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

Basle, a large and renowned city of Switzerland, was built as an imperial residence, and hence it received its Latin name, which in the Greek tongue signifies royal or princely (Basilea). But it may have derived its name from its insecure foundations due to repeated earthquakes. It is said that at one time a basilisk lay hidden there; and that from this the name of the city was derived; and so it has remained. The Rhine flows through the very heart of Basle, but there is a bridge from one part of the city to the other. The Rhine rises in the mountains, and because of the resistance which it encounters between sharp crags, it emits an awful roar. It flows by Schaffhausen, overleaping itself with great turbulence. Below the city of Lauffenberg it is so hemmed in by mountains that by reason of its confinement and beating against the rocks a white foam is given off. From there with a terrible rush it runs in a wide channel as far as Basle, doing unseen damage to the city and the bridge; for it dashes along its banks seeking new outlets, hollowing out the earth, and filling it with air and water. This is why the city was damaged by earthquakes on a number of occasions. From the Rhine which gives passage to Basle, and upon which much merchandise is shipped, the city derives great advantages. St. Ursula, the holy virgin, and her fellow wayfarers (as the historians relate), sailed on the Rhine from Cologne to Basle. And although the Rhine has done much damage at times to those living along its course, it has given them a fertile soil. In our own time the city is fortified with brick walls, and it has many beautiful residences, large monasteries, churches, hospitals, and other things needful to a city. It is surrounded by walls and towers and protected by deep moats. Among the mountains are large fields, abounding in grain and producing good wine. And although in this ancient and venerable city there are many evidences and remains of very ancient buildings, they are so ruined and affected by earthquakes and old age that one does not know what was their original form or use. But Basle was rebuilt and greatly prospered after the earthquakes. In our own time a university was erected here. The city lies in Alsace, at one time called Switzerland; at another time it was in France; and now it belongs to Germany.