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

Grow and multiply.[Genesis 8:18-91.] And from that moment the earth returned to its former state. And Noah began to be a farmer and to cultivate the soil. And he released all the animals to pasture; and as he (so they say) released a goat on a mountain called Coricus, in Sicily, the goat ate of a grapevine; and he became drunk and began to buck the other animals with his horns. As Noah saw this he noted the strength of the wild grapevine; and he planted the same vine with lion’s, swine’s, lamb’s and monkey blossoms. The vine having been planted in a good vineyard, bore perfect fruit; and Noah picked it, But as Noah drank of the wine and offered a libation, he made a great disturbance; and he became drunk. Like a lamb overcome by sleep, he lay indecently exposed. As Chaz (Ham) his son (the father of Canaan) saw his father’s nakedness, he told his brothers about it and showed them their father to laugh at. As Sem (Shem) and Japheth heard this, they were moved by filial affection toward their father and placed a cloak upon their shoulders, and they went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their eyes were backward, and they saw not the private parts of their father. And as Noah learned of this he wished his other sons salvation; and although he did not curse Ham, he did curse his seed. Now as Noah lived 350 years after the Flood (which years he enjoyed in happiness), and had now reached the age of 950 years, he died.[Genesis 9:20-29.] In addition to Shem, Ham, Japheth and Jonicus, other sons and daughters were born to Noah after the Flood, and through these sons other sons, and sons of sons, and he saw his generations greatly multiplied.

After the division of tongues, many races and varieties of miraculous people appeared in various places in accordance with the will of God. For just as the Almighty graced this beautiful world with men of uniform likeness, so he also introduced therein miraculous creatures, some of whom are formed as is stated in what follows. Item: Some have but one eye, and that in the middle of the forehead. Some are a cubit in height, and do not live more than eight years. They live in the mountains of India, near the great sea, in a wholesome and ever verdant region. They conduct an unusual warfare against the cranes. Their wives bear at the age of five years.[] Item: Others have very large feet and legs, but no paunches, and are marvelously fleet of foot. In the summertime, while lying on their backs, they protect themselves against the sun by the shade of their feet.[] Item: Some are without heads, their eyes being in their shoulders.[] Item: Some have the heads of dogs.[ “On many of the mountains again, there is a tribe of men who have the heads of dogs, and clothe themselves with the skins of wild beasts. Instead of speaking, they bark; and furnished with claws, they live by hunting and catching birds. According to the story, as given by Ctesias, the number of these people is more than a hundred and twenty thousand.” (Pliny, , VII, ch. 2). This account probably originated in a species of monkey, with a projecting muzzle, called, from this circumstance, cynocephalus, or the “Dog’s head.” This account is repeated by Aulus Gellius, Bk. IX c. 4. The cynocephalus is generally considered to be the baboon.] In addition there are many and various other races of miraculous creatures that will be mentioned later in the text. Histories also record forms of people out of the ordinary course of nature, most of whom live far from the sea, and whom many considered miraculous and beyond belief. Who, without having seen them, would believe that such men as Ethiopians exist? And what person is not surprised when he sees one for the first time? Many things are considered impossible before they are seen. Item: In Scythia, the country to the north, in a district called Geskleithron, are people such as are depicted on the following page, and who have but one eye, and that in the center of the forehead, and who are constantly at war with the Griffins.

“In the vicinity also of those who dwell in the northern regions, and not far from the spot from which the north wind arises, and the place which is called the cave, and is known by the name of Geskleithron, the Arimaspi are said to exist, whom I have previously mentioned, a nation remarkable for having but one eye, and that placed in the middle of the forehead. This race is said to carry on a perpetual warfare with the Griffins, a kind of monster, with wings, as they are commonly represented, for the gold which they dig out of the mines, and which these wild beasts retain and keep watch over with a singular degree of cupidity, while the Arimaspi are equally desirous to get possession of it.” (Pliny, Natural History, VII, ch. 2). The figures of the Gryphons or Griffins are found not uncommonly on the friezes and walls at Pompeii. In the east, where there were no safe places of deposit for money, it was the custom to bury it in the earth; hence, for the purpose of scaring depredators, the story was circulated that hidden treasures were guarded by serpents and dragons. There can by little doubt that these stories, on arising in the western world, combined with the knowledge of the existence of gold in the Uralian chain and other mountains of the east, gave rise to the stories of the Griffins and the Arimaspi.

It has been conjectured that these fabulous tales of the combats of the Arimaspi with the Griffins were invented by the neighboring tribes who were anxious to throw a mystery over the origin of the gold, that they might preserve the traffic in their own hands. The Altai Mountains, in the north of Asia, contain many gold mines, which are still worked, as well as traces of former workings. The representation of an animal, somewhat similar to the Griffin, has been found among the sculptures of Persepolis, and is conceived to have had some allegorical allusion to the religion of the ancient inhabitants of the place. Aelian, Hist. Anim. B. iv. c.27, gives an account of the Griffin, and its contests with the Indians, for the gold, similar to that here given.

Item: In Scythia, in a valley of Mount Imaus (here called Timani)[The modern Himalaya range.] there is a vast country called Abarimon, the inhabitants of which are a savage race, whose feet are turned backwards; but they possess wonderful velocity, and wander about indiscriminately with the wild beasts. They cannot breathe in any other climate but their own, for which reason it is impossible to take them before any of the neighboring kings; nor could any of them be brought before Alexander the Great.[Pliny, , VII, c.2. Aulus Gellius also relates this, among other wonderful tales, in the chapter, “On the Miraculous Wonders of Barbarous Nations,” IX c.4. He cites among his authorities, Aristeas and Isigonus, whom he designates as “writers of no mean authority.”] Item: In India, and the region of Ethiopia in particular, the largest animals are produced, resembling dogs, but much larger. Also there are trees so high that they cannot be shot over. This is due to the singular fertility of the soil, the equable temperature of the atmosphere, and the abundance of water. The reeds here are also of such great length, that each section of them, between the joints, forms a tube out of which a boat can be made that is capable of holding three men.[Aelian, . XVI.c.11, and XVII.c.26, refers to the large size of many of the animals of India; and in book IV.c.19, he describes the size and fierceness of the Indian dog. The reed referred to is the bamboo cane that frequently grows to the height of tallest trees. The stem is hollow, and the parts between the join the joints are used for canoes by the natives. Herodotus mentions them (III.c.98). The text at this point is from Pliny, , VII.c.2.] On Mount Nulo (here called Milo) there is a race of men whose feet are turned backwards, with eight toes on each foot.[From Pliny, , VII.c.2.] Item: Among a certain race in India the females are pregnant but once in the course of their lives, and their children age rapidly.[] Item: some people have holes in their faces instead of nostrils. At the very extremity of India, on the eastern side, near the source of the river Ganges, there is a nation of people who have no mouths; their bodies are rough and hairy, and they cover themselves with a down plucked from the leaves of trees. These people subsist only by breathing and by the odors which they inhale through their nostrils. They take neither food nor drink. When they go on a long journey they carry with them only various odoriferous roots, flowers, and wild apples. Should they encounter an odor of unusual strength, they die.[Pliny, , VII.c.2.] Item: In those parts of India where there is no shadow, the bodies of men attain height of five cubits and two palms, and their life is prolonged for 130 years; they die without any symptoms of old age, and just as if they were in the middle period of life.[The cubit is 21 inches; the span, 9 inches; total, 10 feet 3inches.] Item: In another region of India are people who live 200 years. In youth their hair is white, and it becomes black in old age.[] Item: In the island of Taprobane life is prolonged to a great length, while the body is exempt from illness.[ “Artemidorus states that in the island of Taprobane life is prolonged to an extreme length, while, at the same time, the body is exempt from weakness,” (Pliny, , VII. c.2). This refers to the island of Ceylon, of which Pliny has given an account in his last book, c.24.] Item: A race of people, the Oritae (hero called Sorite), whom the river Arabis divides from the people of India, know no other food but fish, which they tear apart with their finger-nails, dry it in the sun, and make bread of it.[] Item: In the deserts of Africa a species of human beings men suddenly appears, and then vanishes in an instant.[The reference may be to mirages.] Many Greek historians have written concerning these miraculous and rare beings, and thus have acquainted us with the ingenuity of nature, discovering the powers by which she created such and similar beings for us to marvel at and to meditate upon. Some of these will appear in the illustrations that follow.[]