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

Hadrian (Adrianus), surnamed Aelius (Helius), the son of the first cousin of Trajan, fifteenth Roman emperor, of the ancient Picentian ancestry, was born at Rome of his mother Domitia Paulina. He lost his father at ten years of age, and Trajan and Caelius (Celium) were his guardians. He was so accomplished in Greek learning that some called him Graeculus, that is, the little Greek. At the age of fifteen he returned to his native city and entered the military. After that Trajan took him from his home and adopted him as his son. After he received the empire, he was counted among the best of emperors, and rightfully so. At first he was opposed to the Christians, but finally, after learning of their piety and kindness toward him, he became their particular benefactor. He was so well regarded by the Romans that he was deservedly called the father of his country; for he was liberal, brilliant, mild, learned in the Greek and Latin tongues, and well informed in the arts of music and medicine. At the request of the Athenians he made laws for them in the manner of Dracon and Solon, and gave them a remarkable library. At Rome he erected a bridge bearing his name, and in the Vatican, by the Tiber, he built a tomb, now called the Castel Sant’Angelo; and he also built many other wonderful structures. Foremost of all, he enlarged and improved the city of Jerusalem, in Judea, which was destroyed by Titus, with battlements and buildings so that within its walls he enclosed the place of Jesus Christ’s suffering. He called the city Aelia (Helyam), after himself, and decreed that none but Christians were to enter it, and that no Jew was to come into it nor to be given any power there. And finally, burdened with serious illness, he adopted Antoninus Pius. He died in the twenty-second year of his reign, at the age of 72. In person he was an erect man, of handsome stature, and with a long beard.[P. Aelius Hadrianus, usually called Hadrian, Roman emperor (117-138 CE), was born at Rome in 76 CE. He lost his father at the age of ten, and was brought up by his kinsman Ulpius Trajanus (afterwards emperor) and Caelius Attianus. From an early age he studied with zeal the Greek language and literature. At fifteen he went to Spain, where he entered upon his military career; and he subsequently served as military tribune in Lower Moesia. After Trajan became emperor, Hadrian married Julia Sabina, granddaughter of Trajan’s sister Marciana. This marriage was brought about through the influence of Plotina, the wife of Trajan; and from this time Hadrian rose rapidly in the emperor’s favor. He accompanied Trajan in most of his expeditions, and distinguished himself in the second war against the Dacians, was made governor of Pannonia, and subsequently fought under Trajan against the Parthians. When serious illness obliged Trajan to leave the East, he placed Hadrian at the head of the army. Trajan died at Cilicia on his journey to Rome, and Hadrian, pretending to have been adopted by Trajan, was proclaimed emperor by the legions in Syria, and the senate confirmed the election. Returning to Rome, he sought to gain the good will of the senate by gladiatorial exhibitions and liberal largesses, and also canceled all arrears of taxes due the state for the last fifteen years. The remainder of his reign was disturbed by few wars, and he spent the greater part of it in traveling through the various provinces of the empires. He visited Gaul, Germany, Britain, Spain, Africa, and the East, and took up residence at Athens for three years. Athens was his favorite city, and he conferred many privileges on its inhabitants. The most important war during his reign was that against the Jews, which broke out in 131. The Jews revolted in consequence of his establishment of a colony under the name of Aelia Capitolina on the side of Jerusalem, and of their having been forbidden to practice the rite of circumcision. The war was not brought to an end until 136, after the country had been nearly reduced to a wilderness. During the last few years of his life Hadrian’s health failed, and he became suspicious and cruel, putting to death several persons of distinction. Having no children, he adopted L. Aelius Verus and gave him the title of Caesar in 136; but Verus died January 1, 138, whereupon Hadrian adopted Antonius, later surnamed Pius, and conferred the title on him. In July 138 Hadrian died in his 62nd year, and was succeeded by Antoninus. Hadrian’s reign was regarded as one of the happiest in Roman history. His policy was to preserve peace with foreign nations, not to extend his empire, but to secure the old provinces and promote their welfare. He paid particular attention to the administration of justice in the provinces, as well as in Italy. But what has rendered his name more illustrious than anything else are his numerous and magnificent architectural works. His mausoleum at Rome forms the groundwork of the present castle of St. Angelo (Castel Sant’Angelo). He was a patron of learning and literature, as well as of the arts. He was himself an author, and wrote numerous works in prose and in verse, all of which are lost except a few epigrams in the Greek and Latin Anthologies.]

Antoninus Pius, the sixteenth Roman emperor, received the empire, together with his sons Aurelius and Lucius. He was the adopted son of Hadrian, and the husband of his daughter. On his father’s side his origin was of Gaul. He ruled with such discretion and kindness that he was deservedly called the Pious and the father of his country. He was never bitter or harsh toward any person in particular, nor against people in general, and it is stated that he often said that he would rather preserve one citizen than slay a thousand enemies. He was such a just man that many kings and peoples laid down their arms at his request, and submitted their quarrels and wars to him for decisions, and followed his judgment and decision. He was a tall, handsome person, and when by reason of his tallness and age he became bent, tablets of linden wood were laid upon his chest so that he walked upright. Because of his goodness, mildness, good sense and virtue, the Roman senate pronounced him divine. At his own expense and by loans he kindly helped the Roman citizens to restore public and private buildings that the inundation of the Tiber had damaged. At last he died, as if in sleep, at the age of seventy years, at the end of a reign of twenty-two years and three months.[Antonius Pius, Roman emperor (138-161 CE), whose full name in the early part of his life was Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus. His paternal ancestors came from Gaul; but he himself was born at Lanuvium, September 19, 86 CE. From an early age he gave promise of his future worth. In 120 he was consul, and subsequently proconsul of the province of Asia. On his return to Rome he lived on terms of greatest intimacy with Hadrian, who adopted him in 138. Henceforth he bore the name of T. Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Caesar, and on Hadrian’s death ascended the throne. The senate conferred upon him the title of Pius (‘the dutifully affectionate’), because he persuaded them to grant to his father Hadrian the apotheosis and the other honors usually paid to deceased emperors, which they had at first refused to bestow upon Hadrian. The reign of Antoninus is almost a blank in history—a blank caused by the suspension for a time of war, violence, and crime. He may have been one of the best princes that ever ruled, and all his thoughts and energies were dedicated to the happiness of his people. No attempt was made to achieve new conquests, and various insurrections were easily quelled by his legates. His private life was beyond reproach. He was faithful to his faithless wife Faustina. He died at Lorium, March 7th, 161, at the age of 75 years. He was succeeded by M. Aurelius, whom he adopted when he himself was adopted by Hadrian, and to whom he gave his daughter, Faustina, in marriage.]

Marcus Antoninus, surnamed Verus, a philosopher, was born at Rome, and reared there in the house of his ancestors. And although he was called to the high office of emperor, he went to the house of Apollonius the teacher to hear the teaching of Sextus the grandson of Plutarch. He was reared in the bosom of Hadrian, and was called Verissimus, that is, the most truthful. Afterwards, together with his brother Lucius Aurelius Commodus, he ruled the empire well for 19 years. Together they conducted the war against the Parthians with great vigor and success, and triumphed over the enemy. But soon afterwards Commodus died of a stroke and Antoninus ruled the empire alone. And although from youth fortune smiled upon him, yet good nature and learning fought within him and he was by many called a philosopher. Yet his art did not interfere with military affairs, for with great vigor and good fortune he, together with his son Antoninus Commodus, defeated and triumphed over the German Marcomanni, Squadi(?) and Sarmatians. When he was about to go to this war, but had nothing with which to pay the soldiers, he sold all his royal household goods and his wife’s jewelry in Trajan’s Forum. But after he returned, having defeated the enemy, he returned the money to the purchasers. Yet those who would not return their purchases were not compelled to do so. After his victories, he was generous to all for the common good. And so he released a number of countries from tribute, and moderated severe laws by the passage of new ones. For those reasons he caused himself to be loved by the people, so that he attained the name of "The Pious;" and he had no counterpart at home. Finally he died at the age of sixty-one in the 18th year of his reign.[M. Aurelius Antoninus, Roman emperor (161-180 CE), commonly called "the philosopher," was born at Rome April 20, 121 CE. He was adopted by Antoninus Pius immediately after the latter had been himself adopted by Hadrian, received the title of Caesar, and married Faustina, the daughter of Pius. On the death of the latter he succeeded to the throne, but he admitted to an equal share in the sovereign power with L. Ceionius Commodus, who had been adopted by Pius at the same time as Marcus himself. The two emperors from that point on bore respectively the names M. Aurelius Antoninus and L. Aurelius Verus. Soon after their accession Verus was dispatched to the East, and for four years carried on a successful war against the king of Parthia. Meanwhile Italy was threatened by tribes on its northern frontier. Both emperors set out to encounter the foe, and the contest was continued with varying success during the whole life of M. Aurelius, whose headquarters were generally at Pannonia. After the death of Verus, Aurelius prosecuted the war against the Marcomanni with great success. The Marcomanni and other northern tribes concluded a peace with Aurelius in 175. Aurelius returned to Rome at the end of 176; but in 178 he set out again for Germany, where the tribes had renewed the war. He gained several victories, but died in the middle of the war, March 17, 180, at the age of 59 and the 20th year of his reign. The leading feature in his character was his devotion to philosophy and literature. We possess a work by M. Aurelius entitled , in which he registered his thoughts and feelings on moral and religious topics.]