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

Maximinus, emperor after Alexander, in the year from the founding of the city 987[The German edition has the year 988.] , was elected by the army and without the consent of the senate, after having waged a successful war in Germany. In early youth he was a shepherd, and for a time a guard stationed to protect his people against the inroads of thieves and murderers. He entered the army under Severus, the emperor, and was notable for his size and conspicuous for his virtue and military demeanor. He was of manly stature and earnest disposition. He stood erect and was over eight feet in height; and so he had a large foot. In speaking of tall and huge persons it was customary to say, This man requires the hose of the Emperor Maximinus. He was a heavy drinker, and is said to have consumed an amphora of wine at a single meal. But being the sixth persecutor of the Christians after Nero, he, together with his son Maximus, was slain by Pupienus at Aquileia, which he was besieging, in the third year of his reign. For those of Aquileia were against Maximinus, and so faithful were they to the Roman senate that when there was a shortage of sinews they made bowstrings from the hair of their women. To the honor of these women the Romans erected a temple to the bald Venus, goddess at Rome.[Maximinus I, Roman emperor from 235-238 CE, was born in a village in Thrace, of barbarian parents, his father being a Goth, and his mother a German from the tribe of Alani. Brought up as a shepherd, he attracted the attention of Septimus Severus by his gigantic stature and marvelous feats of strength, and was permitted to enter the army. He eventually rose to the highest rank in the service, and on the murder of Severus by mutinous troops in Gaul (235), he was proclaimed emperor. He immediately bestowed the title of Caesar on his son Maximus. During the three years of his reign he waged war against the Germans with success, but his government was characterized by oppression and violent excesses. The Roman world became tired of this monster, and the Senate and the provinces gladly acknowledged the two Gordiani, who had been proclaimed emperors in Africa; and after his death the senate proclaimed Maximus and Balbinus emperors (238). As soon as Maximinus heard of the elevation of the Gordiani, he hastened from his winter quarters at Sirmium. Crossing the Alps he laid siege to Aquileia, and was slain by his own soldiers along with his son Maximus. The most extraordinary tales are told of his physical strength. His height exceeded 8 feet, and the circumference of his thumb was equal to a woman’s wrist, so that the bracelet of his wife served him for a ring. He was able single-handed to draw a loaded wagon. With his fist he could knock out the grinders, and with a kick break the leg of a horse. His appetite was such that within one day he could eat 40 pounds of meat and drink an amphora of wine.]

Gordianus attained the sovereignty after the tyrant Maximinus. This very noble man, together with his son, was chosen emperor after he had defeated the Parthians with great loss. At the age of eighty, after having been a proconsul in many provinces, he was named Africanus. This Gordianus, the father, and Gordianus, the son, were both elected emperors by the great council of Africa. Gordianus the younger was declared emperor, and he reigned six years. As Maximinus had attained the sovereignty without the consent of the senate, the latter appointed three emperors to make war against him. Of these, two, Pupienus and Albinus, were slain in the palace, leaving the sovereignty to Gordianus alone. This emperor was so well liked that he had sixty-two thousand books in his library. Finally, while returning to Rome to celebrate a triumph, he was slain not far from Rome through the treachery of Philip. He was buried with an honorable epitaph in four languages, Greek, Latin, Persian, and Hebrew.[ M. Antonius Gordianus was the name of three Roman emperors, father, son, and grandson. The first, surnamed Africanus, was distinguished alike for his moral and intellectual excellence. In his first consulship he was a colleague of Caracalla; and in his second, of Alexander Severus, and soon after was nominated proconsul of Africa. After governing Africa for several years with justice and integrity, a rebellion broke out in the provinces in consequence of the tyranny of Maximinus. The ringleaders of the conspiracy compelled Gordianus, who was no in his 80th year, to assume the imperial title. He entered upon his new duties at Carthage in February, associated with his son in the empire, and dispatched letters to Rome announcing his elevation. Gordianus and his son were at once proclaimed Augusti by the senate, and preparations were made in Italy to resist Maximinus. But meantime a certain Capellianus, procurator of Numidia, refused to acknowledge the Gordiani, and marched against them. The younger Gordianus, having been defeated and slain in battle, his aged father put an end to his own life after reigning less than two months. Gordianus III was proclaimed emperor in July 238 after the murder of Balbinus and Pupienus, although he was a mere boy not over 12. He reigned six years, 238-244. In 241 he married the daughter of Misitheus, and in the same year set out for the East against the Persians. With the assistance of Misitheus he defeated them in 232, but Misitheus died in the following year; and Philippus, whom Gordianus had taken into his confidence, excited discontent among the soldiers, who at length rose in open mutiny and assassinated Gordianus in Mesopotamia in 244. He was succeeded by Philippus. In the Gordianus II and III are treated as one person.]

Philippus and his son Philippus reigned five years after returning with the army from Syria and Italy in the year from the founding of the city nine hundred ninety-seven. The Christians had the first of these for emperor. However, he did not meddle with the hidden meanings of the faith, but acquiesced in them. In the third year of his reign, the one thousandth year from the founding of the City was celebrated, and the games were played which had always taken place every hundredth year, and which Valerius Publicola, after the line of Roman kings had come to an end, set up as a goal of human life. Those two, namely Philippus, father and son, were afterwards killed by the army through the treachery of Decius, the former at Verona or Bern, the latter at Rome. And they were reckoned among the gods. Philippus the younger was of so serious a disposition that he could not be moved to laughter by any manner of pastime; and the father turned away from those who were moved to laughter at any of the aforesaid games. And after Decius became envious of them they entrusted their treasures to Pope Fabian. On this account Decius became very hateful of the Christians.[M. Julius Philippus I, Roman emperor (244 to 249 CE), was an Arabian by birth, and entered the Roman army, attaining to high rank. He accompanied Gordianus III in his expedition against the Persians, and upon the death of the excellent Misistheus he was promoted to the vacant office of praetorian praefect. But he excited discontent among the soldiers, who at length assassinated Gordianus, and proclaimed Philippus emperor in 244. Philippus proclaimed his son Caesar, concluded a disgraceful peace with Sapor, and returned to Rome. In the meantime Decius was forcibly invested with the purple by his troops, and compelled to march on Italy. Having gone forth to meet his rival, Philippus was slain in a battle near Verona, or by his own soldiers. The great domestic event of his reign was the exhibition of the secular games, which were celebrated with even more than the ordinary degree of splendor, since Rome had now, according to the received tradition, attained the 1000th year of her existence (248 CE). Philippus II, son of the foregoing, was a boy of seven at the accession of his father in 244. His father proclaimed him Caesar, and three years later he received the title of Augustus. According to Zosimus he was slain in 249 at the battle of Verona, or murdered, according to Victor, at Rome by the praetorians, when intelligence arrived of the defeat and death of the emperor.]

Decius, the Roman emperor, native of Bubalia in lower Pannonia, took over the sovereignty on the death of the Philippi and he burned with hatred against the Christians because of these Christian Philippi. He suppressed the civil war that broke out in Gaul, and made a Caesar of his son. At home he built baths. After having reigned two years, he and his son were defeated in the wars with the barbarians; and he sank so deep in a pool of water that his body was never recovered; and thus he was damned by a deserved judgment. He initiated the seventh persecution of the Christians after Nero, in which many pious men were slain. Here occurs a matter not clear among historians; for Eutropius writes that Decius tortured St. Lawrence the Levite and martyr, with fire. St. Lawrence flourished under Pope Sixtus. And so some extend the reign of Decius. Some say this was the elder Decius, under whom Fabian and Cornelius suffered. After this they mention the younger Decius Caesar, and say that between these two, Gallus Volusianus and other emperors reigned; and after them Valerianus and Gallienus, under whom Lucianus, Stephen, and Sixtus, the popes, and Lawrence the archdeacon, and Hippolytus were martyred; and that Gallienus was called Decius Gallienus. Some state that Decius was before Philippus, for in the life of St. Lawrence one reads of Decius Caesar and not Imperator, under whom St. Lawrence suffered. In ancient times some emperors were called Caesars, some Augusti, and some Imperators; all of which means emperor.[Decius, Roman emperor (249-251), was born in Bubalia in Pannonia. The emperor Philippus in 249 sent him to restore order in the army of Moesia; but the troops compelled him to accept the purple under threats of death. Decius still assured Philippus of his fidelity; but the latter, not trusting his assurances, hastened to meet his rival in the field, was defeated near Verona, and slain. The short reign of Decius was occupied chiefly in warring against the Goths. He fell in battle, together with his son in 251. During his reign the Christians were persecuted with great severity.]