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

On the fifth day God said, Let the waters bring forth creeping things with living souls, and fowl upon the earth under the firmament of heaven. And God created great whales and every living thing and moving creatures, which the waters brought forth, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, You shall grow and multiply and fill the waters in the seas; and let fowl multiply on the earth.[Genesis 1:20-22.] And so on this day God adorned the air and the water, the air with fowl and the water with swimming creatures; and there appeared great whales and wondrous aquatic animals, and through the overflow of the sea’s moisture greater ones were found. What is born in some divisions of nature, is also (as is generally held) to be found in the sea. Known and manifest are the things which follow when animals bear. And the plants also have certain things in common—movement and sensitiveness, ascribed to them by the Pythagoreans. The creatures are by Moses and Thimeo divided into three classes: those which live in the air, those in the water, and those on land. Though one may say that fowl do not live in the air, we will avoid this disputation, as well as the question as to the state in which the creatures were born of the elements; how God implanted fruitfulness in them; whether life was given to irrational animals out of matter; or whether all life had a divine origin, as Plotinus firmly holds; which doctrine is also to be found in Moses. For he states that the waters were to bring forth the creeping thing with living soul, and then adds that God made all living creatures. Therefore, one would not want to stand alone in the contention that the waters bore at God’s behest, and that thereafter God bore also. Furthermore, in the passage where God’s pronouncements are recorded, it is written that God created a living creature; but where the waters are spoken of, it is not so stated, but it appears that a creeping thing is to be brought forth. Although Moses on the following day makes note of three kinds of living creatures in the earth, yet most and by far the largest animals are to be found in the Indian Ocean. Many wonderful creatures are to be seen in the region where the solstices occur and the great waves fall from the mountains into the sea and expose its wonders to man’s face. And much is to be learned there of the nature of both birds and fish.


The woodcut is square in outline, and contains a circular illustration. Again we find the hand of the Creator at the upper left. The entire circle is given over to the work of the fifth day—the creation of the fish in the sea, and the fowl in the air. A few of the former appear in the sea. On the bank in the foreground stands a large tree that spreads its leafless branches over the landscape. The birds have come to roost. They have already obeyed the mandate to increase and multiply. But even at this early stage of their existence all is not well. In the center of the tree sits a bird of prey as though dominating the feathered kingdom. Below, two birds are screeching in excitement. On the ground to the left is an owl, attacking a prostrate dove. At the base of the tree struts the symbol of vanity. All this very naively presages the realm of man who is still in the womb of the earth.