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

Saul, the first king of the Jews, a son of Cis (Kish) out of the tribe of Benjamin, was chosen king by the Lord in the 12th year of Samuel; and with Samuel he reigned 26 years. Although he was a good man in the beginning, he later scorned God’s commandments. Originally a king, he afterward became a tyrant and oppressor of his subjects. Finally after many persecutions and pursuits against David, he fought with the Palestinians (Philistines) on Mount Gelboe (Gilboa), and there his army was defeated and he himself was severely wounded. He voluntarily fell upon his naked sword and died. Seeing this, his armor-bearer also killed himself.[Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell down slain on Mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchi-shua, Saul’s sons. And the battle went badly against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then said Saul to his armor-bearer, Draw your sword and thrust me through with it lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me. But his armor-bearer would not; for he was very afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword and died with him. (I Samuel 31:1-6)]

As David presented himself to Saul in the presence of his son Jonathan, Jonathan entered into a great friendship with David, and he gave him all his clothes to wear.[When David made an end of speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him. And Jonathan and David made a covenant. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him and gave it to David and his garments, even to his sword, his bow, and his girdle. (I Samuel 18:1-4)] Now as Saul and David returned to Jerusalem, the maidens came to meet them, and they said, Saul has slain thousands, and David ten thousands. And Saul became sad with envy and was concerned that his kingdom might pass from him to David. So one day, when David was playing on his harp before Saul, Saul attempted to run him through with a javelin[I Samuel 18:6-11.]. But thereafter he made him a captain over his men of arms, and promised to give him his daughter Michal for wife, if he would bring him one hundred foreskins of the Philistines. But it was really Saul’s intention to have David slain by the Philistines. However, David agreed and he brought two hundred foreskins, and the two hundred he killed in a righteous war, for they were the enemies of the people of Israel.[I Samuel 18:12-27.] And now Jonathan reconciled David and Saul.[I Samuel 19:1-7.] But as David afterward defeated the Philistines with great loss, Saul again tried to kill him with his javelin; but David again escaped the thrust and fled to his house. Thereupon Saul sent his messengers to capture David and to slay him. But Michal, his wife, let him down through a window. When Saul learned that David was with Samuel at Aioth (Naioth) he three times sent many and various messengers to take David. And when they arrived and found the prophets with Samuel and David, they too prophesied with them and praised God. And finally Saul himself came there, and he prophesied with them, stripping himself naked.[I Samuel 19:8-24.]

During the judgments of Abesson (Ibzan), Abylon (Elon), and Abdon times were peaceful and nothing of note occurred in Israel. But mark you that although the 70 interpreters say nothing of this Abylon, nor of the time when there were no judges, they add to the time of Joshua those whose judgeships were uneventful according to the Hebrew truth; and so you should keep the years closely in mind, or you will err.

When Ulysses (As Augustine and Boethius write) returned from the Trojan War, he sailed the seas aimlessly for ten years. Finally he came to an island near Italy with a single ship. And on the island lived Circe, the sorceress, a very beautiful woman. She was called a daughter of the Sun. By means of her magic arts she prepared a potion by means of which she at will metamorphosed those who drank it from human beings into beasts. And she handed the drink to the companions of Ulysses, and metamorphosed one into a wild boar, another into a lion, and another into a deer. But Mercury had given Ulysses a flower to counteract the sprits of sorcery. And as they did not harm him, he forced Circe with drawn sword to reconvert his companions into their former state. Solinus writes that Ulysses built the city of Ulixbonam[Lisbon.] in Spain, which was named for him.[Ulysses, Ulyxes or Ulises, as the Latin writers call him (Odysseus in Greek), was one of the principal Greek heroes of the Trojan War. His career is well known through the classics. However, no part of his adventures are so celebrated in ancient story as his wanderings after the destruction of Troy, and his ultimate return to Ithaca, which form the subject of the Homeric poem called after him the . After the taking of Troy one portion of the Greeks sailed away, and another with Agamemnon remained behind on the Trojan coast. Odysseus at first joined the former, but when he had sailed as far as Tenedos, he returned to Agamemnon. Afterwards, however, he determined to sail home, and in the course of that voyage he had many experiences and adventures. At one time he arrived at the island of Aeolus, probably in the south of Sicily, where he stayed one month. On his departure Aeolus provided him with a bag of winds, which were to carry him home, but his companions opened the bag, and the winds escaped; immediately after which the ships were driven back to the island of Aeolus, who was indignant, and refused all further assistance. After a voyage of six days he arrived at the city of Lamus, in which Antiphates ruled over a sort of cannibals. Odysseus escaped from them with one ship, and his fate now carried him to a western island, Aeaea, inhabited by the sorceress Circe. A part of his people was sent to explore the island, but Circe changed them into swine. Eurylochus alone escaped, and brought the sad news to Odysseus, who, when he was hastening to the assistance of his friends, was instructed by Hermes by what means he could resist the magic powers of Circe. He succeeded in liberating his companions, who were again changed into men, and were most hospitably treated by the sorceress, with whom he and his men spent one year.]


To the Lineage of the Judges which began at Folio XXX recto, with Joshua, and continued with Deborah at Folio XXXVII verso, is now added a third panel (2-1/4" x 9-7/8") consisting of four additional portraits. Although the last three figures on the panel are mentioned in the text on the same page, all four are specifically treated on the verso of the opposite folio.


Saul, the first king of Israel, is honored in a full-length portrait (2" x 6½"). The doughty king is confined to a rather restricted area. He wears an ornate foliated crown, which has a diameter equal to the length of his shinbone. He is attired in an embroidered medieval coat. His head is large, and his flowing mane and heavy beard remind one of the classic conception of Jupiter. But looking again we see that one eye is wide upon, the other almost closed—and we think of the one-eyed Wotan. In his right hand he carries his trusty javelin that David had so much difficulty in dodging. Suspended from his belt is a scimitar. The king does not take a very firm stand, and his knotty extremities would seem to have some difficulty in sustaining the royal dignity. Although otherwise well accoutered, the subject appears to be unshod.


Ulysses, looking rather wearied and troubled, is seated in the last ship that has survived the tribulations of his navy on the homeward voyage after the siege of Troy. He is off the coast of the magic island of Aeaea, abode of Circe, the sorceress. The lady herself is seated at the table on the beach. Although a meal seems to be in progress we see only one plate, a knife, and salt and pepper shakers to entice the guests. Circe herself, in high medieval headdress, holds in her left hand, probably to indicate her calling, a wand, to which she points with her right hand to make sure that you will take note of that powerful instrument. A younger woman, probably a maid or attendant, is walking to the water’s edge, carrying the potion which brought about the transformation in the companions of Ulysses; for in the hold of the ship, we see not mariners but a cargo of animals (an ass, a lion, a ram, etc.). Although the drink is just being offered, and one of the crew is reaching out for it, the metamorphosis is already complete; and so the artist has anticipated the effect of the draught. But Ulysses, quietly seated on the upper deck, has not been affected; and in his hand he holds the flower given him by the kindly Mercury to counteract the evil arts of Circe.