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

Homer, the Asiatic poet, of all Greeks the most celebrated (and of whose time and life there is no definite information), flourished in the time of Saul, the king of Israel. The Athenians considered him nonsensical because he said that the gods quarreled among themselves; although the historians say that because of his power and age, the Greeks considered him not only the prince of poets, but of natural philosophers as well; that above all others he was open in his views, and produced more real and genuine poetry than any others did. Yet Polycrates records of him this folly: that because he was unable to solve simple questions put to him by the mariners and fishermen, and was laughed to scorn by them, he gave up the ghost, pierced through by the poisoned shafts of shame. Once upon a time Homer took a stroll by the sea and he lifted up his countenance toward the heavens as though enamored of them. Then he saw a group of fishermen laughing and talking together, and engaged in removing vermin from their clothes. And he asked them what they had. And they answered and said, What we caught we do not have, and what we have not caught we still have. Although the fishermen referred to the vermin or lice in their clothes, Homer thought only of the fish; and he pondered how it could be that the fish they had not caught they still had. Some say this problem so embittered Homer that he hanged himself. According to the Greeks, Homer wrote twenty-four books on the defeat and capture of Troy, and as many books on the aimless voyages of Ulysses. Homer lived 108 years in a continued state of blindness.

Anchises, a son of Capys the Trojan, was warned by the Sibyl Phrygia that Troy would be wiped out. So he went out into the wilderness of the world and lived in the solitude as a hermit, and engaged in the herding of cattle, of which the wealth of the ancients often consisted. And as he was tending his herd by the river Symeantem (Symaethus?) he was loved by Venus the goddess, and as a result of their intercourse a son, Aeneas, was born, who reigned in Italy. This (tale) was invented by the betrayers of the barbarous people, who thus covered up their own adulteries and the seduction of virgins.[Compare text and illustration with Folio XXXVI recto, and see footnote there.]

Aeneas, the son of Anchises, came to Italy in the sixth year of Labdon. In figure and speech he was noble and praiseworthy above all others. He and his father, and his son Ascanius, and his nurse Cayeta[The German edition records the name of Aeneas’ nurse as Creta.], had become associated with the Trojans, and after the destruction of Troy they were driven forth into exile by the Greeks. And they sailed to Italy with twenty ships and stirred up much war. It is said he had as wife a daughter of Priam.[The German edition states (uncharacteristically in its absurdity) that the wife of Aeneas was Helen. Actually, Aeneas had two wives: Creusa, daughter of Priam (mentioned in the last paragraph on this page in reference to her son, Ascanius), who dies during the capture of Troy, and Lavinia, his wife in Italy.] Through the ignorance of the rabble he was looked upon as a god.[See biographical note to Folio XXXVI verso.]

Codrus, the son of Melanthus, a king, was the last king of Athens. His reign began in the twenty-seventh year of Samuel’s rule, and he reigned twenty-one years. With his death the kingship of the Athenians came to an end. This king did not dress in royal robes, but went about in scant cast-off clothes, in which he was not recognized. He willingly went to his death in order that his people might be relieved of their enemies. Although by this act he set a worthy example for the princes and lords, yet very few, or none at all, followed him. By reason of his great fidelity he is often mentioned by the holy writers as though with him an image of Christ had passed away. For though he knew that the Peloponnesians had received an answer from the gods to the effect that his forces would be victorious but that he would be killed, he placed himself foremost against the enemy and allowed himself to be slain. When the Peloponnesians learned of this, they soon gave up the battle, and thus the Athenians were relieved. And so this king chose to die rather than have his people defeated, and himself live in honor afterwards. After his death the city of Athens was governed by a council until Solon the great lawgiver was elected a duke. The Athenian kings reigned 487 years, from the remotest time of the Hebrew bondage up to the time of Codrus.[Codrus was the son of Melanthus, and last (mythological) king of Athens. According to the mythical chronology, when the Dorians invaded Attica from the Peloponnessus, c. 1068 BCE, an oracle declared that they should be victorious if the life of the Attic king was spared. Codrus, therefore, immediately resolved to sacrifice himself for his country. He entered the camp of the enemy in disguise, commenced quarreling with the soldiers, and was slain in the dispute. When the Dorians discovered the death of the Attic king, they returned home. Tradition adds that as no one was thought worthy to succeed such a patriotic king, the kingly dignity was abolished, and Medon, son of Codrus, was appointed archon for life instead.]

Ascanius, a son of Aeneas by Creusa, the daughter of King Priam, was the second Latin king. He built the city of Alban (Alba Longa) and there he himself reigned. He is called a king of the Albanians and so his successors were also called.

Ascanius was son of Aeneas by Creusa. According to some traditions, Ascanius remained in Asia after the fall of Troy, and reigned either at Troy itself, or at some other place in the neighborhood. According to other accounts he accompanied his father to Italy. Other traditions give the name of Ascanius to the son of Aeneas and Lavinia. Livy states that on the death of his father Ascanius was too young to undertake the government, and that after he had attained the age of manhood, he left Lavinium in the hands of his mother, and migrated to Alba Longa. Here he was succeeded by his son Silvius. Some writers relate that Ascanius was also called Ilus, or Julus. The gens Julia (whose members included, among others, Julius Caesar) at Rome traced its origin from Julus, or Ascanius.

Alba Longa, the most ancient town in Latium, is said to have been built by Ascanius, and to have founded Rome. It was called Longa because it stretched in a long line down the Alban Mount toward the Alban Lake. It was destroyed by Tullus Hostilius, and was never rebuilt. Its inhabitants were removed to Rome. At a later time the surrounding country which was highly cultivated and covered with vineyards, was studded with splendid villas of the Roman aristocracy and emperors, each of which was called Albanum, and out of which a new town at length grew, also called Albanum, on the Appian way, ruins of which are still extant.


Homer (Homerus) is represented by a very small woodcut. The portrait is, with the exception of the beard, out of tune with classical versions of the blind bard. His eyes are wide open and he is gesturing with both hands. Somewhat surprisingly, the German edition employs a portrait of Homer that is clean-shaven.


The Lineage of the Kings of Italy is here continued from Folio XXXV recto, where it had its inception:

  1. Latinus is represented by a woodcut that would appear to be here used for the first time. It is the usual king-picture—crown, orb and scepter. He is not mentioned in the text.
  2. Aeneas appears below Latinus. In the German edition a different image is used, one that also served for Saturn at Folio XXXV recto.
  3. Ascanius appears below Aeneas. In the German edition a different image is used, one that did service as Thautanes on the opposite page (Folio XLII verso), and previously as Baleus (Folio XXVIII recto) in that edition.
  4. Anchises and Venus, of whose union Aeneas was born, are shown in a dual portrait outside of the pale of the regular lineage. A branch proceeds from them to their son.


Codrus is represented by a miniature portrait, with crown, orb and scepter.