The Introduction to The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola is 56 pages long. The fanfare – magnificent introductory copper engraving, glorifying and thanking songs in German, Latin, Slovenian, Croatian and Dalmatian, a portrait of Valvasor and his dedication to the Estates of Carniola, a preliminary report of the editor of the book, Erasmus Francisci, in which the contents of all 15 books are announced, and a preface by the author – concludes with an alphabetic index on 11 pages of authors that are quoted and referenced to in The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, that is over 1300 titles that were studied and referenced to by Valvasor, which is something that even modern scientists would be proud of.
Book I, written by Valvasor's editor Erasmus Francisci, missed its aim completely – to attract the reader attention and seduce him into reading the book – when the Glory was first published in 1689. Francisci discusses in a lengthy manner the names of peoples that used to live in the area of Carniola and tries to find the true origin of the name Carniola. This extremely academic Baroque exhibition of the editor, full of Latin quotations, foreign words, and daring hypotheses is considered to be without any literary or historiographic value and to be in disagreement with all basic principles of historic critique. However, the first book is a good introduction for the reader to the mind flow, language, logic, and way of thinking of the 17th century.
Book II is actually the first book of the Valvasor's Glory and is as different from the Book I as the day is different from night. “The Short Topography” as it was titled by Valvasor in the beginning discusses the name of Carniola, and describes the everyday life, religion, and traditions of the people of Carniola. Then it describes every one of the five units of the Duchy: their borders, nature, customs, food, occupations of the people, it lists towns, markets, commendams, monasteries, parishes, castles, camps, villages, mines, ironworks, posts, post stations, plains, valleys, fields, mountains, forests, vineyards, wells, hot springs, mineral waters, lakes, rivers, streams, underground waters, disappearing streams, caves, holes, bonfires, etc. All topographic and geographic data originate from Valvasor’s own field studies, and the author assures the reader that not a single claim in the book was made without the author’s seeing it with his own eyes, or else a source of the claim is given. Book II is important because the reader can get to know Valvasor and understand his personality and aspirations.
Book III of the historical and topographical volume is actually a book of natural science. The book deals with mountains and mountain ranges, rivers and lakes, weather and climate, witches, storms, hail, thunder and lightning, diseases, plants, such as cereals, legumes, fruit trees, shrubs, herbs used for medicines and spices, flowers, mines and minerals, the famous Idrija mine, its discovery, and dwarves living in the mine, alchemy, philosopher's stone, precious minerals, marble, an interesting animal dormouse, birds, fish, crabs, bees, honey, mead, vermin and pest, scorpions and snakes, magic rituals, etc.
Book IV discusses the natural wonders of the land, fossils and other petrified objects, rare animal and plant species, extraordinary camps, retreats, and fortifications, swifts, unusual streams and rivers, strange ways of walking or sliding through snowy mountains, underworld Karst, beautiful and famous Lake Cerknica, Erasmus from the Cave, and much more.
Book V was again written by Erasmus Francisci and deals with assumptions and suggestions about the people living in Carniola before the Flood, discusses the building of the Tower of Babel, the number of Noah's children, origin and expansion of the Japods, Celts, Illirs, Panonians, Taurisks, Norics, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Langobards, Vends, Vinds, Slavs and Slovans, Avars, Huns, Franks, etc.
Double Appendix was written in Francisci’s academic manner. It draws from reports of Antique writers to describe ancient towns and discusses old stone inscriptions, coins and other artifacts. The description of the Roman town Emona (today’s Ljubljana) was written by Valvasor.
Book VI initially deals with the Carniolan and Slavic languages and then continues with the discussion on language, traditional costumes, customs, traditions, and types of houses of different peoples in various regions of Carniola. It also describes the way of living of the aristocracy. An Appendix to Book VI provides in a chronological order the names of Writers of Carniola.
Book VII is a history of religion, starting with paganism and pagan gods, Christianization, Protestantism, Counter-Reformation, and concluding with the then actual religious rituals, ceremonies, superstitions and magic. It also describes the religion and rituals of the Uskoks.
Book VIII describes saints that were either born in Carniola or died, lived or in any way influenced the life in Carniola. It further lists patriarchs of Aquileia, Bishops of Trieste, provosts, and high clergy of Carniola. It also describes different religious orders and the history of every single parish in Carniola, lists its churches and chapels, describes church-near camps made for protection against the Turks, and gives the number of births and deaths, etc.
Book IX discusses constitutional and administrative organization of Carniola (general and hereditary titles, authorities, and duties). The book lists governors, custodians, stewards, vicedomini, members of committees, regular courts, and tribunals in Carniola; it mentions the old law of the Slovenian Mark and Istria, and the four Estates of the Realm that constituted the Duchy of Carniola. The final part of the book lists and describes noble Carniolan families and their coat of arms.
Book X deals with the political history of the land and lists rulers and Dukes since antiquity until the year 1689 when the Roman Emperor Leopold I. was ruling the land. The book discusses the Roman government and its breakup, the fate of the land under the Lombard, Slavic, Bavarian, Frankish and German dynasties, dukes and counts.
Book XI is the most extensive of all books. This is the famous book of castles, a literary topography that made the Glory known as a “popular book”. With 324 copper engravings it describes and illustrates on 730 pages the towns, markets, old and new castles, monasteries, and other places of interest in Carniola. Every town, castle or monastery is described in a same method. First, Valvasor discussed the origin of the German or Slovenian name, then he gave a precise location of the castle, if he described a market, he always mentioned the fertility of the land in its surroundings. He then continued with information on the dynasty that owned the castle and mentioned important historic events in connection with the dynasty. He described meticulously the history of towns. When describing towns, he started with the description of the churches and other important buildings, continued with rights that the town secured in the course of history, he discussed trade and traffic, and concluded with important historic events connected to the town in question. This historical remarks are especially important because Valvasor described events going back to 10th and 11th centuries and mostly used sources that had never been used before.
Book XII describes Croatian and coastal borderlands, Turkish and Christian border fortifications, Croatia in general, Zagreb, Slavonia, Bosnia, barren and uninhabited borderlands, constant threat of war, generals in Croatia, nationalities and life of soldiers in the border areas, and many interesting events in those areas.
Book XIII starts with the early history of Carniola. It tells the stories of Jason and the Argonauts and of the founding of Emona. It also reports on wars between the Illyrian tribe of Japods with Macedonian kings, war campaigns of Japods and Gauls in the 3rd century BC, wars between Istrians, Japods and other tribes and the Romans, the siege of Metulium (and possible locations of this town), campaign of the Roman Emperor Augustus against the Japods, and on the wars of Emperors Augustus and Tiberius against the people of Pannonia and Dalmatia.
Book XIV deals with the history of the land in the Roman era, during the Migration Period and with the early era of the Austrian rule. It describes in detail the wars against the Romans, the Roman victory, rebellion of the Roman army, campaigns of Marcus Aurelius in Pannonia, flight of Emonians from the Emperor Maximinus Thrax, plot against Emperor Gordian, war against the Goths, the decline of Philip and Decius, the victory of Claudius over the Goths, the situation in the Empire under Emperors Aurelius, Probus, and Constantin, etc. It continues with an explanation of Gothic invasion in Italy, various wars against the Huns, Lombard invasion in Italy, Slavic invasion, the origin of the Croats, King Ludwig’s and Duke Karlman’s wars against princes Rastislav and Svetopolk, wars with Hungarians, battles where solders from Carniola took part, etc.
Book XV contains Carniola chronicles under Austrian rulers. It describes the battle between Emperor Rudolf and King Ottokar II of Bohemia, war of Princes Margaret against the Carinthians, plagues, such as earthquakes and grasshoppers, wars of Dukes Albert and Leopold with the Venetians, battles with Turks and Hungarians, siege of various Carniolan towns, Emeror’s appeal to peoples of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola to go to war, death of the last count of Celje and a subsequent war of succession between his widow and Emperor Frederick, the siege of Trieste, tournaments of Gašper Lamberg, the discovery of America, defeats of Hungarians, Carniolans and Croats, the expulsion of Jews, great alliance against Venice, peasants’ revolts, Turks’ siege of Kisek, the story of the Aquatic man, plague, famine, unusual celestial signs, and much more.