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

Salah, who is also called Canaan, the son of Arphaxad, was born in the 35th year of his father, and in the 2379th year of the world. He built the city first called Salem, naming it after himself. It was later called Jerusalem. He lived 433 years.[Salah was the son of Arphaxad and the father of Heber, and the name symbolizes sending forth, the gradual extension of the Semitic races. The line of Arphaxad is here continued from Folio XV verso, according to Genesis 10:24-29, as that with which the narrative is chiefly concerned. Arphaxad begot Salah, Salah begot Heber, or Eber, who had two sons, Peleg and Joktan, and in their day “the earth was divided.” Peleg begot Reu, while Joktan begot theirteen sons, Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; progenitors of tribes peopling southern Arabia, many of whom are clearly identified with historical tribes. These thirteen sons are not mentioned in the text, but are pictorially treated in the genealogy.]

Augustine states that from the blessing of the sons of Noah up to Abraham no mention is made of righteous persons, although I believe this period was not without them. However, to recall all of them would take too long, and would involve more historical zeal than prophetic prudence.

Heber (Eber), son of Salah, was born in the 30th year of his father, and in the 2509th year of the world. He lived 464 years, and from him the Hebrews have their name; for after the dispersion of tongues, the Hebrew tongue alone remained in his house. Before the dispersion this was not called Hebrew, but was the language of all mankind. Yet it is also named after Abraham by reason of circumstances which the learned understand.[ The last statement apparently refers to Jerusalem and not to Heber. The origin of the name Jerusalem, and the identity of Salem and Jerusalem have been the subject of much controversy. The rabbis state that the name Salem was bestowed on Jerusalem by Shem (identified in their traditions with Melchizedek), and the name Jireh by Abraham, after the deliverance of Isaac on Mt. Moham, and that the two were afterwards combined, lest displeasure should be felt by either of the two saints at the exclusion of the other. Josephus says that Salem and Jerusalem are the same; Jerome, that they are not; but it is natural to identify one with the other, since the Tell el-Amarna tablets show that Urusalim existed as a name for that city even before the Israelite immigration.]

Joktan, son of Heber, had thirteen sons, and each created a tribe; but their names, as Jerome states, are unknown to us because they are too remote, or because of the dispersion of the people.[Genesis 10:26-29.]

Peleg, the son of Heber, was born in the 2643rd year of the world, and attained the age of 239 years. His name means one who has been divided from the rest; for although in his day occurred the division of the tongues, and he did not remain in the same clan, yet the same tongue continued to be spoken in his house. Augustine states that no small measure of righteousness remained in this house, and consequently it remained free from punishment, not having participated in the wrong. The number of tongues was according to the number of tribes, namely 72. However, the number of tribes increased beyond the number of tongues, and we find many peoples who all speak the same language. [Peleg was the son of Heber, and the brother of Joktan. His name means division, relating, as is generally believed, to the division of tongues, recorded in Genesis 11, immediately following, for “in his days was the earth divided. This does not refer to the general dispersion of the human family after the Deluge, but to a division of the family of Heber himself, the younger branch of whom (the Joktanids) migrated into southern Arabia, while the elder remained in Mesopotamia.]

Reu, or Regau, son of Peleg, was born in the 2773rd year of the world, and he lived 302 years, It is said that in his time many temples were first built for the worship of the princes of the people.[Reu was the son of Peleg, and the name is said to correspond with Roha, the Arabic name for Edessa; but a closer resemblance might be found between Reu and Rhagae, a large town of Media.]


This section of genealogies is based upon two chapters of Genesis: firstly, Chapter 10:24-30; secondly, Chapter 11:12-18. In the former the descendants of Joktan are given; in the latter, the descendants of his brother Peleg. At Folio XV verso the composite portrait ends with Arphaxad, and here, at the right of the page, we begin with his son Salah (Sale). The Lord blessed him with a wife and a son named Heber, but the artist forgot the wife. The line proceeds downward to Eber (Heber) and his spouse, and thence to their son Peleg, the father of Reu (or Regau). The severed branch below Reu indicates that we may expect something of him in the future. Here ends the right hand column, or composite of at least seven woodcuts, including four portraits and three intermediate floral ornaments.

From Heber, on the right, a horizontal branch (two woodcuts) proceeds to the left hand column of the page, devoted to Joktan and his descendants. He was the ancestor of the old Arabian tribes as represented by his thirteen sons. This list of “sons” is probably not to be taken as a scientific or geographical classification of the tribes or districts of Arabia, but as an attempt to incorporate in the table such Arabian races as were known.

At the top of this formidable line of sons of the desert (cut from a single block) appears Joktan and his dutiful spouse. We have some difficulty in reading the names on the portraits, which in most instances vary substantially from the names as given in the English Bible. Nor is the Chronicle text of any help, as it speaks only of the line of Joktan’s brother shown on the opposite side of the page. Yet there is a definite order. The sons are arranged in six groups of two each plus a thirteen man at the bottom of the page. The names appear in the same order as they appear in the Bible. We begin with Almodad (Elimodoch), the first born, at the upper left, and follow a left-right order with each pair to the end. This leaves only one case in doubt, that of Hadoram, whose place is filled by one “Jareth”—a far cry to Hadoram. There is nothing in any one of these portraits to remind one of the Arabs or their country, in feature, costume, or accessories. Of the thirteen sons seven wear head dresses, the rest do not; nine are bearded, four not. All appear to be worried about one thing or another.