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

Merodach was the first king of Babylonia. He fled from the principality of Assyria. He and the king of Media were not obedient to Esarhaddon (Assaradon)[Esarhaddon (Assaradon), son and successor of Sennacherib (II Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38) reigned over Assyria from 682-669 BCE. He completely rebuilt Babylon, which Sennacherib had destroyed, and was a great restorer of temples. He was also a great conqueror, making three expeditions into Egypt, and finally conquered the whole North, garrisoning the chief cities and appointing vassal kings. He subdued all Syria, and received tribute from Manasseh. He ruled over Babylonia as well as Assyria, which explains the statement of II Chronicles 33:1 that Manasseh was carried captive there.] in anything. Therefore the empire of the Assyrians declined, while the kings of Babylonia began to wax mighty. He also sent Hezekiah (Ezechie) many presents.[Cf. Isaiah 39:1: "At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered." Thus Babylonia sought a friendly alliance with Hezekiah, king of Judah. And Hezekiah was so pleased that he showed the visiting Babylonians all his treasures. And he told Isaiah what had happened. Then Isaiah prophesied that the day would come when all that his fathers had laid up, would be carried off to Babylon, and also his sons, who would become eunuchs in the palace of the Babylonian king.]

The game of chess[The origin of chess is involved in considerable mystery. The general opinion is that India is its birthplace; that it is an offspring of a game called Chaturanga, which is mentioned in Oriental literature as in use over 2000 years before Christ. From India the game spread into Persia, and thence into Arabia, and ultimately the Arabs took it to Spain and the rest of Western Europe. The game was probably invented to illustrate the art of war. According to Arab legend it was devised for the instruction of a young despot by his father, a learned Brahman, to teach him that a king, notwithstanding his power, was dependent for safety on his subjects. The Greek historians credit the game to Palamedes, who they claim devised it to overcome the tedium of the siege of Troy during the Trojan war.] was devised by Xerxes (Xerses), the pagan philosopher, for the beguilement of Evilmerodach, the tyrant, who generally slew his teachers and masters, and who by the fascination of this game was drawn away from his tyranny.[Evil-merodach (Evilmerodach) was the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar as king of Babylon (II Kings 25:27). Soon after his accession to the throne he released Jehoiachin, king of Judah, from prison, treating him with great regard throughout life (Jer. 52:31:34). He began to reign in 561 BCE, but two years later fell a victim to a conspiracy formed among his own kindred by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar (probably the Nergal-sharezer of Jer. 39:3, 13), who succeeded him.]

Nebuchadnezzar (Nabuchodonosor) was a very successful warrior, for he was scourge of God to punish the sins of the people. He conquered the Assyrian Empire that was destroyed by the Medes, and there he was himself a king. Also for seven months thereafter he lived among the wild animals. After seven years of penitence and the prayers of Daniel, he was converted into his former state. He carried on many wars with those on the border, particularly with the Egyptians whom he defeated to the limits of the land of Judea. He brought Syria under his power. He murdered Jehoiakim (Joachim), and carried his successors together with the temple treasures to Babylonia. Of Zedekiah (Sedechias), an uncle of Jehoiachin, he made a king of Babylonia. At the age of forty he was buried at Babylonia, leaving his kingdom to his son as his heir.[ Nebuchadnezzar, son and successor of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Babylonia monarchy, was the most illustrious of these kings, and one of the greatest rulers of history (II Kings 24:1; Daniel 1-4). He seems to have been of Chaldaean origin, and married Amuhia, daughter of the Median king. We know most of him through the book of Daniel. He was entrusted by his father with the important task of repelling Pharaoh-necho, and defeated him at Carchemish on the Euphrates, bringing under subjection all the territory which Necho had occupied, including Syria and Palestine, overrunning these countries, taking Jerusalem, and carrying off a portion of the inhabitants, including Daniel and his companions. As soon as his father died he hastened back to Babylon and placed himself upon the throne, giving his generals instructions to bring the Jewish, Phoenician, Syrian and Egyptian captives to Babylon. While he was carrying on wars in other parts of Asia, Jehoiakim rebelled, and was punished by the irruption of Chaldaeans, Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites, incited, perhaps, by Nebuchadnezzar who, as soon as possible, sent his troops against Jerusalem and took Jehoiakim prisoner. During the reign of his son and successor Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar invaded Palestine for the third time and took Jerusalem, putting Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin on the throne, changing his name to Zedekiah. After ten years he, too, rebelled, and was punished by Nebuchadnezzar, who reduced Jerusalem to famine, took it, and slew the two sons of Zedekiah, putting out the eyes of the father and taking him captive to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was a cruel and mighty monarch. He gave much attention to the architectural adornment of Babylon, and built the Hanging Gardens on a large artificial mound made to look like a hill. This great work, called by the ancients one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was executed to please his wife, whose home had been in a hilly country. It is said that nine-tenths of the bricks found among the ruins of the ancient capital are inscribed with his name.]

Byzantium (Bisantium), thus called by the Greeks, is a city by the sea in Thrace, and was built by the Lacedaemonians, who consulted Apollo, the pagan god, as to its location. He answered that they were to build it "opposite the blind," stating that Megara, near Chalcedon, was built by the blind. For, although they sailed to Thrace and saw the region where Byzantium was built, as Strabo states,[] they passed up this rich country and selected a poorer one. But according to Justinus and Eusebius the city was begun in the Year before the Coming of Christ 663, near the region of the Chalcedonians, in Greece, close by the fertile and fortified city of Pausanias, king of Sparta. Although small, it was enlarged by Constantine the Great, and called Constantinople. We will say more in praise of it in his time.

Megara was situated about a mile from the sea opposite the island of Salamis, and is celebrated in the history of philosophy as the seat of the Megarian School, which was founded by Euclid, a native of the city, and a disciple of Socrates. Chalcedon is a Greek city on the coast of the Propontis at the entrance of the Bosphorus, nearly opposite Byzantium. It was founded by a colony from Megara in 685 BCE. Byzantium, a Greek city on the Bosphorus, occupied the most easterly of the seven hills of modern Constantinople. It was founded by Megarians and Argives under Byzas about 657 BCE. It was destroyed in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, but recolonized by the Spartan Pausanias in 479 BCE. Its situation was beautiful and secure. It controlled the Euxine grain trade. The depth of its harbors rendered its quays accessible to vessels of large burden, while the fisheries were so lucrative that the curved inlet near which it stood became known as the Golden Horn. The population was partly Lacedaemonian and partly Athenian. It was thus a subject of dispute between these States and was alternately in the possession of each, till it fell into the hands of the Macedonians. About seven years after its second colonization, the Athenian Cimon wrested it from the Lacedaemonians; but in 440 BCE it returned to its former allegiance. Alcibiades, after a severe blockade (408 BCE) gained possession of the city through the treachery of the Athenian party. In 405 BCE it was retaken by Lysander and placed under a Spartan governor. It was under the Lacedaemonians when the Ten Thousand, exasperated by the conduct of the governor, made themselves masters of the city, and would have pillaged it but for the eloquence of Zenophon. In 390 BCE Thrasybulus expelled the Lacedaemonian oligarchy, and restored democracy and the Athenian influence.

Byzantium joined with the islands of Rhodes, Chios, Cos, and Mausolus, king of Caria, in throwing off the yoke of Athens, but sought Athenian assistance when Philip of Macedon advanced against it. The Athenians suffered a severe defeat at the hands of the Macedonian admiral, but in the following year gained a decisive victory and compelled Philip to raise the siege. The deliverance of the besieged from a surprise, by means of a flash of lightning that revealed the advancing Macedonian army, has rendered this siege memorable. As a memorial of the miraculous interference, the Byzantines erected an altar to Torch-bearing Hecate, and stamped a crescent on their coins, a device which is retained by the Turks to this day.

During the reign of Alexander, Byzantium was compelled to acknowledge the Macedonian supremacy, after the decline of which it regained its independence, but suffered from the incursion of the Scythians. The losses that they sustained by land roused the Byzantines to indemnify themselves from the vessels that crowded the harbor, and the merchantmen that cleared the straits; but this provoked war with neighboring powers.

During the first years of its alliance with Rome, Byzantium held the rank of a free confederate city; but it was later subjected to the imperial jurisdiction and gradually stripped of its privileges. It was besieged and taken (196 CE) by Severus, who destroyed it, demolished the famous wall, and put the principal inhabitants to the sword. Relenting, Severus later rebuilt a large portion of the town, naming it Augusta and Antonina. It had scarcely begun to recover its former position when, through the capricious resentment of Gallienus, the inhabitants were once more put to the sword and the town was pillaged. From this disaster the inhabitants recovered so far as to be able to check an invasion of the Goths in the reign of Claudius II, and the fortifications were strengthened during the civil wars which followed the abdication of Diocletian. Diocletian had resolved to transfer his capital to Nicomedia; but Constantine, struck with the advantages which the situation of Byzantium presented, resolved to build a new city there on the site of the old and transfer the seat of government to it (330 CE).


Here begins the Line of Babylonian Kings:

  1. Merodach, alleged first king of Babylonia.
  2. Nebuchadnezzar (Nabuchodonosor).


Xerxes (Xerses), the philosopher, in cap and gown, with his chessmen and chessboard, as evidence of his invention.


Byzantium (Bisantium), the city. This folio repeats the one used for Memphis/Cairo at Folio XXII recto.