Schedel's World Chronicle

Schedel's World Chronicle – Pytheas Books – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany)

Nuremberg (Germany) — 1493

The famous mammoth work of the young art of letterpress printing: magnificent and realistic cityscapes in the largest and most important project of the early modern period

  1. This is the magnum opus of the German humanist scholar Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514)

  2. 29 realistic and artful double-page cityscapes are among the 1,800+ masterful woodcuts

  3. Hartmann assembled some of the greatest masters in Europe for the ambitious project

Schedel's World Chronicle

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Schedel's World Chronicle

The Schedel's World Chronicle is considered to be the greatest and most significant book project from the early period of book printing. In the fascinating milieu of the Nuremberg humanists and artists of the late 15th century, a group gathered around Hartmann Schedel. The big names brought together: Michael Wolgemut – the teacher of Albrecht Dürer! – and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff as the artist of the grandiose woodcuts, Anton Koberger as the printer, with moneyed burghers and humanists as the patrons and financiers of the gigantic project. The significant work covers history from the creation of the world up to the year 1493 is particularly famous today for its wonderful cityscapes, of which some are considered to be the first realistic depiction of those cities.

Schedel's World Chronicle

The greatest and most significant project from the early period of book printing was the brainchild of Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514), who assembled some of the most important figures in Nuremberg, a vibrant center of the German Renaissance, for his magnum opus. Patronized by the moneyed burghers and humanists of the city, the group assembled by Schedel included Michael Wolgemut – the teacher of Albrecht Dürer – and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff as the artist of the grandiose woodcuts, with Anton Koberger acting as the printer. The result was Schedel’s World Chronicle, printed in 1493 under the Latin title Liber Chronicarum, with a German translation by Georg Alt, the Weltchronik published simultaneously.

A Renaissance Man Among Like-Minded People

Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514), a Nuremberg doctor, humanist, and historian followed the aim of giving a comprehensive, comprehensible ordering of the world with his chronicle. He succeeded in ingeniously implementing this intention. Nuremburg, the Franconian metropolis and South German center of humanism and art ca. 1500, offered the ideal conditions for it. Schedel, whose comprehensive library is still famous today, was esteemed in the highest circles of society in Nuremberg and consorted with all of the great minds of the city. As a result, he was successful in filling many of the burghers with excitement for the project and winning over the greatest names for it.

A History of the World

The chronicle spanning from the creation of the Earth up to the year 1493 is subdivided into six parts respective to the six ages of the world as was then typical. Thus, following the introduction by Isidore of Seville, Hartmann Schedel appends it with a seventh and eighth part. In this attempt at an ordering of the world, the Renaissance man collected biblical stories, historical events and people, curious and sensational tales of wonder, and geographic information. As it was published in 1493, Schedel’s World Chronicle reflected the current state of knowledge at that time.

A Project without Precedent

The ambitious book project was transcribed in the famous printing shop of Anton Koberger. 100 typesetters and printers at 18 presses busied themselves with work on the world chronicle for fifteen months. On 568 pages, the work collects over 1,800 woodcuts – an unprecedented abundance of images. The responsibility for this artistic design rested with the exceptional artist Michael Wolgemut together with Wilhelm Pleydenwurff and his workshop. This is the atelier where the most famous Nuremberg artist of this time, Albrecht Dürer did his apprenticeship until the year 1490. Whether he too participated in the book project is fiercely debated among researchers.

The Fascinating Pictorial Adornment

Schedel’s World Chronicle contains numerous illustrations to stories from the Bible, lives of saints, miracle stories, and the like. Thus, there is a page with a list and depiction of wondrous creatures from antique sources, similar to the miniatures of medieval bestiaries. Yet the illustrations of the geographical parts of the book are especially famous: 29 double-page cityscapes, a world map, and a map of Europe adorn the chronicle. Particularly outstanding is the woodcut of Nuremberg with the Kaiserburg, the Imperial Castle, which is enthroned above the city. However, Rome, Paris, Cologne, and countless other cities were also visually recorded and sometimes show the oldest realistic depictions of those cities. Schedel did not want any fantasy, but rather the most realistic views possible, which illustratively accompany the descriptions of the cities.


Alternative Titles
Liber Chronicarum de Hartmann Schedel
Nuremberg Chronicle
Liber Chronicarum von Hartmann Schedel
Nürnberger Chronik
Schedelsche Weltchronik
Weltchronik von Hartmann Schedel
Liber Chronicarum - Schedelsche Weltchronik
Size / Format
648 pages / 43.0 × 30.0 cm
1809 colored woodcut engravings
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Schedel's World Chronicle – Pytheas Books – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany)
Pytheas Books – Budapest
Detail Picture

Schedel's World Chronicle

The Temple Mount

Labelled here as the Temple of Solomon despite also bearing the crescent moon of Islam, this woodcut shows the Dome of the Rock and the rest of the Temple Mount, a hill in the Old City of Jerusalem that is a venerated holy site among Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. It appears in the section outlining the Six Ages of World History, specifically the Fourth Age culminating in the Babylonian Captivity that followed after the destruction of the First Temple.

Schedel's World Chronicle – Pytheas Books – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany)
Single Page

Schedel's World Chronicle


Sitting beside the clear blue waters of the Mediterranean, Marseille is the oldest city in France and is known today for its unique cosmopolitan culture. The page at hand presents an offshore view of the city, identified by its Roman name of Massilia, along with a history beginning from its founding by the Phoenicians through the Roman period and includes a legend concerning Mary Magdalene.

This image emphasizes Marseille’s defenses, especially the protection of its waterways – vital for this city connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the French interior via the Rhône. Aside from the fortifications, the jumbled cityscape is a remarkable mix of architecture and details buildings from the simple to the grand, especially with regard to the windows.

Schedel's World Chronicle – Pytheas Books – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Schedel's World Chronicle

Pytheas Books – Budapest
Schedel's World Chronicle – Pytheas Books – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany)
Schedel's World Chronicle – Pytheas Books – Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (Weimar, Germany) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Pytheas Books – Budapest
Binding: Full leather binding. The codex closes with hand made copper clasps.
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). All folios are cut according to the original. The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
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