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

Jerusalem, located in the land of Palestine and the capital city of the Jews, was first called Jebus, later Salem, thirdly Hierosolima, and finally Helia.[ The Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe, and Jebus was their chief city. And so, it is said, Jerusalem was called at the time of the Israelites’ conquest under Joshua. The Jebusites were not entirely driven out of the land until c. 985 BCE when David took the city and made it the capital of the kingdom of Israel. By the erection of the temple of Solomon it also became the permanent center of the Jewish religion. After the division of the kingdom, it remained the capital of the kingdom of Judah until it was entirely destroyed and its inhabitants were carried off into Babylonian captivity (588 BCE). Fifty-two years later Cyrus permitted the exiles to return, and they rebuilt the city. In 332 BCE Jerusalem submitted to Alexander and it remained under Greek rule until the conquest of Palestine by Antiochus the Great of Syria, 198 BCE. In 70 CE the Jews rebelled against the Romans, who put them to the sword or sold them as slaves and razed their temples to the ground. Having revolted again, Hadrian resolved to destroy the last vestiges of their national and religious peculiarities. To this end he established a new Roman colony on the ground where Jerusalem had stood; and he named it Aelia Capitolina. This is the Helia to which the chronicler refers. In 135 CE Hadrian built a temple to Jupiter on the site of the temple of Jehovah. Jerusalem was not restored to its sacred character until Rome itself accepted Christianity. The origin of Jerusalem is shrouded in obscurity. The first reference that may be connected with it is the incident of the mysterious Melchizedek, king of Salem (Genesis 14:18). But there is no ancient authority for applying this name to Jerusalem. The name Jebus as an alternative name for the city, as suggested in certain biblical passages, is also shrouded in obscurity and remains unverified.] The city’s first builder was Canaan, who was called a righteous king, and his name was Melchizedek, a priest of the Most High God. In course of time he built a temple there, and be called it Solimas. The Solymi were a people living in the mountains by the land of Lycia.[Lycia is a small, but interesting district in the southern part of Asia Minor, jutting out into the Mediterranean. The mountains, called Solyma, are on its eastern border. Lycia was colonized by the Hellenic race (probably from Crete) at a very early period. Its historical inhabitants were Greeks, though with a mixture of native blood. The earlier names were preserved in the district in the north of the country called Milyas, and in the mountains called Solyma. Josephus (VII, c. 3, 2) states that under Abraham, Jerusalem was called Salem or Solyma. Some say that Homer mentions it by the name of Solyma; for he named the Temple of Solyma, according to the Hebrew language, which denotes security. Some copies of Josephus here have Solyma, or Salem, and others, Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem.] They called Hierosolima after themselves. The city was inhabited by the Canaanites up to David’s time. Joshua, the Jewish ruler, did not expel the Canaanites and Jebusites. When David rebuilt the city, after driving out the Jebusitea, he called it Hierosolima, that is, the most secure one. Its location is rocky, and it was fortified by a triple wall, a surplus of water within, but entirely dry without. It was surrounded by a moat, cut out of the rock 40 feet deep and 250 wide. With the rock thereby secured, the pinnacles and walls of the most renowned temple were built. This most celebrated of all the cities of the East was built upon two hills. And as one hill was higher than the other, so was one part of the city more elevated than the other. The other hill was called David’s Citadel. It contained a lower city, and this was lower in all respects. The valley in the middle belonged to Siloam, the sweet spring. The city was greatly beautified through the industry of David, Solomon, and other kings. Agrippa also added to city and enlarged it.[About 465 acres are said to have been enclosed in the Holy city during the period of its greatest extent, after the third wall had been built by Agrippa; but the old walls of Solomon and Zerubbabel included a small area of but 155 acres.] And so from time to time, as the population increased, it extended beyond its walls. The addition was called the New City. The whole city was 33 furlongs in circumference. Although the whole city was wonderful, the third wall was even more so, particularly because of its towers, standing in an angle toward the north and west. From these could be seen Arabia and the sea as far as the region of the Hebrews. And there was much costly shining marble in and about the king’s hall. But the death of Christ sanctified this city, for there is the temple of his teachings; the place of his bitter suffering for our redemption; the grave of his most sacred body; the mount of his ascension to heaven from whence he will return for the Judgment. Item: There the Lord selected the poor uneducated fishermen to capture emperors and kings with their lines and nets. There he made the blind to see, cured the leper, made the lame to walk, awakened the dead, and performed many other divine miracles; and, all this so that the world might come to recognize the light of truth and virtue.


Size 7-7/16” x 9-7/8”

This woodcut occupies over half a page. It represents the city of Jerusalem, a fact made known to us be the inscription in ecclesiastical Latin, Hierosolima. The city is securely and very compactly lodged in the confines of three successive circular walls, perfectly concentric and giving it the appearance of the labyrinth. The whole is dominated by the prematurely introduced Temple of Solomon (Templum Salomois). Its oriental architecture is rather out of harmony with its medieval setting.

The whole is represented as a very much overbuilt medieval city of Europe—no standing room, except on the temple steps—not a soul in sight. Not a tree or shrub shows its head within the walls.

The fortifications of Jerusalem are more fully described in the Nehemiah than elsewhere. Starting at the head of the Wady er-Rabadi, or Valley of Hinnom, is the southwest corner of the wall. Then comes the Valley Gate, half way down the valley. At the bottom of the valley where it joined the Kedron was the Dung Gate, outside of which has been found what appears to have been a cesspit. Turning northward, we come upon the Fountain Gate; and the Water Gate on Ophel, over the ‘Virgin’s Fountain.’ The gates on the northeast and north side of the wall seem to have been in order the Horse Gate, the East Gate, the Gate Hammiphkad, after which came the corner of the wall. Then on the north side the Sheep Gate, the Fish Gate, and somewhere on the north or northwest side, the Old Gate. Probably the Ephraim and Corner gates were somewhere in this neighborhood.

Beside these gates the Temple was provided with entrances, some of whose names are preserved. Such was the gate Sur and the Gate of the Guard, the Shallecheth Gate at the west, Parbar and the East Gate. The Beautiful Gate was probably the same as the Nicanor gate, between the Women’s and the Priests’ Court.

The gates named on the woodcut are those leading into the city. The artist has given the city but six of these, although Nehemiah mentions at least twice that number.