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