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

The entire corporeal creation of the world consists of two things, namely, the celestial (ethereal) and the elementary natures (regions). The celestial nature is divided into three parts—the fiery, the crystalline and the firmament. Within the firmament, which is the starry heaven, are comprehended the seven orbits of the seven planets—Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. By the crystalline heaven is to be understood the first part of the first material that, according to the learned, was formed into two orbits. The upper of these is called the prime mover (primum mobile). The nature of these orbits is this: They all move except the fiery one, which is at rest. But the elementary nature (region) is divided into four spheres: fire, air, earth, and water. The fiery one has three distinct parts: the upper is fiery, and the middle and lower are light. The air also has three distinct parts: the upper which shines, while the middle and lower are airy. In the upper part are warmth and light because of the proximity of the sun. There is light in the lower part also, but only by reflection from the earth. But the middle part, which this reflection does not reach, is cold and dark, and therein are said to reside the devils, who have been banished to this dark atmosphere. Therein are also to be found such elemental disturbances as thunderclaps, hail, snow and the like. Out of this you may gather twelve orbits that surround the earth and the water, all of which may be said to constitute the heavens. But all these are surpassed by the Heaven of the Trinity, the God who is in everything and over everything. Note also that the distance from the Earth to the Moon is 15,625 miles; from the Moon to Mercury, 7,813; from Mercury to Venus is as much; from Venus to the Sun, 23,436; from the Sun to Mars,15,625; from Mars to Jupiter, 6,832; from Jupiter to Saturn as much; and from Saturn to the firmament, 23,436. From this it follows that the distance from the Earth to the starry heaven is 108,375 miles.[The distance between planets given by the are entirely out of line with those of today. All the old measurements are based on the assumption that the earth is the center of the universe.]


In the celestial nature some have made three classifications: super-celestial, celestial, and sub-celestial. The super-celestial is said to be in three persons, as some have erroneously stated; for the term hierarchy, as Dionysius says, in itself implies but one order, and it is ill to speak of this same order as being in three persons instead of one. The celestial consists of the angelic orders, while the sub-celestial consists of the holy persons (saints). The celestial hierarchy is divided into upper, middle and lower. The upper embraces three orders, Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones. The first of these three adore God’s grace; the second his power, the third his equality. In the first, God loves those who love; in the second he recognizes truth; in the third he sits and administers equal justice. The middle hierarchy embraces the Dominations, Principalities and Powers. The first of these rule the offices of the angels; the second guard the princes of the people; the third restrain the powers of the Devil. In the first of these the Lord reigns as a sovereign; in the second he reigns as a principality; in the third he is considered as the salvation. The lower hierarchy also embraces three orders: angels of virtue, archangels, and angels. The first of these attend the working of great miracles; the second presage great events; the third act as the warders of mankind. In the first of these God operates as a power; in the second he reveals, as a light; in the third he functions as an inspirer. Thus says Gregory. But Dionysius places the angels of virtue in the middle order of the second hierarchy, and the angels of the principalities as the first in the third hierarchy. And mark that, the Trinity of the Divine Person appears in each of the above mentioned hierarchies, upper, middle and lower.


The Ages of the World are analogous to the ages of man. Now there are six ages of the world: The first age is from the Creation of the world to the Flood—a period, according to the Hebrews, of 1656 years; but according to the seventy interpreters, 2242 years, as Isidore fixes it, and many others whom we here follow. So the Hebrews give this age 586 years less; and according to this calculation Methuselah died before the Flood, in the year in which it occurred. The second age is from the Flood to the birth of Abraham, which, according to the Hebrew, lasted 292 years, but according to the seventy interpreters, 942 years; so the Hebrew gives it 650 years less. The reason for this difference I have not been able to find. The third age is from Abraham’s birth to the beginning of the Kingdom of David, and, according to the Hebrew, covers a period of 941 years; but according to the seventy interpreters, 940 years. The fourth age is from the beginning of David’s Kingdom to the passing of Babylon, and according to the Hebrew, lasted 484 years; but according to the seventy interpreters 485 years. The fifth age is from the passing of Babylon, when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Temple burned, to the blessed Birth of Christ, a period, according to the aforesaid, of 590 years; but concerning this computation there is a great division, for various calculations have been made by sundry persons. The sixth age is from the Birth of Christ to the End of the World, which God alone knows. And this is called the old age, or the last hour. To this may be added a seventh age, that is, the age of those who are now at rest, and which runs parallel with the sixth. The eighth age is that of the Resurrection. Now according to the Hebrew scriptures, there are ten generations in the first age; ten in the second; fourteen in the third; seventeen in the fourth, while Matthew from hidden evidence says fourteen; and in the fifth there are fourteen. The following are the ages of man: the first, infancy, is from birth to the age of seven; the second, childhood, to fourteen years of age; the third, maturity, from fifteen into the thirty-eighth year; the fourth, youth, to the forty-ninth year; the fifth, timely age, from fifty into the seventy­ninth year; the sixth, the spent age, in which we are reconciled to pass away, is from eighty years to the end of life.