Hieronymus Köler the Elder

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Examination of the Welser Armada by Georg Hohermuth von Speyer (right) and Philipp von Hutten (center) in San Lúcar de Barrameda. Colored drawing by Hieronymus Köler the Elder.

Hieronymus Köler the Elder (born January 28, 1507 in Nuremberg ; † January 31, 1573 there ) was a German travel writer.


Hieronymus Köler comes from a family that has lived in Nuremberg since the 13th century. His father Hans Köler (1463–1539) earned his living as a dressmaker and was married to Agnes († 1540), the daughter of the episcopal Müntzmeister Konrad Eber (or Ebner) from Salzburg. He acquired his first training at the St. Lorenz Latin School in Nuremberg, entered legal services at the Imperial Court of Justice in 1524 and stayed in Italy from 1526 to 1530 for commercial transactions. During a short study visit in 1531 at the University of Wittenberg , he heard Martin Luther preach and also made the acquaintance of Philipp Melanchthon . Both left a deep religious impression on Köler.

Returning to Nuremberg, he worked as a clerk and completed a three-year journey that took him from Cologne , via Antwerp , to Lisbon and Seville . He was supposed to take part in an expedition to Venezuela for the Welser Handelsgesellschaft, but he refused to take part. Instead he was involved in the service of the imperial city until the end of his life. First he was a building inspector, then a caretaker of Engelthal Abbey , then a judge in Wöhrd . In Wöhrd he participated in the reconstruction of the Bartholomäuskirche , became head nurse in Gostenhof and in 1560 city judge in Nuremberg.

Köler had left behind valuable writings that offer a comprehensive insight into the life of a person from the middle class in the imperial city. In his Köler family book, which apparently is only preserved in the Germanic National Museum and the British Museum in London, he offers genealogical information about himself as well as explanations of the fashion of the time and also leaves behind many valuable cultural and historical details. His second-hand interpretation of the Wels expedition to Venezuela seems to be particularly interesting. Genealogically it should be noted that from his five marriages eleven sons and six daughters emerged.


  • Gerhard Hirschmann:  Köler, Hieronymus. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 12, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-428-00193-1 , p. 317 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Hannah SM Amburger: The family history of the Koeler - A contribution to the autobiography of the 16th century. In: Communications of the Association for the History of the City of Nuremberg Volume 30, Nuremberg. 1931, pp. 161–289 ( digitized version )