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

On the sixth day God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature, cattle, and the creeping thing, and wild beast of the earth, after his kind; and God saw that it was good, and said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the animals over all the earth. So God created man in his own image and likeness.[Genesis 1:24-27.] Having adorned the upper part of the world, God finally, on the sixth day, provided the earth with species of animals. Moses divides the animals of the earth into three classes: beasts of burden, creeping animals, and wild animals. So he gives us to understand that there are, in general, three kinds of irrational animals. There are wild animals, which as creatures of perfect imagination and fantasy, occupy a middle ground among irrational animals, and yet may not be tamed nor made obedient by man. And so there are creeping creatures of imperfect imagination and fantasy, who occupy a middle ground between animals and plants. And there are beasts of burden, which, although lacking in reason, are in some measure capable of training, and seem to have some measure of understanding. These occupy a middle ground between animals and man. Now God created the large as well as the smaller animals of various species and form, and every species became male and female, and by their seed the air, earth, and sea were filled with them. And for each species he provided sustenance from the earth so they might be useful and serviceable to man, some as food and some as clothing, and the larger ones to help him build up the earth by their strength and power. Up to this time three worlds have been mentioned—the super-heavenly, the heavenly, and the under-heavenly. Henceforth we will treat of man, the fourth world. God having wonderfully ordered all things, and having determined to create an actual empire of countless immortal beings, he now created a sensible and understanding likeness in his own image, a being that could not be more perfect. And he made him out of clay or a clod of earth, after which he was accordingly named.[‘Adam’ generically means earth, or earth-born (Hebrew, adamah).] God the creator of all things, also created man; but of this, as well as other heavenly writings of the prophets, Cicero knew nothing. This animal, which we call man, is a circumspect, many-sided, keen being, full of understanding and clear judgment, and born of the supreme God alone. Among all species of natural life, he alone is endowed with that intelligence and reason which all the other creatures lack. Now it is often the custom with kings and princes, when building a mighty, great and noble city, on having completed the task, to erect their own image in the midst thereof, to be seen by all. God, the prince of all things, has done likewise, for after he completed the entire world structure, he finally created man in his own image and likeness, and placed him in the midst thereof. And so, with Mercurius, we may well exclaim, O, Aesculapius, what a great miracle is man! Of this distinguished name mankind may well be proud, and no one should be unhappy in serving him. The earth and the elements, and the irrational animals willingly obey him. The angelic hosts wish him well and heaven urges him on to knighthood. No one should wonder that he is loved by all creatures, for all recognize in him some quality of their own.


This woodcut is square in outline and circular in design. The four-footed animals have already been created. To the right, under the shade of the trees, reclines a deer, while its doe grazes about in the open spaces. A bear-cub toddles about in the foreground. The mysterious hand of the Creator does not appear in the upper left-hand corner of the square, for he himself participates in the action of the picture. Resting on a hillock, his ample garments fluttering about him, he is extracting our first ancestor from a lump of clay. Adam has already emerged to the waist, and the Creator is blessing him.