First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
FOLIO XIIII verso and XV recto
First Section

These genealogies are of importance, not as family trees, but as histories of the origin and course of tribes and nations, their relations to each other, and the intermingling of populations. The words “father” and “son” as used in these tables seldom represent individuals. To this Noah was probably an exception, as was Nimrod. Many of the Biblical names are personifications of nations, tribes and places, grouped together to convey some idea of the bond by which they were believed to be connected. Gomer, Javan, Tubal, Mesheck, and Tiras, sons of Japheth, were nations, as were many others.

The Hebraic idea of the tables was to demonstrate purity of descent. In the time of Josephus every priest, so it is said, was required to prove his descent, and perhaps from the time of Ezra lists were carefully kept. The genealogies of Jesus at the beginning of two of the Gospels are intended to prove his descent from David. While in Matthew Jesus is traced to Abraham, in Luke he is traced to Adam.

The foregoing analysis is in accord with the progress of the genealogies as given in the Scriptures, Japheth, Ham, Shem, although the order of the three sons of Noah is Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Chronicle, on the other hand, apparently in obedience to a medieval custom of beginning in the middle, selects Ham and his descendants for first consideration.

At Folio XIV verso we find Noah, the patriarch, represented by a woodcut 2¼” x 6-3/8”. From him branch off Ham, his second son (portrayed with his wife, Cathaflua), and Jonicus, his alleged fourth son (of whom Moses makes no mention), portrayed as an astronomer, diligently examining a globe. Apparently this star-gazer was without descendants.

On the same page (Folio XIV verso) a branch runs off to Cush (Chus), who is described as the fourth, instead of the first son of Ham (Cham), and is shown in a dual portrait with his wife. The descendants of Cush extend across Folio XV recto: Sabtechah (Sabata); Raamah (Regma) and his spouse, from whom a branch proceeds to their sons Sheba (Sabaa) and Dedan (Dadan); Havilah (Evila), Seba (Saba), and Nimrod (Nemrot). Sabtah is not portrayed.

Although Cush, the son of Ham, and the descendants of Cush symbolize the Ethiopians, none of the portraits in this branch of the family tree show Ethiopian characteristics except in the case of Dedan, who has negroid features and close cropped, kinky hair.

A second branch proceeds out of Ham. It bears a lone leaf—Phut (Phuh), the third son of Ham, who, through the ancestor of the Libyans, remains uncredited with issue in this gallery of portraits.

Immediately beside Phut is his Egyptian brother, Mizraim (Messaraym), second son of Ham, posed in a dual portrait with his spouse. And out of this pair come forth Ludim (Lydin), Anamim (Annanim), Lebahim (Laabun), and Naphtuhim (Thussim), and Casluhim (Celluin). But Mizraim had seven descendants, not five. Parthusim, progenitor of the people of Pathros (Upper Egyptians) and Caphtorim have been omitted.

And now for the upper branch, proceeding from Ham through his son Canaan, ancestor of the Canaanites, here represented with his wife and eleven sons, arranged in two solid horizontal tiers, five in one row, six in the other. Leafing from the upper branch are Sidon (Sydon), Heth (Etheus), the Jebusite (Jebuseus), the Amorite (Amorreus), and the Girgasite (Bergeseus or Gergeseus). In the lower branch are the Hivite (Eveus), the Arkite (Aratheus), the Sinite (Cyneus), the Arvadite (Aradius), the Zemarite (Samarites), and the Hemathite (Amatheus).

The lineage of Noah through Ham is the first branch of the Generations of Noah illustrated in the Chronicle and occupies a good portion of Folios XIV verso and XV recto, to the exclusion of all text on the latter. None of the portraits in this composite are given personal or national characteristics, and even the picturesque giant hunter Nimrod carries none of the accessories of the chase.