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

Suteonius Tranquillus, historian, advocate, and master of letters, a native Roman of a patrician family of consuls, was held in high esteem by the Romans at this time. Under emperor Hadrian (Adriano) he was beloved and regarded as very reliable because of his intimate relations with Pliny of Novum Comum.[Novum Comum, a town in Cisalpine Gaul, birthplace of Pliny the Younger (also known as Pliny the Second); also called Comensis, and now Como.] His versatility enabled him to write a brilliant work on the aforesaid 12 Caesars; and in it he makes frequent mention of historical events and practices in the time of the ancients. He also wrote an exceptional book of illustrious men, and treated of many other things. But the Emperor Hadrian finally deposed him from consular office because of his secret intimacy with Sabina, Hadrian’s wife; for there was a rumor that he misused her. He lived to the time of Emperor Antoninus Verus.[Suetonius Tranquillus, the Roman historian, was born at the beginning of the reign of Vespasian. He practiced as an advocate at Rome in the reign of Trajan, and lived on intimate terms with the younger Pliny, many of whose letters are addressed to him. He was afterward appointed private secretary to Hadrian; but the emperor deprived him of this office on the ground of associating with Sabina, the emperor’s wife, without his permission. He wrote many works of which the only one extant is the , of whom the first is Julius Caesar and the last is Domitian. His language is very brief and precise, but sometimes obscure, and without any affectation or ornament. He tells a prodigious number of scandalous anecdotes about the Caesars, and his work seems to reflect critically on the maxim that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Because he had access to the imperial records, and was himself a contemporary of the emperors Titus and Domitian, his work is invaluable to the historian of the late Republic and early Empire.]

Pliny the Second, philosopher and orator, of Novum Comum, as well as a celebrated historian, was held in honor at this time. Although he participated in the cares and affairs of the State, he so zealously concerned himself with the liberal arts, that no one, even with leisure at his disposal, could have written more. He was a talented man of ingenious mind, possessed incredible learning and great industry; and he slept little. In the summer, during his leisure moments, he lay in the sun reading books and making notes and extracts from them; for he read nothing without doing so. He stated that no book is so bad that it contains nothing useful, and held that all time is lost that is not devoted to learning. Being of this frame of mind, he produced many books—one about knightly warfare, two on the life of Pomponius the Second, twenty about the Germanic Wars, in which are collected all the wars of the Romans with the Germans; for he was in the wars in Germany. Also, eight books of doubtful sermons, and 37 books of the histories of nature, a work both broad and learned, and no less varied than nature itself. While he was in command of the fleet at Misenum, he endeavored to ascertain the cause of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; but contrary winds prevented his return, and he was suffocated by the dust and sparks, and died at the age of fifty-six.[C. Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder), the celebrated author of the (which Schedel makes much use of in the ) was born in 23 CE, probably at Novum Comum (Como) in the north of Italy, and there the estates of the elder Pliny were situated. He came to Rome while still young, and being descended from a family of wealth and distinction, he had the means at his disposal for availing himself of the best teachers in the imperial city. At 23 he went to Germany, where he served under L. Pomponius Secundus, of whom he afterward wrote a memoir. He was later appointed to the command of a troop of cavalry, and traveled over most of the German frontier. At the same time he commenced the history of the Germanic wars, which he later completed in twenty books. He returned to Rome with Pomponius and applied himself to the study of jurisprudence. He practiced for some time as a pleader but does not appear to have distinguished himself in that capacity. The greater part of the reign of Nero he spent in retirement, no doubt at his native place. During this period he wrote a grammatical work in eight books, entitled (‘Doubtful/Ambiguous Speech’) and toward the close of Nero’s reign was appointed procurator in Spain. He was here in 71 when his brother-in-law died, leaving his son, the younger Pliny, to the guardianship of his uncle, who by reason of his absence, was obliged to leave him to the care of Virginius Rufus. Pliny returned to Rome in the reign of Vespasian, when he adopted his nephew. He had known Vespasian in the Germanic wars, and the emperor received him into the number of his most intimate friends. Of his manner of life at this period his nephew gives an account ( 3.5). It was his practice to begin to spend a portion of the night in study by lamplight at the festival of the Vulcanalia (toward the end of August), at first at a late hour of the night, in winter at one or two o’clock in the morning. Before it was light he visited the emperor Vespasian, and after executing such commissions as he might be charged with, returned home and devoted the remaining time to study. After a simple meal he would, in the summertime, lie in the sunshine while someone read to him, he himself making notes and extracts. He never read anything without doing this, for he used to say there was no book so bad but some good might be gotten out of it. He would then take a cold bath, and after a snack, sleep a little, and then pursue his studies. Such was his mode of life in the bustle of the city. In the country, the time spent in the bath was practically the only interval not allotted to study, and even this he reduced to the shortest amount of time. When on a journey he had a secretary at his side with a book and tablets. Thus he amassed an enormous amount of material, and at his death he left his nephew 160 volumes of notes, written in extremely small handwriting on both sides. With some reason might his nephew say that, when compared to Pliny, those who had spent their whole lives in literary pursuits seemed as if they had spent them in nothing else than sleep and idleness. From this material he compiled his celebrated , published in 77. He perished in the eruption of Vesuvius at the age of 56. He was stationed at Misenum at the time, in command of the Roman fleet; and it was his anxiety to examine more closely the extraordinary phenomenon, which led him to sail to Stabiae, where he landed and perished. His is his only work that has come down to us. By natural history the ancients understood more than moderns would usually include in the subject. It embraced astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology, botany—everything that does not relate to the products or results of human skill or faculties. But Pliny even went beyond these limitations by digressing on human institutions and inventions, and on the history of the fine arts. In his preface he says it comprises 20,000 matters of importance drawn from about 2,000 volumes. It is divided into 37 books, and is a wonderful monument of human industry.]

Plutarch (Plutarchus) of Chareonea (Cheroneus) was a philosopher and a very eloquent historian. He was a magistrate under the emperor Trajan, and at this time was held in great esteem for his intelligence and reliability. Concerning him Polycrates, in his history, states: Plutarch is a man who is truthful in his writings, and his words are all intelligible. In sacredness of custom he was so absolute that he might easily have been taken for a governor under the emperor. This Plutarch labored diligently to infuse into the emperor and his own reigning student four things: reverence for god, self-cultivation, discipline of officials, and love and protection of one’s subjects. And as he was a highly learned man, he wrote many books upon various matters, namely: On Educating Children, On the Political Constitution, On Patience, On the Poet Homer, On the Moderation of Magistrates, On Musicians. (Also) apothegms which very many of our (people) knew as maxims or proverbs, and which, when he was living with Trajan on such friendly terms, he assembled with great industry as a very pleasing gift for him. In addition, the assembled broadly and elegantly the biographies of as many famous Greeks as of Romans.[The passage from the phrase ‘On Educating Children’ until the end of this sentence is not in the German edition of the .] And he wrote many other things.[Plutarch, the celebrated Greek biographer and philosopher, was born at Chaeronea in Boeotia. The year of his birth is unknown. He was studying philosophy when Nero was making his tour of Greece in 66 CE, from which we may assume he was a young man. He spent some time in Rome and other parts of Italy. He did not concern himself with Roman literature until later in life. He lectured at Rome in the reign of Domitian, discharged various magisterial offices, and held a priesthood. He is immortalized by his , a series of biographies that pair a famous Greek and Roman individual (e.g., Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar), and which had a profound influence on later writers (e.g., Shakespeare) and thinkers. But he also wrote on an incredibly wide array of topics, collected under the title .]

Hegesippus (Egisippus), the pious and highly learned man, (as Eusebius states) flourished at this time, and among other things wrote a history of the church from the time of the suffering of Christ Jesus to this time, setting down thoughts which he himself followed in his lifetime.[Hegesippus, according to Eusebius ( 4.8), "holds a distinguished rank" among the champions against heresy. "This author compiled, in five books, the plain tradition of the apostolic doctrine, in a most simple style of composition."]

Dion, philosopher, and a native of Prusa (Prusie), flourished at this time and wrote much about the empire.[Dion Chrysostomus was born at Prusa in Bithynia, about the middle of the first century of our era. He received a careful education, increased his knowledge by travel, and came to Rome in the reign of Vespasian; but having incurred the suspicions of Domitian, was obliged to leave the city. On the advice of the Delphic oracle, he put on beggar’s dress, and so visited Thrace, Mysia, Scythia, and the country of the Getae. After the death of Domitian he used his influence with the army on the frontier in favor of his friend Nerva, and seems to have returned to Rome immediately after his accession. Trajan also entertained the highest esteem for him, and showed him marked favor. Dion died at Rome in 117 CE, the most eminent of Greek rhetoricians and sophists in the time of the Roman Empire. Eighty of his orations are extant, but they are more like essays on political, moral, and philosophical subjects. All are written in pure Attic Greek, and refined and elegant in style.]

Basilides (Basilidas), a certain heretic, and a very smart man, concluded his life at this time. He wrote twenty three books on the gospels, and left these behind. But Agrippa, at this time the most learned among the Christians, by means of his learning, vanquished and nullified the books of the same heretic, and to his terror caused him to be laughed at by others.[According to Eusebius, Basilides was an arch-heretic, whose writings were refuted by the learning of others, including that of Agrippa Castor, one of the most distinguished writers of that day. According to Agrippa, Basilides wrote 24 books on the gospels, in which he used certain barbarous names in order to astonish those the more who are easily ensnared by such things; that like Pythagoras, he enjoined a five years’ silence upon his followers; that he also taught that it "was indifferent for those that tasted of things sacrificed to idols, and were betrayed unwarily to abjure the faith in times of persecution." (Eusebius, 4.7)]

    All these were martyred under Domitian:
  • Enodius, martyr
  • Sileas, suffered martyrdom in Macedonia
  • Julian, bishop of Le Mans (Cenomanensis)
  • Paul, bishop
  • Saturnine (Saturninus), bishop of Toulouse
  • Aristarchus (Aristarcus), martyr
  • Maron, martyr
  • Marcialis, bishop of (Etandensis?)
  • Eutropius, bishop of Aquitaine
  • Gregory (Gregorius), warrior bishop
  • Eutyches (Eutices), etc.

    The following were illustrious under Trajan:
  • Herenius, bishop of Lyons
  • Jovinus, priest and martyr, disciple of St. Dionysius
  • Caranus (Carannus) of Chartres, martyr
  • Lucianus of Beauvais, disciple of the blessed Peter
  • Eutropius, bishop, and Euphrosyne (Eufrosina)
  • Eugeus of Toulouse
  • Sulpicius
  • Santinus, bishop of Meaux, disciple of Dionysius
  • Thaurinus, bishop of York
  • Theodora
  • Saint Servilianus
  • Sagericus, bishop of Cambrai, disciple of Dionysius