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

Titus, first son of Vespasian, the eleventh Roman Emperor, began his reign after the demise of his father. By nature he was of a most benevolent disposition. Now Vespasian thought so much of his son’s virtue that when some fostered revolt and dissension in their zeal to rule, he said no one other than his son should aspire to reign; and not without reason, for Titus, because of his virtue and perfect disposition, was respected as a loving and benevolent member of the human race. He was the most eloquent in peace, the strongest in war. He was so kind and generous that he denied no one anything; and when his friends held this against him, he answered, No one should leave the presence of the emperor in sorrow. One day, after the evening meal, it occurred to him that on that day he had done nothing for anybody, and he said: Friends, I have lost this day through forgetfulness of my benevolence. He was highly learned in the Latin and Greek tongues, and therefore held in favor the highly learned man Asconius Pedianus.[Asconius Pedianus, born at Patavium (Padua) about 2 BCE, was a Roman grammarian. He lost his sight at 73 in the reign of Vespasian, and died at 95 in the reign of Domitian. His most important work was a commentary on the speeches of Cicero, and we still possess fragments of others. They are written in a very pure language.] He warred in Judea, took Jerusalem and raised the temple to the ground. He killed six hundred thousand persons, and, as Josephus states, who was taken prisoner in the same engagement, eleven times one hundred thousand persons perished by hunger and the sword, while another hundred thousand were taken prisoners and publicly sold. On account of this victory over the Jews, Titus and his father, seated in the same chariot, celebrated a triumph at Rome, while Domitian followed them on a white horse. To this day one may still see at Rome evidences of this siege, and so the engraved candlestick and tables of laws which were taken from the Temple. He died in the same village as his father, in the forty-second year of his life, and was buried with public lamentations by all the people as though they had been deprived of a father.[Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81 CE. He was a son of Vespasian and his wife Domitilla. He was born December 30, 40 CE. When a young man he served as a military tribune in Britain and Germany with great credit. Later he commanded a legion and served under his father in the Jewish wars. Vespasian returned to Italy after being proclaimed emperor on July 1, 69 CE; but Titus remained in Palestine to prosecute the siege of Jerusalem, in which he showed the talents of a general and the daring of a soldier. He captured Jerusalem on September 8, 70 CE, and returned to Italy in the following year, triumphing at Rome with his father. He also received the title of Caesar, and became the associate of Vespasian in the government, succeeding him in 79. His brother Domitian was accused of having designs against him, but Titus urged him not to aspire to honors that some day would be his through legitimate means. During his whole reign he displayed a sincere desire for the happiness of the people, and did all he could to relieve them in times of distress. He assumed the office of Pontifex Maximus after his father’s death, and with the purpose, as he declared, of keeping his hands free from blood—a resolution he kept. He died September 2nd 81 CE, after a reign of two years, two months and twenty days, at the age of 41. Domitian, who was suspected of his death, succeeded him. Titus is said to have written Greek poems and tragedies.]

Domitian (Domicianus), a brother of Titus and son of Vespasian, was the twelth Roman emperor, and in the interval up to the time of his rule, he daily resorted to secret places of lechery and did nothing but catch flies and stabbed them with a sharp stylus. He resembled Nero and Caligula more than his father Vespasian and his brother Titus. In his earlier years he was more temperate, but he soon fell into gross vices, voluptuousness, neglect, ill temper and cruelty. He killed many distinguished persons, and also sent many into exile. However he rebuilt many buildings that had burned down, but all in his own name and without regard for the memory of their original founders. Yet he judged justly, and restored the burnt libraries at great cost. But finally, through his misdeeds, he aroused so much enmity that he fairly obliterated the names of his father and brother. He conceived the idea of calling himself a god and decreed that he be honored as such. He was finally slain in his bedchamber and his body infested with bats. He was disgracefully buried at the age of 35 in the fifteenth year of his reign.[T. Flavius Domitianus Augustus, younger son of Vespasian and born at Rome in 51 CE, was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. When his father was proclaimed emperor by the legions in the East, Domitian, then at Rome, narrowly escaped being murdered by Vitellius, and concealed himself until the victory of his father’s party was decided. After the fall of Vitellius, Domitian was proclaimed Caesar, and obtained the government of the city until his father’s return. During the ten years of his father’s reign, Domitian lived as a private person on an estate near the Alban mount, surrounded by a number of courtesans, and devoting a great part of his time to poetry. During the reign of his brother Titus he was also not permitted to participate in public affairs, but on his death was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers. In the early years of his reign he kept strict superintendence over the governors of the provinces, enacted some useful laws, endeavored to correct the licentious conduct of the higher classes, and although he indulged himself in strange passions, his government was much better than had been expected. But he soon changed to the worse. His wars were mostly unfortunate, and this excited his fears and wounded his vanity. In 83 he undertook an expedition against the Chatti, which had no definitive outcome, though he celebrated a triumph on his return to Rome, and assumed the name of Germanicus. In 85 Agricola, whose success excited his jealously, was recalled to Rome. From 86-90 he had to carry on a war with Decebalus and the Dacians, who defeated the Roman armies, and at length compelled Domitian to purchase a humiliating peace. It was after the Dacian war especially that he gave full sway to his cruelty and tyranny. No man of distinction was safe, unless he would degrade himself to flatter the tyrant. All the philosophers who lived at Rome were expelled. Christian writers attribute persecutions to him, but there is some doubt in this matter. At length three officers, assisted by Domitia, his wife, had him murdered by Stephanus, a freedman, on September 18th, 96.]

Nerva, the thirteenth Roman emperor, was at an advanced age, elected after Domitian, and was an ordinary man of moderate habits. He placed himself on a level with the commonality and proved very useful. After everything pertaining to the empire was ruined or destroyed through the tumults of his predecessors, by his industry the actions and transactions of Domitian were nullified and repealed by the senate, and many who had been sent into exile were recalled, and the estates and property which had been forfeited were returned to them. And as he was now burdened with years and felt his end near, he took the precaution, for the common good, of adopting Trajan as his son. He died at the age of seventy-two, in the first year and four months of his reign. By approval of the senate he was given the rank of a god.[M. Nerva, Roman emperor from 96-98 CE, was born at Narni, in Umbria, in 32 CE. He was consul with Vespasian in 71, and with Domitian in 90. On the assassination of Domitian in September 96, Nerva, who had probably been aware of (and possibly involved in) the conspiracy, was declared emperor at Rome by the people and the soldiers, and his administration at once restored tranquility to the state. He stopped proceedings against those who had been accused of treason, and allowed many exiled persons to return to Rome. At the commencement of his reign he swore he would put no senator to death; and he kept his word even when a conspiracy had been formed against his own life by Calpurnius Crassus. Though virtuous and humane, he did not possess much energy and vigor. Nerva was aware of his own weakness, but showed his noble character and good sense by appointing as his successor a man who possessed both vigor and ability to direct public affairs. Without regard to his own family he adopted as his successor M. Ulpius Trajanus, who was then at the head of an army in Germany. Nerva died suddenly on January 27, 98 CE, at the age of 65.]

Trajan, by birth a Spaniard, and surnamed Ulpius Crinitus, was the fourteenth Roman emperor and successor to Nerva in the empire. By his reputation as a warrior, his nobility and moderation, he excelled all the other emperors; for he extended the Roman Empire far and wide. He restored Germany beyond the Rhine to its former status, and brought under Roman subjection Dacia and many peoples beyond the Danube. He retook the Parthians, and gave the Albanians a king. He made a province of the Euphrates and Tigris, and marched as far as the limits of India and the Red Sea. Yet his conduct so commended him to mankind that up to the time of Justinian, upon election of a Roman emperor the people cried out that their choice would be as fortunate as Augustus and even better than Trajan. In addition, he was so good and magnaminous in visiting the sick and in the greeting of friends, that it was regarded as one of his failings. And thus the proverb originated, That the emperor must so conduct himself to other persons, that others will cleave to him. Honor and riches, gifts and rewards he impartially distributed among the deserving. He did nothing in his lifetime that was not for the common good. He died at Selinus (Seleucia) in Cilicia (Isauria) of diarrhea of the stomach after having reigned eighteen years and six months. His remains were brought to Rome and there buried under a column 140 feet high, which may still be seen there.[M. Ulpius Trajanus (Trajan), Roman emperor from 98 to 117 CE, was born at Italica, near Seville, the 18th of September, 52. He was trained as a soldier, and served with distinction in the East and in Germany. He was consul in 91, and at the close of 97 he was adopted by the emperor, Nerva, who gave him the rank of Caesar and the names of Nerva and Germanicus, and shortly after the title of imperator Caesar Nerva Trajanus Augustus. He was the first emperor who was born outside of Italy. Nerva died in January, 98, and was succeeded by Trajan who was then at Cologne. His accession was hailed with joy, and he did not disappoint the expectations of the people. He was a man born to command. He was strong and healthy, of a majestic appearance, hardworking and inured to fatigue. Though not a man of letters, he had good sense, a knowledge of the world, and a sound judgment. His mode of living was very simple, and in his campaigns he shared all the sufferings and privations of the soldiers, by whom he was both loved and feared. He was a friend to justice, and he had a sincere desire for the happiness of the people. Trajan did not return to Rome for some months, being employed in settling the frontiers on the Rhine and the Danube. He entered Rome on foot, accompanied by his wife, Pompeia Plotina. This lady is highly commended by Pliny the Younger for her modest virtues, and her affection for Marciana, the sister of Trajan. Trajan left Rome for his campaign against the Daci. Decebalus, king of the Daci, had compelled Domitian to purchase peace by an annual payment of money; and Trajan determined to end the payments and conquer the Daci. This war employed Trajan between 2 and 3 years; but it ended with the defeat of Decebalus, who sued for peace at the feet of the Roman emperor. Trajan assumed the name of Dacicus, and entered Rome in triumph (103). In the following year Trajan commenced his second Dacian war against Decebalus, who, it is said, had broken the treaty. Decebalus was completely defeated, and put an end to his life (106). In the course of this war Trajan built a permanent bridge across the Danube at a place called Szernecz. The piers were of stone and of an enormous size, but the arches were of wood. After the death of Decebalus Dacia was reduced to the form of a Roman province; strong forts were built in various places, and Roman colonies were planted. It is generally supposed that the column at Rome called the Column of Trajan was erected to commemorate his Dacian victories. On his return Trajan had a triumph, and he exhibited games to the people for 123 days. 11,000 animals were slaughtered during these amusements; and an army of gladiators, 10,000 men, gratified the Romans by killing one another. About this time Arabia Petraea was subjugated to the empire by A. Cornelius Palma, the governor of Syria; and an Indian embassy came to Rome. Trajan constructed a road across the Pontine Marshes, and built magnificent bridges across the streams. Buildings, probably mansions, were constructed by the side of this road. In 114 Trajan left Rome to make war on the Armenians and the Parthians. He spent the winter of 114 at Antioch, and in the following year he invaded the Parthian dominions. The most striking and brilliant success attended his arms. In the course of two campaigns (115-6) he conquered the greater part of the Parthian empire, and took the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon. In 116 he sailed down the Tigris and entered the Erythraean Sea (the Persian Gulf). While he was thus engaged the Parthians rose against the Romans, but were again subdued by the generals of Trajan. On his returned to Ctesiphon, Trajan was determined to give the Parthians a king, and placed the diadem on the head of Parthamaspates. In 117 Trajan fell ill, and as his complaint grew worse he set out for Italy. He lived to reach Selinus in Cilicia, afterwards called Trajanopolis, where he died in August, 117, after a reign of 19 years, 6 months and 15 days. His ashes were taken to Rome in a golden urn, carried in triumphal procession, and deposited under the column that bears his name. He left no children, and he was succeeded by Hadrian. Trajan constructed several great roads in the empire; he built libraries at Rome, one of which, called the Ulpia Bibliotheca, is often mentioned; and a theater in the Campus Martius. His great work was the Forum Trajanum, in the center of which was placed the column of Trajan. Under the reign of Trajan lived Sextus Julius Frontinus, C. Cornelius Tacitus, the Younger Pliny, and various others of less note. Plutarch, Suetonius, and Epictetus survived Trajan.]