Painting of humanist and scholar Desiderius Erasmus.

Desiderius Erasmus

(1466 - 1536)

Desiderius Erasmus conceived of his best-known work, The Praise of Folly, while crossing the Alps from Italy to England, and composed it at the home of Thomas More. Erasmus’ dual-language, Greek/Latin edition of the New Testament was a primary source for William Tyndale’s 1525 translation of the texts, the first in English.

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Including trademarks in books became crucial after the invention of the printing press; without stringent copyright laws, rival publishers could repurpose superiorly edited texts with impunity. Aldus Manutius of Venice, who employed Erasmus as a proofreader, called attention to his company’s “sign of the dolphin wound round the anchor.” Florentine printers were aping the mark, but in the frauds, “the head of the dolphin is turned to the left, whereas that of ours is well known to be turned to the right.”

War is sweet to those who don’t know it.

—Desiderius Erasmus, 1508

Voices In Time

c. 1506 | Italy


Desiderius Erasmus lets nature take its course.More

It is a greater advantage to be honestly educated than honorably born.

—Desiderius Erasmus, 1518

What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.

—Desiderius Erasmus, 1515

An ape will be an ape, though clad in purple.

—Desiderius Erasmus, 1511

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