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

Asia derived its name from a woman who, according to the ancients, was the ruler of the Orient.[The origin of the names of Europe and Asia is lost in antiquity. The Greek writers give two derivations. First, according to their system of referring the names of tribes and countries to a person as eponymus, they tell of a nymph named Asia, one of the Oceanids, daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, the wife of Iapetus, and the mother of Prometheus. In this mythical genealogy Asia is connected with the Titanic deities, and Europe with the race of Zeus. The other class of derivations connects Asia with Lydia, which some of the grammarians distinctly state to have been at first called Asia; an opinion which Strabo (XIII) ascribes to the school of Demetrius of Scepsis. We are told of a city called Asia, near Mount Tmolus, where the Lydian lyre was invented. Acording to Herodotus, the Lydians derived the name of Asia from their ancient king, Asies, son of Cotys, and grandson of Manes, who also have name to the tribe Asias at Sardis.] Asia has many countries, provinces and districts, and therein lies the earthly Paradise which, according to the Greek and Hebrew tongues, means Garden of Pleasure. Item: In this part of Asia lie the countries and regions hereinafter named: India is so called after the river Indus, which is on the west. It flows from the southern sea[Indian Ocean ( Indicus Oceanus ).] to the east, and to the north as far as the Caucasus Mountains. It has many peoples and cities, and an island named Thephana,[ Probably the island of Patala, which, according to Pliny, lay at the mouth of the Indus, triangular in form, and 220 miles in breadth ( VI. c.23). It is by some supposed to have been Lower Scinde, in the vicinity of Kurrachee, with its capital Potala.] abounding in precious stones and elephants; also the islands of Chryse and Argyre,[ “Beyond the mouth of the Indus are the islands of Chrise and Argyre, abounding in metals, I believe; but as to what some persons have stated, that the soil consists of gold and silver, I am not so willing to give a ready credence to that,” (Pliny, VI. c.24). Ansart suggests that these may be the Laccadives. Their name means the “gold” and “silver” islands.] rich in gold and silver; and the “tylem” tree,[Probably the linden (Latin ).] which is never without leaves. India has three rivers, the Ganges, Indus, and the Hypanis.[Should be Hypasis, most eastern and most important of the five rivers that water the Punjab. The modern name is Sutlej. It bore various names in ancient and modern times. Pliny calls it Hypasis; Ptolemy, Bibasis; Strabo, Hypanis.] The weather and climate in India are so good, and the soil is so fertile that there are two harvests in the year. The cool winds of midnight take the place of winter. India produces colored people, large elephants, unicorns, parrots, ebony wood, cinnamon reeds, pepper, calamus, the noble liverwort, ivory, precious stones, such as beryl, chrysoprasus,[A precious stone of golden yellow and leek-green color.] diamonds, carbuncles, ligures, fine small pearls, and large individual ones, which the noble ladies passionately crave. There are also mountains of gold that no one dares approach because of dragons, griffins and giants. In Asia are the countries of Parthia, Assyria, Media, Persia, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Chaldea, Arabia, or Sabai,[Now called Yemen, in Arabia. The Sabeans were noted for their enterprise and wealth.] and Syria. Item: Syria comprises many lands, such as Comagene,[The most easterly district of Syria.] Phoenicia, and Palestine, in which lies Judea. In Phoenicia is the city of Tyre. Judea derived its name from Judah, out of whose stock Judea drew its ruling kings. It lies in Palestine, and was formerly called Canaan, after the son of Cain, or after the Cainitic line that was driven from it and supplanted by the Jews with the help of God. In the midst of this country of Judea lies Jerusalem, a land wealthy in possessions and estates, productive of fruits, surrounded by water and endowed with balsams. Item: Samaria lies in Palestine, and the capital is also called Samaria. There the kings of Israel maintained their royal seats, just as the kings of Judea ruled from Jerusalem. Galilee also lies in Palestine. The land of Pentapolis[Pentapolis here refers to the five “cities of the plain,” to which the name is applied in the apocryphal (X. 6); namely Sodom, Gomorrha, Adama, Zeboim, and Zoar, all of which (except the last, which was spared at the intercession of Lot) were destroyed by fire from heaven, and the valley in which they stood was buried beneath the waters of the dead sea.] lies in the vicinity of Arabia and Palestine, and has five cities, as Sodom, Gomorrha, etc. Nabathae[The Nabathae were an Arabian people, descended from the eldest son of Ishmael, and had their original abodes in the northwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The Nabathaeans of Greek and Roman history occupied nearly the whole of the Arabian Petraea, along the northeast coast of the Red Sea; and here was their capital, Petra. At first a pastoral people, they later became successful traders, and set up a powerful monarchy. Under Augustus they were nominal subjects of the Roman Empire. Under Trajan, Arabia Petraea became a Roman province (105-107 CE). In the fourth century it was considered part of Palestine. The Muslim conquest finally overthrew the power of the Nabathaeans, long on the wane. The country soon became a haunt for wandering Arabs, and their very name disappeared.] lies between Judea and Arabia. Item: The country called Egypt also lies in Asia. There is little rain. Its only river, the Nile, overflows and inundates the land, making it so fertile that it supplies all the world with its produce. Item: Scythia, Hyrcania,[Hyrcania, a province of the ancient Persian empire, on the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, and separated by mountains from Media, Parthia, and Margiana.] Albania, Armenia, Iberia,[Iberia (southern Georgia) a country of Asia in the center of isthmus between the Black and Caspian seas; bounded on the north by the Caucasus, on the west by Colchis, on the east by Albania, on the south by Armenia.] and Cappadocia are also in Asia. Item: Asia Minor is bounded on the east by Cappadocia, and the remainder is surrounded by the sea. It comprehends Bithynia, Phrygia, Galatia, Lydia, Carts, Pamphylia, Isauria, Lycia, and Oicilia. Bithynia, which is also called Greater Phrygia, lies to the east of the sea. It has a city called Nicomedia[Nicomedia, capital city of Bithynia.] to which Hannibal fled, and where he afterward died by poisoned drink. In Phrygia, or Dardania, is Troy,[In fact a city founded by Dardanus on the Hellespont, southwest of Abydos; whence its modern name of Dardanelles.] which Tros,[ Tros, a king of Phrygia, after whom Troy was named. He was the son of Ericthonius, and grandson of Dardanus. The country and the people of Troy derived their name from him.] the king, named after himself. Now, there are two Phrygias, the greater embracing Smyrna; the smaller, Ilium and Pycaonia. Pamphylia was taken into the country of Cicilia. Selucia is the capital of Isauria. Tarsus is the capital of Cicilia. In Lycia is the marvelous Mount Chimaera,[Chimaera, a fire-breathing monster, the fore part of whose body was that of a lion, the hind part that of a dragon, and the middle that of a goat. According to Hesiod, she was the daughter of Typhaon and Echidna. She made great havoc in Lycia and the surrounding countries, and was at length killed by Bellerophon. The origin of the notion may be sought in the volcano of the name of Chimaera near Phaselis, in Lycia. In works of art discovered at Lycia, several representations of the Chimaera were found, in the simple forms of a species of lion still occurring in that country.] which emits fire, like Mount Aetna in Sicily, and Zwickau, in Germany.

Europe is named after the daughter of Agenor, king of Libya,[ Libya is the Greek name of the continent of Africa in general.] whom Jupiter abducted from Africa and carried off to the island of Crete.[Jupiter, in the form of a bull, carried off Europa according to Greek mythology.] One third of the world was named for her.[ Opinions vary as to the origin of the name Europe. One is that the appellation is derived from Europa, daughter of the Phoenician king Agenor. This neither satisfied geographers generally, nor Herodotus in particular, who indeed wonders (IV.45) how it should come to pass that the three main divisions of the earth were named for three females—Asia, Libya, and Europa. The connection of Europe with Phoenicia is obvious; for Tyrian and Sidonian mariners were the earliest explorers of the bays and coast of the Mediterranean, and among the first colonizers of its principal islands and its western shores. They were the first also who passed through the Pillars of Hercules, surveyed the coasts of Spain and Gaul, and entered the German Ocean, and perhaps the Baltic Sea. The name Europa bears a close resemblance to the Semitic word Oreb —the land of sunset. Such a name the Phoenicians of Asia might well give to the regions westward of the Aegean, even as the Italian navigators in the Middle Ages, looking from the opposite quarter, called the eastern extremity of the Mediterranean the Levant, or the region of sunrise. Another theory is that the root of Europa is the wife of Zeus, while Asia is the sister or wife of Prometheus. And thus, apparently the line of Zeus and the Olympian divinities is connected with the continent of Europe; and the line of Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, etc., or the Titanic powers, with Asia and Libya.] Europe begins at the river Tanais, extends to the northern ocean, and westward to Spain. The first region of Europe is Lower Scythia, which begins with the sand sea, or swamps, known in Latin as Palus Maeotis ,[Now the Sea of Azov.] and extending from the Danube to the northern ocean, reaches westward to Germany; and because of the character and manners of the inhabitants, it is called Barbaria. Of this region Gothia,[Country of the Goths, the greatest northern tribe of Germany.] afterwards Germania, or Germany, is the first part; and therein the inhabitants were mostly of the Suevi.[The Suevi were one of the greatest and most powerful peoples of Germany. The name applied collectively to a great number of German tribes, grouped together on account of their migratory life. The Suevi are described by the ancients as occupying the greater half of Germany. Later this collective name disappeared, and the different tribes were called by their distinctive names. In the third century, however, we again find a people called Suevi, dwelling between the mount of the Main and the Black Forest, whose name is still preserved in the modern Swabia; but it is said, this people were merely a body of bold adventurers, who assumed the celebrated name of the Suevi, because they possessed no distinctive appellation of their own.] Germany, beyond Lower Scythia, is bounded or enclosed by the Danube, between the Rhine and the Sea. This is a powerful country, and it is populated with a great number of earnest people. Because of its fertility and fruitfulness it is called Germania, which signifies the bearing one.

There have been various speculations as to the origin of the name Germania. The reason which the author here assigns, namely, that because of its fertility and fruitfulness, the country was called Germania, “which signifies the bearing one,” I have not found in any other work. As a Latin scholar Schedel would have had the Latin root (germen) for germinate in mind; but the name was not original with the Romans. The name did not become current with the Romans until the time of Caesar, who learned it from the Gauls. It is said that the name is of Celtic origin, and most probably meant woodsmen, or forest-dwellers, which name the Gauls applied to the uncultured people of Celtic or Germanic origin in the region of the Maas and the Lower Rhine, who did not live in cities. Finally the name was confined to the latter, but came to designate collectively the great nation beyond the Rhine—the Germani. The Germanic peoples themselves probably first learned the name from the Gauls, and only applied it to themselves in commerce with foreigners, particularly the Romans. The name never became popular with them; but at a later time the learned seized upon the name, and gave it a wider scope than it originally enjoyed. There are other writers who derive the word from the German ger, gwer, Heer, Wehr, so that the word would be equivalent to Wehrman, Wehrmanner, that is, warriors.

Germania was bounded by the Rhine on the West, by the Vistula and Carpathian mountains on the East, by the Danube on the South, and by the German Ocean and the Baltic Sea on the North. This area the Romans called Germania Magna, or Germania Transrhenana, or Germania Barbara, and this must be carefully distinguished from the Roman province of Germania Cisrhenana, which designated the regions on the westerly side of the Rhine, which was occupied by peoples of Germanic origin. At first these regions were reckoned as part of Gallia Belgica; but under Augustus they were called Germania after the occupants, and were divided into two parts: Germania Superior or Germania Prima, from the Jura Mountains to the Nahe, and Germania Inferior or Germania Secunda, from the Nahe to the sea.

It has precious stones, crystals, and electrum. Now there is an Upper Germany, by the northern ocean, and a Lower Germany, by the Rhine—the land which the Danube divides from the Barbarian Sea to the sea which divides the earth.