Nuremberg Chronicle

The Nuremberg Chronicleby Harmann Schedel is one of the most important and beautifully illustrated chronologies of the world. Both the Latin Version and the German version were published in 1493 in the print house of Anton Koberger. The chronicle recounts the world’s most important historical figures and events from creation until 1493. Schedel separates the history of the world into seven different Ages, the first dealing with creation and the world up until the great flood, the second from the flood until Abraham’s birth, the third dealing with the Kingdom of David, the fourth covering the Reign of King David until the capture of Babylon, the fifth discusses the birth of Christ, the sixth discusses the life of Christ and extends until Schedel’s present, and the final age discusses the birth of the Antichrist and Final Judgement. The separation of the world into Ages or Eras was common in the fifteenth century. The chronicle’s most impressive feature however is the over 1,800 illustrations embedded throughout the work. Over 652 woodcuts were hand carved and placed throughout the book, the most impressive is the various landscapes that stretched across multiple pages. At the time of its publication, it was the most illustrated book available at the time.

Harmann Schedel, the author and creator of the Chronicle first studied in the city of Leipzig and then in Padua where he obtained a degree in Medicine. His interests however transitioned to the humanities as he rigorously studied classical texts and studying Greek. He served as town physician until he moved to Nuremberg, where he stayed for the remainder of his life. There along with his fellow countrymen, he worked on the chronicle and continued to study the humanities until his death at age 74. His personal library is one of the largest collections of early printed materials from a scholar of that period, and from his readings it was apparent that he was interested in every aspect of human history. During his time period, the success of the printing press unleashed a multitude of information into the public realm. Schedel used this information to create a beautifully illustrated and more comprehensive history of the world.


Bernstein, Eckhard. Renaissance Quarterly, no. 4, 2002, pp. 1422–1424. JSTOR, Accessed 8 May 2020.

Kallendorf, Craig. “Worlds of Learning: The Library and World Chronicle of the Nuremberg Physician Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514).” Seventeenth-Century News, vol. 73, no. 3–4, Sept. 2015, p. 187. EBSCOhost,


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