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

Polycarp (Policarpus), a disciple of John the Apostle, by him consecrated a bishop of Smyrna, and in spiritual matters and learning a prince of all Asia, came to Rome in this year, during the episcopate of Pius; and he brought back to the faith many Christians who had been led away from it by the influence of the two heretics, Marcion and Valentinus. This Polycarp once met the aforesaid heretic, Marcion, and Polycarp called him the first-born of the Devil; for he denied that God the Creator is the father of Christ, etc. This Polycarp was burned and martyred with 12 who came from Philadelphia in the fourth persecution in the reign of M. Antoninus and L. Aurelius Commodus. As he was a very learned and pious man, he sent a very useful epistle to the Philippians. He suffered (martyrdom) on the seventh of the Kalends of February.

Polycarp, one of the apostolic fathers, was a native of Smyrna. The date of his birth and of his martyrdom are uncertain. He is said to have been a disciple of the apostle John, and to have been consecrated by this apostle bishop of the church at Smyrna. It is certain that he was bishop of Smyrna at the time when Ignatius of Antioch passed through that city on his way to suffer death at Rome, some time between 107 and 116. The martyrdom of Polycarp occurred in the persecution under the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. As he was led to death the pro-consul offered him his life if he would revile Christ. "Eighty and six years have I served him," was the reply, "and he never did me wrong; how then can I revile my King and my Saviour?" We have remaining only one short piece of Polycarp, his Letter to the Philippians that is published along with Ignatius and the other apostolic writers.

The last sentence of this paragraph is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Praxedes (Praxedis), a very holy virgin, daughter of the most blessed Roman, Pudentis, and sister of the highly renowned virgin, Pudentiana, was highly informed in the Holy Scriptures and lived in this period up to the time of Anicetus the pope. After having spent her paternal inheritance, together with that of her aforesaid sister, to sustain the poor, and having consumed all her life in watchfulness, prayer and fasting, and left all her household, consisting of ninety persons, and having buried the bodies of many martyrs, this blessed virgin also gave up her Spirit to the Lord and received the crown of righteousness on the 21st day of the month of July, on which she is commemorated. And she was buried at Rome beside her sister Pudentiana in the churchyard of Priscilla.[ Praxedes (sometimes spelled, as in the , Praxedis), is a saint of unknown dates. Indeed, much surrounding her is a mystery. ]

Felicitas, a very pious Roman matron, together with her seven sons, namely, Januarius, Felix, Philip, Silanus (Scylano), Alexander, Vitalis and Martial, suffered martyrdom at Rome at this time. This Felicitas, as her name signifies, was in body and soul a very blessed matron, and taught her seven sons to worship God; and so they received the crown of martyrdom; for Januarius, the first born, was beaten with rods and slain with lead; Felix and Philip were killed with cudgels; Silanus was slaughtered and killed by being hurled off a cliff; and Alexander, Vitalus and Martialus were beheaded. And finally this Felicitas, contrary to the manner of matrons, was beheaded with the sword. In these persons a great mirror of our faith is set before our eyes. Their day is celebrated on the 20th day of the month of July.

Felicitas. In the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, there was a great persecution of Christians. They were deemed the cause, if not the authors, of all the earthquakes, which at that time desolated the empire, and an inexorable edict condemned them either to sacrifice or to die. In this persecution Polycarp perished in the East, and Justin in the West.

At the same time there dwelt in Rome an illustrious matron named Felicitas, a widow having seven sons whom she brought up in the Christian faith, devoting herself to a life of virtuous retirement, and employing her days in works of piety and charity. Her influence and example, and the virtuous and modest deportment of her sons, caused many to become Christians, so that the enemies of the faith were greatly enraged against her; and as she was exceedingly rich, those who shared in the spoils of the martyrs were eager to accuse her. She was accordingly cited before the tribunal of Publius, the prefect of the city, who, at first with mildness, and then with threatening words, endeavored in vain to have her deny Christ and sacrifice to the false gods. And the prefect said to her, "If you have no regard for yourself, at least have compassion on your sons, and persuade them to yield to the law." But she replied that her sons would know how to choose between everlasting death and everlasting life. Then the prefect called them all one after another before him, and commanded them to abjure Christ on pain of torments and of death; but their mother encouraged them to persevere in resistance, saying to them, "My sons, be strong in heart, and look up to heaven, where Christ and all his saints await your coming; and defy this tyrant boldly, for so shall the King of glory reward you greatly." On hearing these words the prefect was enraged, and he commanded the executioners to strike her on the mouth and make her silent; but she continued to exhort her sons to die rather than to yield. Then, one after another, they were tortured and put to death before the eyes on their mother: first, the eldest, whose name was Januarius, was scourged with thongs loaded with lead until he died; next to him, Felix and Philip were beaten with clubs; Silanus was flung from a rock; and Alexander, Vitalis, and Martial were decapitated. During their sufferings the mother heroically stood by, never ceasing to comfort and encourage them; and when she beheld them extended in death before her, she lifted up her voice and blessed God that she had brought forth seven sons worthy to be saints in paradise. Her hope was to follow them speedily; but the tyrant, through a refinement of cruelty, caused her life to be prolonged for four months in prison, in order that she might suffer a daily martyrdom of agony, hoping to subdue her spirit through affliction: but she remained firm in her faith, still refusing steadily and meekly to yield, and desiring no other mercy but that of speedily following her martyred children. At length the time of her deliverance arrived, and, being dragged from prison, she was tortured in various ways, and then beheaded; or, as some say, thrown into a caldron of boiling oil.

Ptolemy (Ptolemeus), a native of Alexandria, and a philosopher and famous astronomer, flourished after the time of the Emperor Hadrian (Adriani), and was known at this time. This distinguished man contributed more to astronomy than has been found in earlier writings. As those learned in Latin know, he also wrote many books on various subjects. He lived 88 years. Among his sayings, these are remarkable: He among men who does not concern himself in whose hands the world is, is above the world. And the following: He who is not bettered or chastised by others, through him shall others not be punished. And as you approach nearer to your end, the more should you increase your good works.[Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy) a celebrated mathematician, astronomer, and geographer. Of Ptolemy himself we know absolutely nothing but his dates (after 81-161 CE). His writings are as follows: 1. The , divided into 13 books. In treats of the relations of the earth and heaven; the effect of position upon the earth; the theory of the sun and moon, without which that of the stars cannot be undertaken; the sphere of the fixed stars, and those of the five stars called planets. The 7th and 8th books are the most interesting to the modern astronomer as they contain a catalogue of the stars. 2. , or . With this goes another small work, called , often called , from its containing 100 aphorisms. Both of these works are astrological, and it has been doubted by some whether they are genuine. But the doubt merely arises from the feeling that the contents are unworthy of Ptolemy. 3. A catalogue of Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman sovereigns, with the length of their reigns, several times referred to by Syncellus. 4. , and annual list of sidereal phaenomena. 5. and 6. and . These works are obtained from the Arabic. The is a collection of graphical processes for facilitating the construction of sundials. The is a description of the stereographic projection in which the eye is at the pole of the circle on which the sphere is projected. 7. . This is a brief statement of the principal hypotheses employed in the for the explanation of the heavenly motions. 8. A treatise on the theory of the musical scale. 9. , a metaphysical work, attributed to Ptolemy. 10. The great geographical work of Ptolemy in 8 books. This work was the last attempt made by the ancients to form a complete geographical system; it was accepted as the text-book of the science; and it maintained that position during the Middle Ages, and until the 15th century, when the rapid progress of maritime discovery caused it to be superseded. It contains, however, very little information respecting the objects of interest connected with the different countries and places; for with the exception of the introductory matter in the first book, and the latter part of the work, it is a mere catalogue of the names of places, with their longitudes and latitudes, and with a few incidental references to objects of interest. The latitudes of Ptolemy are tolerably correct; but his longitudes are very wide of the truth, his length of the known world, from east to west, being much too great. It is worth, however, to remark in passing that the modern world owes much to this error; for it tended to encourage that belief in the practicability of the western passage to the Indies, which occasioned the discovery of America by Columbus.]

Aulus Gellius, a Roman rhetorician and famous grammarian, was renowned at this time. Among other works of his virtue, when in the winter he left Rome and went to Attica, he wrote famous commentaries that he, dividing into twenty books, assigned the title Attic Nights; and about them is written: If anyone should wish to be famous for his knowledge of Greek (Cecropia) and Roman (Latia) poetry (Camena), he should read the recommended writings of Gellus. The Attic night, never about to wasted for the light of day, clearly reveals the road to various arts.

Aulus Gellius, a Latin grammarian of good family, was probably a native of Rome. He studied rhetoric under T. Castricius and Sulpicius Apollinaris, philosophy under Calvisius Taurus and Peregrinus Proteus, and enjoyed also the friendship and instructions of Favorinus, Herodes Atticus, and Cornelius Fronto. While yet a youth he was appointed by the praetor to act as an referee in civil causes. The precise date of his birth and death is unknown; but he must have lived under Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and M. Aurelius (who reigned from 117-189 CE). He wrote a work entitled Noctes Atticae, because it was composed in a country house near Athens during the long nights of winter. It is a sort of miscellany containing numerous extracts from Greek and Roman writers, on a variety of topics connected with history, antiquities, philosophy, and philology, interspersed with original remarks, the whole thrown together in 20 books, without any attempt at order or arrangement. The 8th book is entirely lost with the exception of the index.

The end of this paragraph is taken from a four-verse prefatory epigram found in a 1485 edition of Gellus’ work. With its verse breaks it reads thus:

Cecropia, Latia, and Camena are poeticisms for ‘Greek’, ‘Roman’, and ‘poetry’, respectively

The German edition replaces the four-verse epigram at the end of this paragraph with the following sentence: "he wrote many excellent and creditable books; and they were given the title of Noctes Atticae, etc."

Origin of the Cataphrygian (Cathaphrigarum) Heresy.

At this time, under Montanus, the Cataphrygian heresy, so called, came into being. For this most evil arch heretic, Montanus, a native of Phrygia, called himself the "Spiritual Comforter"["Spiritual Comforter" is my (Hadavas) translation of the word paraclitum (‘Paraclete’), which in Christian theology refers to the Holy Spirit as advocate and counselor who has the power to console and comfort.] in the land of Phrygia. And he misled many people, and poisoned this country and the regions in the vicinity with many errors. And there he converted Prisca and Maximillia, the celebrated matrons, so that they left their husbands, and openly traveled about with him; and at his instigation they called themselves prophetesses. These heretics said that the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to them alone and not to the apostles.[Montanus was a Phrygian or Mysian by birth and was the founder of the sect known as the Montanists, or Cataphrygians. He proclaimed himself inspired by the spirit of God, frequently fell into ecstasies, and prophesied. Priscilla and Maximilla, women of remarkable beauty, became his disciples, and accompanied him in all his journeys; for in the sect of the Montanists women administered the sacraments and preached in the churches. They condemned second marriages, admitted a distinction of food, and had three fasts, which they observed very rigorously. Montanism is a somewhat misleading name for the movement in the second century that, along with Gnosticism, occupied the most critical period in the history of the early Church. It was the overthrow of Gnosticism and Montanism that made the "Catholic" Church. The burden of the new prophecy seems to have been a new standard of moral obligations, especially with regard to marriage, fasting, and martyrdom. But Montanus had larger schemes in view. He wished to organize a special community of true Christians to await the second coming of the Lord. When he proposed to summon all true Christians to the small Phrygian town of Pepuza, there was nothing to prevent his plan except the inertia of Christendom. But this was not the case in the West at the beginning of the third century. At Rome and Carthage, and in all other places where sincere Montanists were found, they were confronted by the imposing edifice of the Catholic Church, and they did not have the institutional power to undermine its foundations.]

Apelles, another heretic, in Greece, said that Christ was not a god in truth, but appeared to the people in their imagination. This Apelles, the highly learned man Theodotion (Theodocion) called a most heretical man, and with his writings he scorned, ridiculed and overthrew this same heretic. Tatian (Tacianus), also named the first Christian heretic; then the Severian heretics proceeded from him; they believed that all sexual intercourse was impure.

According to Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (Vol. 1, p. 223), Apelles,

a disciple of Marcion, departed in some points from the teaching of his master. Instead of wholly rejecting the Old Testament, he looked upon its contents as coming partly from the good principle, partly from the evil principle. Instead of denying entirely the reality of Christ’s human body, he held that in his descent from heaven he assumed to himself an aerial body, which he gave back to the air as he ascended. He denied the resurrection of the body, and considered differences of religious belief as unimportant, since, he said, "all who put their trust in the Crucified One will be saved, if they only prove their faith by good works."

Apelles flourished about 188 CE, and lived to a very great age. Tertullian (Praescript. Haeret. 30) says, that he was expelled from the school of Marcion for fornication with one Philumene, who fancied herself a prophetess, and whose fantasies were recorded by Apelles in his book entitled Fanervseiw. But since Rhodon, who was the personal opponent of Apelles, speaks of him as universally honoured for his course of life (Euseb. H. E. v. 13), we may conclude that the former part of Tertullian’s story is one of those inventions which were so commonly made in order to damage the character of heretics. Besides the Fanervseiw, Apelles wrote a work entitled "Syllogisms," the object of which Eusebius states (l.c.) to have been to prove that the writings of Moses were false. It must have been a very large work, since Ambrose (De Paradis. 5) quotes from the thirty-eighth volume of it. (See also Tertull. adv. Marcion, iv. 17; Augustin. de Haer. 26; Epiphanius, Haer. 44.)

Tatian, according to The Catholic Encylopedia (Healy, "Tatian." Vol. 14. New York, 1912), was,

A second-century apologist about whose antecedents and early history nothing can be affirmed with certainty except that he was born in Assyria and that he was trained in Greek philosophy. While a young man he travelled extensively. Disgusted with the greed of the pagan philosophers with whom he came in contact, he conceived a profound contempt for their teachings. Repelled by the grossness and immorality of the pagans and attracted by the holiness of the Christian religion and the sublimity and simplicity of the Scriptures, he became a convert, probably about A.D. 150. He joined the Christian community in Rome, where he was a "hearer" of Justin. There is no reason to think he was converted by the latter. While Justin lived Tatian remained orthodox. Later (c. 172) he apostatized, became a Gnostic of the Encratite sect, and returned to the Orient. The circumstances and date of his death are not known. Tatian wrote many works. Only two have survived. One of these, "Oratio ad Graecos" (Pros Hellenas), is an apology for Christianity, containing in the first part (i-xxxi) an exposition of the Christian Faith with a view to showing its superiority over Greek philosophy, and in the second part a demonstration of the high antiquity of the Christian religion. The tone of this apology is bitter and denunciatory. The author inveighs against Hellenism in all its forms and expresses the deepest contempt for Greek philosophy and Greek manners.

The other extant work is the "Diatesseron", a harmony of the four Gospels containing in continuous narrative the principle events in the life of Our Lord. The question regarding the language in which this work was composed is still in dispute. Lightfoot, Hilgenfeld, Bardenhewer, and others contend that the original language was Syriac. Harnack, Burkitt, and others are equally positive that it was composed in Greek and translated into Syriac during the lifetime of Tatian. There are only a few fragments extant in Syriac but a comparatively full reconstruction of the whole has been effected from St. Ephraem’s commentary, the Syriac text of which has been lost, but which exists in an Armenian version. Two revisions of the "Diatesseron" are available: one in Latin preserved in the "Codex Fuldensis" of the Gospels dating from about A.D. 545, the other in an Arabic version found in two manuscripts of a later date. The "Diatesseron" or "Evangelion da Mehallete" (‘the Gospel of the mixed’) was practically the only gospel text used in Syria during the third and fourth centuries. Rabbula, Bishop of Edessa (411-435), ordered the priests and deacons to see that every church should have a copy of the separate Gospels (Evangelion da Mepharreshe), and Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus (423-457), removed more than two hundred copies of the "Diatesseron" from the churches in his diocese. Several other works written Tatian have disappeared. In his apology (xv) he mentions a work "on animals" and (xvi) one on the "nature of demons". Another work in refutation of the calumnies against the Christians (xl) was planned but perhaps never written. He also wrote a "Book of Problems" (Eus., "Hist. Eccl.", V, 13), dealing with the difficulties in the Scriptures, and one "On Perfection according to the Precepts of Our Saviour" (Clem. Alex., "Strom.", III, 12, 81).

For the Severian heretics, The Catholic Encylopedia (Arendzen, "Encratites." Vol. 5. New York, 1909) states:


Literally, "abstainers" or "persons who practised continency", because they refrained from the use of wine, animal food, and marriage. The name was given to an early Christian sect, or rather to a tendency common to several sects, chiefly Gnostic, whose asceticism was based on heretical views regarding the origin of matter.


Abstinence from the use of some creatures, because they were thought to be intrinsically evil, is much older than Christianity. Pythagorism, Essenism, Indian asceticism betrayed this erroneous tendency, and the Indian ascetics are actually quoted by Clement of Alexandria as the forerunners of the Encratites (Strom., I, xv). Although St. Paul refers to people, even in his days, "forbidding to marry and abstaining from meats" (1 Timothy 4:1-5), the first mention of a Christian sect of this name occurs in Irenæus (I, xxviii). He connects their origin with Saturninus and Marcion. Rejecting marriage, they implicitly accuse the Creator, Who made both male and female. Refraining from all émpsucha (animal food and intoxicants), they are ungrateful to Him Who created all things. "And now", continues Irenæus, "they reject the salvation of the first man [Adam]; an opinion recently introduced among them by Tatian, a disciple of Justin. As long as he was with Justin he gave no sign of these things, but after his martyrdom Tatian separated himself from the Church. Elated and puffed up by his professorship, he established some teaching of his own. He fabled about some invisible æons, as the Valentinians do; and proclaimed marriage to be corruption and fornication, as Marcion and Saturninus do, but he made the denial of Adam's salvation a specialty of his own." The Encratites are next mentioned by Clement Alex. (Pæd., II, ii, 33; Strom., I, xv; VII, xvii). The whole of the third book of the Stromata is devoted to combating a false encrateia, or continency, though a special sect of Encratites is not there mentioned. Hippolytus (Philos., VIII, xiii) refers to them as "acknowledging what concerns God and Christ in like manner with the Church; in respect, however, of their mode of life, passing their days inflated with pride"; "abstaining from animal food, being water-drinkers and forbidding to marry"; "estimated Cynics rather than Christians". On the strength of this passage it is supposed that some Encratites were perfectly orthodox in doctrine, and erred only in practice, but tà perì toû theoû kaì toû christoû need not include the whole of Christian doctrine. Somewhat later this sect received new life and strength by the accession of a certain Severus (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xxix), after whom Encratites were often called Severians. These Severian Encratites accepted the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels, but rejected the Book of the Acts and cursed St. Paul and his Epistles. But the account given by Epiphanius of the Severians rather betrays Syrian Gnosticism than Judaistic tendencies. In their hatred of marriage they declared woman the work of Satan, and in their hatred of intoxicants they called wine drops of venom from the great Serpent, etc. (Hær., xiv). Epiphanius states that in his day Encratites were very numerous throughout Asia Minor, in Psidia, in the Adustan district of Phrygia, in Isauria, Pamphylia, Cilicia, and Galatia. In the Roman Province and in Antioch of Syria they were found scattered here and there. They split up into a number of smaller sects of whom the Apostolici were remarkable for their condemnation of private property, the Hydroparastatæ for their use of water instead of wine in the Eucharist. In the Edict of 382, Theodosius pronounced sentence of death on all those who took the name of Encratites, Saccophori, or Hydroparastatæ, and commanded Florus, the Magister Officiarum, to make strict search for these heretics, who were Manichæans in disguise. Sozomen (Hist. Eccl., V, xi) tells of an Encratite of Ancyra in Galatia, called Busiris, who bravely submitted to torments in the Julian persecution, and who under Theodosius abjured his heresy and returned to the Catholic Church. On the other hand, we learn from Macarius Magnes (about 403; Apocr., III, xliii) of a certain Dositheus, a Cilician, who about the same time wrote a work in eight books in defence of Encratite errors. About the middle of the fifth century they disappear from history, absorbed, probably, by the Manichæans, with whom they had so much in common from the first.


The Encratites developed a considerable literary activity. The earliest writer in their defence probably was Tatian in his book "Concerning Perfection according to the Saviour", which Clement of Alexandria quotes and refutes in Strom., III, xii. Almost contemporary with him (about A.D. 150) was Julius Cassianus, known as the founder of Docetism (see DOCETæ). He wrote a work "Concerning Self-restraint and Continency", of which Clement and St. Jerome have preserved some passages (Strom., I, xxi; Euseb., Praep. Ev., X, xii; Strom., III, xiii; Jerome, ad Gal., VI, viii). Concerning the eight books of Dositheus we know only that he maintained that, as the world had its beginning by sexual intercourse, so by continency (encrateia) it would have its end; and that he inveighed against wine-drinkers and flesh- eaters. Among the apocryphal works which originated in Encratite circles must be mentioned: The Gospel according to the Egyptians, referred to by Clement (Strom., III, ix, 13), Origen (Hom. in i Luc.), Hippolytus (Philos., V, vii), which contained a dialogue between Jesus and Salome specially appealed to by the Encratites in condemnation of marriage (to this Gospel the recently discovered "Logia" probably belong); the Gospel of Philip, of Thomas, the Acts of Peter, of Andrew, of Thomas, and other Apocrypha, furthering Gnostic-Encratite views.

Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., IV, xxi, 28) says that Musanus (A.D. 170 or 210) wrote a most elegant book addressed to some brethren who had fallen into the heresy of the Encratites. Theodoret (Hær. Fab., I, xxi) says that Apollinaris of Hierapolis in Phrygia (about 171) wrote against the Severian Encratites.

The final sentence in this paragraph ("Tatian (Tacianus), also named the first Christian heretic; then the Severian heretics proceeded from him; they believed that all sexual intercourse was impure") is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.