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

The Fourth Ecumenical Council, 630 bishops attending, was held at Chalcedon by order of Pope Leo and Emperor Marcian against the Constantinopolitan abbot, Eutyches, who held that Christ, after having accepted human form, did not have two natures but that the divine nature alone remained in him. But the unanimous opinion of the fathers was that Christ had two natures and that he should be believed to be both God and man. Therefore the Nestorian heretics and Eutychea the Manichean bishop were condemned and all Manichean books publicly burned. At this time twenty-eight ecclesiastical laws were made.[The Fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon in 451, was occasioned by the Eutychian heresy and the notorious "Robber Synod," which caused protests and a loud demand for a new general council. In response to the imperial summons of Marcian five or six hundred bishops assembled. They annulled the acts of the "Robber Synod," deposed its leader Dioscurus, rejected Nestorianism and Eutychianism, and stood on the doctrine of two natures in Christ.]

Paulus Orosius, a Spaniard, disciple of Saint Augustine, a versatile man, came to Rome at this time upon the death of Augustus. He wrote many books against the pagans, setting forth all the calamities of the world, its troubles and needs, and the vainglory of war. He wrote a history of the world from the Creation to his own time, calling it Ormista, that is, the misery of the world. Augustine sent him to Jerome for further instruction. On his return he brought with him some of the remains of St. Stephen, first martyr, the first to be brought to the West.[Paulus Orosius, Spanish presbyter, flourished under Arcadius and Honorius. Having conceived a warm admiration for Augustine he went to Africa about 413. After two years Augustine sent him to Syria to counteract Pelagius who had resided for some years in Palestine. Orosius not only failed to procure the condemnation of Pelagius, but was himself anathemized by the bishop of Jerusalem. Orosius later returned to Africa and probably died there. His (also called ) was dedicated to Augustine who had suggested the undertaking. The pagans, having been accustomed to complain that the ruin of the Roman Empire must be ascribed to the wrath of their deities because their worship had been abandoned, Orosius, upon his return from Palestine, composed this history to demonstrate that from earliest times the world has been the scene of calamities as great as the Roman Empire was suffering. The work, extending from the Creation down to 417, is, with exception of the conclusion, largely composed of extracts from Justin, Eutropius, and other (mostly inferior) authorities. It was very popular in the Middle Ages, though no one knows why it became known by the title (also spelled ).]

John of Damascus (Iohannem Damascenum), a very good and learned monk, and a distinguished teacher of the Scriptures flourished at this time, as some believe; for he has been found to be a close adviser of Emperor Theodosius. He wrote four books of higher criticism, treating of faith of the human nature of Christ, and of baptism. And so, being a very highly learned man he wrote other books in praise and appreciation of which many remarkable things were said by Prudentius the scholar.[John of Damascus (Johannes Damascenus), eminent theologian of Damascus, derived his surname from that city; and there he was born at the close of the seventh century. His Arabic name was Mausur (the victor), and he received the epithet Chrysorrhoas (gold-pouring) on account of his eloquence. His father Sergius, a Christian, held high office under the Muslim caliph, in which he was succeeded by his son. John wrote several treatises in defense of image-worship, which Emperor Leo the Issurian was making strenuous efforts to suppress. Surrendering his worldly goods, John entered the monastery at St. Sabas, next Jerusalem, where he spent the rest of his life. He was ordained a priest by the patriarch of Jerusalem. In his last years he traveled through Syria, contending against the iconoclasts, and visited Constantinople at the risk of his life during the reign of Constantine Sopronymus. With him the "mysteries," the entire ritual, are an integral part of the orthodox system, and all dogma culminates in image-worship. He died about 752. He is a saint of both Greek and Latin churches, his festival being December 4th and May 6th, respectively.]

Ursula, a virgin worthy of glory, was born in Britain, the only daughter of a prince of that land; and she was beautiful and magnanimous. When she was of marriageable age she was sought in marriage by the son of a pagan king; and she advised her father to give his consent only upon condition that the prince should give her ten unusually beautiful and noble young virgins, and to each of these a thousand attendants; and to prepare a sea voyage for these eleven thousand persons, thereby postponing the wedding for three years. To these virgins was assigned Pontulus, bishop of Basle, who conducted them to Rome. At once Gerasina, queen of Sicily, together with four daughters and a son, left her kingdom, and followed Ursula to martyrdom. And they went from Rome with Pope Cyriacus (Ciriaco). In order that the cause of Christianity might not be augmented, Maximus and Africanus, two pagans, wrote to their uncle Julius, general of the Huns, that when this multitude arrived at Cologne (Coloniam), a city of Germany, he should kill them. And so Ursula was shot through with an arrow, and together with eleven thousand virgins was crowned with martyrdom at Cologne by the Huns and Attila, their king, and ascended to heaven. But one of their number, called Cordula, through human fear stayed in the ship at night. The next day, however, strengthened by God, she came forth, and was killed. And if doubt exists as to the time of their suffering, the Church has no doubt concerning their martyrdom.

There are several different versions of the Ursula legend (The Catholic Encylopedia says that they would fill more than 100 pages!). It is probably a fact that at a period when Christianity and civilization were contending for mastery over paganism and barbarism in Northern Germany, a young woman and several of her companions were murdered for their faith somewhere in the neighborhood of Cologne. The time of this even is variously fixed between 237 and 451, when the Huns invaded Belgium and Gaul. The mention of 11,000 virgins was first made by Herman, bishop of Cologne, in 922, and is said to be founded upon a mistake of abbreviation XI.M.V., that is, "eleven martyred virgins", for undecimilla virgines, "eleven thousand virgins". Others reduce the 11,000 to 1, saying that a virgin named Undecimilla perished with Ursula, giving rise to the mistake.

This is the Cologne version: Once upon a time there lived in Brittany a king, Dionotus (also spelled Theonotus, and in Celtic, Donaut), married to a Sicilian princess, Daria. Both were Christians, rearing their daughter Ursula with great care. The mother died when Ursula was just 15, and the daughter took the mother's place at court. She was beautiful and accomplished, learned and pious. Her father wished to keep her always at his side. Many princes sought her in marriage, but she refused them. The king of England had a son, Conon; but he and his people were still pagans. Of marriageable age, the son sought a wife, and the king sent ambassadors to demand Ursula for him. This worried Ursula's father, and he conferred with his daughter. She would answer the demand herself, and when the ambassadors came again they found her seated on her father's throne. She consented to the match on three conditions: First, that the bridegroom give for her ladies and companions ten virgins of the noblest blood in the kingdom, and to each of these one thousand attendants, and to her another thousand, to wait on her; secondly, for a space of three years she should permit her to honor her virginity, and, with her companions to visit the holy shrines of the saints; and thirdly, that the prince and his court receive baptism. These conditions she hoped would be refused; or if granted, 11,000 virgins would be redeemed and dedicated to the service of God. But the conditions were accepted; the prince was baptized; the required number of virgins was raised, and assembled in the capital of King Theonotus in Brittany; and they were all baptized. The bridegroom came, and Ursula received him graciously, requesting him to remain with her father as a comforter while she journeyed on with her maidens to the shrines in the city of Rome. Some say he remained, others that he accompanied her. There were no sailors on board, but the virgins miraculously steered the ship and managed the sails. But they sailed to the north instead of to the south. The winds drove them into the Rhine as far as Cologne. In a vision Ursula learned that she and her companions would suffer martyrdom at this place. But they proceeded to Basle, where they disembarked, and were miraculously conducted over the Alps by six angels, at length reaching Rome. Cyriacus, the bishop, came forth to meet them and gave them his blessing. In the meantime the prince, out of concern for his bride, had left Brittany, and now, miraculously arrived on the same day. They were baptized by Cyriacus. But the prince no longer aspired to the possession of Ursula, but fixed his hope on martyrdom with her on earth, and a perpetual reunion in heaven. Cyriacus decided to also share martyrdom with them as they set forth on the journey on the Rhine. But it so happened that at Rome were two captains, cruel pagans, commanders of all the imperial troops in Germania; and they feared that this great concourse of maidens would convert the whole nation if they were allowed to return to Germania, and their empire might cease. So they wrote the king of the Huns, then besieging Cologne, instructing him what to do. Ursula and her virgins, and Cyriacus and his churchmen arrived at Cologne. When the pagans saw a number of vessels, filled with virgins and bearded old men, approach, they rushed upon the unresisting victims. The prince fell first, then the churchmen, and finally the women were massacred. But the barbarians were awed by the majestic beauty of Ursula, and they carried her before their prince who offered to make her his queen. She deified him, and he transfixed her with three arrows. And thus all suffered martyrdom.

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

The bodies of the Seven Sleepers, who under the Emperor Decius were locked up in a cave, and were crowned with martyrdom, were at this time awakened by God, to the scorn and ridicule of those who denied resurrection from the dead.

Merlin, a renowned seer of England, lived at this time (as some say). His mother, a nun, was the daughter of a king. She was reared among the nuns of Saint Peter, and (as she says) never knew a man. But she thought a beautiful man once upon a time embraced her and then disappeared; she then found herself pregnant, and at length bore this Merlin. He afterward became a great man. At his instigation Vortigern (Vortigerius) the king of Britain, greatly increased the Christian faith. His surviving brother was the father of the great Arthur. This Merlin discovered and prophesied many great things, and particularly, that below the ground, where no tower could be built, was a sea, and below the sea two dragons.[ Merlin, famous sorcerer of Welsh tradition, was the enchanter and counselor of Arthurian romance. The personality of Merlin, on one side of demoniac, on the other of human, parentage, is now generally recognized as a combination of diverse traditions. Nennius' story of a boy Ambrosius, "child without a father," who revealed to Vortigern the secret of the insecure foundations of his tower, is the starting point of this combination. Into this framework were introduced elements derived from the much older story of the demon Asmodeus, who acted as familiar spirit to Solomon. The feats of divination with which the boy astonishes the messengers of the king, are derived directly from the source. The second part of Robert de Borron's trilogy, the starting point of the Arthurian cyclic development, dealt with the birth of the seer and his relations with Uther Pendragon. This originally, in verse, was later put into prose and expanded, first with additions dealing with the wars incident to the opening of Arthur's reign, then with a medley of romantic incidents connected with Arthur's court. Merlin is a strange and interesting personality, and his story may quite possibly have been inspired by popular tradition connected with an actual Welsh bard and soothsayer.]


Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon. In the center of a group of bishops and cardinals appears the pope, an open book in his right hand, his pontifical staff in his left. The Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, hovers over the assembly in a blaze of light. Some topic or doctrine would appear to be under discussion. All the attendants are waist-deep in a floral design.


St. Ursula, portrayed as a queen, crowned and sainted. In her right hand is a huge arrow; in her left a palm branch; the first, symbolic of the manner of her death; the second, the general symbol of martyrdom.