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

Gallus Hostilianus and Volusian (Volusianus), his son, were soon crowned emperors. In these same times and to avenge the name of Christ, a great pestilence broke out, particularly in Egypt, at Alexandria, so that few countries, cities, and houses remained which did not suffer. These two emperors did nothing of consequence, so that no memories remain of their sovereignty except the misery of this pestilence, plague and sickness. However, they undertook a war against Aemilianus, who undertook new ventures, and in that war they were slain. But after that Aemilianus, who was of very obscure ancestry, ruled still more obscurely and was slain within the third month. The two emperors above named were slain after a rule of less than two years.[Trebonianus Gallus was Roman emperor from 251-254 CE. He served under Decius in the campaign against the Goths, 251, and he is said to have contributed by his treachery to the disastrous issue of the battle that proved fatal to Decius and his son Herennius. Gallus was, therefore, immediately elected emperor, and Hostilianus, the surviving son of Decius, was nominated his colleague. He purchased peace of the Goths by allowing them to retain their plunder, and promising them a fixed annual tribute. In 253 the Goths again invaded the Roman dominions, but they were driven back by Aemilianus, whose troops proclaimed him emperor in Moesia. Aemilianus then immediately marched into Italy; and Gallus was put to death by his own soldiers, together with his son Volusian, before any collision had taken place between the opposing armies. The name of Gallus is associated with nothing but cowardice and dishonor. In addition to the misery produced by the inroads of the barbarians during his reign, a deadly pestilence broke out in 253, and continued its ravages over every part of the empire for fifteen years. Aemilianus, the governor of Pannonia and Moesia, was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers in 253, but was slain by them after reigning a few months.]

Valerian (Valerianus), the emperor, together with his son Gallienus (Galieno), reigned 15 years. While Valerian was engaged in Rhaetia and Noricum, he was elected emperor by the soldiers, and his son Gallienus was elected emperor by the Roman senate. The sovereignty and rule of these two were disastrous to the Roman name, and they deserved to be exterminated because of their misconduct and cruelty toward the Christians. And the Germans came up to Ravenna, destroying everything with fire and sword. Valerian conducted a war in Mesopotamia. He was taken prisoner by Sapor, the Persian king; and he lived there in disgraceful captivity, and he grew old with the Persians in ignoble service; for when the Persian king wished to mount his horse, he used Valerian as his footstool for the purpose, and placed his foot on his neck, and deservedly so; for when he began his reign he instituted the eighth persecution of the Christians.[Valerian (in Latin Valerianus) was Roman emperor from 253 to 260 CE. He was proclaimed emperor by the troops whom he was leading against the usurper Aemilianus. Valerian proclaimed his son Gallienus, Augustus, and first carried on war against the Goths, whom he defeated. But though the barbarians still threatened the Roman frontiers on the Danube and the Rhine, the conquests of the Persians who had crossed the Euphrates and stormed Antioch compelled him to hasten to the East. For a time his measures were vigorous and successful. Antioch was recovered, and the Persian king Sapor was compelled to fall back behind the Euphrates; but the emperor, flushed by his good fortune, followed too rashly. He was surrounded in the vicinity of Edessa by the countless horsemen of his enemy. He was taken prisoner in 260, and passed the remainder of his life in captivity, subjected to every insult that cruelty could devise. After death it was said that his skin was stuffed and long preserved as a trophy in the chief temple of the nation.] However, Gallienus,[Gallienus (260-268 CE), succeeded his father Valerian, when the latter was taken prisoner by the Persians; but he had previously reigned in conjunction with his father from the latter’s accession in 253. Gallienus was indolent, profligate, and indifferent to the public welfare. His reign was long considered one of the most disastrous in the history of Rome. The barbarians ravaged large portions of the empire (and Gaul eventually seceded), and the inhabitants were swept away by one of the most frightful plagues recorded in history. This followed a long protracted famine. When it was at its greatest height 5,000 sick are said to have perished daily in Rome; and after the scourge had passed, it was found that the population of Alexandria had been decreased by two-thirds. The complete dissolution of the empire was averted mainly by a series of internal rebellions. In every district able officers sprang up and strove to maintain the dignity of independent princes. The armies levied by these usurpers, who are commonly distinguished as the Thirty Tyrants, in many cases arrested the progress of the invaders, and restored order in the provinces which they governed. Gallienus was at length slain by his own soldiers in 268 CE, while besieging Milan, in which the usurper Aureolus had taken refuge.] frightened by the public judgment of God, gave the churches peace. As he was elected emperor in his youth, he at first ruled the empire with good fortune, then soon with indifference, but finally disastrously; for in him was the thirst for power. But the barbarian people invaded the Roman country, and tyrants sprang up who ravaged what had escaped other external enemies who had been there before. This Gallienus abandoned the sovereignty and went to Milan for carnal pleasures; and he was slain in the ninth year of his reign. This occurred, as some say, with the help of Cecropius, the Duke of Dalmatia. And there his brother Valerian was also slain. The Germans marched as far as Hispania, and after many disasters, the Roman Empire was destroyed. And Postumus (Posthumus), obscurely born in Gaul, reigned by force as an emperor for 10 years. He was slain by the soldiers in a revolt.[Postumus stands second in the list of the so-called Thirty Tyrants. Being nominated Governor of Gaul by Valerian, he assumed the title of emperor in 258 CE, while Valerian was prosecuting his campaign against the Persians. Postumus maintained a strong and just government, and preserved Gaul against the warlike tribes on the Eastern border. After reigning nearly ten years, he was slain by his soldiers in 268. Laelianus was proclaimed emperor in his stead.] After him Victorinus, the Gaul, undertook to rule. He was a strong man, but given to gluttony, and took on a foreign spouse; and therefore he was slain at Cologne in the second year of his reign.[Victorinus, one of the Thirty Tyrants, was the third of the usurpers who ruled Gaul during the reign of Gallienus. He was assassinated at Agrippina by one of his own officers in 268 CE, after reigning somewhat more than a year.] After him, Tetricus, the Roman senator and governor of Aquitainia, was elected emperor by the soldiers.[C. Pesuvius Tetricus was one of the Thirty Tyrants, and the last of the pretenders who ruled Gaul during its separation from the empire under Gallienus and his successor. He reigned in Gaul from 267-274 CE, and was defeated by Aurelian in 274 at the battle of Chalons, on which occasion he is believed to have betrayed his army to the emperor. It is certain that although Tetricus, along with his son, graced the triumph of the conqueror, he was immediately afterward treated with the greatest distinction by Aurelian.]

Claudius, the second of that name, Roman emperor, was elected by the soldiers, and also by the Roman senate. With great slaughter he defeated the Goths who had ravaged Greece and Macedonia. His services were recognized by the Roman senate by a golden helmet and a golden column. He was a temperate and well-mannered man, devoted to justice, and able in the management of the public welfare. This man fought against two hundred thousand Alamanni not far from the sea of Benaco, in the forest of Lugano, and killed so many that hardly half their number survived. He reigned not quite two years, and died of an illness. His brother Quintilianus was elected emperor by the army, but was slain on the seventeenth day of his reign.[Claudius II was Roman emperor from 268-270 CE. He descended from an obscure family in Dardania or Illyria, and by his military talents rose to distinction under Decius, Valerian and Gallienus. He succeeded to the empire on the death of Gallienus (268), and soon after his accession he defeated the Alemanni in the north of Italy. In the next year he gained a great victory over an immense host of Goths near Naissus in Dardania, and received in consequence the surname Gothicus. He died in Sirmium in 270, and was succeeded by Aurelian.]

Aurelian (Aurelianus) received the sovereignty in the year from the founding of the city (i.e., Rome) one thousand twenty-seven. He was a native of Dacia, and was celebrated in military affairs, mighty in war; yet he was of a mean and cruel nature. He defeated the Goths on the Danube in a heavy engagement, and freed the Roman empire of invasions for three years. He was the first Roman to wear an imperial crown, and he donned jewels and a golden dress, contrary to Roman custom. He surrounded the city of Rome with enlarged and stronger walls, and built a temple to the pagan god Apollo. He gave battle to Zenobia, an empress of the East, not far from Antioch, and in Gaul he freed the Vindelici from a barbarian siege. When he went to Illyricum (i.e., Greece) he was slain by his enraged secretary, between Heraclia and Constantinople. He instituted the ninth persecution of the Christians. He reigned five years and six months. Flavius Vopiscus describes his glorious triumph.

Aurelian (in Latin Aurelianus), Roman emperor, 270-5 CE, was born about 212 at Sirmium in Pannonia (modern-day Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). He entered the army as a common soldier, and by his extraordinary bravery was raised to offices of trust and honor by Valerian and Claudius II. On the death of the latter he was elected emperor by the legions at Sirmium. His reign presents a succession of brilliant exploits, which restored for a while the ancient lustre to the arms of Rome. He first defeated the Goths and Vandals, who had crossed the Danube, and were ravaging Pannonia. He next gained a great victory over the Alamanni and other German tribes; but they succeeded, notwithstanding, in crossing the Alps. Near Placentia they defeated the Romans, but were eventually overcome by the Romans in two decisive engagements in Umbria. After crushing a formidable conspiracy at Rome, Aurelian next turned his arms against Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, whom he defeated, took prisoner, and carried to Rome. On his return to Italy he marched to Alexandria and put Firmus to death, who had assumed the title of emperor. He then proceeded to the West, where Gaul, Britain and Spain were still in the hands of Tetricus, who had been declared emperor a short time before the death of Gallienus. Tetricus surrendered to Aurelian in a battle fought at Chalons. The emperor now devoted his attention to domestic improvements and reforms. Many works of public utility were commenced, the most important of all being the erection of a new line of strongly fortified walls, embracing a much more ample circuit than the old ones, which had long since fallen into ruin; but the vast plan was not completed until the reign of Probus. After a short residence in the city, he visited the provinces on the Danube. He next collected a large force in Thrace for an expedition against the Persians; but while he was on the march between Heraclea and Byzantium, he was killed by some of his officers. They had been induced to conspire against him by a certain Mnesthius, a freedman of the emperor and his private secretary, who had betrayed his trust, and fearful of punishment, had by means of forged documents, organized the conspiracy.

The last sentence in this paragraph is not found in the German edition of the Chronicle. Flavius Vopiscus is one of the so-called authors of the late antiquity collection of imperial biographies known as the Historia Augusta (‘The Augustan History’).