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

Minerva, most celebrated of women, appeared on Lake Tritonitis in the 58th year of Isaac. She was also called Pallas after Pallante, an island of Thrace, where she was reared; or after Pallas (Pallante) the giant whom she slew. She was Jove’s eldest daughter, and among the barbarous Africans made many discoveries until then unknown; for which reason, not only the Africans, but the Greeks as well, believed Minerva to have been born without a mother out of the head of Jove, for her ancestry was unknown. She was the first to invent spinning in wool, then unknown to man; and how to cleanse the wool and to comb it with an iron comb; and she taught them how to spin it. In this manner she invented weaving, and the wool-makers, cloth-makers and weavers (as Ovid testifies) set aside a holiday in memory of the time when Minerva flourished. She also discovered and taught the use of oil, then unknown to man. She is also (as Cicero says) called the goddess of wisdom and the discoverer of the arts. As her renown and reputation spread far and wide, a number of temples were erected to her, particularly at Rome, near the Temple of Jove.[Athena, or Minerva, as the Romans call her, was one of the great divinities of the Greeks. She was surnamed Trito or Tritogenia, which is explained in different ways. Some derive it from Lake Tritonis, in Libya, near which she is said to have been born; others from the river Triton in Boeotia, where she was worshipped, and where according to some, she was born. Pallene is a township in Attica, a few miles southwest of Marathon. It possessed a temple of Athena, surnamed ‘Pallenis’ from the place. Later tradition relates that she sprang from the head of Zeus with a mighty war-shout and in full armor. Another tradition regarded her as the daughter of Pallas, the winged giant whom she afterward killed when he attempted to violate her chastity. According to another story she was carried to Libya and called the daughter of Poseidon and Tritonis. These legends vary, but by general belief she was the daughter of Zeus. As protectress of agriculture Athena is said to have invented the plow and rake, created the olive tree, taught husbandry, and the taming of horses. She was the patron of science, art and industry, inventing numbers, the trumpet, chariot, and navigation. She was believed to have invented nearly every kind of work in which women were engaged. Tiresias lost his eyesight for having seen her in the bath. For this reason, the ancient traditions always describe her as clothed.]

Armaniter (as Augustine states) was the eighth king of the Assyrians, at the time when God appeared to Isaac and promised him the things that he had also promised his father Abraham.

Prometheus flourished at this period in Arcadia—a man of keen intelligence and great experience, who taught the awkward and uncouth people refined customs and manners. He was the first to form images of people out of the earth, and he made them so real that a spirit seemed to move within them. And as he lived in the highest mountains of the Caucasus and learned astronomy, he first taught it to the Assyrians. He was the first to strike fire from rock; and he originated the custom of wearing a ring (but of iron) on the fourth finger, in honor of the arteries of the heart. But after the lapse of time the Romans promulgated a law to the effect that freemen and citizens wear rings of gold; the children of freemen, rings of silver, and the servants rings of iron.

Ancient legends relate that Prometheus had created man out of earth and water, either at the very beginning of the human race, or after the flood of Deucalion, when Zeus is said to have ordered him and Athena to make men of the mud, and the winds to breathe life into them. Prometheus is said to have given to men a portion of all the qualities possessed by all the other animals. For a trick that Prometheus attempted to play upon Zeus, the latter punished mortals by withholding fire from them, but Prometheus stole it in and gave it to men. Thereupon Zeus chained him to a pillar, where an eagle consumed his liver in the daytime, and it was restored in each succeeding night. Another legend is to the effect that Prometheus ascended into heaven, and there secretly lighted his torch at the chariot of Helios in order to bring the fire down to man. Prometheus had a sanctuary in the Academy, from whence a torch race took place in his honor.

From Asia legends concerning rings and ring lore were introduced into Greece. The classical derivation of the ring was attributed to Prometheus who, having incurred the wrath of Zeus, was compelled to wear on his finger an iron ring, to which was attached a fragment of the rock of the Caucasus.

In the reign of Belocus, the ninth king of Assyria, the Lord talked to Jacob and promised him the things which he had promised his forefathers, namely, possession of the land of Canaan, and blessing of all the people that were his seed, which is Christ. Belocus reigned 36 years.

Atlas was a great stargazer and so learned in astronomy that it was said that he carried the heavens on his shoulders. [Atlas was a brother of Prometheus, and with the other Titans made war on Zeus. Being conquered, he was condemned to bear heaven on his head and hands. The myth seems to have arisen from the notion that lofty mountains supported the heavens. Later traditions metamorphosed Atlas into the mountain. Thus Ovid relates that Perseus came to Atlas for shelter, which being refused, Perseus, by means of the head of Medusa, changed him into Mt. Atlas, on which rested heaven with all its stars. Others represent Atlas as a king who possessed great knowledge as to the courses of the stars, and who was the first to teach men that heaven had the form of a globe. Hence the expression that heaven rested on his shoulders was regarded as figurative speech. At first the story referred to but one mountain; but as geographical knowledge extended, the name of Atlas was given to others, and so we read of Mauretanian, Italian, Arcadian and a Caucasian Atlas. The general opinion, however, was the heaven bearing Atlas was in northwestern Africa, the range that covers the surface of North Africa between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert.]

Baleus was the 10th king of the Assyrians, under whom Isaac died; and he reigned 52 years during the time of Mesapus, the 9th king of the Sicyonians.

Apollo invented the harp and conceived the art of medicine, which his brother Aesculapius later enlarged upon. He vanished in a flash of lightning. Apollo, also called Delphi, was regarded as an enlightened and highly respected man, and after his death was considered a god. He was called a god of prophecy and wisdom; and he was a discoverer of the art of medicine, and the first to know the power of herbs, as Ovid writes of him.[Apollo was one of the great divinities of the Greeks. He was a twin brother of Artemis, the Roman Diana. Although all sudden deaths were believed the result of his arrows, he was also able to deliver men, if duly propitiated. From being the god who affords help, he is regarded as the father of Aesculapius, the god of healing. As the god of prophecy he had different oracles, especially at Delphi. He was the god of music and is said to have invented the flute and lyre. ]

Annichus was the 12th king of the Assyrians, and under him Joseph died while Plemmius the 11th king of the Sicyonians reigned.

Jupiter was also proclaimed as a god, and in his honor the foolish people sacrificed an ox. He was the first of the upper element of fire, and (as they say) a sun by day. His personal name was Lisania (Zeus Lycaeus) and he was highly honored in Arcadia at this time. By reason of his virtuous conduct he was given the very celebrated name of Jove. He was of a noble race in Arcadia. They say he had been at Athens and was a man of great intelligence; that he provided wholesome laws and rules of moral conduct for the coarse people of the country, who lived under beastly conditions. And he influenced them to worship gods, and set up temples and priests. And he taught them many other useful things. This barbarous primitive people marveled at his accomplishments and worshipped him as a god. And they called him Jupiter, and soon made him a king.[A repetition of what was said at Folio XXIV verso]

Saffeus was the 19th king of the Assyrians, and under him Moses was born in Egypt, while Orthopolis was the 12th king of Sicyonia and Criseus reigned as the 5th king of the Greeks.


In the first panel, at the left, are some of the pagan gods of Greece and Rome: Minerva, with her weaving implement; Prometheus, with his ring of iron, set with a stone, but large enough for a bracelet; Atlas, "the giant" holding a quarter section of a circle inscribed with numerals, probably emblematic of his astronomical accomplishments; Apollo, strumming on his lyre, and Jupiter without symbols of any kind, except a few mysterious signs inscribed on the collar of his hairy coat. He is certainly not the same god to whom we were introduced at Folio XXIV verso. He also posed for us once before as "Jareth, Enoch’s son" (Folio X recto). This may or may not be his farewell appearance.


Another line of Assyrian kings—Armaniter, Belocus, Baleus, Annichus and Saffeus. Each one has an orb and a scepter. All but one wear crowns. Baleus wears a plumed hat. All look aggressive except the weary Armaniter, who portrays the old adage that "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."