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

Ambrose (Ambrosius), bishop of Milan, was a Roman and a worthy advocate. He was a very pious man and among all the teachers of his time the highest and most distinguished. Upon the death of Auxentius he was elected bishop by divine indication and by the choice of the people, although he had been a pagan judge until then. And soon he was baptized and consecrated. For a child's voice was heard to say, This Ambrosius is worthy to be a bishop. He was the ninth bishop of Milan. Now, as he delivered several books to the emperor Gratian (Graciano) for the sake of the Christian faith, and was received with due honor, all Italy soon reverted to the true faith, and Gaul, lying on this side of the mountains, accepted the true faith. This Ambrosius was of such a good disposition, pious ways, acute intelligence, and was so divine in learning, that, not alone during his lifetime, but also after his death, he was commemorated in Italy and the surrounding countries. When this Ambrosius was still an unspeaking child, sleeping in the cradle, a swarm of bees covered his face as though it were a bee-hive, flying from it to symbolize that out of his mouth honeyed learning would flow; which actually occurred afterwards in the great sweetness of his teachings and writings of which he contributed a remarkable number to strengthen the faith and the churches. Among the Latin writers he shone like a flower. This very holy bishop died on the 4th day of the month of April.[Ambrose, one of the most celebrated Christian fathers, was born in 340 CE, the son of a prefect of Gaul. It is said that when an infant in the cradle a swarm of bees alighted on his mouth without injuring him. The same story was told of the archaic Greek poet Archilochus and the Greek philospher Plato, and considered prophetic of pure eloquence. After an education at Rome he practiced with great success as an advocate at Milan. In 370 he was appointed prefect of the provinces now known as Genoa and Piedmont. On the death of Auxentius, bishop of Milan, in 374, the appointment of a successor led to a conflict between Arians and Catholics. Exerting his influence as a prefect to restore peace, Ambrose addressed the people in a conciliatory speech, at the conclusion of which a child in the farther part of the crowd cried out "Ambrosius episcopus!" ('Ambrose (should be) bishop!'). The words were received as an oracle from heaven, and Ambrose was elected bishop by the multitude, the bishops of both parties uniting in the election. But it was in vain that they attempted to influence Ambrose to accept; however, at length, he yielded under the express command of the emperor Valentinian I; and he was consecrated on the 8th day after his baptism, for at the time of his election he was only a catechumen. Ambrose was a man of eloquence, firmness and ability, and distinguished himself by maintaining and enlarging the authority of the church. He was a zealous opponent of the Arians. It was he also, who, after the massacre of Thessalonica in 390, refused the emperor Theodosius admission into the church of Milan for a period of 8 months, and only restored him after a public penance.]

Martin (Martinus), the bishop of Tours, highly illustrious for his piety and goodness, was a native of the city of Sabaudia, in Pannonia. He was reared at Ticin, that is Pavia, in Italy. With his father, a captain under the Emperor Constantius and later under Julian, he reluctantly practised the art of war. Once he met a poor man, with whom he shared his cloak. On the following night he saw Christ, clothed in it. Immediately, therefore, he left the army and went to Hilarius, bishop of Poitiers, submitting himself to his discipline; and there he later built a cloister of which Hilarius made him a bishop; and his life afterwards was noted for miracles, the like of which have not been seen since the apostles. He was known to have awakened three from the dead. Finally, at the age of 81, he journeyed to God, on the 11th day of November, in the first year of Pope Anasthasius. St. Ambrose greatly marvelled at his accomplishments, and when he afterwards became aware of his piety and virtue, he commended him with many fine expressions of veneration.[Martin of Tours is, perhaps, second to Nicholas in the popularity index of medieval saints (but only because he is confined to Western Christendom). He was born in the reign of Constantine the Great, at Saberia (Sabaudia), a city in Pannonia (now Stain in Hungary). He was the son of a Roman tribune in the army, and his parents were pagans. But while still a child, he himself was touched by the Christian religion and received a catechumen at fifteen. Before he could be baptized, he was enrolled in the cavalry and sent to join the army in Gaul. He at once excited the admiration and love of his comrades. One day while passing out of the city gate of Amiens, he met a poor naked beggar, and having nothing but his clothes and weapons, Martin severed his cloak with his sword, giving half to the beggar. The same night he saw Christ in a dream, having half the cloak with which Martin had parted on his shoulders. At forty he left the army that he had led for many years and took to a religious life. In 371 he was elected bishop of Tours. According to legend he performed a number of miracles, and was distinguished for the determined manner in which he uprooted paganism. After governing his diocese for thirty years, he died and became an object of worship by the people. In art he is distinguished from other bishops by a naked beggar at his feet.]

Theodosius, the emperor, entered into an alliance with Athanaric, the Gothic king. At that time Athanaric came to Theodosius at Constantinople, and was received with great rejoicing. When Athanaric saw the buildings of the city, and the multitudes which had come to the celebration, and later saw the imperial court and its many and various servants and officials, he said, Without doubt the emperor is an earthly god. He who is sent to raise a hand against him, shall have his blood upon his head. But soon afterwards Athanaric was afflicted by a malady, of which he died. The emperor caused him to be honorably buried, and was personally present. Now when the Gothic king thus died, and these same Goths saw and noted the virtue and goodness of the Emperor Theodosius, they unanimously gave themselves up to this same emperor and the Roman Empire.[Athanaric was king of the Visigoths during their stay in Dacia. In 367-369 he carried on a war with the Emperor Valens, with whom he finally concluded a peace. In 374 Athanaric was defeated by the Huns, and, after defending himself for some time in a stronghold in the mountains of Dacia, he was compelled to fly and take refuge in Roman territory. He died in 381.]

Claudian (Claudianus), a poet of Spain, was renowned at Florence in these times. He wrote two excellent books of proverbs; also a bound book of poems in praise of the aforesaid Theodosius.[Claudian (Claudianus), last of the Latin classic poets, flourished under Theodosius and his sons Arcadius and Honorius. He was a native of Alexandria, but moved to Rome where we find him in 395. He enjoyed the patronage of Stilicho, by whom he was raised to offices of honor. The last historical allusion in his writings belongs to the year 404, by which it is supposed he became involved in the misfortunes of Stilicho, who was put to death in 408.]

Prudentius, also a poet, and a Christian, and highly informed in secular literature, was celebrated in these times. He wrote a number of commendable things of a divine nature, such as a book On the Martyrs, On the Origin of Sin, On the Origin of Sins, Hexameron, On the Trinity, etc. Also a book against one Symmachus (Simacum), who defended idolatry, and certain other works.[Prudentius, earliest of the Christian poets of any celebrity, was a native of Spain, and was born in 348. After practicing as an advocate, and discharging the duties of a judge, he received a high military appointment at court; but as he advanced in years he began to view worldly honors as empty of meaning, and so turned to the spiritual. His poems were composed in a great variety of meters.]

Apollinaris, bishop of the city of Laodicea, in Syria, lived in this period. He was an earnest disputant, and so sharp that he dared to say that in the dispensation that the body of the Lord and not the soul was referred to. But when urged to give reasons, he said that he also had a soul—not rational, but as a thing that gives life to the body; that to supply and constitute the rational element, the word of God had been given. This same interpretation had already been nullified and wiped out by Damasus and by Peter, the Alexandrine bishop. And from this the Apollinarian heretics had their origin and received their name.

Apollinaris, "the Younger" (died 300), bishop of Laodicea in Syria, collaborated with his father, Apollinaris the Elder, in reproducing the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry, and the New Testament after the fashion of Platonic dialogues, when the Emperor Julian had forbidden Christians to teach the classics. In his eagerness to combat Arianism he went so far as to deny the existence of a rational human soul in Christ's human nature, this being replaced in him by a prevailing principle of holiness, namely the Logos. In theology the Logos has been defines as the divine creative Word, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, both in his pre-existent and in his incarnate condition.

It was held that the system of Apollinaris was really Docetism, a doctrine that Christ's body was either a phantom, or, if real, of celestial origin, so that he acted and suffered in appearance only and not in fact. The position of Apollinaris was accordingly condemned by several synods, and in particular by that of Constantinople (381). He had a considerable following, which after his death divided into two sects, the more conservative taking its name (Vitalians) from Vitalis, bishop of Antioch, the other (Polemeans) adding futher assertion that the two natures were so blended that even the body of Christ was a fit object of adoration. The Apollinarian type of thought persisted in what was later the Monophysite school.

Although Apollinaris was a prolific writer, scarcely anything has survived under his own name. He must be distinguished from the bishop of Hierapolis who bore the same name, and who wrote one of the earliest Christian "Apologies" (c. 170).


Ambrose (Sanctus Ambrosius), celebrated Christian father, is here represented by a large woodcut. He is seated, an open book in his hands, and clad in Episcopal vestments. In the background is a small gabled structure, with an arched doorway, and a piece of tapestry or other embroidered material laid over the roof, as though the object might at the same time be used as a lectern. The meaning is not clear, unless this is the symbolical beehive, introduced to bear out the legend that a swarm of bees alighted on the mouth of Ambrose while an infant in the cradle, presaging the honeyed words thereafter to proceed from his lips. Ambrose is also given a nimbus, as is the bovine creature in the lower right hand corner, and whose symbolism is not clear. It resembles an ox, the symbol of St. Luke; and as it is said that the Old Testament and the New met in the person of Ambrose, this may explain the thought of the artist.


Martins of Tours is represented by a small woodcut. His robes are ornate and princely. He appears to be unclasping a belt, probably that of his cloak, which according to legend he divided with the poor little beggar in tattered garments, who peeps out of the portrait from beneath the open mantle.