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

Judas, in the year of the world 3434.

All the kings of Egypt were at this time called Pharaoh. However, this was not their own name, but one of royal distinction, just as with us all Roman emperors are called augmenters of the empire. Ever pharaoh has his own name.[Pharaoh was adopted into Hebrew from the later Egyptian title Pero-o, ‘Great House.’ Originally designating the royal establishment in Egypt, it gradually became the appellative of the king, which from the 22nd dynasty (c. 950 BCE) onwards, was regularly attached to the king’s name in popular speech. The Hebrew Pharaoh-neco and Pharaoh-hophra, and as here—Pharaoh-Mephres, are thus precise renderings from the Egyptian.]

Pharaoh-Mephres elevated Joseph because of his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, and he placed a ring upon Joseph’s hand, arrayed him in a vestment of fine linen, put a golden collar about his neck, and caused him to be driven through Egypt, and a crier to proclaim that all were to bend the knee to him; and he named him preserver of the world.[Not so, according to Genesis 41:45: "And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-paaneah," which in the Coptic signifies ‘a revealer of secrets,’ or ‘the man to whom secrets are revealed.’] He gave him a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphar, the priest of On (Heliopolis), by whom he had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

Phares, in the year of the world 3445.

Pharaoh-Amenophis did not know Joseph, and he ordered the children (of Israel) to be oppressed. Under him they were in great distress and severe bondage. [Exodus 1:8-22.]

Pharaoh-Anefre, the ninth king, refused to hear the voice of the Lord, commanding him to release the children of Israel.[Exodus 5:1-2.] For that reason the Lord punished him with the ten plagues[The Plagues: Exodus 7:14-25; 8:1-15, 16-19, 20-32; 9:1-7, 8-12, 13-35; 10:1-20, 21-29; 11:1-10 and 12:29-36.] and drowned him and his men in the Red Sea. [Exodus 14:27-28.]

To Joseph, the most chaste patriarch and a man of zeal, two children, Manasseh and Ephraim, were born by his wife, Asenath, daughter of Potiphar, the priest. From youth Joseph had been a lad of fine stature, and superior to his brother in moral conduct. Because of this his father loved him more than the rest. In consequence his brothers envied him, and at the age of 15, they sold him into Egypt. At the age of 30 he stood before Pharaoh. But the king’s wife was fired with passion for him, and said, Joseph, lie with me. He replied, The king has given me power over all, except you. And so that she might entice him, she represented herself to be ill because of her love for him; and she caught him by his garment. But he left it in her hand, and fled from her. Then she spoke to her husband, the king, ‘A Hebrew servant came to me to mock me;’ and she showed the king the garment. The king believed her and caused Joseph to be put into a prison.[Joseph was brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites, who had brought him to this place. . . And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him; and he [Potiphar] made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hands. . . and it came to pass that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me, etc. (Genesis 39:1-7). So it was not the king’s wife, but the wife of Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, who tried to entice him.] But as Joseph thereafter interpreted his dreams, and prophesied the seven fruitful and seven unfruitful years, the king released him from prison and placed him over all Egypt. And after Joseph had ruled Egypt for 80 years, and had attained the age of 110 years, he died in Egypt. When the Hebrews finally left Egypt, they took his remains with them to Canaan, the Jewish land. To this they had pledged themselves in case of Joseph’s death.

(A) LINEAGE OF CHRIST (Continued).

Here the Lineage of Christ begins with Judah, fourth son of Jacob by Leah, and who was not shown in the last genealogy (Folio XXV verso). The present section of the tree begins at the upper left of Folio XXVII recto. Here appears Judah and beside him his first wife, Shuah (Sue) a Canaanite, who bore him three children, Er (Her), Onan (Onam), and Shelah (Sela), who branch off to the opposite page. It will be remembered that Judah caused his first born to marry Tamar. Upon the death of Er she was passed on to Onan, Judah’s second son; and when he, too, suffered death, she was reserved for the third son, Shelah, then still a minor. But in the meantime Tamar, in the guise of a harlot, beguiled Judah, her father-in-law, and by him she bore Pharez (Phares) and Zarah (Zaram). And so from Judah a branch proceeds downward and to the left to a portrait we find noted "Thamar wife of Er and concubine of Judah;" and to either side are her sons Pharez and Zarah.

Apparently for no other reason than that the opposite text speaks of her, Asenath (Assenach), the wife of Judah’s half-brother, Joseph, is shown here behind a scroll that curls about one of the vines.


To the right of Folio XXVII is a panel 2.25" x 7" portraying three kings of Egypt—Pharaoh-mephres, Pharaoh-amenophis, and Pharaoh-anefre. The first has a sword and orb; the second, both orb and scepter. Each wears a crown. There is nothing about any of them in face or feature, dress or accessories, that suggests ‘Egypt.’


By a single woodcut (5-1/16" x 8-15/16") at Folio XXVII recto, two important incidents in the life of Joseph, far removed in point of time, are depicted. Joseph holds the center of the stage, standing before Pharaoh (at the left) interpreting his dream; while at the right is the wife of Potiphar (labeled as the wife of Pharaoh) still clinging to his flowing mantle, as she gestures him to her medieval bed-chamber. The king sits on his gothic throne in a flowing robe, wearing his crown and holding a scepter in his extended left hand. He is listening intently to Joseph. His robe is trussed up a bit exposing the action of his feet. He seems nervous and appears to be scratching the ankle of one foot with the heel of the other. On the window seat in the background sits a portly gentleman in an ample robe with a fur collar, and wearing a cap. His gesture indicates that he is introducing Joseph to Pharaoh. This must be the king’s chief butler, who apprised his master of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. To perform this office Joseph was brought forth from prison, and not from the bedchamber of Potiphar’s wife.