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

At this time a number of the imperial electors, more particularly the ecclesiastical leaders, were not in unison; and they entered into an alliance against Emperor Albert. They accused him of slaying his sovereign, Adolph, in battle, and therefore considered him unworthy of the imperial dignity. Accordingly the distinguished princes of Germany appointed Duke Rudolph, Palsgrave of the Rhine, as arbiter of the empire. He was a courageous man and was therefore chosen to henceforth exercise that office in order that the Roman emperors might not venture upon evil or reprehensible undertakings and bring the imperial dignity into disrepute.[See Albert I and note, Folio CCXX recto.]

A cunning deceiver, availing himself of various pretences, represented himself to be the lost emperor Frederick[The impersonation was of Frederick I, whom the Italians called “Barbarossa.” (See Folio CCIII recto and note). On June 10th, 1190, Frederick was either bathing in or crossing the river Calycadnus (Geuksu), near Seleucia (Selefke), in Cicilia, when he was drowned. The news of his death threw all Germany into a state of mourning, particularly the lower classes. In later years, in times of great distress, Frederick was regarded as the greatest ruler of the empire, and his return was longed for. It was on this account that the saga, which really refers to his grandson, Frederick II, was applied to Barbarossa. He did not die, but sleeps in the Untersberg, near Salzburg, or in a cavern in the Kyffhaeuser Mountain in Thüringia, waiting until the needs of his country call him to the rescue. Meanwhile, his beard has grown through the top of the stone table at which he sits. Occasionally, he moves his head to see whether the ravens are circling about the mountain, or whether the hour of his awakening has come, and, with it, the Golden Age of Germany.]. Although he had secured many followers through his cunning, he was imprisoned by the emperor, and, having confessed his deception, was burned.

The Jews, who had multiplied in many places, were burned in the first year of emperor Albert at Nuremberg, Würtzburg, Rotenburg, and many other places, because of their evil deeds. Sparing no one of this unhappy race on account of sex or age, several thousand are said to have perished except for the children who had been baptized.[The German edition of the abridges this paragraph as follows: “The Jews, who had multiplied in many places, were burned at Nuremberg, Würtzburg, Rotenburg, and many other places, because of their evil deeds.”]

When in the year twelve hundred ninety-nine it became known that James (Iacobum) of Aragon, the Sicilian king, had died, Robert, the duke of Calabria, proceeded to Sicily with a large force at the behest of his father, King Charles (Caroli); and he captured the city of Catania[Catania, ancient Catina; city and Episcopal see of Sicily.]. He was soon followed by his brother Philip, duke of Tarentum, with a well equipped fleet. But in the meantime the Sicilians took up arms to oppose Robert by land and sea. In the meantime the fleet of Philip had taken to sea without caution, relying on the assistance of Robert, who had taken possession of the aforesaid city. From afar Philip saw the ships of Robert coming to join him from the port of the city; but Robert was unprepared for action. And so the Sicilians, who were well prepared for battle, vigorously attacked both fleets, first engaging the supporting ships, a number of which were captured, some sunk, and others dispersed. Only a few of the ships returned to Robert at Catania. Then followed a severe engagement with the fleet of Philip. In the meantime Duke Robert became so frightened that he fled. He left the city of Catania with the few ships that remained; and returned to Italy.

Dinus of Mugello, a highly informed scholar in both branches of the law, at this time attained to first rank among the scholars and teachers of Italy. He was so powerful and convincing in his addresses, disputations, and conclusions that he became renowned for his wisdom in all juristic councils. He set forth the entire body of the civil law, with commentaries and interpretations, in a number of books; and he gave much excellent advice.[Dinus of Mugello, a 13th century jurist, born in the valley of Mugello, near Florence, taught at Bologna, and, at the request of Boniface VIII, participated in the preparation of the Sixth Book of Decretals. He died at Bologna soon after 1298.]

Peter de Bella Partita, a Burgundian, and easily the peer of the said Dinus in Scriptural wisdom and teaching, at this time, with a skill and ingenuity equal to his, wrote much upon the civil law and its interpretation, as well as other commendable things.

The Year of Salvation one thousand three hundred came in which, pursuant to good counsel, and in emulation of the Fathers of the Old Testament, Pope Boniface the Eighth established the first year of the Jubilee. It was to be observed every hundred years. All persons coming over the mountains or by sea to Rome, and sojourning there for eight days, and those living in Italy or its islands and going to Rome and remaining there for fifteen days, visiting the churches and holy places, were to be absolved of all sin. By means of this indulgence many persons previously either having a public or private feud became reconciled in peace and good will.

A Jubilee is a solemn season, recurring at stated intervals in the Church of Rome, chiefly marked by the indulgences then granted by the pope to all his communion. Boniface VIII was the first to institute it, in 1300, in imitation of that of the Jews, ordering it to be observed every hundredth year. Clement VI reduced it to fifty, Urban IV to thirty, and Sixtus IV to twenty-five, where it has remained. Beside this, the popes, upon their exaltation to the see of Rome, have frequently celebrated a jubilee, as also on other extraordinary occasions. The ceremony observed at Rome, at the end of every twenty-five years, which they call the Holy Year, is this: The pope goes to St. Peter’s to open the holy gate (as they call it), which is walled up, and only opened on this occasion; and, knocking three times at the gate with a golden hammer, says these words, “Open to me the gates of a righteousness; I will go into them and I will praise the Lord.” (Psalms 118:19); immediately after this the masons fall to work to break down the wall; which done, the pope kneels before it, while the penitentiaries of St. Peter wash him with holy water, and then, taking up the cross, he begins to sing Te Deum and enters the church, followed by the clergy. In the meantime, three cardinal legates are sent to open the other three gates with the same ceremonies which are in the churches of St. John Lateran, of St. Paul, and St. Mary Major; and, the next morning, the pope gives his benediction to the people, in the jubilee form. When the holy year has expired, they shut up the holy gates again on Christmas Eve in this manner: The pope, after he has blessed the stones and mortar, lays the first stone, and leaves there twelve boxes full of gold and silver medals.

The Jewish jubilee was celebrated every fifty years. The word is derived from ‘jovel,’ which, in Hebrew, signifies the blast of a trumpet (Joshua 6:4,13), because the year of the jubilee was proclaimed with trumpets. This year was one of general rest and universal liberty in which all servants were restored to their freedom, and all sold possessions returned to their first owners. The Jews observed these jubilees very exactly until the Babylonian captivity, but, after their return, they no longer observed it.

James (Iacobus) of Arena was a highly learned jurist, whose opinion and good counsel in the interpretation of the law were always on the side of righteousness. He also wrote many elegant treatises on jurisprudence.

Nicholas of Naples, who was alive at this time, was a jurist, and also wrote many excellent treatises and interpretations of the civil law.


Burning of the Jews: In an open field, a closely packed gathering of Jews are being burned to death. As the flames roar about them, they are sinking into the ground. An executioner with fuel-wood on his shoulders is feeding the flames. Some of the victims are bare-headed, some wear caps, while at least for of them wear the pointed or cone-shaped hat which, beginning in the twelfth century, was prescribed by law so that no Jew might be taken for a Gentile. These hats were of orange-yellow color with a white brim, or white with a yellow brim, and at times were turned back in the form of a horn. Pope Innocent III gave strong impetus to the repression of the Jews, especially by ordering the wearing of a badge. Such distinctive marks worn on the outer clothing usually consisted of a circular piece of cloth as shown in the illustration accompanying the Ritual Murder of Simon of Trent (see Folio CCLIV verso).