Contents: 01, 02, 03, 04




"Neo-Latin [Neulatein] generally refers to Latin works written between the time of the Italian humanist Petrarch (1304–1374) and the late 17th/early 18th century. Some use the term as synonymous with Renaissance Latin or early modern Latin, whereas for others neo-Latin connotes all post-medieval Latin writing up to the present.

In Britain and Ireland, new Latin writing was at its most abundant and accomplished between around 1500 and 1700—during the 16th century, for instance, 70 percent of all books published were in Latin—so most of this bibliography focuses on that apogee. Every early modern vernacular author also had to be a neo-Latinist during his—or, in far fewer cases, her—education: school and university teaching was conducted in Latin, so besides reading and translating classical, late antique, and medieval Latin authors, students also had to compose original Latin verses and speeches.

This rigorous pedagogical drilling and subsequent hopes of a Continental readership made many authors concertedly bilingual: Francis Bacon, George Buchanan, Richard Crashaw, George Herbert, Thomas Hobbes, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Thomas More, and Henry Vaughan, to name just a canonical few, all wrote and published in Latin.

Given the celebrity of these authors working both in Latin and the vernacular, individual works of neo-Latin scholarship often look narrower in focus than they actually are: many of the entries I have cited contain a single writer’s name in their titles, but it is worth pointing out that they often range far more widely than their author-based titles would imply.

Some more recent scholarship has looked beyond better known neo-Latinists to consider their less famous but often equally interesting contemporaries, especially those more celebrated as Latin authors than for writing in their native vernaculars. As well as single-text editions and translations, monographs, and articles, large multivolume editorial projects based around a single author (e.g., Francis Bacon; John Milton) have contributed substantially to the dissemination of neo-Latin writing.

New digital resources have helped to bring previously hard-to-locate texts, including those by more obscure authors, easily and freely to the researcher’s desktop. Many neo-Latin works in manuscript and print remain unedited and untranslated, so a wealth of opportunities exists for original research within this fundamental yet often overlooked area.

General Overviews

Neo-Latin is a relatively new and evolving discipline: the following entries give some sense of how it has developed and direct readers to some of the most influential general works currently available. Very few institutions have departments of neo-Latin, and researchers within the discipline have tended to approach the subject from a variety of disciplinary affiliations and backgrounds—classics, history, English, modern languages, and so on.

Given its place in the “British and Irish Literature” section, this bibliography assumes that its readers will be particularly interested in literary studies, but it is worth pointing out that many of the entries are written by neo-Latin scholars who would define themselves as classicists, historians, or philologists rather than as literary critics. Neo-Latin researchers have always needed to be flexible and open to scholarly methods other than those in which they themselves were predominantly trained.

The annotations indicate the main disciplinary focus of individual entries, but readers should be advised that much of the best neo-Latin research is interdisciplinary, so some scholarly approaches they encounter may be less familiar to them. The General Overviews section is intended to be particularly helpful to undergraduate and graduate students orientating themselves within neo-Latin studies, as well as to specialists who might be moving to consider British and Irish writing in Latin from other national perspectives.

For the most part, these studies date to the last forty years, since this is the period when neo-Latin has become a self-aware and therefore a methodologically more contentious discipline. Readers wanting to know more about these foundational debates are directed to three fairly recent position papers: De Smet 1999, Ford 2000, and Helander 2001.

De Smet, Ingrid A. R. “Not for Classicists? The State of Neo-Latin Studies.” Journal of Roman Studies 89 (1999): 205–209. Concise and thought-provoking article that reviews a 1997 Leuven University festschrift for one of the founding fathers of the discipline, Josef IJsewijn, and offers an interesting and lively overview of the development of neo-Latin writing from the mid-15th century onward, as well as a thoughtful perspective on the development of the discipline.

Ford, Philip. “Twenty-Five Years of Neo-Latin Studies.” Neulateinisches Jahrbuch 2 (2000): 293–301. Elegantly written, measured account of the first quarter-century of neo-Latin studies by one of its most highly regarded scholars, which both charts the discipline’s evolution and suggests potentially fruitful directions for future research. Particularly helpful for those new to neo-Latin seeking some orientation within the discipline.

Helander, Hans. “Neo-Latin Studies: Significance and Prospects.” Symbolae Osloenses 76.1 (2001): 5–102. Wide-ranging account that sets out the author’s view of the state of the discipline; the length of the article reflects its central aim, “to show the vast extent of Neo-Latin research, in time, space and subject matter” (p. 8). Offers some specific discussion of British and Irish neo-Latin, and includes some other prominent neo-Latinists’ perspectives (in English, German, and Italian) followed by Helander’s response. Concludes with an eclectic and useful ten-page bibliography." End of Quote 


Nesta página  ocupar-nos-emos  de Erasmus Roterodamus e de seus contemporâneos pelas  obras, latinidade e  papéis  no Renascimento. Como introdução ao estudo de Erasmo podemos ler  a sua biografia pelo editor de sua Correspondência , o professor Percy Stafford Allen  e os os estudos de Ivan Lins , publicados em livro Erasmo A Renascença e o Humanismo pela Editora Civilização Brasileira.


Erasmus of Rotterdam was born on October 27, probably in 1466. His father belonged to Gouda, a little town near Rotterdam, and after some schooling there and an interval during which he was a chorister in Utrecht Cathedral, Erasmus was sent to Deventer, to the principal school in the town, which was attached to St. Lebuin's Church. The renewed interest in classical learning which had begun in Italy in the fourteenth century had as yet been scarcely felt in Northern Europe, and education was still dominated by the requirements of Philosophy and Theology, which were regarded as the highest branches of knowledge. A very high degree of subtlety in thought and argument had been reached, and in order that the youthful student might be fitted to enter this arena, it was necessary that he should be trained from the outset in its requirements. In the schools, in consequence, little attention was paid to the form in which thought was expressed, provided that the thought was correct: in marked contrast to the classical ideal, which emphasized the importance of expression, in just appreciation of the fact that thought expressed in obscure or inadequate words, fails to reach the human mind. The mediaeval position had been the outcome of a reaction against the spirit of later classical times, which had sacrificed matter to form. And now the pendulum was swinging back again in a new attempt to adjust the rival claims.

The education which Erasmus received at Deventer was still in thraldom to the mediaeval ideal. Greek was practically unknown, and in Latin all that was required of the student was a sufficient mastery of the rudiments of grammar to enable him to express somehow the distinctions and refinements of thought for which he was being trained. Niceties of scholarship and amplitude of vocabulary were unnecessary to him and were disregarded. From a material point of view also education was hampered. Printing was only just beginning, and there were few, if any, schoolbooks to be had. Lectures and lessons still justified their name 'readings'; for the boys sat in class crowded round their master, diligently copying down the words that fell from his lips, whether he were dictating a chapter in grammar, with its rules of accidence and syntax, or at a later stage a passage from a Latin author with his own or the traditional comments. Their canon of the classics was widely different from ours; instead of the simplified Caesar or Ovid that is now set before the schoolboy, Terence occupied a principal position, being of the first importance to an age when the learned still spoke Latin. Portions of the historians were read, for their worldly wisdom rather than for their history; Pliny the Elder for his natural science, and Boethius for his mathematics; and for poetry Cato's moral distiches and Baptista of Mantua, 'the Christian Vergil.'

In this atmosphere Erasmus's early years were spent; but from some of his masters he caught the breath of the new life that came from Italy, and this he never lost. By 1485, shortly after he had left Deventer, both his parents were dead, and a few years later he was persuaded to enter the monastery of Steyn, near Gouda, a house of Augustinian canons. The life there was uncongenial to him; for though he had leisure to read as much as he liked, his temperament was not suited to the precision and regularity of religious observance. An opportunity for escape presented itself, when the Bishop of Cambray, a powerful ecclesiastic, was inquiring for a Latin secretary. Erasmus, who had already become very facile with his pen, obtained the post and for a year or more discharged its duties.

At length in 1495 he persuaded the Bishop to fulfil a desire which he had long cherished, and send him with a stipend to a University. He went to Paris and began reading for a Doctor's degree in Theology. But the course was too cramping, and he therefore used his opportunity to educate himself more widely; eking out the Bishop's grant by taking pupils. It was a hard life, and his health was delicate; but he did not flinch from his task, doing just enough paid work—and no more—to keep himself alive and to buy books. In 1499 one of his pupils, a young Englishman, Lord Mountjoy, brought him to England for a visit, and in the autumn sent him for a month or two to Oxford. There he fell in with Colet, a man of strong character and intellect, who was giving a new impulse to the study of the Bible by historical treatment. Colet's enthusiasm encouraged Erasmus in the direction to which he was already inclined; and when he returned to Paris in 1500, it was with the determination to apply his whole energy to classical learning, and especially to the study of Theology, which in the new world opening before him was still to be the queen of sciences. For the next four years he was working hard, teaching himself Greek and reading whatever he could find, at Paris or, when the plague drove him thence, at Orleans or Louvain. By 1504 his period of preparation was over, and the fruitful season succeeded. His first venture in Theology was to print in 1505 some annotations on the New Testament by Lorenzo Valla, an Italian humanist of the fifteenth century with whose critical temperament he was much in sympathy.

Shortly afterwards a visit to England brought him what he had long desired—an opportunity of going to Italy. He set out in June 1506, as supervisor of the studies of two boys, the sons of Henry VII's physician. After taking the degree of D.D. at Turin in September he settled down at Bologna with his charges and worked at a book which he had had in hand for some years, and of which he had already published a specimen in 1500. To this book, the Adagia, he owed the great fame which he obtained throughout Europe, before any of the works on which his reputation now rests had been published. Its scheme was a collection of proverbial sayings and allusions, which he illustrated and explained in such a way as to make them useful to those who desired to study the classics and to write elegant Latin. In these days of lexicons and dictionaries the value of the Adagia has passed away; but to an age which placed a high value on Latinity and which had little apparatus to use, the book was a great acquisition. It was welcomed with enthusiasm when Aldus published it at Venice in 1508: and throughout his life Erasmus brought out edition after edition, amplifying and enlarging a book which the public was always ready to buy.

From Venice Erasmus went on to Rome, where he had a flattering reception, and, though a northerner, was recognized as an equal by the humanists of Italy. He was pressed to stay, but the death of Henry VII brought him an invitation to return to England, in the names of Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, and his old patron Mountjoy, who was loud in his praises of the 'divine' young king.

As he rode hastily northwards, his active brain fell to composing a satire on the life he saw around him. He was a quick observer, and his personal charm had won him admission to the halls of the great; whilst bitter experience had shown him the life of the poor and needy. His satire, The Praise of Folly, cuts with no gentle hand into the deceits to which human frailty is prone and lays bare their nakedness. High and low, rich and poor, suffer alike, as Folly makes merry over them. There was much in the life of the age which called for censure, as there had been in the past and was to be in the future. On untrained lips censure easily degenerates into abuse and loses its sting: Erasmus with his gifts of humour and expression caught the public ear and set men thinking.

In England, where he spent the next years, 1509-14, Erasmus began the great work of his life, an edition of the New Testament and of the Letters of Jerome. His time was spent between Cambridge and London, and his friends did what they could for his support. Warham presented him with a living—Aldington in Kent—and then as Erasmus could not reside and discharge the duties of a parish priest, allowed him to resign and draw a pension from the living—in violation of his own strict regulation. Mountjoy gave him another pension, and Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, sent him to Cambridge and gave him rooms in Queens' College. For a time he held the Professorship of Divinity founded in Cambridge, as in Oxford, by the Lady Margaret Tudor, mother of Henry VII. But teaching was not his gift. Others might inspire students from the teacher's chair: his talent could only enlighten the teacher through his books.

At length the time came to publish. By fortunate accident, if not by design, he came into relations with John Froben of Basel, who with the three sons of his late partner, John Amorbach, was printing works of sound learning with all his energy—especially the Fathers. In July 1514 Erasmus set forth, and after a triumphal progress through Germany, fêted and welcomed everywhere, he settled at Basel to see Jerome and the New Testament through the press. By 1516 they were complete, and Erasmus had achieved—almost by an afterthought, for his first project had been a series of annotations like Valla's—the work which has made his name great.

Mark Pattison says of Erasmus that he propounded the problem of critical scholarship, but himself did nothing to solve it. By critical scholarship is meant the examination of the grounds on which learning rests. In youth we are uncritical, and accept as Caesar or Livy the books from which we read those authors; but with growing experience we learn that a copy is not always a true representation of its original; and with this, even though there is little perception of the changes and chances through which manuscripts have passed, the first lesson of criticism has been learnt.

The problem may be stated thus—In no single case does an autograph manuscript of a classical author survive: for our knowledge of the works of the past we are dependent on manuscripts written at a later date. Only rarely is there less than 300 years' interval between an author's death and the earliest manuscript now extant of his works; in a great many cases 1,000 years have elapsed, and in the extreme—Sophocles and Aristophanes—1,400. The question therefore arises, How far do our manuscripts represent what was originally written? and it is the work of scholars to compare together existing manuscripts, to estimate their relative value, and where they differ, to determine, if possible, what the author actually wrote.

The manuscripts of the New Testament which scholars have examined and collated are now numbered by hundreds. Erasmus was content for his first edition with two lent to him by Colet from the library of St. Paul's Cathedral, and a few of little value which he found at Basel. And though for subsequent editions he compared one or two more, the work never reached a high standard of scholarship. He had done enough, however, for his age. Before Erasmus men were accustomed to read the New Testament in Latin; after 1516 no competent scholar could be content with anything but the Greek. But though the priority actually belongs to Erasmus, it must be stated that the Greek version had already been printed in January 1514 in a Polyglott Bible published under the orders of Cardinal Ximenes at Alcala in Spain. For definite reasons, however, this great edition was not put into circulation till 1520.

By this time Erasmus had attained his highest point. As years went on his activity continued unabated, his fame grew and his material circumstances reached a level at which he was far above want and could gratify his generous impulses freely. But a cloud arose which overshadowed him; and when it broke—long after Erasmus's death—it overwhelmed Europe. The causes which raised it up were not new. For centuries earnest and religious men—Erasmus himself among the number—had been protesting against evil in the Church. In December 1517 Martin Luther, a friar at Wittenberg, created a stir by denouncing a number of the doctrines and practices of the Church; and when the Pope excommunicated him, proceeded publicly to burn the Papal Bull with every mark of contempt. From this he was driven on by opposition and threatened persecution, which he faced with indomitable courage, to a position of complete hostility to Rome; endeavouring to shatter its immemorial institutions and asserting the right of the individual to approach God through the mediation of Christ only instead of through that of priests: the individual, as an inevitable consequence, claiming the right of private judgement in matters religious instead of bowing to dogma based on the authority of the Church from ages past.

These conclusions Erasmus abhorred. He was all for reform, but a violent severance with the past seemed to him a monstrous remedy. He always exercised, though he did not always claim, the right of thinking for himself; but he would never have dreamed of allowing the same freedom to the ignorant or the unlearned. The aim of his life was to increase knowledge, in the assurance that from that reform would surely come; but to force on reform by an appeal to passion, to settle religious difficulties by an appeal to emotion was to him madness.

The ideals of Erasmus and Luther were irreconcilable: and bitterness soon arose between them. From both sides Erasmus was assailed with unmeasured virulence. The strict Catholics called him a heretic, the Lutherans a coward. But throughout these stormy years he never wavered. At the end he was still pursuing the ideal which he had sought at the outset of his public career—reform guided by knowledge. He lived to see some of the disasters which he had dreaded as the result of encouragement given to lawless passion—the Peasants' Revolt in 1525, and the Anabaptist horrors at Munster ten years later. If he could have foreseen the course of the next century, he would not have lacked instances with which to enforce his moral.

After 1516 Erasmus returned to England, and then after a few weeks settled in the Netherlands, first at the court of Brussels, where he had been appointed Councillor to the young Archduke Charles; and then at the University of Louvain. He was incessantly at work, a new edition of the New Testament being projected within a few weeks of the publication of the first. This appeared in 1519, after Erasmus had journeyed to Basel in the summer of 1518 to help with the printing. In the autumn of 1521 he determined to remove to Basel altogether, to escape the attacks of the Louvain theologians and to be near his printers. For the next few years he was at Froben's right hand, editing the Fathers in one great series of volumes after another, and unsparing of his health.

It was during this period that one of the best known of his works, the Colloquia, attained maturity. These were composed first in Paris for a pupil, as polite forms of address at meeting and parting. In their final shape they are a series of lively dialogues in which characters, often thinly disguised, discuss the burning questions of the day with lightness and humour. In all subsequent times they have been a favourite book for school reading; and some of Shakespeare's lines are an echo of Erasmus.

In 1529 religious dissensions drove him from Basel and he took refuge at Freiburg in the Breisgau, which was still untouched by the Reformation. There he worked on, in the intervals of severe illness; his courage never failed him and he was comforted by the affection of his friends. In 1535 he returned again to Basel, to be at hand in the printing of a work on preaching, the Ecclesiastes, to which he had given his recent efforts; and there death, which for twelve years had not seemed far away, overtook him on July 12, 1536.



O livro Erasmo A Renascença e O Humanismo reproduz  seis conferências de Ivan Lins, escritor e historiador brasileiro, pronunciadas na Academia Brasileira de Letras, em 1936, na comemoraçao do quarto centenário da morte de Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, 1467-1536, publicadas em forma de livro, com  238 páginas, pela Editora Civilizaçao Brasileira. A obra, para sua segunda edição,  foi novamente anotada pelo autor , que teve a possibilidade de utilizar o  monumental trabalho  do historiador austríaco Ludwig Pastor , Geschichte der Papste seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters, já traduzida para o inglês, em 40 volumes.

Os temas adumbrados  por Ivan Lins em sua obra são os seguintes:   Erasmo , Renascença , Humanismo; a pátria de Erasmo na História; os holandeses no evolver do Ocidente; nascimento de Erasmo; antecedentes espirituais do século de Erasmo; ideias hábitos e costumes do século de Erasmo; o Humanismo e  a imprensa  na sua a difusão ; o Renascimento; os Adágios de Erasmo [Adagia] e os Colóquios [ Colloquia], e a Correspondência de Erasmo; o latim na vida quotidiana da Renascença.  Lista dos trabalhos de Ivan Lins.


‘Quando pensamos na obras de Erasmo, ocorre-nos imediatamente alguns títulos frequentemente citados , como o Encomion Moriae, o Ciceronianus, os Adagia, os Colloquia e sua extensa correspondência, editada por Percy Stafford Allen  . Suas obras literárias, as frequentes viagens, e sua intensa atividade acadêmica em vários países  não obstaram , todavia, que Erasmo continuasse  a absorver- se em imensos trabalhos de editor de autores gregos e latinos.

‘Dele  temos edições de vários Santos Padres e de muitos autores clássicos; reedições de São Jerônimo e da sua tradução e paráfrases do Nôvo Testamento; comentários sôbre os Salmos e grande número de novos tratados morais, pedagógicos e filológicos. São Cipriano, Santo Hilário, Santo Irineu, São Basílio, Santo Ambrósio, Santo Agostinho, São Boaventura, Catão, Cícero, Plauto, Terêncio, Amiano Marcelino, Eutrópio, Arnóbio Séneca, Aristóteles completo, Ptolomeu e Josefo são sucessivamente por êle editados, além de compor um dicionário grego e traduzir, para o latim, várias obras de Isócrates, Eurípedes, Xenofonte, Plutarco, Luciano e São João Crisóstomo.

‘Eis por que Diderot dizia ser Erasmo "um erudito que, sozinho, sabia mais do que mil de nós reunidos".  'Quando se considera o conjunto da sua obra , é impossível deixar de admirar como uma só vida bastou para levá-la a termo. À Erasmo — diz um  apaixonado cultor da filosofia na Idade Média, Etienne Gilson — "a Erasmo devemos  métodos escrupulosos de investigação, a crítica dos textos que hoje empregamos no estudo da Índia, da Grécia, de Roma e da própria literatura medieva. A êle devemos mais ainda, o humanismo. 

‘O humanismo que não é somente a História, mas a simpatia, que a vivifica, do homem para com o homem, o gosto que a ilumina, a alegria, enfim, que a recompensa, quando, ao termo de pacientes pesquisas, ela se apodera de um fragmento humano que se achava perdido e acaba de ser reencontrado". Apud Ivan Lins



1  Erasmus and the Age of Reformation by Johan Huizinga;

2 Book Review Comments by Bob Corbett on Johan Huizinga;

3 The Age of Erasmus Lectures. Conferências proferidas por Percy Stafford Allen, em 1914,   nas Universidades de Oxford e  Londres, publicadas   pelo  Gutenberg Project ;

4  Erasmus: 16th Century Pioneer of Peace Education and a Culture of Peace, by Peter van den Dungen

Sumário: Esta página se ocupa de tres conceptos, el de la persona de Erasmo, el de   Latinidad y el  del Renacimiento. Como individuo Erasmus es único por ser un romano fuera de su tiempo, empeñandose en cambiar  el Latin heredado de los tiempos medievales  en un nuevo Latin de  nivel altisimo de pureza clásica, nivel  casi inalcansable, non solo  para los intelectuales de su época  pero  aún más  para  los usuarios necesitados de esta  lengua para fines prácticos.  La aceptación final del paradigma clásico llevo al abandono definitivo del  Latin, por todos los paises, dos siglos despues de Erasmo. Su fidelidad filológica a los textos originales cristianos  griegos y latinos,  condució a la Reforma  y a la división  de la Iglesia Romana. Su obra, despues,  de su excomunión quedó excluida y inacesible a los católicos de todo em mundo,  hasta el siglo XVIII. Erasmus no pertenecia a ningún pais, ni por su lengua, el Latin,  ni por sus preferencias, el  Mus Errans , el Ratón  Errante ( ERANSMUS) circuló de pais en pais, estudiando, leccionando y en busca de manuscritos para editar, viviendo en parte de donaciones de sus elevados patronos internacionales. Fué un  perfecto universitario medieval, en todos los sentidos de esta palabra, viviendo lejos de su realidad circundante, sin destino ni empleo cierto,  siempre necesitado de becas y favores.











É necessário estudar Erasmo, não só pelo valor intrínsico de sua obra latina, como pela época, países  e ambientes em que viveu. Foi amigo de Thomas Morus e preceptor da rainha Elisabeth Primeira da Inglaterra. O fato de ter sido banido pelo catolicismo, e incluido no Index Librorum Prohibitorum, por séculos, obliterou sua memória e lançou no olvido sua contribuição para o progresso intelectual da Europa. Outra razão para o seu estudo é a estreita relação que mantinha com os humanistas portugueses, entre os quais Damião de Goes. Para estudar Erasmo dispomos da sua Opera Omnia já publicada, e que vem sendo reeditada na Holanda, e da sua correspondência completa, publicada por Allen, traduzida pela Universidade de Toronto e também  posta on line. A correspondencia, CORRESPONDENCE OF ERASMUS, constitui a principal fonte para o estudo de sua pessoa e da época em que viveu. Cfr. Drummond, Robert Blackley. Erasmus, his life and character as shown in his correspondence and works (1873) , 2 Volumes 

Recentemente, a principal obra de Erasmo, ADAGIA, de caráter estritamente literário, foi republicada em latim e traduzida para o francês por uma equipe de filólogos chefiada por Jean Christophe Saladin.

CITO:  ‘Érasme (1469 - 1536) Les Adages. Traduction (latin et grec) et édition dirigées par J.-C. Saladin. Cinq volumes sous coffret. Frontispice de Dürer sur chaque volume.  Jean-Christophe Saladin à la Librairie Mollat (Bordeaux).

‘Ces Adages, publiés en 1500 à Paris, connurent un tel succès que les imprimeurs se bousculèrent pour les rééditer, si bien qu'il en parut 16 éditions du vivant d'Érasme (1466-1536). Elles furent revues et augmentées par lui à dix reprises. On passa ainsi de 820 adages (1500) à 4 151 (1536). L'ouvrage resta un best seller tout au long du XVIe siècle, jusqu'à sa mise à l'Index par le concile de Trente (1559).

Les Adages sont les notes de lecture d'Érasme, tirées de l'ensemble de la littérature antique à laquelle il pouvait avoir accès — c’est-à-dire la quasi-totalité. Nous avons donc affaire à un choix de citations commentées. Combien? Sans doute une vingtaine de mille au total. Leur choix se déroule sans autre ordre que le fil des lectures et les associations d’idées d’Érasme. Il concevait ce recueil comme une collection de modèles d’élégance de style, de formules « bien frappées » riches de sens métaphorique, qu’il commentait avec humour. Ses commentaires vont de la remarque anecdotique d’une ligne (adage 367: « Tu recolles un œuf ») jusqu’au traité moral et politique d’une cinquantaine de pages contre les papes guerriers (adage 3301: « La guerre est douce à ceux qui n’en ont pas l’expérience »). Les humanistes ne s’y trompèrent pas en en faisant leur livre de chevet, au même titre que les Élégances de Lorenzo Valla. Les adages fleurissent en effet à chaque page des meilleurs auteurs de l’époque, depuis Hutten jusqu’à Montaigne. Les professeurs par la suite y trouvèrent une mine de règles de style à faire étudier à leurs élèves (tel l’adage: Ut sementem feceris, ita metes « Tu récolteras ce que tu as semé », qui figure encore dans les grammaires latines actuelles).

‘En somme, les Adages constituent une voie royale d’accès à la littérature gréco-latine. Érasme fut sans doute le meilleur connaisseur et vulgarisateur de cette littérature que l’Europe ait connu. Il nous livre ici une œuvre à la fois érudite et distrayante, apte à réconcilier les modernes avec la culture antique. Notre édition, qui a nécessité plus de 60 traducteurs, est une première mondiale.’

TABLE DES 5 VOLUMES DES ADAGES.  5440 p. pages , ISBN-10 2-251-34605-8

VOLUME 1, Adages 1 à 1 000. Entre amis, tout est commun, Lettres liminaires d’Érasme, Avant-propos d’Érasme.Table des références des citations

VOLUME 2, Adages 1 001 à 2 000. Hâte-toi lentement. Table des références des citations

VOLUME 3, Adages 2 001 à 3 000. Les travaux d’Hercule.Table des références des citations

VOLUME 4, Adages 3 001 à 4 151. La guerre paraît douce à ceux qui n’en ont pas l’expérience.

Table des références des citations

VOLUME 5, La Révolution humaniste. La révolution humaniste, J.-C. Saladin. Table érasmienne des thèmes abordés.Index des noms propres et des ouvrages cités par Érasme. Bibliographie.Tables alphabétique et numérique des adages

Finis Citationis







The following text was originally published in Prospects:the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXIII, no. 1/2, 1993, p. 333–352. ©UNESCO:International Bureau of Education, 2000. This document may be reproduced free of charge as long as acknowledgement is made of the source.

ERASMUS (1467?–1536) Jean-Claude Margolin1

Quote. Erasmus was born without a name in mysterious, if not shameful, circumstances—his father was a priest who had seduced the daughter of a doctor of Zevenbergen called Geert—and his destiny continued to be exceptional. He was born in Rotterdam in 1467 (or 1469, 1466 or 1468 depending on the source) and, a few decades later, was to win fame for his town, which in this latter part of the fifteenth century was only a little fishing village, by adding its name to his. The obscure son of Geert (which means ‘the desired one’ in Dutch) was thus to became famous as Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, known subsequently as the ‘Prince of Humanism’.3

His celebrity raises more questions than it answers for the historian of ideas Erasmus (we shall now call him by the name which he chose for himself, using a Greek verb which means ‘to love’, perhaps indicating a need to love and be loved) was neither a leader of men nor a great philosopher.

Unlike Luther, Zwingli or Calvin, he did not found a religion. He escaped all forms of persecution at a time of civil and international warfare and religious revolution, while his best friends perished on the field of battle or by the executioner’s axe, victims of their commitment to a cause. One such example was his best friend Thomas More, the author of Utopia,4 who was Chancellor of England before being beheaded in London in July 1535.

Erasmus wrote all his works in Latin, the language of the élite of Europe at that time; he could thus count on only a few thousand readers. Apart from a small number of academics and students, who could claim today to be able to read Erasmus in the original? However this man, who spoke Dutch and German only to innkeepers and servants, wanted the most important books (such as the New Testament, of which he was to produce an original Latin version5) to be translated into modern languages so that, in his words, ‘the labourer at the plough and the weaver at the loom could pray to God in a language which they themselves could understand’.6 Erasmus’ wish is now being fulfilled beyond his expectations.

Although much still remains to be done, most of his works have been translated into manylanguages. To cite just one example, the poorest students anywhere in the world can now read a [...] End of Quote.



Stoa Consortium .Colloquia Scholastica (Anglice). Haec pagina ultimum mutata est: 2011-04-07.

Discipuli magistrandi et professores qui cum Instituto Studiis Latinis Provehendis conjunguntur nunc operam variis instrumentis dant, quibus liceat neo-latinis scholasticis colloquiis et uti et frui. Haec colloquia plerumque decimo sexto saeculo in lucem sunt edita (vide chronologiam). Haec est pagella principalis ubi aditus in hoc inceptum praebetur.
Iam archivum, quod circiter sescenta et quinquaginta colloquia complectitur, in lucem edidimus. Usi sumus programmate 'Perseus Hopper' quod dicitur, quo licet singula verba quaerere, morphologiam intelligere, lexicon recta via adire et omnium colloquiorum concordantia frui, quae colloquia infra indicata vides: Franciscus Cervantes de Salazar (1514?-1575), Ad Exercitia Linguae Latinae


Sebastianus Castalio (1515-1563), Dialogorum Sacrorum Libri Quatuor
Maturinus Corderius (1479-1564), Colloquia scholastica
Laurentius Corvinus (ca. 1465-1527), Latinum Ydeoma
Martinus Duncanus (1505-1590), Praetextata Latine Loquendi Ratio
Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), Colloquia familiaria
Ioannes Fontanus (1545-1615), Hortulus puerorum pergratus ac perutilis Latine discentibus
Petrus Mosellanus (1493-1524), Paedologia
Beraldus Nicolaus (1473-1550), Dialogus quo rationes quaedam explicantur quibus dicendi ex tempore facultas parari possit
Jacobus Pontanus (1542-1626), Progymnasmatum Latinitatis, sive Dialogorum Volumen primum, cum annotationibus
Petrus Popo, Colloquia de Scholis Herbipolensibus
Johannes Ludovicus Vives (1492-1540), Exercitatio Linguae Latinae
 ... necnon alia quae tunc in lucem edentur cum illa transcripserimus adhibentes semper, ut supra, linguam computatralem XML secundum normam TEI.
Villelmus du Cassé aliis cum condiscipulis iam plus quam triginta quinque colloquia, viva voce recitata, in taeniis servavit, quae podcasts appellantur. (Haec colloquia servata sunt secundum normam MP3). Licet illa ope computatoria auscultare, nexu "Ausculta nunc" electo, qui in pagina nostra FeedBurner invenitur.

Licet etiam "podcasts" illa e rete depromere et audire programmate iTunes adhibito, indeque documenta ad instrumentum quod "iPod" vocatur mittere. Si volueris subscribere huic "Podcast" necesse est iTunes aperire, "Advanced" eligere, deinde "Subscribe to Podcast" eligere. Tunc oportebit hunc nexum describere:
Dorothea Porter forma "QuickTime" creavit parvas pelliculas quorundam Erasmi colloquiorum (quibus textus et sonus per documenta SMIL conjunguntur) : Abbatis et Eruditae, Adolescentis et Scorti, Echo (hanc pelliculam primum inspicias!), Proci et puellae (His in pelliculis documenta SMIL sonos et textus simul praebent. Omnia primigenia documenta possunt e rete depromi.)
Quidam Erasmi dialogi praefatiunculis et interrogatis discipulis destinatis instructi praebentur in situ a Guinevera K. Nelson parato, cui nomen Colloquia familiaria selecta.
Credita: Totius incepti moderator est Ross Scaife. Gratias agimus Johanni Clark, Marco Lauersdorf, necnon Dorotheae Porter quippe qui auxilium magno cum animo dederint colloquiis in taeniis servandis. Haec colloquia potuimus colligere et secundum normam TEI describere stipendio dato ab Cultural Heritage Language Technologies quod inceptum Jeff Rydberg-Cox moderatur qui pecunias accepit ex "US National Science Foundation" et "European Commission Directorate of Information, Science and Technology".

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), Colloquia familiaria


Source: Stoa Consortium 

Erasmus' Colloquies first appeared in print in November of 1518, published under the full title Familiarum colloquiorum formulae, et alia quaedam per Des. Erasmum Roterodamum. The publisher, Johann Froben, was targeting the brief 80-page booklet at people who wanted to learn to speak Latin quickly.1 The collection of formulae contained various ways of greeting people with differing levels of formality; ways of wishing people well in various situations; phrases for how to take leave of people, how to inquire after people's health, and so forth.

Their author, however, was not happy to see the Familiarum colloquiorum formulae come off the presses, as he had neither authorized their publication, nor had any hand in overseeing their final contents. Never intended for public consumption, the formulae were born out of sets of exercises that Erasmus had prepared for his pupils while supporting himself as a tutor during his studies at the University of Paris.

Erasmus was about 29 years old when he first moved to Paris in 1495, with the intention of obtaining the degree of doctor of theology. Although he had the academic preparation—and certainly the native intelligence—to achieve such a goal, Erasmus experienced a number of setbacks during his sojourn there that prevented his plan from ever coming to fruition.

In fact, Erasmus thereafter generally looked back on his years in Paris as a period of frustration, exasperation and struggle.

The difficulties Erasmus suffered in Paris were of both an intellectual and physical nature. From an intellectual standpoint, he was frustrated by the scholastic approach to theology that was dominant at the University of Paris at that time. Favoring intellectual simplicity, purity, and what Huizinga calls "reasonableness," Erasmus experienced the lectures at Paris as "hair-splitting, sophistical quibbling, which made men into quarrelsome pseudo-scholars..."

Believing that the student of theology should encounter the Holy Scriptures first-hand—not filtered through overly-academic disputations—Erasmus advocated a return to the sources, which could only be accomplished through the thorough study of Latin and Greek via the texts of Classical authors.

From a physical standpoint, Erasmus' years in Paris were colored by uncomfortable accommodations and constant financial worries. When he first arrived there, he boarded at the Collège de Montaigu, run by John Standonck of Mechlin, a man known for his strictness and austerity. Augustijn describes how the students at the hostel were given horrible lodging and food, and were even humiliated and beaten.6 Erasmus ended up leaving there before the year was up, but the wretched conditions at the college made a lasting impression on him.

What is more, financial troubles continually hounded him. Before he left for Paris, it was agreed that Erasmus would receive a stipend while at the university from his former employer, the Bishop of Cambray. The money was not enough, however, to cover his expenses—an experience with which many college students can sympathize—so Erasmus found himself in the position of having to supplement his income by tutoring the sons of noble or wealthy bourgeois families.7 Among his students were Christian and Henry Northoff of Luebeck, and Augustine Vincent. It was for them that Erasmus prepared sets of simple Latin exercises that Thompson rightly compares to those encountered by students of modern languages today. In fact, Craig Thompson calls our attention to the fact that the principal speakers in the early Formulae are named Christian, Augustine and Erasmus, certainly after himself and these pupils.

The Formulae begin with a brief statement about the importance of greeting people for fostering good will and maintaining friendships, and then provides the student with extensive vocabulary for greeting members of his family, his beloved, his betters, and even people he's not particularly fond of. Following that, Erasmus proposes many different ways to wish people well in various contexts: upon encountering a pregnant woman, at dinner, when someone has just sneezed, when someone is leaving on a trip, and so forth. The final part of the Formulae is made up of brief dialogues that build on the vocabulary and phrases in the first two parts, so the student can practice what he has learned in context.

Erasmus would continue writing at length about his views on education, but already in these early Formulae we see the seeds of what would become a more fully-developed approach.

As J. K. Sowards explains, Erasmus believed that children should be taught to master Latin and Greek via the texts of Ancient authors, but that their command of these languages should ultimately lead them to a greater understanding of the Holy Scriptures and the Christian tradition.

 In order to master these languages, it was important for children to be able to speak and write them proficiently, not just read them. To this end, Erasmus put great stock in vocabulary-building exercises including ample synonyms and turns of phrase. He also believed that education should be fun, and that teachers should incorporate frequent game-playing into their lessons.

When Erasmus left Paris in 1499 and was no longer tutoring young boys in Latin, he had no more use of the little exercise book and apparently didn't even keep a copy of it. But his student Augustine Vincent did hold onto a copy, which eventually made its way into the hands of the publisher Johann Froben in 1518.

Although, as mentioned above, Erasmus was initially irked by the publication of the Familiarum colloquiorum formulae, the overwhelming success of the book must have placated him and spurred him on, because he ended up not only writing a preface for a 1519 reprinting of the book, but intermittently edited and added to it up until 1533.12 In fact, by 1533 at least 16 editions of the Colloquia had been published.

Perhaps the biggest change the Formulae underwent on its journey towards what we now know as the Colloquia familiaria is the addition of long, fully-developed dialogues, the first of which appeared in the March 1522 edition.14 In fact, no new formulae were included after 1522. Thompson writes that Erasmus probably realized the potential for the dialogue form as a medium for him to write more or less freely on on a wide variety of topics that interested him. 15 Indeed, the introduction of the dialogues transformed Erasmus' work from a phrasebook to a source of coherent compositions on a variety of sacred and profane topics that could be used as models for spoken and written Latin, and would appeal not only to schoolboys, but to serious Latin students of all ages.

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