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

Genseric (Gensericus), king of the Vandals, in the middle of his rule dispersed the Spaniards, Gauls and Romans. But when Bonifacius, the general, governor of Africa and St. Augustine's admirer, considered giving up Africa, he, to the destruction of the common good, allowed the Alans and Vandals, together with Genseric their king, whom the Spaniards had ousted, to march in. With murder, fire and plunder, they cruelly devastated almost all of Africa, and substituted the Arian heresies for the Christian faith. They sent various Christian bishops of the true faith into exile. During the time of this disorder, St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, in order not to witness the fall of the city, ascended to Christ in the third month of the siege. Afterwards Genseric persecuted the city under deceitful pretenses of peace by frightening the citizens with various forms of martyrdom, and taking their possessions and estates. Nor did he refrain from plundering the churches. And so Carthage was captured by the Vandals, after having been obedient to the Romans for three hundred eighty-five years.[Genseric, king of the Vandals, and most terrible of the barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire, crossed over from Spain to Africa in 429, and ravaged the country with frightful severity. He took Hippo in 431, but Carthage did not fall to him until 439. Having thus become master of Northwestern Africa, he now attacked Italy. In 455 he took Rome and plundered it for 14 days. In the same year he destroyed Capua, Nola, and Neapolis. Twice the empire endeavored to revenge itself, but without success. The first was an attempt of the Western emperor Majorian (457), whose fleet was destroyed in the Bay of Carthagena. The second was made by the Eastern emperor, Leo, whose fleet was burned off Bona. Genseric died in 477 at a great age. He was an Arian and persecuted his Catholic subjects on an extensive scale.] In the following year Genseric journeyed to Sicily and afflicted on it great disasters. Likewise the Picts and Scots harassed the Island of Britain. Now, there was a man named Aetius, very powerful and swift in war, of whom the Britons asked aid. He silenced the Burgundians, who had just revolted and brought on a war. He defeated the Franks, encamped on the Rhine with the intention of overrunning Gaul, in a great battle, driving them back into Germany. He also began a violent war against the Alans, and with the advice and assistance of the kings and their people living on the Danube, he first incited the Huns to invade Italy. Now as the distinguished and foremost Britons who had become accustomed to Roman laws and usages did not wish to endure the barbarism of the Picts and Sects, they sent to this Aetius for assistance; and he loaned them an army of men, who sailed overseas and drove out these barbarians with great slaughter. But when the Britons were abandoned by Aetius, they asked help of the Angles and Saxons. These, however, they found to be enemies rather than allies; for by them they were oppressed, and through them they lost their fatherland as well as their name.

Attila (Athila), of Scythia, was a king of the Huns. His father's name was Mundizicus. His brothers were Ottar and Rhoas, who are supposed to have ruled before him. After their death, he and his brother Bleda succeeded to the kingdom of the Huns. Attila was a man of stately bearing. Turning his eyes around now here, now there, so that his lofty carriage and power also appeared in his bodily movements. He was a lover of war, not very mild, yet moderate, of good counsel and approachable. He was of short stature, broad chest, large head, small eyes, thin beard besprinkled with gray hair, flat nose, and dark skin. These proclaim his ancestry. By craft he did away with his brother Bleda, a man of kind disposition. He made the kings of the Ostrogoths more subservient to himself than companionable. He marched forth with an army of five hundred thousand soldiers, not from Scythia alone, but from far and wide along the Danube. With such an army, together with the men who survived after the battle of Chalons, he undertook to overrun Italy. He first directed his army against Greece (Illirici), and at that time ravaged and burned many celebrated cities which were in the care of Marcian the emperor. From there he came to the Italian border, besieged Aquileia, and soon captured it. He attacked the unfortified cities of the same neighborhood, and then overthrew Rome. He marched on and captured the cities of Padua, Vincenza, Verona, Milan, and Pavia. And now the Roman people and the other inhabitants of Italy, in fear and dread awaited the tyrant Attila, who called himself the Scourge of God and the dread of mankind, attesting this by his deeds. Pope Leo, at the request of the emperor, went forth to meet Attila, whom he persuaded to spare Italy, and to march home. And his army was astonished. To those who asked him the reason he is said to have answered that he did not do this at the solicitation of the pope, but because two men stood beside him with drawn swords, threatening death to himself and his army. And it is believed these two men were Peter and Paul. By this means Attila was turned from his cruel measures and returned home.[Attila, king of the Huns, together with his brother Bleda, in 434, attained to the sovereignty of all the northern tribes between the frontier of Gaul and the frontier of China, and to the command of an army of at least 500,000 men. He gradually concentrated upon himself the awe and fear of the whole ancient world, which expressed itself by affixing to his name the epithet "the Scourge of God." His career divides itself into two parts. The first (445-450) consists of his ravages of the Eastern Empire between the Euxine and the Adriatic, and the negotiations with Theodosius II, which followed. They were ended by a treaty ceding to Attila a large territory south of the Danube and an annual tribute. The second was the invasion of the Western empire (450-452). He crossed the Rhine at Strasbourg, but was defeated at Chalons by Aetius and Theodoric, king of the Visigoths, in 451. He then crossed the Alps and took Aquileia in 452, after a siege of three months; but he did not attack Rome, in consequence, it is said, of his interview with Pope Leo the Great. He recrossed the Alps at the end of the year. He died in 453 by the bursting of a blood vessel. In person, Attila was described as a short thick-set man, of stately carriage, large head, dark complexion, flat nose, thin beard, and bald (with the exception of a few white hairs); his eyes were small but of great brilliance and quickness.]

Venice, the city, had a remarkable origin and rise in the time of the invasion by the tyrant Attila. For when the cries and dread due to the siege of the city of Aquileia reached the region of Venice, the people in that same region fled from the land to the water where the city of Venice now stands. And so, by the grace of God, the building of the city soon took place in this vicinity, which in times of peace human reason would not have chosen for the purpose.

It is said that at this time the Devil in the disguise of Moses defrauded many Jews; for he promised them that in accordance with a like incident recorded in the Old Testament, he would lead them out of the island of Crete across the sea on dry feet into the Promised Land. But many of those who followed this false Moses were drowned in the sea, and only those among them who believed in Christ as the true God escaped.


Attila, king of the Huns, is portrayed (strange to say) in a mitred crown, otherwise used in the Chronicle only for Roman emperors. In his right hand he carries a sword to attest his military prowess; in his left a scourge in symbolism of his reputation as the "Scourge of God."