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

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our Savior and Redeemer, was born at Bethlehem, in Judea, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus and when Quirinius (Cirino) was governor, and the whole world was at peace. He was born of the Virgin Mary, who according to the annunciation of an angel, conceived him of the Holy Spirit, to redeem the human race from the fall which was due to the disobedience of the first pair. It was he who by his birth, by his life, by his death, by his resurrection, by his ascension to heaven, and by many unheard-of miracles gave testimony of his divinity. For, firstly, his birth was miraculous, and so the angels in heaven sang that he was God in the Highest; and they gave the shepherds great joy in announcing to them the birth of the Savior of the World. Afterwards, on the eighth day, he was carried to the temple to be circumcised; and he was called Jesus. Later, on the thirteenth day the Wise Men, guided by a star in Syria, came with three gifts to worship him. On the fourteenth day his mother brought him to the temple, and Simeon (Symon) the Just took him up in his arms and pronounced him the Savior, saying, Lord, now allow your servant to depart in peace, according to your word, etc. Afterwards, Joseph, according to a warning from the Lord, fled from Herod into Egypt, together with this child and its mother. There he remained until Herod's death. Then lived in the city of Nazareth, on account of which he was called a Nazarene. The rest (of the incidents in his life) are well known from the very familiar history of the gospel.

For the angelic annunciation to the shepherds, see Luke 2:8-14; the circumcision, Luke 2:21; the visit of the Magi, Matthew 2:1-11; the prophecy of Simeon, Luke 2:25-32; the flight to Egypt, Matthew 2:13-15; and the return to Nazareth, Matthew 2:19-23.

The last sentence of this paragraph is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, reigned 9 years after his father. Augustus, because of love for his father, held him and his brothers in high esteem. But later, on a certain charge, Augustus banished him to Vienna in the country of the Allobroges.[Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, was appointed by his father as his successor, and received from Augustus the provinces of Judea, Samaria and Idumea, with the title of Ethnarch. In consequence of his tyrannical rule, the Jews accused him before Augustus in the 10th year of his reign (6 CE), and Augustus banished him to Vienna, in Gaul, where he died. The Allobroges were a powerful people of Gaul, whose chief town was Vienna on the Rhone. They dwelt between that river and the Isara as far as Lake Geneva, consequently in the modern Dauphine and Savoy. They were first mentioned in Hannibal’s Invasion 218 BCE, and were conquered by the Romans in 121 BCE; but they bore their yoke unwillingly and were always disposed to rebellion.]

Jesus Christ at the age of twelve years went to the feast at Jerusalem with his parents; and there he went among the teachers of the Holy Scriptures, asking them questions and solving doubtful ones; for this reason they regarded him not as a god, but as a child of marvelous understanding. When his parents were returning to their home, and did not see the child following them, they returned to the temple with much anxiety; and they found the child in discussion with the learned; but at the request of his parents he went home and was obedient to them.[ Luke 2:41-51.]

Componius, who was the colleague of Quirinius[A clause not in the German edition of the .], was sent to Judea to succeed Archelaus as procurator.

After Judea became a Roman province, governors, proconsuls or procurators were sent there from Rome. This was the office held by Pilate at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. In the strict sense of the word a procurator was a Roman official in charge of the collection of the revenues in a province—a provincial administrator. A proconsul was usually an ex consul who exercised consular authority in one of the provinces or as commander of an army.

Unusually for the German edition of the Chronicle, it adds the following text to the single sentence of the Latin edition: "and during his rule, the Samaritans, on the day of the unleavened bread, secretly came to Jerusalem and threw out the bones of the dead. From this point on greater care was taken of the temple."

Marcus was the successor of Componius. During his rule, Salome, the sister of Herod died.

Annius Rufus followed Marcus. During his rule Augustus died in the 15th year of the Lord.

Jesus, our Lord, at the age of 30 years, in order to open the door to everlasting life, wished to be baptized in the Jordan by John. And a voice was heard from heaven: This is my beloved Son, etc. And the Holy Spirit, in the likeness of a dove, lighted upon him.[Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; Cf. John 1:31-4.] After that he fasted in the wilderness for forty days and nights; and he was hungry. After being tempted of the devil,[Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13.] he returned to the temple and drove out from it the sellers and the buyers, etc.[Mark 11:15-17; Matthew 21:12-13; Luke 19:45; John 2:13-16.]

Valerius the Roman, from the famous family of the Grati (Gracchorum)[This clause and the preceding word ‘Roman’ are not in the German edition of the .], in the first year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, was sent to Judea to succeed Annius as procurator. He ruled nine years, and was the first who dared sell the priestly office among the Jews.

Pilate, a native of Lyons, in Gaul, a sly and dangerous man, was in the 13th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Ce) sent by Tiberius to Judea as procurator to succeed Valerius Gratus (Gracchus) who had been deposed. And he ruled 10 years. This Pilate, by crafty means, suppressed the turbulence of the Jews. Afterwards, at the instigation of the Jews, he nailed Jesus to the cross. Fearful of the consequences, he sent a report to Tiberius the emperor to acquaint him with the teachings and death of Christ. When this event was reported to Tiberius he decided to place Jesus in the list of the gods. But after Pilate had reported these things to Tiberius and then to the Senate at Rome, the senators would not permit this. Finally, on the complaint of the Jews, Pilate was deposed and banished to perpetual exile in his native town of Lyons, to the curse of his own people. He came to an evil end.[Pontius Pilatus (Pilate) was the sixth procurator of Judea and the successor of Valerius Gratus, and held the office for ten years in the reign of Tiberius, from 26 to 36 CE, and it was during his government that Jesus taught, suffered and died. By his tyrannical conduct he excited an insurrection at Jerusalem, and at a later period commotions in Samaria also, which were not put down without the loss of life. The Samaritans complained of his conduct to Vitellius, the governor of Syria, who deprived him of his office and sent him to Rome to answer before the emperor the accusations brought against him. Eusebius states that worn out by the many misfortunes he had experienced, Pilate put an end to his own life. The early Christian writers refer frequently to an official report, made by Pilate to Tiberius, of the condemnation and death of Christ; but it is very doubtful whether this document was genuine; and it is certain that the , as they are called, are the production of a later age.]


Certain events in the life of Jesus are here portrayed in a vertical panel of four small woodcuts, which we may regard as a continuation of a like series of events in the life of Mary (Folio XCIV verso). The present woodcuts are as follows:

  1. "The Birth of Christ, Year of the World 7200." Thus the first woodcut is entitled. The naked little child lies on its back on the ground in a blaze of light. Beside it, to the right, kneels Mary in an attitude of adoration, with hands clasped. Joseph, at the left, assumes a like attitude. Behind Mary, to the right, appears the ass, and between Mary and Joseph the ox looks out upon the scene. The background may be divided into two parts: (1) behind Mary is a base of a huge structure, apparently a church; (2) to the left, a valley, running off into the distance. During the Middle Ages the ass and ox were invariably introduced in these representations of the Nativity, not merely as natural accessories in a stable, but also for their symbolic significance; for ox and ass respectively symbolize the Jews and the Gentiles. In a general sense this presence of man and beast represents the homage due to God from all the creatures of his hand.
  2. "In the Year of the World, 7211; Year of Christ, 12." So the second woodcut is entitled. It represents Jesus among the doctors in the temple. He is seated on a throne, apparently engaged in dispute with the doctors, seated or kneeling at his feet; and if gestures mean anything, all are talking at the same time. The anxious Mary peers in at a window to the left.
  3. "In the Year of the World, 7229; Year of Christ, 30." In the waters of the river Jordan appears the naked figure of Jesus. He wears a loincloth, and the waters reach above his knees. His hands are clasped in devotion, an ornate halo about his head. To the right stands an angel holding his robe. At the left kneels John the Baptist performing the rite of baptism. The Holy Spirit, in likeness of a dove, is about to alight on the head of Jesus.
  4. "In the Year of the World 7233; Year of Christ 34." This woodcut represents the crucifixion. It is the usual portrayal of Jesus nailed to the cross, in this case a low structure. At its foot lies a skull, emblematic of death. To the left of the cross stands Mary; to the right his disciple John.