'A knowledge of proverbs contributes to a number of things,' wrote Erasmus in his Introduction to the Adages, 'but to four especially: philosophy, persuasiveness, grace and charm in speaking, and the understanding of the best authors...' This volume contains the second 500 of the more than 4000 adages gathered and commented on by Erasmus, sometimes in a few lines and sometimes in full-scale essays. The notes identify the classical sources and indicate how Erasmus' reading and thinking developed over the quarter-century spanned by the eight revisions of the original work. Many of the proverbs cited by Erasmus are still in our common stock of speech.
Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536), a Dutch humanist, Catholic priest, and scholar, was one of the most influential Renaissance figures. A professor of divinity and Greek, Erasmus wrote, taught, and travelled, meeting with Europe's foremost scholars. A prolific author, Erasmus wrote on both ecclesiastic and general human interest subjects. R.A.B. Mynors is Corpus Christi Professor of Latin, Oxford University.
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