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

John the Twenty-First, a native of Spain or Portugal, from the city of Lisbon, a Tusculanian bishop and cardinal, previously called Peter the Physician, was elected pope. And although this man was otherwise educated and fond of learned people, yet it is said that he was ignorant and awkward in the conduct of his office and dealings, and inconsistent and indifferent in his observance of the customs. They say he wrote much during his lifetime, particularly different rules applicable to medicine; also a book that physicians called the Treasure of the Poor. This pope exhorted Michael Palaeologus, the Greek emperor, to observe the union established and confirmed by the Council of Lyons. In the time of this pope the Venetians pursued those of Ancona with a severe war. At the same time the Templars residing in the city of Tyre accorded the Venetian merchants many rights and privileges. In the meantime the aforesaid Greek emperor, with enticing and equivocal words, influenced this Pope John to go to Viterbo into a chamber which this pope was causing to be built, and which fell, causing his death in the eighth month of his pontificate.[John XXI (Pedro Giuliano-Rebulo), pope from September 8th, 1276 to May 20th, 1277 (should be named John XX, but there is an error in the reckoning through the insertion of an antipope), a native of Lisbon, educated for the church, became archdeacon and then archbishop of Praga (1271-75). He ingratiated himself with Gregory X at the council of Lyons (1274) and he was taken to Rome as cardinal-bishop of Frascati, and succeeded Gregory after an interregnum of twenty days. As pope, he excommunicated Alphonso III of Portugal for interfering with Episcopal elections, and sent legates to the Great Kahn. He was killed in 1277 by a fall of the roof in the palace he had built at Viterbo. His successor was Nicholas III. John XXI has been identified since the 14th century with Petrus Hispanus, a celebrated Portuguese physician and philosopher, author of several medical works. John XXI is often referred to as a magician by ignorant chroniclers.]

Year of the World 6476

Year of Christ 1277

Pope Nicholas the Third, a Roman of the Orsini family and formerly called Giovanni (Iohannes) Gaetano, was elected pope after an interregnum of six months; for the cardinals, soon after the death of the aforesaid Pope John, went to Rome for the purpose of electing a new pope; and King Charles (Carolus) of Sicily, with the support of the Roman senate, attempted to secure control and custody of the assembly of cardinals, which resulted in great detriment to the church and various disadvantages to himself; for he preferred to see a Frenchman rather than an Italian elected pope. In consequence the election was delayed into the seventh month, to the marked prejudice and peril of Christendom; for this reason the nobles and common people of Italy became estranged from the king and regarded him with disfavor; and therefore this Giovanni Gaetano, a cardinal, was elected pope; and he was called Nicholas the Third. This Nicholas was so well endowed physically and mentally that he accomplished many things; and he undertook many more on the strength of his knowledge and magnanimity. Yet he considered nothing of more consequence throughout his pontificate than to quell and mitigate the power and might of said King Charles; and this he accomplished by ingenuity born of his striking prudence and intelligence, recovering from King Charles many cities and communities which his ancestors had forcibly taken from the Roman Church, and which he still held. This Nicholas was a wise counselor, a promoter and lover of men of learning, and a generous distributor of spiritual dignities. He created a number of bishops and cardinals, selecting them from among the learned men of the Preaching and Barefoot Orders and others. He also made a number of beautiful additions to the churches at Rome. It is stated that he performed the office of the mass with such inward feeling and devotion that he shed tears all the while. Yet he was subject to aspersions; for he was accused of favoring his relatives and bestowing many possessions and estates upon them. He died of a stroke at Rome in the third year of his pontificate. Then (the seat) was vacant for five months.[Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini), pope from 1277 to 1280, was a Roman nobleman who had served under eight popes. He succeeded John XXI largely through family influence, after a vacancy of six months in the Holy See. A born politician, he concluded a concordat with Rudolf of Hapsburg in 1278, by which the Romagna and the exarchate of Ravenna were guaranteed to the pope. He issued an epoch-making constitution for the government of Rome that forbade foreigners taking civil office. He repaired the Lateran and the Vatican at enormous cost. Nicholas brought just reproach on himself by his nepotism.]

William (Guilhelmus), citizen of Placentia, and a highly renowned physician, lectured at this time at Verona for a common wage. And there he wrote an excellent book on surgery which he later ably extended into four volumes, including all plagues and diseases.

William (Guilhelmus) Durand of the Preaching Order, surnamed Speculator, a bishop of Provence, a disciple of Hostiensis the teacher, and an excellent instructor in the canon law, at this time as he himself attests wrote a useful work on jurisprudence called the Speculum, from which he derived the surname Speculator. As some say, he also wrote another book entitled Rationale Divinorum Officiorum.

William (Guillaume) Durand (1230-1296), was a French canonist and liturgical writer who studied law at Bologna and taught canon law at Modena. Under Nicholas III and Martin IV he held high offices in the Church. He successfully defended the papal territories, both by diplomacy and arms. In 1295 he refused the archbishopric of Ravenna, and in 1296 retired to Rome, where he died the same year. His principal work is the Speculum judiciale (‘The Judicial Mirror’ or ‘Mirror for Magistrates’), while his Rationale divinorum officiorum (‘Explication of the Divine Office’) on the origin and symbolism of the Christian ritual is an authority on the Western liturgy. Indeed, the latter work is, perhaps, the most important medieval treatise on the symbolism of church architecture and rituals of worship. This work, often ranked with the Bible as one of the most frequently copied and disseminated texts in the Late Middle Ages, served as an encyclopedic compendium and textbook for liturgists and remains an indispensable guide for understanding the significance of medieval ecclesiastical art and worship ceremonies.

This Guillaume Durand is not to be confused with the Dominican Guillaume Durand (Durandus of St. Pourcain), French scholastic theologian, surnamed Doctor Resolutissimus (‘Most Stubborn/Resolute Teacher’).

The Saracens sailed from Africa into Upper and Lower Spain, but the Christians, miraculously marked with the cross, defeated them in battle.


William (Guilhelmus) Durand Speculator, teacher of the canon law, dressed in the cap and gown of a teacher.