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

According to the Hebrew Scriptures the first age of the world, from Adam to the Flood, is a period of 1656 years; but according to the seventy interpreters, Isidore and others, whose views have been adopted in this book, this age has 2242 years.

The Highest Goodness wished to share its good with others, and therefore it created a rational being, which understood the Highest Good, loved it understandingly, possessed love, and so possessing it, was blissful. So God made the first human being and with the aid of the angels formed his body from the clay of the earth in the field of Damascus,[The city of Damascus lies in the northwest corner of the Guta, a fertile plain to the east of Hermon. To the east of the city this is known as el-Merj, the Ager Damascenus. The fertility of the Guta is very great. There are many fields of corn and maize; but groves of poplar and walnut, orchards of apricots, pomegranate, pistachio, and almond, with hedges of underwood, so abound that the distant view of the Guta is as of an almost unbroken sea of verdure. From this the white, smokeless city rises like an island, near the barren limestone hills on the north of it.] and animated it with the spirit of life which is. He created a soul and united it with the body which he had created. And man was made in the likeness of God in physical things, and in his image in qualities of benevolence; and into him the Lord God instilled a wonderful grace and mercy.

Now as God had created the various creatures from the earth and formed the fowl, he brought them forth for Adam to look upon. But for Adam no helpmate was found in his image. And the Lord sent a sleep upon Adam; and he took out one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. Of the rib God made a woman, whom Adam saw, and said: This is now bone of my bone. She shall be called ISSA, which signifies that she is a woman, for she was taken from a man.[Genesis 2: 19-23.] And the Lord led Adam into Paradise. Of the rib of the sleeper he had made Eve and provided Adam a companion. But he did not make her from his head, for she was not to rule over him; nor from his feet, for she was not to be looked down upon; but he made her from Adam's side, as evidence of a tie of love. No one shall go forth to gather grace because of his noble station alone, nor because of his birth, but through virtue. For although man was created outside of Paradise, and woman in it, nevertheless Adam, who was created in the lower station, has been found to be better than Eve, who was created in Paradise. And so God, the highest artificer, did on the sixth day of the world, on the 25 day of March, after the creation of the animals of the earth and of all creeping things and fowl, finally create the first man out of a ball of red earth or clay in the field of Damascus, and him he gave dominion over all creatures.


10-1/16'' x 8-13/16''

Adam has fallen into a sound sleep on a rugged hillside. Eve is emerging from his right side as a full and complete woman. The Creator half kneels over the pair at the left, and is raising Eve with one hand and blessing his new creation with the other. No rib is being removed, later to be metamorphosed into a woman. No other member of the animal kingdom is present. Although Schedel places the creation of Adam outside of Paradise, and that of Eve in it, this rugged setting is too severe either for the field of Damascus or for Paradise.


After the first parents transgressed the Lord's commandment at the instigation of the Devil in the form of a serpent, God cursed the serpent, saying to him, Cursed are you among all cattle and beasts of the earth; upon your breast shall you go, and earth shall you eat all the days of your life. And to the woman he said, I will multiply your sorrows and your conceptions; in pain you shall bear children, and you shall be under your husband's power, and he shall have dominion over you. And to Adam he said, Cursed is the earth of your work; out of it you shall eat. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth for you. In the sweat of your face shall you eat your bread, until you return to the earth from which you were taken. And after God had made coats of skin for them, he drove them out of Paradise; and he placed before it a cherubim with flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life.[Genesis 2:14-24.]

Now as Adam, the first man formed of the clay of the earth, and apparently thirty years of age when the name Eve was given his wife, ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree which she had handed him, they were driven from the Paradise of Pleasure into the land of the accursed, where, according to the judgment of the Lord, Adam was to till the soil and eat his bread in the sweat of his face and Eve was to live in want and bear children in pain, though the Lord had endowed her with incomparable charm. But the malicious enemy of her bliss deceived her, for in her feminine fickleness she had freely tasted the fruit of the forbidden tree, and had influenced her husband to her will. So, after putting on a garment of leaves, she and her husband were driven from the garden of pleasure into exile in the fields of Hebron. At last, after having several times endured the pangs of childbirth, she passed with weariness and toil into old age, and suffered the death which the Lord had foretold to her.


The woodcut is centrally divided by a date palm, to the right of which is depicted the temptation, and to the left the expulsion. On the right Adam and Eve stand under a fruit tree, about which is coiled a serpent, an apple in its jaws. Eve has an apple, and Adam has one. And so we have the transit of the apple—from the serpent to Eve, from Eve to Adam, and the apple is one. The original sin is afoot, and already Adam and Eve are holding before them whisks of leaves to cover their nakedness. The scene shifts to the left. An angel with drawn sword is ejecting them from Eden. They still conceal their nakedness with the same whisks of leaves, although according to Genesis God provided them with fur coats on departure. Adam is reconciled to his fate, but Eve tarries to argue with the angel, who doesn't appear at all interested in discussing the situation with her.


The earthly Paradise, which is under the equinoctial line toward the rising of the sun, was planted by God, from the beginning. In the Hebrew and Latin tongues the word means a garden of pleasure; that is, a garden planted with all manner of trees. Therein was also the Tree of Life. They say that this same place is surrounded by a fiery wall reaching to the heavens, and that the angel of God stands before it with flaming sword, barring the way of those who approach it. In this same Paradise Adam and Eve were created, but they were driven from it because of their sinful appetites.[ Countless attempts have been made to locate the Garden of Eden. One locates it at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates, or somewhere between that junction and the Persian Gulf; another in the highlands of Armenia, near the sources of these rivers; and a third, in the far East, in the mountainous highlands of central Asia, near the sources of the Indus, the Helmend, the Oxus and the Jaxartes rivers. But all these theories become worthless the moment we allow that the deluge may have borne the family of Noah far away from the primeval home of man. The notion that the rivers and countries subsequently known as Hikkekel, Euphrates, Havilak, Cush, etc., are identical with the lands and rivers of Eden, is also destitute of any sure foundation, in view of the universal habit of migratory tribes and new colonists to give old and familiar names to new rivers, mountains, and countries which they discover and occupy. There is nothing in that appears sufficient to solve the problem.] In that place Enoch and Elijah live in joyous comfort,

This Enoch is not the son of Cain who founded "Enochis," the first city mentioned in the Bible, but is the son of Jared, and father of Methuselah (Genesis 5:18, 21-24). He is called the "seventh son of Adam" to distinguish him from the son of Cain, third from Adam. Enoch, son of Jared, was in close communion with the Lord, for we are told that he "walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years." (Genesis 5:22). According to Hebrews 11:5, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God," – meaning that he should not see death before the judgment of the flood. Concerning his departure from the world we are told that "he was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5:24)—an expression which imports a mere change of residence, without suffering the ordinary dissolution of the body.

Elijah was translated in the same manner. Their mutual status seems to have impressed itself upon the mind of the chronicler, and is again referred to in connection with Paradise (Folio VIII, recto). The translation of Elijah is described in
2 Kings 2:1-11:

And it came to pass as they (Elijah and his disciple Elisha) still went, and talked, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up in a whirlwind into heaven.

And so, at different times, Enoch and Elijah were clothed with immortality by the immediate power of God without the necessity of shaking off their mortal status.

who in the end will die at the hands of the Antichrist. This place is far removed from our own habitation. It is in all respects habitable, has a healthy atmosphere, and is fertile and blissful. From its center flows a spring which waters the whole garden. This spring divides into four rivers, as the interpreters of the Book of Genesis inform us. [ "And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and it became into four heads" (Genesis 2:10). This implies that the river had its source in the garden, and from that place as a center, it parted to become the fountain heads of four different streams. Some suppose the river flowed through the garden as one stream, and after leaving it became divided into four heads or beginnings of rivers.]


The first is the Pison, or Ganges, a very large and renowned river of India, and which traverses that entire country. Its course is toward the east, and it is augmented by nineteen large tributaries. Although it finally flows into the ocean by a number of outlets and at a number of places, its narrowest width is 8000 paces, its greatest width 100,000 paces, and its depth nowhere less than 20 paces. It is said that against this river Cyrus, the Persian king, presently forgetting his other undertakings, waged an unprecedented war. For when he selected from among his royal horses the most splendid, best conditioned, and trustworthy steed, to swim through this river, but saw both horse and rider engulfed by a whirlpool and drowned, he became enraged (so it is said); and he determined to make this river, which had swallowed up his horse and its faithful rider, so small and shallow that its waters should hardly reach the knees of women wading in it. And his words were not without action; for he concerned himself with this work for an entire year. Without hindrance he divided the river into 460 streams; and it is said that, like the Nile, the river became enlarged at certain times of the year, fertilizing the fields lying about it.["The name of the first river is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havileh, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone" (Genesis 2:11-12). The chronicler assumes that the Pison (which he calls the "Ganges or Phison") is the Ganges River. The name Pison occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures, and what the basis of the author's assumption may be is hard to say. Some claim that Pison refers to the Persian and Arabian Gulfs. The name Havilah, mentioned in the Bible text from which the Chronicle narrative is abridged, occurs in Genesis 10:7, as the name of a son of Ham, and in verse 29 as that of a son of Shem. Nothing would have been more natural than for the sons of Noah to transfer antediluvian names to their children. In Genesis 25:10, and 15:7, the name appears as that of a country southeast of Palestine – probably because settled by the descendants of a patriarch of this name. Bdellium is a transparent wax-like resin now found on the trunks of trees in India. Some render onyx stone as beryl; others sardonix; some as describing any precious stone.]


The Gihon, or Nile, is the second river. It is considered the largest river in the world. By some it is called the Nile, and they say that this is the same river that the teachers of the Holy Scriptures call Gihon, and which flows out of Paradise.[ "And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that encompasses the whole land of Ethiopia" (Genesis 2:13). The name Gihon occurs again in the Scriptures only as denoting a fountain near Jerusalem (1 Kings 1:33, 38, 45; 2 Chronicles 32:30), and its identity with the Nile has found some favor of late. But how could the Nile have flowed out of Eden into Asia?] The inhabitants of the country call it the Nile after the earth or silt that the river carries with it, thus fertilizing the fields of Egypt. This nile comes out of a black river, which the people there call the Father of Waters. It has a swift current, separates all Africa from Ethiopia, and forms many islands, of which the most noted is the island of Meroe.[Meroe, the island, so called, though not entirely insulated, is formed by the Astapus (Blue Nile) and Astaborus, now Athers, and the portion of the Nile valley between their mouths was a district of Ethiopia. Located in a fertile country, rich in timber and minerals, and at the junction of two great rivers, its capital city, also called Meroe, early became a chief emporium between Egypt, North Africa, Ethiopia, Asia, and India, and the seat of government of a powerful state. The government was a hierarchical monarchy, entirely in the hands of priests, who chose a king from among themselves, bound him to govern according to their laws and put him to death at will. At about 300 BCE one of its kings threw off this yoke of the priests, whom he massacred, making his monarchy absolute. See also Strabo's , XVII, 17, 2.] The river is uneven in part and navigable in part, and discharges into a wide area of the sea. After much buffeting on its course, it is confined between the crags of the mountains, and flows on to Ethiopia, the land of the Moors, and into a region called Cattaduppa. It rushes along between the cliffs with such boisterousness and violence, that the great roar of its turbulent waters affects the hearing of the natives almost to the point of deafness. Further on the noise ceases, and the river again becomes quiet and navigable. At the city of Cercasorus,[Probably Cercesura, in Lybia; mentioned by Strabo XVII, I, 30.] the Nile divides into three great branches, one of which veers off toward Delta and Melia, and is again divided. And thus all Egypt is moistened by the annual floodwaters of the entire and much-sundered Nile, and of other rivers. Finally the Nile flows into the Egyptian Sea. The ancients write that the Nile is a great feeder of vegetation and the source of many large aquatic animals, such as the hippopotamus, and of much cane, reed grasses, etc. Annually it provides the fields with additions of fertile soil. Fertilization usually increases when the sun is in the latter part of Leo (the Lion), and continues until it reaches midway into Virgo (the Virgin). Thereafter it decreases as the sun approaches the end of Virgo, or the beginning of the Scales (Libra). Then the Nile recedes to its former banks.

According to Strabo (Geography, XVII, 1, 4.) the water stays more than forty days in summer and then goes down gradually just as it rose; and in sixty days the plain is completely bared and begins the dry out; and the sooner the drying takes place, the sooner the plowing and the sowing; and the drying takes place sooner in those parts where the heat is greater.

Strabo, quoting Aristobulus, says that

the Nile is more productive than other rivers, and produces huge creatures, among others the amphibious kind; and that the Aegyptian women sometimes actually bear four children. Aristotle reports that one woman actually bore seven; and he, too, calls the Nile highly productive and nourishing because of the moderate heat of the sun's rays, which, he says, have the nourishing elements and evaporate mearly the superfluous.

Geography Book, XV, Ch. 1, Par. 22

And they say that the waters of this river have such power and effect that they make women fertile.


The third river, the Tigris, is the swiftest river in Greater Armenia, and is known throughout the world. And (as our people say) it is one of the four rivers that flow out of Paradise. When it reaches the country of the Medes it becomes swift and is called the Tigris, a name given it on account of its swiftness, that word signifying "arrow" in the Median language. But soon the river finds its way into Lake Prethusa, into which it flows with great rapidity, discharging its waters in many colors. After this it rushes to Mount Taurus, disappears in an enormous cavern, from which it emerges through a hidden passage, drawing after it great quantities of seaweed and scum. These it carries to the sea of Zorande, and again becomes a river. Then it disappears again for 25,000 paces, reappearing in the vicinity of Sophone, near Nymphaeum. It then approaches the river Arsanias, in the district of Arrene; but as each river has its own source, each retains its identity. At the Gordyaean mountains, the river divides itself into two channels, one of which flows on to Seleucia and Mesene, the other flowing in a northerly direction to the plains of Cauchae; and when they run together again, they are still called the Tigris.


Finally the river empties into the Persian Sea, or, as some say, into the Red Sea.

According to Genesis 2:14 "the third river is Hiddekel: That is it which goes toward the east of Assyria." Schedel assumes this to be the Tigris. Yet it is almost universally agreed that the Tigris and the Euphrates (the latter of which is specifically named in the Scriptures) are two of the four rivers flowing out of Paradise. Undoubtedly the chronicler used the following passage from
Pliny's Natural History (chap. 31) as a source for his description of the Tigris:

This river rises in the region of Greater Armenia, from a very remarkable source situated on a plain. The name of the spot is Elegosine, and the stream, as soon as it begins to flow, though with a slow current, has the name of Diglito. When its course becomes more rapid, it assumes the name of Tigris, given to it one account of its swiftness, that word signifying an arrow in the Median language. It then flows into Lake Arethusa, the waters of which are able to support all weighty substances thrown into them, and exhale nitrous vapors. This lake produces only one kind of fish, which, however, never enter the current of the river in its passage through the lake; and in a similar manner, the fish of the Tigris will never swim out of its stream into the waters of the lake. Distinguishable from the lake, both by the rapidity and the color of its waters, the tide of the river is hurried along; and after it has passed through and arrived at Mount Taurus, it disappears in a cavern of that mountain, and passing under it, bursts forth on the other side; the spot bears the name of Zorande. That the waters on either side of the mountain are the same, is evident from the fact that bodies thrown in on the one side will reappear on the other. It then passes through another lake, called Thospites, and once more burying itself in the earth, reappears, after running a distance of twenty-two miles, in the vicinity of Nymphaeum. Claudius Caesar informs us that in the district of Arreme it flows so near to the river Arsanias, that when their waters swell they meet and flow together, but without, however, intermingling. For those of the Arsani, as he says, being lighter, float on the surface of the Tigris for a distance of nearly four miles, after which they separate, and the Arsanias flows into the Euphrates . . . . After traversing the mountains of the Gordyaei, it passes round Apamea, a town of Mesene, one hundred and twenty-five miles on this side of Babylonian Seleucia, and then divides into the channels, one of which runs southward, and flowing through Mesene, runs towards Seleucia, while the other takes a turn to the north and passes through the plains of the Cauchae, at the back of the district of Mesene. When the waters have reunited, the river assumes the name of Pasitigris. After this it receives the Choaspes, which comes from Media; and then, flowing between Seleucia and Ctesiphon, discharges itself into the Chaldaean Lakes, which it supplies for a distance of seventy miles. Escaping from them by a vast channel, etc., it empties itself into the Persian Sea, being ten miles in width at the mouth.


And the fourth river is the Euphrates,[Genesis 2:14] called the fruit-bearer. It is in great renown among the rivers. Some say that its source was in Paradise; others, that it arises in Mount Paracoathras, in Greater Armenia, not far from the source of the Tigris. And as it receives the waters of its confluents, and gains in volume, it becomes more powerful in its course toward the Taurus mountains. Encountering no resistance there, it continues on its course, developing rapids and becoming stronger; and it leaves Comagene on the right, and Arabia on the left. According to some, it divides into two channels, one of which flows into the Tigris, while the other runs on into Media, Gordyaea, and Mesopotamia, and parts of Babylonia. Although the river was originally large and navigable, it later divides into broad marshes and brooks, to such an extent that its source cannot be identified. Some say it flows into the Red Sea. It is also said that its waters are life-giving; wherefore the ancients call it an augmenter of years.

Homer says that the whole earth is enclosed by a great sea; wherefore it is also called an island. Wherever the land ends one finds water. The sea flows from the west, passing Europe on the left and Africa on the right. Proceeding through the two sundered mountains, called the Pillars of Hercules,[Pillars of Hercules was the name given in ancient times to the mountains of Calpe (now Rock of Gibraltar) and Abyla (now Jebel Zatout), one on the European and the other on the African side of the straits which connect the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The name Gibraltar, also applied to the straits in modern times, is derived from Jeb-el-Taric (or Gebel-Tarik), meaning "Mount of Taric." Taric was the name of the one-eyed Berber or Moorish conqueror who landed there on April 30th, 711 CE. To commemorate his victory he called the giant rock by his own name, which has been retained in the modern Gibraltar. These two great promontories the ancients called the Pillars of Hercules from the fable that they were originally one mountain, which was torn asunder by Hercules.] it flows between Mauretania, the land of the Moors, and Spain, and spreads out as a sea in an easterly direction. And so there are two seas, one that encompasses the earth, the other that flows through it. These two seas bear various names, depending on the countries, islands, regions, cities and communities which they pass or touch. There was once a doubt whether the earth could be circumnavigated. For instance, Strabo contends that neither the southern seas (because of the unbearable heat), nor the northern seas (because of the cold), can be navigated; but Julius Solinus, the historian, states that the entire sea, surrounding the earth from India to Spain, back of Africa, is navigable. Moreover, Pliny of Verona cites several different instances of navigation in these regions. He states that a number of merchants, mentioned in his books and writings, with cargoes of merchandise, were seen, destined from Spain to Ethiopia, the land of the Moors. Concerning the northern sea there has been great controversy, although it is known that under the auspices of the emperor Augustus this sea, which in large part adjoins Germany, was navigated as far as the Cixubri. So also, in the reigns of Seleucus and Antiochus, the Caspian shores were explored by the Macedonian army, and in a short time the entire northern regions were navigated. To this Pliny testifies on the authority of Cornelius, according to information given by the king of the Suevi to a Roman proconsul of Gaul. He speaks of certain merchants of India, who for purposes of trade, sailed from India and were driven to the coast of Germany by tempestuous seas. Otto, the historian, states that during the reigns of the German emperors, merchants sailing from India were captured, having been driven from the Orient to the German coast by violent storms. But, as some maintain, this simply could not have happened because the northern sea was frozen and unnavigable.[.]


This region, called Damascenus, is a realm of bliss, higher than the earth, tempered with the purest air, and everywhere dressed with flowering plants in good keeping. As Isidore says, it is planted with every species of fruit bearing trees. It is not hot, but has a constant temperate climate. Out of the center runs a spring that waters the woodlands throughout. As the master of history states in his beginning of the world, Paradise faces the east, and is located so high that the waters of the flood did not reach it.

Strabo[ Strabo, Greek geographer and historian, was born c. 63 BCE, at Amasia in Pontus, a city which has been much Hellenized. He studied under noted masters, visiting Rome early in life. Although he had seen comparatively small portions of the regions he describes, he traveled much. His is the most important work on that science left us by antiquity. It consists of seventeen books, dealing with the various countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. He chiefly employed Greek authorities, the Alexandrian geographers Polybius, Poseidonius and Theophanes of Mytilene, the companion of Pompey. He probably amassed his material in the library of Alexandria, and made comparatively little use of Roman authorities.] and Bede[ Bede (672 or 673-735), English historian and theologian, commonly called "the Venerable Bede," earned for himself the title Father of English History, by his .] say that it extends into the orbit of the moon; but others maintain that it does not. It is a most wholesome place, longer and broader than the earth and sea, and if man had not sinned, God would have enlarged it to accommodate all persons. The trees of Paradise never lose their foliage, and Enoch and Elijah will tarry there unmolested until the Day named by the master historian. As Bede says, the place is so high that no one can reach it; it extends into the upper region of the air. The waters precipitated from it make such a roar that the people who live in the vicinity lose their hearing. According to Basil and Ambrose these waters flow out of a spring in Paradise, giving birth to four rivers, namely, the Pison or Ganges; the Gihon or Nile; the Tigris, and the Euphrates.

Paradise is a well ordered place, and is located in the East, directly below the Scales and the Ram, and therefore the sun passes through the middle of Paradise twice a year. The air is most subtle and quiet, and the nights are always the same. Elijah and Enoch can see both poles. The trees bear twice a year, for each year has two summers and winters. Our longest day and shortest night is the depth of their winter, while our equal days and nights are their midsummer. Marcianus[ Marcianus, Greek geographer, was born about 400 CE. Two of his works have been preserved in more or less mutilated condition: , intended as a complete description of the coasts of the eastern and western oceans; and (Mediterranean), a meager epitome of a similar work by Menippus of Perganum.] says that India has two summers and winters. So it appears that this place is the highest point of the earth, the most celestial, most temperate, most regulated, most blissful, and most fertile; and no doubt it also has a garden of all pleasure; for here are verdure, pleasing flowers, herbs agreeable to the taste, fresh spring waters, shade trees, fruit in abundance, and the songs of birds.

For the adornment of Paradise God also planted three kinds of trees, as Isidore and Augustine state, namely, the first, to sustain life, and of which God commanded and said, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; the second, planted by God to insure obedience—the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which God forbade them to eat.[] But our first parents did not keep this commandment, and therefore, after partaking of its fruit, their eyes were opened and their mutual desires were aroused—something to which their eyes had been closed, as Augustine states. And now, as they became conscious of the temptations of the flesh, and of the desires working within them, and realized that they had deprived themselves of grace, they made garments of fig leaves to cover and protect themselves. However, it is not to be understood that the sin of Adam and Eve consisted in the fruit of the tree, nor in its enjoyment, as Augustine states, but in the unlawful desires which contravened the divine mandate. For it is one thing when something is forbidden as sinful, and another when it is sinful because it is prohibited.[ This is an elementary legal distinction between acts inherently wrong ( mala in se ), and acts which are wrong merely because they are forbidden ( mala prohibita ). Murder is an example of the former, while poaching in violation of game laws, or smuggling, in violation of the revenue laws, are examples of the latter. The first class includes such offenses as we are in conscience bound to abstain from, apart from their being prohibited by statute.] And this was the case here. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was so called because of what ensued upon its enjoyment; for soon after partaking of its fruits they discovered the evils of weakness and illness, and the opposition of the flesh to reason. And they came to recognize the benefits of good health, strength and obedience, just as the doctor recognizes the plague not only by attendance upon the sick, but by suffering from it himself. What he knows of his art, he afterward learns by experience; for he who does not taste the bitter, soon tires of the sweet. The third is the tree of life. It is the noblest, first, because of its strength; for he who ate thereof became immortal and free from all illness and infirmity; not, however, through natural strength, but rather by grace, for a virtuous soul obedient to God is absolutely essential to immortality, as Thomas states. As often as a person became ill, he could have restored himself to health by partaking of the fruit of this tree, and this he could have continued to do until the time of the outer world had been fulfilled, when all persons would have been taken into heaven together. And it is the noblest, secondly, because of its location; for it stands in the middle of Paradise as the most precious and worthy, like the heart of a creature that lies in the middle of its body giving life to the whole, like the Cross of Christ which gives life to the entire world and draws all things unto itself. Thirdly, because of its holy significance. As Augustine says, the tree of knowledge of good and evil represents freedom of will, while the tree of life personifies Christ.

After man's fall the approach to this region was girded about by a fiery wall reaching to the heavens. A cherubim, which is a guardian angel, was stationed on the walls to ward off the evil spirits. The flames bar out mankind, and good angels drive away bad angels; and thus neither flesh nor spirit can gain admittance.

Two distinct elements of the immortality of man are involved in the status of innocence: (1) The internal sustaining strength of the soul which was received from God; (2) the external, which consisted in partaking of the fruit of the tree. This fruit also gave mankind long life, even after his fall, as Augustine states. But this partaking of the fruit of the same tree was prohibited to man after his fall; and for that reason, according to the third chapter of the Book of Creation, the angels are spoken to in the passage where it is said that should Adam eat of the fruit of the tree of life, he would live on forever, which is a very long time. And with this Saint Thomas is in accord.

FOLIO IX recto

Adam, the pious man, was illustrious all the days of his long life for his spirit of prophecy and his great works of penance. He enjoined his children to righteousness and to refrain from social intercourse and intermarriage with Cain and his children. Although our first father caused us to be excluded from Paradise by a single sinful act, he set us a good example by his piety and contrition in order that we might be restored to the bliss of the heavenly kingdom. But he who does not follow that example has no just cause for complaint. According to Comestor,[ Peter Comestor (the surname ‘Comestor' means ‘devourer' and was given to Peter in his lifetime because he was a great bookworm) was the author of , written in the twelfth century. It was widely read during the Middle Ages and remained popular into the 15th century. Peter's text utilizes the Bible's texts from Genesis to the Acts of the Apostles, combined with numerous secular authors from the classical and medieval worlds, in his creation of a sacred history.] Adam had thirty sons and as many daughters beside Cain and Abel. Adam was Cain's father and father-in-law, for he took (to wife) Calmana, his sister. Augustine states that Adam died at the age of 930 years, after thirty sons had been born to him, and was buried at the place called Calvary, near Jerusalem. There he rested for some time until his body was taken to Hebron, the soil from whence he came. Anastasius and the Hebrews are also of this opinion. It was proper that Christ should there submit his body to death where the head of the human race was destroyed, and that our mortality should begin where destruction was sown; and so the medicine suited the disease.

Augustine says that God founded the human race on a single individual in order to indicate that he desired unity among many. This observation is very useful to the chosen ones who are to be associated with the holy angels in eternal peace. But mankind has so declined through his cruelty and sin that irrational animals, by comparison, live with one another in greater security and peace. Lions and dragons have never waged among themselves the wars that mankind has. God loves the bond of unity.

Adam and Eve, our first parents, lived 930 years; and they bore Cain, Abel and Seth, and their sisters; and if we recall the Scriptures, thirty other sons wore born to them. When Adam finally became burdened with illness, he commanded his son Seth and the rest not to permit their children to intermarry with the children of Cain. And, as they say, Adam sent to Paradise to procure the oil of mercy. Finally Adam passed away. He was buried at Hebron, although others say at the place called Calvary.


8-7/8" x 10-1/16"

A rather desolate scene opens before us—a rock-bound valley, through which a rivulet timidly flows. A few sparsely foliated trees raise their heads in the distance. Adam and Eve occupy the foreground, meekly submitting to the divine judgment. Adam, clad in a coat of skin, is wearily and rather ineffectually wringing his daily bread from the cursed ground with a branch of a tree. Beside him on the ground sits Eve, nursing Cain and Abel, born to her in pain and sorrow. Although barefooted, like her husband, and also wearing a coat of skin, though the artist has added a flowing garment of many folds to her wardrobe.

FOLIO IX verso

Abel, second son of Adam, and his sister Deborah, were born to Adam in his thirtieth year. Abel was the first martyr; and he founded the church, for he remained in grace and righteousness. Had the church begun with Adam, it would not have endured. But the Holy Gospels make mention of this righteous and pious man (Abel), who from youth learned to love righteousness and to fear God. His calling was pastoral, and of all things he sacrificed the firstlings to God. For that reason God respected his offering and found it acceptable. But Cain, who was present, lowered his countenance in shame, and suffered the sting of envy. And Cain slew his brother Abel. Abel was the first to build the heavenly city, in which he set himself as its first citizen. Over one hundred years after Abel's death, Adam begat another son, Seth.

Seth, third son of Adam, was born in the beginning of Adam's one hundred-thirtieth year, that is, at the end of the one hundred-thirty-first year of the world; and Seth lived 912 years.[] Seth was born in the two hundred-thirtieth year of Adam; but Moses omitted 100 years during which Adam mourned Abel at Hebron, and in which he went to Paradise to secure the oil of mercy. In Cain and Abel two cities had their origin, as St. Augustine says. Two loves created two cities—the first, an earthly one which scorns God—the city of self-love; the second, that of the love of God, a celestial one that disdains self. The first idolizes self; the second deifies God. The first craves honor from individuals; the second, for its greater glory, addresses itself to God, the soul witness of conscience. Cain, the first born, belongs in the first of these—and he built it. Abel, the second son, belongs to the second city, and there he wandered as a pilgrim, for by divine grace he was a respected citizen.

Cain, first son of Adam and Eve, and his sister Calmana, wore born in the fifteenth year of Adam in the fields of Damascenus. He was the first tiller of the soil, very covetous, a stranger to salvation, and a very impatient man. He was angry because his gift had been rejected by God, while his brother's offering had been accepted. Moved by envy, he led his brother into a field and slew him.[] Therefore God condemned him to wander about as a fugitive for the rest of his days. And while Cain, now burdened with years, was sitting in the brushwood, he was slain with an arrow by his great grandchild Lamech, who, blind with age, had been guided in the chase by a child, and had mistaken Cain for a wild animal.[. This must be the incident to which the chronicler refers, although Genesis does not substantiate the details as set forth by the author.]

I have also here included many things, transactions and narratives of various kings and peoples; also the accomplishments of great cities, as well as eminent persons of whom the teachers of the stars have availed themselves, from Adam to Alphonse.

Enos, the son of Seth, was born in Seth's 105th year, being the 425th year of the world; and he lived 905 years. This Enos was the first to call upon the name of the Lord, possibly through a few words of prayer which came to him. [Genesis 5:6-11.]

Cainan, the son of Enos, was born in the 90th year of his father, and, according to the seventy interpreters, in the 625th year of the world; and he lived 910 years.[ Genesis 5:9-14.]

In the line of the righteous there are three who are endowed with heavenly gifts, namely: Enos, who called upon the name of God; Enoch, who walked with God and was received in Paradise; and Noah, who was full and complete in his generations and preserved the human race against the Flood. In the line of the sinners there are also three, gifted with mundane accomplishments: Jabel, the father of herdsmen and of those who dwell in tents; Jubal, the father of those who sing and play on the harp and the organ; Tubal Cain, a master of the hammer in all metal work.

FOLIO X recto

Enoch's exact place in the line of Cain is not certain. Cain built a city for him and gave it the name Enochia; and he lived to see it filled with his seed. Josephus says that Cain accumulated his possessions by robbery and violence and incited his sons to highway banditry. Fearing those whom he injured, he gathered his sons about him in the city. And although the Scriptures say there were only four men at this time, yet, as St. Augustine says, it is not unbelievable that Cain built a city; for the Scriptures did not count all those who lived at that time, considering it sufficient to remember those responsible for the things done. [Genesis 4:16-17.]

Methusalem (Methuselah), the son of Enoch, and born to him in his 167th year, bore Lamech, a son, and lived 792 years thereafter. And so they say Methuselah lived longer than all the other persons mentioned in the Scriptures.[Genesis 5:21-27.]

Mahalaleel at the age of 165 years bore a son named Jared; and he lived 730 years thereafter.[Genesis 5:15-16.]

Lamech was the first to introduce dual marriage, contrary to what Adam had said in the spirit of prophecy, namely, that the two should become one flesh. He is the same who with an arrow killed Cain in the brushwood, and with his bow afterwards slew the youth who guided him. And for this murder of Cain, Lamech was punished seventy-fold, for seventy-seven souls which came out of him perished in the Flood. []

Jabal, born to Lamech by his wife Adah, began to make tents and staffs for shepherds, and to change pastures, with nothing to think upon except sexual intercourse and gratification of the belly. He also managed the herds, distinguished them by marks, separated the sheep from the goats, and those of a uniform color from the speckled ones, and the yearlings from the older; and he knew how to mate them in season.

[ "Concupiscence" appears as part of this and succeeding headings only in the Latin Edition. The term is used by Aquinas and the other scholastic philosophers to define that desire of the senses which seeks only for its own gratification as distinguished from unselfish love, and was held by them to be the cause of the original sin. To us the word simply means an inordinate impulse or desire, prompted by the senses.]

Jubal, Lamech's son, born to him by Adah, is the father of those who sing and play the harp and the organ. He is said to have discovered the art of music, though not the instruments themselves; for these were not invented until long afterward. However, he did discover the consonance of voices, to the pleasure of the shepherds, which calling his brother Jabal preferred. Later others discovered the pure consonance of sweet tones and of various instruments. It is said that Moses discovered sweet melodies in the noises made by the waters. However, others say that melody was first discovered in Arcadia through the use of long and short reeds. But Laertius says that it was discovered in the time of Pythagoras the Wise.

One reads that all earthly liberal crafts or natural arts that serve polite society were invented by the children of Lamech; and thus it seems that in the beginning the Hebrew children were more subtle than the rest. They also concerned themselves with the dangers of fire and flood and the means of preventing loss thereby. Tubal-Cain put his own art into clay-tiles and into marble columns. These tiles are still to be found in Syria; and while they have been damaged by the rains, the marble columns have remained and the inscriptions thereon can still be seen.


Tubal-Cain, Lamech's second son by his wife Zillah, worked in implements of war. He discovered the art of smithworks, and the engraving of metals to intrigue the eye (taking the foliage of nature as a model), just as his brother had invented music to please the ear.[Tubal-Cain, one of the gifted sons of Lamech, may be compared with Vulcan of Roman mythology. The Jewish legend of later times associates him with his father's song. "Lamech was blind," says the story, .]


Naamah, the daughter of Lamech by his wife Zillah, and sister of Tubal-Cain, discovered the art of weaving, making yarn of wool and linen, and making it into cloth, a fabric softer and smoother than the skins they formerly wore. [Naamah (Genesis 4:22), sister of Tubal-Cain, is one of the four women whose names are preserved in records of the world before the Flood; all except Eve being Cainites. No reason is given why these women should be singled out in the genealogies; and in the absence of this most of the commentators have sought a clue in the significance of the names interpreted as Hebrew terms. The name Naamah means "the lovely," or "the beautiful," apparently introduced to show the worldly spirit and tastes of the Cainites. According to the of Jonathan, she was the mistress of sounds and songs – a poetess.]

FOLIO X verso

Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, and whose name means the "planting of God," is in the Christian lineage. He was born in the seventy-fifth year of his father and in the seven hundred ninety-fifth year of the world; and he died at the age of 895 years. Augustine states that before the Flood many persons reached the age of 900 years, but none that of 1000. This longevity was the miraculous work of God, having for his purpose the multiplication of the human race and to allow ample time for the development of the arts. This was natural too, for people then possessed better constitutions and greater strength. Some had larger bones than we now have; and, as Pliny states, the greater the duration of the world, the smaller the creatures which nature brings forth. As the Scriptures state, the size of the giants is not incredible. Pliny states that he saw a wisdom tooth which would make a thousand of our own. Augustine adds that those who say that in these long lives ten years are to be taken as one, and ninety as nine, are not to be believed. According to Pliny there are people in our own day who live two hundred years.

Jared, son of Mahalaleel (Malaleel), and whose name signifies descent, or strength-giver, or one who induces sleep, was according to the Book of Creation, born in the 65th year of his father, and in the 460th year of the world (according to the Hebrew), but in the 976th year according to the seventy interpreters. And he lived 962 years. Augustine says many were born to Seth and Cain whom the Scriptures hurriedly passed over as they approached Noah, where both generations, and the realm of God and of the Devil are distinguished, and where Abraham received the solemn pledge that Christ, who is the beginning and the end, would be born. The Scriptures do not mention all who were born first; for although they say Cain knew his wife and Enoch was born, it is not to be concluded that Enoch was Cain's first born. And so with the others. In these times the children of Seth, who were very pious men and persevered in the commandments of their fathers in the simplicity of their hearts, suffered much at the hands of the evil children of Cain, who had succumbed to all the desires of the flesh.

Enoch, son of Jared, according to the Book of Creation, was born in the 162nd year of his father, and according to the Hebrews in the 622nd year of the world; but according to the seventy interpreters, in the 1122nd year thereof. He lived 365 years. Enoch, seventh from Adam, pleased God, and was drawn up into Paradise. He is called the Seventh Rest to which all will be drawn who are created in the 6th day of the Sixth Age of the World. His body and soul at rest, Enoch lives in Paradise with Elijah, and will do so until the time of the Antichrist, when they will come forth to defend the Faith, finally receiving the crown of martyrdom. The apostle Jude in his Epistle states that Enoch wrote certain things in the time of the accepted Faith that had been rejected by the fathers.

Methuselah (Methusalem), son of Enoch, was born in the 65th year of his father, and according to the seventy interpreters is the 1187th year of the world. He lived 968 years, and was the oldest among those mentioned in the Scriptures. He benefited from his years in various ways. According to the seventy, he lived fourteen years after the Flood; but one does not read that he was in Noah's ark. Jerome says he died in the year of the Flood, and was buried seven days before. Some say he was taken into Paradise with his father Enoch, and so escaped the Flood. Augustine, Rabanus, and Isidore say that it is doubtful that he lived fourteen years after the Flood, for only eight souls were saved.

Lamech, the son of Methusalem, according to the Book of Creation, was born in the 187th year of his father, and according to the seventy interpreters in the 1453rd year of the world. He lived 777 years. Then he was 172 years of age Noah was born to him, and he said, This Noah will comfort us in our labors upon the earth which the Lord has cursed. And in addition to Noah, Lamech bore other sons and daughters; and when he reached the age of 777 years he delivered his principality to Noah and died. At this time there were giants or heroes upon the earth, who were renowned and of unbelievable power and also knew how to battle.

FOLIO IX verso, X recto and X verso
First Section

The woodcuts as well as the text of the Chronicle faithfully follow the genealogies of the Scriptures. Here, beginning at Folio IX verso and extending to and including Folio X verso, is the first of these, comprehending the generations of Adam as set forth in the fifth chapter of Genesis. It is a sort of family album in which every member has his place. An intricate foliated design connects the generations. At the head of the family tree, firmly grasping its trunk, is Adam. >From this main stem three branches proceed: The first of these indicates the line of Cain and consists of a long series of foliated portraits: Here are Cain and his sister-wife Calmana, and Cain is also depicted in the act of slaying Abel, thus eliminating collateral issue in that direction. This line is continued and completed at Folio X recto, and here we find Cain's son Enoch (and his wife), and Enoch's descendants, Irad (Yrath), Mehujael (Malaleel), Methusael (Methusalem); Lamech, with his two wives Adah (Ada) and Zillah (Sella); Jabal (Jabel) and Jubal (Tubal), Lamech's children by the first wife, and Tubal Cain and Naamah (Noema), his offspring by the second Some of these portraits have accessory symbols indicating the callings of the subjects of incidents in their lives. As in the central panel of a triptych, the blind Lamech is posed between his two wives. He holds the bow and is pointing the fatal arrow which killed Cain in the brushwood. Strangely enough, the upper part of the bow is about his neck, possibly the artist's naïve way of indicating how carelessly a blind man might handle an implement of the chase (Folio X recto).

At the lower left of the foliated page is Jabal, the father of those who dwell in tents and of such as have cattle. He carries a substantial crook or club in token of his calling. Beside him is his brother Jubal who plays on a portable medieval organ with one hand while he works the bellows with the other; for he is the father of such as made music on the organ and the harp.

At the lower right is Tubal Cain, "the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron." He holds the tongs in his left hand and is wielding a hammer with his right. And what a grim old smith he must have been! Beside him in this dual portrait is his sister Noema (Naamah), working a shuttle in token of her calling as the first spinner and weaver mentioned in the Bible.

We return to the previous page (Folio IX, verso). The brief span of Abel is indicated by a single foliated portrait in the third column. Abel is kneeling in prayer, the sacrificial lamb on the altar beside him. Behind him, also in an attitude of prayer, stands his sister Delbora ("Dalborasorus").

The favored line of Seth proceeds directly down the center column of Folio IX verso and is completed on the verso of Folio X. Here is Seth and his wife Delbora, followed by their descendants Enos, Cainan (Caynan), Mahalaleel (Malaleel), Jared (Jareth), Enoch, Methuselah (Methusalem) and Lamech, who was the father of Noah, with whom the Second Age of the World begins.

There are strong resemblances and contrasts between the lines of Cain and of Seth. Enoch and Lamech occur in both. Note the resemblance between Cain and Cainan, Irad and Jared, Mathuselah and Methusael and Mahalaleel. Yet there is a marked difference in their significance:

  1. Adam (man of the earth)
  2. Cain (begotten)
  3. Henoch (iniating or iniated)
  4. Irad (city dweller)
  5. Mehujael (smitten of God)
  6. Methusael (man of God)
  7. Lamech (the strong)
    • Adah (ornament)
    • Zillah (song)
    • Naamah (loveliness)
  8. Jabal (wanderer); Jubal (player); Tubal Cain (lance-forger).
  1. Adam (man of the earth)
  2. Seth (appointed)
    1. Enos (weak man)
  3. Cainan (possession)
  4. Mahalaleel (praise of God)
  5. Jared (condescension)
    1. Henoch (iniated)
  6. Methuselah (man of the dart, or man of growth)
  7. Lamech (the strong)
  8. Noah (rest)

The following tabulation, paralleling the Hebrew and Samaritan texts and the Septuagint, is also helpful and interesting in following this first genealogy pictured in the Chronicle. The table is taken from Whedon's Commentary on the Old Testament (Ed. 1899), Vol. I, p. 112. It gives the chronology of the Sethitic line according to three versions of the Scriptures:

  1. HEBREW TEXT, the Pentateuch of Moses, in its original form.
  2. SAMARITAN TEXT, which in point of age furnishes the earliest external witness to the Hebrew text. This is really not a version but merely the text of the Pentateuch as preserved by the Samaritan community since the time of Nehemiah (circa 432 BCE).
  3. SEPTUAGINT, the work of the seventy or more translators, or interpreters, who put the text into Greek for the benefit of the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria in the third century BCE. Strictly, the name applies to the Pentateuch alone, but as the translations were gradually extended to include the other books of the Old Testament, it now comprehends that entire work. The existence of the Septuagint as a whole may be assumed for the first century CE, at which period the Greek version was universally accepted by the Jews of the Dispersion as Scripture and from them passed on to the Christian Church.

It will be noted that the following table entirely ignores Cain, whose lineage perished in the Flood, as well as Abel, who was cut off without issue. Ignoring these futile lines, it assumes Adam's third child to have been his first-born. Schedel vouchsafes us the information that Cain was born of Adam and Eve when his parents were only fifteen years of age, and Abel fifteen years later.

The numbers in parentheses are the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus of the Septuagint.

NamesAge at birth of firstbornRest of lifeWhole lifeAge at birth of firstbornRest of lifeWhole lifeAge at birth of firstbornRest of lifeWhole life
Methuselah18778296267653720167 (187)802 (782)969
To the flood100100100

In most instances the chronicler has followed the Hebrew text; in some, the Septuagint. Frequently he refers to both. The Samaritan text is ignored. His references are not in accord with the table in all cases.