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

It is said that a very great earthquake, which lasted four consecutive months, occurred at Constantinople. It ceased upon the admonition of a child that people should three times sing, Holy, Holy, Holy God, powerful and eternal, have mercy on us. Afterwards the Chalcedonian Council ordained that these words were to be spoken in the churches.

Many signs appeared in the sky. To the north the heavens appeared fiery, shafts of lightning were seen, the moon darkened, and a comet appeared at Toulouse (Dolosam). Finally, a very large river flooded.[This sentence is not in the German edition of the .]

In these times arose the very wicked heresy of the Acephalonians. Acephali means without a head. This heresy was attacked by the Chalcedonian Council. These heretics contradicted and denied the presence of two natures in Christ, and proclaimed but one nature in one person.[Acephali, a term applied to sects having no head or leader; and in particular to a strict Monophysite sect that separated itself in the end of the 5th century from the rule of the patriarch of Alexandria (Peter Mongus) and remained “without king or bishop” until it was reconciled by Mark I (699-819).]

In these times, as it is said, the remains of Elisha (Elisei) were brought to Alexandria; and the body of Barnabas the apostle, together with the gospel in his own handwriting, was found at this time.

On the 29th day of September, in the time of the aforesaid Pope Gelasius, occurred the revelation of the archangel Michael on Mt. Gargano in Apulaeia. Later a wonderful church was built there; and it is said that at the same place many people gathered annually—not only Christians, but also non-believers, to invoke the holy angel with prayer.

Michael, the illustrious archangel of the Bible, whom Jews and Christians alike have given pre-eminence over all created spirits. All the might, majesty and radiance of Thrones, Dominations, Virtues and Powers, are centered on him. He is the chief over the celestial hosts, conqueror over the “great dragon that deceived the world.” The legends which have grown out of a few mystical texts of Scripture, amplified by the fanciful disquisitions of the theological writers, give Michael three characters: (1) captain of the heavenly host, and conqueror of the powers of hell; (2) lord of souls, conductor and guardian of the spirits of the dead; (3) patron saint and prince of the Church Militant.

According to the Bible, when Lucifer, possessed by pride and ingratitude, refused to fall down and worship the Son of Man, Michael was selected to cast him down from heaven. Then he chained the revolted angels in mid-air, where they are to remain until the day of judgment, being in the meantime perpetually tortured by hate, envy and despair; for they beheld man whom they had disdained, exalted as their superior; above them they see the heaven they forfeited; beneath them the redeemed souls continually rising from earth, and ascending to the presence of God, from which they are shut out forever. To Michael it was given to sound the trumpet and exalt the banner of the Cross on the day of judgment; and to him likewise was assigned the reception of the immortal spirits when released by death. It was his task to weigh them in a balance (Dan. 5:27; Ps. 62:9). Those whose good works exceeded their demerits he presented before the throne of God; those found wanting, he gave up to be tortured in purgatory, until their souls had turned from crimson to the white of the snow. For this reason he is invoked in the hour of death. Lastly, when it pleased God to select from among the nations of the earth one people to become peculiarly his own, He appointed Michael to be president and leader over those chosen people. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who stands for the children of your people.” (Dan. 10:13; 12:1). Christians, taking up and modifying these earlier Jewish traditions about Michael, believe that when the power of the synagogue was supposed to cease, and to be replaced by the power of the church, so that the Christians became the people of God, then Michael, who had been the great prince of the Hebrew people, became the prince and leader of the church militant in Christendom, and the guardian of redeemed souls against his old adversary, the Prince of Hell (Rev. 12:6,7). The worship of Michael originated in supposed visions or apparitions of him. East and West had their own particular angelic apparitions. Michael owes his popularity to three famous visions in the West: (1) In the city of Siponte, in Apulia, lived a rich cattle owner, named Galgano or Garganus. One of his bulls strayed from pasture and was found at the entrance of a cave on the summit of a mountain. Angry with the bull, the master ordered him slain, but the arrow shot at him by a servant, returned to the chest of him who sent it, and he fell dead. The master consulted the bishop, and the bishop after three days of fasting and prayer, beheld Michael in a vision, and from him the bishop learned that the servant had violated hallowed ground, and commanded that a church be erected on the spot. (2) When Rome was nearly depopulated by a pestilence, Gregory ordered a procession about the streets, singing the service since called the Great Litanies. On the third day of these processions Gregory had a vision of the Archangel Michael alighting on the summit of the tomb of Hadrian, and the sheath of his sword dripping with blood. And the pestilence ceased. The tomb has since been called the Castel Sant’ Angelo (‘Castle of the Angel’). (3) In the reign of Childebert II, Aubert, bishop of Avranches, France, had a vision of Michael who commanded him to journey to an isolated rock in the Gulf of Avranches, then the terror of mariners, and erect a church to his honor on the highest point of the rock. This was done.

Epiphanius, the Pavian bishop, a man very learned in sacred and profane wisdom, was held in great esteem in these times by Theodoric, the king, because of his eloquence and piety.[Epiphanius, bishop of Ticinum (Pavia), flourished from 438 to 496.]

Germain (Germanum) of Auxerre (Altissidorensem) and Loup (Lupus) of Troyes (Trecharenum), bishops at this time (as some write) gave the churches much assistance by their learning and writing.[Germain (Germanus) of Auxerre, was one of the most eminent of the early saints of the Gallic church, and lived a little before the overthrow of the Western Empire. He was born at Auxerre about 376 CE, of good family, and at first followed the legal profession. Having embraced the Christian faith and entered the church, he was ordained deacon by Amator, bishop of Auxerre, and succeeded the latter on his death. He held the see from 418-449. He was eminent for his zeal against heresy, his success as a preacher, his holiness and the miracles he is said to have wrought. He made two visits to Britain. On the first visit he was sent over by a council with Loup (Lupus) of Troyes as his associate to check the spread of Pelagianism. His writings are unimportant. One of them, which is still extant, contains an account of the death of Vortigern, the British king.] Genevieve (Genofeva) the virgin, flourished at Paris. Her virginity was praised by the Lord through the testimony of Germanus.[Genevieve was a peasant girl born at Nanterre, a little village near Paris, in 421 CE, and in childhood was employed by a neighboring farmer to tend his sheep. In her early years she was already known for her piety and humility. Germain, passing through Paris, no sooner cast his eyes up on her, than he became aware, through divine inspiration, of her predestined glory. He hung round her neck a small copper coin marked with the sign of the cross, and consecrated her to the service of God. From that point on she regarded herself as separated from the world and dedicated to Heaven. At fifteen she renewed her vow to perpetual chastity. On the death of her parents she went to Paris where she lived with an aged kinswoman, and there her pious conduct rendered her an object of popular veneration. But there were those who did not look upon her with favor, and she had to undergo persecutions of man and of demons. After enduring maltreatment and condemnation at the hands of some of her fellow citizens, she was given an opportunity to prove the efficacy of her piety. For now Attila threatened to besiege Paris. When the people were about to flee, she entreated them to stay, giving them assurance of divine interposition. And suddenly came word that Attila had changed his order of march, and had withdrawn from the vicinity of the capital. The people fell prostrate at the feet of Genevieve, and from this time on she became the mother of the whole city. She is said to have wrought other miracles. She died at the age of 89, and was buried by the side of King Clovis and Queen Clotilde. And so this French maid became the patron saint of Paris.]

Boethius (Boetius) Anicus Manilius Severinus, a very Christian man, and a consul, highly celebrated poet and philosopher, and son-in-law of Symmachus (Simachi), was held in high esteem at Rome at this time. But since he, as a true Christian, refused to agree with the Arian heretics in many matters, therefore by order of Theodoric he was sent into exile at Pavia after his father-in-law; and there he was afterward, at the instigation of the heretics, condemned to perpetual imprisonment. During this life of misery he invented several means of amusing himself; and being a highly learned man, he wrote many books and manuscripts. Finally, after having suffered imprisonment for a long time he was slain by order of the emperor Theodoric on account of his Christian faith in the reign of Justinus the Elder in the Year of Our Lord 520 at Pavia. And (as some say) he was entered in the book of saints as Saint Severinus.[Boethius, whose full name was Anicus Manlius Severinus Boethius, was a Roman statesman and author. He was born between 470 and 475 CE, and was famous for his learning, especially of Greek philosophy. He was consul in 510, and was treated with great distinction by Theodoric the Great. However, having incurred Theodoric’s suspicions by advocating the cause of the Italians against the oppressions of the Goths, he was put to death by Theodoric in 524. During his imprisonment he wrote his celebrated work (‘The Consolation of Philosophy’), in five books, which is composed alternately in prose and verse. The diction is pure and elegant, and the sentiments are noble and exalted. Boethius was the last Roman of any note who understood the language and studied the literature of Greece. He translated many of the Greek philosophers, especially Aristotle, and wrote commentaries upon them. In the ignorance of Greek writers that prevailed from the sixth to the fourteenth centuries, Boethius was looked upon as the great representative of philosophy, as Augustine was of all theology, and Virgil of all literature. But after the introduction of Aristotle’s works into Europe in the thirteenth century, the fame of Boethius gradually died away.]

Symmachus (Symachus), Roman patrician, senator, orator and philosopher, was highly esteemed at Rome in these times; lie was distrusted by King Theodoric, who condemned him to exile at Pavia, where he was imprisoned for some time. He was called home from exile, and finally suffered death by martyrdom. By his wisdom and writings, this man greatly enlightened the Roman people. He wrote a book of epistles, in which, among other things, he said, Nature rejoices in the equality of things.[Boethius (see preceding paragraph and note) was brought up in the house of the aristocratic family of Quintus Aurelius Memmius Symmachus. In fact, Symmachus himself had been consul in 485 just before Boethius’ father.]

Fulgentius, by birth an African, bishop at Ruspe, and a highly learned doctor, flourished at this time. He and other Christians in Sardinia were sent into exile by Thrasimund, king of the Vandals, for protecting the Christian religion. He neglected nothing that pertained to the Christian faith, writing many and various books and manuscripts.[Fulgentius was bishop of Ruspe, a town in Numidia, about the year 508, and was expelled from his see by the Vandal Thrasimund.]

Gennadius, the bishop, versed in the Greek and Latin tongues, edited a book of Christian teachings, in which was set forth everything necessary to one’s salvation; and this, together with his teachings and morals, proved very beneficial to the Christian churches.[Gennadius, a Greek prelate, bishop or patriarch of Constantinople, was a presbyter of the church of Constantinople, and became bishop of that see in 459. He was one of those who pressed the emperor Leo I, the Thracian, to punish Timothy Aelurus (‘the weasel’), who had occupied the see of Alexandria on the murder of Proterius, and his intervention was so far successful that Timothy was banished in 460. He also opposed Peter Gnapheus (‘the fuller’) who, under patronage of Zeno, son-in-law of the emperor, and general of the Eastern provinces, had expelled Martyrius from the see of Antioch, and occupied his place. Gennadius honorably received Martyrius, who went to Constantinople, and succeeded in procuring the banishment of Peter in 464. Genadius died in 471, and was succeeded by Acacius. Theodore Anagnostes (‘the reader’) has preserved some curious particulars of Gennadius, whose death he seems to ascribe to the effect of a vision, in which he saw the Devil, who declared that although things would remain quiet in his lifetime, his death would be followed by the devastation of the Church, or by the predominance of the Devil in the Church.]

Hegesippus, the highly learned man, also brought no small measure of advantage to the churches of God by his writings. He also wrote the regulations for monasteries, and wrote beautifully the life of Severinus, the abbot. Victorius (Victorinus) of Aquitaine (Aquitanus), a famous astronomer, at that time redid when Easter was celebrated by the course of the moon, surpassing Eusebius and Theophilus in that matter.

Victorius (or Victorinus) of Aquitaine, who had been appointed by Pope Hilarius to undertake calendar revision, devised tables for calculating the time of Easter in 457. These tables introduced serious errors that weren’t addressed for several centuries.

This paragraph is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Faustus, a bishop among the Gauls, also wrote many and sundry fine books against the Arian heresy.[Faustus was a native of Brittany, and a contemporary and friend of Sidonius Apollinaris. Having passed his youth in the seclusion of a cloister, Faustus succeeded Maximus, first as abbot of Lerins, afterwards, in 472, as bishop of Riez in Provence, and died about 490. He wrote of a number of works on ecclesiastical subjects.]


Earthquake, lightning, comet, and eclipse are one and all represented in a small woodcut. To the left is the comet, represented by a large six-pointed star, and from this proceeds a shaft resembling a cudgel, earthward. At the right is the moon; and there is a man in it, but the alleged eclipse is not indicated. In the center of the cut are storm clouds, from which flashes of lightning proceed. Below is a peaceable and desolate valley.


Michael, the archangel; he holds a scale in his left hand, a human being in each cup; in his right is an upraised sword, poised in judgment. The picture is apparently based on the supposition that on judgment day Michael will weigh the souls of men, consigning some to heaven, others to purgatory.