Damascus is the principal city of Assyria, and as they say it seems to be the most ancient metropolis of nearly all the cities of Asia. The sacred texts recount that the servants of Abraham established it. It is situated on a plain, having fields which are barren and dry by the nature of the soil, except to the extent that water from above irrigates them, drawn down by pipes and channels. Its moisture renders the land completely fertile and quite excellent in its plantings. A single small river in the region flows past the nearby city walls- a small tongue of land is divided from them, and it is covered with the most valuable plantings of all in the world. This distinguished city of Damascus is a six day’s journey from Jerusalem; in it Saint Paul received baptism, Near it is the place where the light from Heaven shone around Paul when he heard a voice from Heaven: ‘Saul, why do you persecute me?’ After baptism, he would preach about Christ in synagogues. Because of a plot of the Jews [against him], he was let out of Damascus in a basket through the wall; here too the house of Ananias, from whom he received baptism, can be visited today. This city had endured many disasters, when finally Conrad king of the Romans received it as a gift for leading an expedition to Asia Minor. And so the three Christian kings, who intended to bring to Damascus a cardinal and a legate, and at the same time a patriarch for Jerusalem, had also seen to it that there were many bishops on the expedition. When our Christian leaders had by wise counsel fortified their camp at Damascus, [they reasoned that] even if their city, which had been built with the highest and thickest walls, could not be taken by force, it would shortly come under their control because the Damascenes, prevented from drawing water from the river, could not sustain the horses of the cavalry who were stationed inside as a garrison with the water sources which were in the city, which would suffice only with great difficulty for its huge population. The citizens knew that they had cause to fear, lest by the severing of the passageways of the water channels- which they understood would be in no way too difficult to do- the water sources in the city would dry up. The treachery of a Syrian man, however, snatched victory over such a great city away from the Christians: he had been under the command of king Baldwin and was loyal to him until that day, but the Damscenes bribed him. This man advised the kings that if they moved their camp to another part of the city, their forces could attack a weaker section of the walls. The Damascenes, sallying forth, gained control over the river, adding fortifications solidly to their control, and prevented the Christian troops from drawing water. What had been equal became a disadvantage because of this, and in a short time there was distress in the camp over provisions, which could only be brought in from the bank of the river. When the siege had been lifted and that great army returned to Jaffa, its work unaccomplished, kings Conrad and Louis led their weakened armies back to Europe and returned to their own countries. This was the thousand one hundred and fifty-second year of Salvation.


Elliot Lee


Hartmann Schedel (1493). Liber cronicarum cum figuris et ymaginibus ab inicio mundi.
USC Libraries, Special Collections Call No: D17.S34 1493b, f. 23.

Hartmann Schedel (2010). Liber chronicarum: translation.
USC Libraries, Special Collections Call No: D17.S3413 2010 v.1-v.4.




Elliot Lee, “Damascus,” Nuremberg Chronicle, accessed September 23, 2018, https://uscnuremberg.omeka.net/items/show/49.

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