Liber Chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle

Mapping the Renaissance: Worldmaking in Europe from the 13th to 16th Century



Map of Venice from Liber chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle
Jerusalem from Liber chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle
Detail of The First Family from Liber Chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle
Image of the destruction of Jerusalem from Liber chronicarum, or the Nuremberg Chronicle

The Nuremberg Chronicle is revered as one of the most important German incunabula, an early printed book. Printed in 1493 by a prominent Nuremberg-based publisher Anton Koberger (1440/1445-1513) after being written by doctor, humanist, and bibliophile Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514) and illustrated by Michael Wolgemut (1434-1519), this book serves as a testament to Renaissance interests of topographical, religious, political, and social considerations. This book combines geography, narrative, and culture through an eleven-part account of contemporary and historical events, using paraphrased biblical stories to enlighten its reader.

The Chronicle is organized through seven “ages” of Biblical and world history from the creation to the present day to the Last Judgment. The Chronicle is not only an accomplished illustration of history, but also a testament to the modern technology of the time, as it was produced by the use of the printing press. The printing of the work was a major endeavor; the Chronicle consisted of 1,809 woodcuts in addition to the vast amount of typeset text. The printing press allowed for the mass production of the work with modern scholars estimating that roughly 1,500 Latin copies and 1,000 German copies were created.

Rachel Cline
Lily Gagliano
Carly Lacoste
Alexa Prounis

 

The Nuremberg Chronicle can be found at Tulane University Special Collections Rare Book collection.

Schedel, Hartmann, and Wolgemut, Michael, . illus. Liber Chronicarum. Anton Koberger, 1493.

Howard-Tilton Rare Books (Protective Storage Oversize) 093 S315L