominic, a Spaniard, endowed with piety and learning, a leader and famous father of the Preachers, at this time shone like a morning star of the Christian faith. He was born in the village of Calaroga in the diocese of Osna (Exoniensis). His father was named Felix, his mother Joanna. They had three sons, educated and consecrated as priests; the third was this blessed Dominic. In her sleep his mother dreamed she carried a little whelp, holding a lighted torch in its mouth; and as it issued from her body it lighted up the whole world, foretelling that an excellent and extraordinary preacher would be born of her. He was a marvelous reviler of vice, a fierce opponent of heresy, and a most diligent exhorter to the Christian faith; and from youth he developed compassion. At first he was a brother of the Regular Canons; but later, through divine call, he and his brethren, with incredible zeal, founded the Order of the Preachers, receiving the habit of the order from the most exalted Mother of God. He uprooted the heresy that sprang up in Gaul. After Pope Honorius learned that the enemies and dissenters in Toulouse had been tamed, this Dominic, father of the clergy, received confirmation of his Order from the pope. After such confirmation Dominic erected many cloisters; and having performed many miracles and passed through various regions, preaching and enlightening the people, in the twelve hundred and twenty-third Year of Salvation in the Italian city of Bologna on the Nones of August he finally journeyed to the Lord. By order of Gregory the Ninth he was enrolled among the number of the saints on account of his miracles and glorious life.

Dominic was born in 1170 at Calaroga, in the kingdom of Castile. His father was of the illustrious family of Guzman; his mother, Joanna d’Aza, was also of noble birth. Before he was born, his mother dreamed she had brought forth a black and white dog carrying a lighted torch in his mouth; and when his godmother held him in her arms at the font, she beheld a star of splendor descend from heaven and settle on his brow. These portents were interpreted to denote that the child was destined to be a light to the universe.

Dominic spent ten or twelve years in study at Palencia, and at about 1195 was ordained and became a canon in the cathedral chapter of Osna, his native diocese. The years from 1195 to 1203 were filled up with fabulous stories of missions to the Moors, and Dominic accompanied the bishop of Osna on an embassy to “The Marches,” in behalf of the king of Castile. When the embassy was over, the bishop and Dominic journeyed to Rome, and Innocent III charged them to preach among the Albigensians in Languedoc. Although a significant number of converts were made, the results were not such as had been hoped for, and after Dominic’s preaching the population still remained at heart Albigensian. The Order of Dominicans grew out of the little band of volunteers that had joined Dominic on this mission. Dominic conceived the idea of forming an order whose vocation should be to preach and send missions throughout the whole world. In 1214, the nucleus of such an institution was formed round Dominic, and known as the “Holy Preaching.” In 1215, the Bishop of Toulouse, established them in a church and house of the city, and three years later pope Honorius authorized the founding of the order. The last years of Dominic’s life were spent in journeying back and forth between Toulouse and Rome, and in extended journeys all over Italy, and to Paris, and into Spain, establishing friaries and organizing the order wherever he went. It propagated and spread with extraordinary rapidity. In 1221, worn out by incessant toil and fatigue and the austerities of his laborious life, he died at his monastery at Bologna. He was canonized in 1234 by Gregory IV. The Dominicans are known in England as the Black Friars, from the black mantle worn over a white habit. The Carmelites are known as the White Friars.

Francis (Franciscus), an Italian, native of Assisi, a very good man, was the founder of the Order of the Lesser Brothers. Around the Year of the Lord 1208 he was a merchant, and entirely a man of the world until his 25th year; but afterwards he scorned all earthly affairs, and followed Christ throughout life. Having gone on for some time shod and adorned with rings, he became conscious of the words of the Lord: He who comes to me, not having denied himself everything, cannot be my disciple. Francis discarded all things, donned humble white raiment, girded himself with a cord, and soon entered upon the founding of a new order. By means of this order he enlightened the Christian status like a sun shining upon the world. He was so strict and severe with himself that during the winter, in order to overcome the desires of the flesh, he covered himself with snow and ice. He scorned praise, called poverty his constant mistress, but diligently avoided carrying it to excess. His heart yearned for martyrdom, and so, in the sixth year after the founding of his order, he departed for Syria to visit the sultan, who received him with every honor. Two years before his death he had a vision of an angel with six wings, his hands extended, his feet placed together, and nailed to a cross. Two wings were extended over his head; two outstretched, as if to fly; while the remaining two covered his entire body. After having contemplated the vision for some time, scars appeared in the hands of Francis, and on his right side, as if pierced by a lance. After having wearied his body, and given his flesh no rest, he died at Assisi, his homeland, in the Year of Our Salvation 1222. Two years later, on account of the miracles attributed to him, Gregory the Ninth, in a great council, called for that purpose, enrolled him among the number of the saints.

Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226), founder of the Franciscans, was born at Assisi, his father Pietro Bernardone, being one of the more successful merchants of that town. His education was slight and the habits of his youth appear to have been irregular. He was the recognized leader of the young men of the town in their revels, though he was always conspicuous for his charity to the poor. One day he gave a banquet to his friends, after which they roamed the streets, Francis being crowned as the king of the revelers; after some time they lost him, and on retracing their steps they found him in a trance, a permanently altered man. He devoted himself to solitude, prayer, and the service of the poor, and before long went on a pilgrimage to Rome. On his return, he spent three years in abject poverty, ministering to lepers and outcasts. One day the words of the gospel came to him as a call: “Everywhere on your road preach and say – The kingdom of God is at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out devils. Freely have you received, freely give. Carry neither gold nor silver, nor money in your girdles, nor bag, nor two coats, nor sandals, nor staff, for the workman is worthy of his hire” (Matthew 10:7-10). Layman as he was, he preached to the poor; disciples joined him, and when they were twelve in number, they obtained the sanction of Innocent III, and gave themselves up to apostolic preaching and work among the poor.

Probably no one as Francis has ever set himself so seriously to imitate the life of Christ and to carry out his work so literally. Another striking feature was his constant joyousness, a precept of his rule, and one that he enforced strictly. He was a great lover of nature, animate and inanimate, and his preaching to the birds is a favorite theme in art. He regarded them all as his brothers. Before everything he was an ascetic and a mystic – an ascetic who, though gentle to others, wore out his body by self-denial. He was a mystic who believed that he was irradiated with the love of God, and endowed in an extraordinary degree with the spirit of prayer.

Earthquakes and miraculous phenomena occurred everywhere in this year. The cities of Antioch, Tripoli, and Damascus were destroyed to a great extent. In Sicily the sea receded, and returning, drowned a thousand persons. In Italy hailstones larger than goose eggs fell.

A miraculous sign, in the form of a star, appeared after sunset and proceeded from south to west; and radiance was seen in the form of a beam, rising high into the firmament. Preachers at this time assert that many other signs occurred.[The last sentence of this paragraph is not in the German edition of the .]


Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order of Preaching Friars, is represented by a full-length woodcut, in white tunic and long black cloak with a hood. He carries a staff, although usually represented with a lily in one hand and a book in the other. A star is on his forehead, emblematical of a certain radiance on his brow observed by those who looked upon him earnestly. At his side is the dog with the flaming torch in his mouth, an attribute peculiar to Dominic, and which is explained in the text and note.


Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order, is portrayed at full length. He stands before us in the habit of his order, both hands raised in exhortation.


Elemental Disturbances are represented by a small woodcut showing a threatening sky from which flashes of lightning and heavy drops of rain are being precipitated.