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

Agapitas (Agapitus), an illustrious youth fifteen years of age, was at this time crowned with martyrdom at Prenesta the Sabine city, through the offices of Emperor Alexander. At the age of fifteen he was zealous to suffer martyrdom for his love of Christ. He was seized by the emperor and at first beaten with rawhide; after which the judge asked him to sacrifice to the gods. He was locked up in a dark stinking prison, and no food was given him for four days. After this burning coals were placed on his head. And as he was giving thanks to God, he was again whipped. Naked, and with his head downward, he was hanged and boiling water poured over his body. And while they were breaking the jaws of this Christian martyr, the judge fell from his seat and gave up his sorry soul. When the emperor heard this, he caused the body to be thrown to the lions, but the wild animals were so tame that they prostrated themselves at the martyr’s feet. When the servants of vice saw this, they took away the martyr and slew him with the sword, between two pillars, on the 18th day of the month of August. His body was carried off secretly by the Christians at night and was placed in a new sarcophagus discovered by divine indication at the first mile-stone from the city.

Agapitas, a boy of fifteen, was taken and brought before the governor Antiochus, at Praeneste, the modern Palestrina, in the reign of Aurelian. He was beaten severely, and thrust into a dark and loathsome dungeon, where he was left without food or drink for four days. He was then taken forth, but when asked if he would sacrifice, he shook his head. Red hot coals were poured over his head and bare shoulders; then he was suspended by his feet, over smoke, and beaten. When nearly unconscious, he was laid on the ground and boiling water poured over his breast and belly; his jaw was broken with a stone; but he still lived.

Antiochus the governor fell off his throne in a fit, and died. News was taken to Aurelian, who ordered Agapitas cast to the lions, but the lions refused to touch him; and he was taken outside the gate of Praeneste, and his head was struck off. Although a persecution did break out under Aurelian, the greater part of this story is pure legend, and all that can possibly be admitted is that a boy was scourged, imprisoned and decapitated. According to Baring-Gould the late Acts of the Martyrs are always stuffed with tortures, exposure to fire, water, lions, none of which hurt, and all end with the martyrs losing their heads; when everything else fails, cold steel succeeds.

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

Martina, a very holy Roman virgin of this time, was a person of exceptional Christian faith and virtue. Because of her acknowledgment of the Christian faith she was seized by Emperor Alexander and subjected to various tortures. Being inflamed by love for her, he admonished her to worship the idols, and promised to make her his companion. But the image of Apollo fell to pieces upon her approach; for in her chastity of mind and body she had praised God. Afterwards she was beaten and laid in prison, where a great light permeated her body. And on a tablet was found written in her hand: ‘Lord, how magnified are your works. You have done all in your wisdom.’ After that she was placed on the rack and her limbs injured with sharp instruments. A lion was led to her, but he did her no harm. As she still remained unmoved in her faith, she was executed by the sword on the first day of January.[]

Quirinus (Quiricius) the Roman, together with his mother Inclita (Iulita), and many others, were martyred on the 15th day of July in these violent times. Their history is found in the apocryphal writings.[This sentence is not found in the German edition of the .]

Beryllus (Berillus) the Arab, a bishop of Bostra, and a highly learned man, for a while ruled his church in a praiseworthy manner. However, he finally fell into a heresy that denied that Christ existed before he became a human being. But through Origen he was led back to the truth. A little later he wrote various small works, especially some letters in which ‘Secular Learning’ expresses its gratitude toward Origen. There is also extant a dialogue between Origen and Beryllus in which the latter argues his heresies.

Beryllus (Berillus), as bishop of Bostra, in Arabia, according to Eusebius, attempted to pervert the doctrine of the church by introducing certain opinions foreign to the Christian faith, "daring to assert that our Lord and Saviour did not exist in the proper sense of existence before his dwelling among men; neither had he a proper divinity, but only that divinity which dwelt in him from the Father. As the bishops had many examinations and discussions on this point with the man, Origen, who was also invited together with the rest, at first entered into conversation with him, in order to ascertain what opinion the man held. But when he understood what he advanced, after correcting his error, by reasoning and demonstration, he convinced him, and thus recovered him to the truth in doctrine, and brought him back again to his former sound opinion." (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.33).

To get a sense of how Schedel adapts his text from his sources (i.e., what he keeps, deletes, adds, alters, etc.), compare the Latin text of the Chronicle to the original text taken from Jerome’s De viris illustribus (‘On Illustrious Men’): Beryllus, Arabiae Bostrenus episcopus, cum aliquanto tempore gloriose rexisset Ecclesiam, ad extremum lapsus in haeresim, quae Christum ante incarnationem negat, ab Origene correctus. Scripsit varia opuscula, et maxime epistolas, in quibus Origeni gratias agit, sed et Origenis ad eum litterae sunt. Exstat dialogus Origenis et Berylli, in quo haereseos coarguitur. Claruit autem sub Alexandro, Mammeae filio, et Maximino et Gordiano, qui ei in imperium successerunt. (Jerome, De viris illustribus; Chapter LX).

Porphyry (Porphirius), a most excellent Athenian philosopher, was in great esteem at this time; and although he was a lover of Origen, and praised him, yet he was a severely ruthless persecutor of Christianity, and heaped many derogatory and belittling arguments against the Orthodox faith, which, however, the divine Augustine refuted, although he posits a perfect trinity. And, among other things, he added the Isagoges (i.e., ‘Introductions’) to Aristotle’s Categories (i.e., ‘Categories’).[Unusually for Schedel, both the original Greek titles (transliterated) and their respective Latin equivalents (isagoges = introductiones; cathegorias = pr(a)edicamenta) are given for both Porphyry’s book () and Aristotle’s (). This is Porphyry’s most influential contribution to philosophy for it incorporated Aristotle’s logic into Neoplatonism. Boethius’ Latin translation of Porphyry’s work became a standard medieval textbook in European schools and universities, and help set the stage for medieval philosophical-theological developments of logic and the problem of universals. Scholars now believe that Porphyry’s text is an introduction to Aristotelian logic in general, not a specific introduction to his . It is telling that these sentences on philosophy are excised from the German edition of the .] And he wrote many other things.[Porphyry, the celebrated antagonist of Christianity, was a Greek philosopher of the Neoplatonic school. He was born 233 CE either in Batanea in Palestine or at Tyre. His original name was Malchus, the Greek form of the name Porphyrus (in allusion to the usual color of royal robes) was subsequently devised for him by his preceptor Longinus. After studying under Origen at Caesarea, and under Apollonius and Longinus at Athens, he settled at Rome in his 30th year, and there became a diligent disciple of Plotinus. He soon gained the confidence of Plotinus, and was entrusted by the latter with his delicate and difficult duty of correcting and arranging his writings. After remaining at Rome for 6 years, Porphyry fell into an unsettled state of mind, and began to entertain the idea of suicide, in order to get free from the shackles of the flesh; but on the advice of Plotinus he took voyage to Sicily, where he resided for some time. It was here that he wrote his treatise against Christianity in 15 books. Of the remainder of his life we know little. He returned to Rome and taught there until his death in 305 or 306. Later in life he married Marcella, widow of one of his friends, and the mother of seven children, with the view, as he avowed, of superintending their education. His learning was most extensive. His celebrated treatise against the Christian religion has not come down to us. It was publicly destroyed by order of the Emperor Theodosius. The attack was sufficiently challenging to call forth replies from over thirty antagonists, among them Methodius, Apollinaris, and Eusebius. His and are two of his most interesting works that are still extant.]

Hippolytus (Hipolitus), a bishop of a certain church, wrote of the calculation of Easter and the chronology of time up to the first year of Emperor Alexander. He discovered the cycle of sixteen years and gave the opportunity to Eusebius who, concerning the same calculation of Easter, composed a cycle of 19 years. He was considered famous. He even wrote some texts, especially commentaries on the Hexameron and on the Prophets.[Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome in the first quarter of the third century. A very prolific author, he came into conflict with the Popes of his time and, consequently, had his own separate congregation. Therefore he is sometimes considered the first Antipope (thus, perhaps, the reticence of the to identify him vaguely as a ‘bishop of a certain church’). When he died in 235, however, he was reconciled to the Church as a martyr. His works were wide-ranging, to say the least, and covered such areas as exegesis, homiletics, apologetics and polemic, chronography, and ecclesiastical law. His most famous work was his . In his work on the Passover (in the translation above rendered as ‘Easter’) he traces back the series of times, and presents a certain canon comprising a period of 16 years, on the Passover, limiting his computation of the times to the first year of Emperor Alexander. Cf. also Eusebius, 6.22.]

Julius, of Africa (as Saint Jerome writes) was renowned among the historians of his time. He wrote five books of this period; also a large book on the Trinity. He sent an epistle to the great Origen, showing that the fable of Susannah is not accredited by the Hebrews. He also wrote an epistle, full of Scriptural learning, against Origen. This Julius was a sower and a lover of the Scriptures. By the use of his riches he created a remarkable library, bearing his name, at Caesarea in Palestine. Being a reliable man he was sent to rebuild the castle of Emmaus. This he afterward did; and he named it Nicopolis.[Sextus Julius Africanus was a Christian traveler and historian of the third century, probably born in Libya, and lived at Emmaus. He wrote a history of the world from the creation to 221 CE, calculating the period between the creation and the birth of Christ as 5,499 years, and antedating the latter event by three years. This method of reckoning, known as the Alexandrian era, was adopted by almost all Eastern Churches. Eusebius also gives a letter to Aristeides, and one to Origen, impugning the authority of the book of Susannah.]