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

Nebuchadnezzar was a son of Nebuchadnezzar the Great and was the third king of Chaldea. He obtained the kingdom after the death of his father in the 18th year of the Jewish captivity. He reigned ten years and was of a magnanimous disposition. He was very mighty, and initiated more royal works than his father.

Evil-merodach was a brother of said Nebuchadnezzar, and a son of Nebuchadnezzar the Great. He was the fourth king of Chaldea, and obtained the kingdom in the 28th year of the Jewish captivity, after the death of his brother who died without heirs. And he reigned 18 years. He released Jehoiachin (Joachim) from captivity and afterwards made him mighty. He left three sons.[For previous text and note on Evil-merodach see Folio LXII verso.]

Servius Tullius was the sixth Roman king, and he began to reign in the ninth year of the Jewish captivity. He reigned 34 years. Although his mother was a servant, nevertheless he succeeded in acquiring the kingdom. This noble child was brought up by Tanaquil, the housewife of Tarquinius, and by her sage advice came to rule the empire. He levied the first tax in the city. He added three hills, the Quirinal, Viminal, and Esquiline to the city, surrounded them with walls and moats. Later he was murdered by the servants of the haughty Tarquinius, his son-in-law, at the instigation of his own daughter.[Servius Tullius was the sixth king of Rome. His mother, Ocrisia, was one of the captives taken at Corniculum, and became a female slave of Tanaquil, the wife of Tarquinius Priscus. He was born in the king's palace, and notwithstanding his servile origin, was brought up as the king's son, since Tanaquil by her powers of divination had foreseen the greatness of the child; and Tarquinius placed such confidence in him that he gave him his daughter in marriage; and entrusted him with the exercise of the government. His rule was mild and beneficent; and so popular did he become that the sons of Ancus Marcius, fearing that they should be deprived of the throne which they claimed as their inheritance, procured the assassination of Tarquinius. But Tanaquil, pretending that the king's wound was not mortal, told the people the king would recover in a few days, and had commanded Servius to discharge the kingly office in the meantime. Servius immediately began to act as king to the great satisfaction of the people; and when the death of Tarquinius could no longer be concealed, Servius was already in firm possession of the kingly power. His greatest deeds were those of peace, and posterity looked upon him as the author of all its civil rights and institutions. Tradition credits him with a new constitution for the Roman State. He extended the boundaries of the city to include the Quirinal, Viminal and Esquiline hills. He established an important alliance with the Latins, by which Rome and the cities of Latium became the members of one great league. By his new constitution, which gave the plebs political independence, Servius incurred the hostility of the patricians, who conspired with L. Tarquinius to deprive him of his life and of his throne. His death was the subject of a legend: Servius soon after his succession gave his two daughters in marriage to the two sons of Tarquinius Priscus. L. Tarquinius, the elder, was married to a quiet and gentle wife; Aruns, the younger, to an aspiring and ambitious woman. The character of the two brothers was the very opposite of the two wives who had fallen to their lot; for Lucius was proud and haughty, but Aruns unambitious and quiet. The wife of Aruns, feeling that her husband would tamely resign the sovereignty, resolved to destroy both her father and husband. She persuaded Lucius to murder his own wife, and she murdered her own husband; and the survivors straightway married. Tullia now urged her husband to murder her father; and it is said that their design was hastened by the belief that Servius entertained the thought of laying down his kingly power, and establishing the consular form of government. The patricians were equally alarmed at this scheme; and when the conspiracy was ripe, Tarquinius entered the forum arrayed in the kingly robes, seated himself in the royal chair of the senate-house, and ordered the senators to be summoned to him as their king. At the first news of the commotion, Servius hastened to the senate-house and, standing in the doorway, ordered Tarquinius to come down from the throne. Tarquinius sprang forward, seized the old man, and flung him down the stone steps. Covered with blood, the king tried to hasten home; but before he reached it he was overtaken by the servants of Tarquinius, and murdered. Tullia drove to the senate-house and greeted her husband as king; but her transports of joy struck him with horror. He ordered her to go home, and as she was returning, her charioteer pulled up and pointed out the corpse of her father lying in his blood across the road. She commanded him to drive on; and the blood of her father spurted over the carriage and on her dress; and from that day forward the street bore the name Vicus Sceleratus, or Wicked Street. The body lay unburied, for Tarquinius said scoffingly, "Romulus too went without burial;" and this impious mockery is said to have given rise to the surname of Superbus (‘The Proud' or ‘Haughty'). Servius reigned forty-four years. His memory was long cherished by the plebians.]

Tarquinius, a son of Tarquinius Priscus, and a son-in-law of Servius Tullius, was haughty and ambitious to rule. In the 44th year of the Jewish captivity, after the death of his father-in-law, he was made a Roman king; and he reigned 35 years. He undertook to usurp the kingdom of Servius, his ancestor, by force rather than abide his time, and caused to be slain the foremost of the city, who were related to his father-in-law, together with the son of Tarquinia, his sister. And he committed many other tyrannies. This arrogance of the king the Roman people endured to the very end of his insolence, yet did not take the kingdom away from his heirs. He was the one who dishonored the beautiful Lucretia, in consequence of which she stabbed herself. On that account the kingdom did away with kings. He was finally driven out of the kingdom and murdered by Porsemia.[L. Tarquinius Superbus commenced his reign without any of the forms of election. He promptly abolished the rights conferred on the plebians by Servius. At the same time senators and patricians whom he mistrusted, or whose wealth he coveted, were put to death or driven into exile. He surrounded himself with a bodyguard, by means of which he was able to do as he pleased. His cruelty and tyranny obtained for him the name Superbus. Yet he raised Rome to great influence and power. It became the head of the Latin confederacy. n the midst of his prosperity Tarquinius fell from power through a shameful deed of one of his sons. Tarquinius and his sons were besieging Ardea, a city of the Ritulians. Here, as the sons and their cousin Tarquinius Collatinus, the son of Egerius, were feasting together, a dispute arose about the virtue of their wives. As there was no activity in the field, they mounted their horses to visit their homes by surprise. They first went to Rome where they surprised the king's daughters at a splendid banquet. They then hastened to Collatia, and there, though it was late in the night, they found Lucretia, the wife of Collatinus, spinning amid her handmaids. The beauty and virtue of Lucretia fired the evil passions of Sextus. A few days later he returned to Collatia, where he was hospitably received by Lucretia and her husband's kinsmen. In the dead of the night he entered her chamber with a drawn sword; by threatening to lay a slave with his throat cut beside her, whom he would pretend to have killed in order to avenge her husband's honor, he forced her to yield to his wishes. As soon as he departed, she sent for her husband and father. They found her in agony and sorrow. She asked them to avenge her dishonor; then she stabbed herself to death. They carried the corpse to Rome, and all classes were inflamed. The king and his family were banished from the city. War followed, some siding with the tyrant, others opposing him. His sons were slain, his allies defeated, and according to tradition Tarquinius fled to Aristobolus at Cumae, where he died a wretched and lonely death.]

Belshazzar (Balthasar), son of Evil-merodach, king of Chaldea, began to reign after his father; and he reigned 17 years. In the first year of his reign Daniel the prophet had his fourth vision. After that Belshazzar was taken prisoner, the city was surrendered to Cyrus the king of Persia, and razed to the ground, so that no sign of it remains. Cambyses, son of Cyrus, built the city that now exists, in another place.[Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon. During the siege of the city he gave a sumptuous entertainment to his courtiers, impiously making use of the Temple furnishings (of which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered the Temple of Jerusalem) as drinking vessels. In the midst of the festivities, to the terror of the king, a hand miraculously appeared, writing on the wall the words Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. Daniel explained the mystery as presaging the king's death and the kingdom's overthrow, which took place in the course of the succeeding night, when Darius the Mede captured the city (Dan. 5:25-31).]

Babylon, the great city, was captured and deprived of its power—a city which was the first and greatest of the world; it is not only hard to believe that it was built by human hands, but equally so that it was destroyed by them. The destruction was accomplished by Darius and Cyrus, the first kings of Persia.


The Lineage of Babylonian Kings is here resumed from Folio LXII verso, where it began with Merodach and Nebuchadnezzar. And now we add:

  1. Nebuchadnezzar (Nabuchodonosor) II.
  2. Evil-merodach.
  3. Regusar (Ragusar).
  4. Sabadardacus.
  5. Belshazzar (Balthasar), the last king of the Chaldeans at Babylon, who ruled jointly with his father when Babylon was besieged by Cyrus in 538 BCE. It was he who saw the handwriting on the wall, which was interpreted by Daniel.


The Lineage of the Roman Kings began at Folio LVI recto, was continued at Folio LVI verso, and is here resumed as follows:

  1. Servius Tullius.
  2. Tarquinius (Lucius).


Destruction of Babylon, a woodcut 4¼" x 6-1/8". This catastrophe is certainly not the work of Darius or Cyrus. A whole city is falling on its side and sinking into the ground. There is not a soul about—no human agency in action, no besieged and no besiegers. Nor can we believe this to be the wicked city of the Chaldeans, destroyed by the Persians more than five centuries before the Christian era. Christian churches with architecture, Roman and Gothic, built centuries later, are going down in the cataclysm. The walls of Babylon with their medieval turrets are almost completely sunk into the ground. The woodcut would have served better for an earthquake at Nuremberg than the destruction of Babylon.