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Adages: Ii1 to Iv100, Volume 31

translated by Margaret Mann Phillips
annotated by R.A.B. Mynors
Volume: 31
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 493
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Erasmus' Adagia has been called 'one of the world's biggest bedside books,' and certainly the more than 4000 proverbs and maxims gathered and commented on by Erasmus, sometimes in a few lines and sometimes in full-scale essays, have great appeal for both scholar and educated layman. The aim of the Adages was to recapture, in this handy portmanteau form, the outlook and way of life of the classical world through its customs, legends, and social institutions, and to put within reach of a modern public the accumulated wisdom of the past. Each adage is traced in the works of as many authors as Erasmus had to hand; always an authority is given (usually several) and often a close reference providing chapter and verse.

    The commentaries in the Adages give a forthright and often eloquent expression of Erasmus' opinions on the world of his day, dovetailing with his satirical works on the one hand and his popular evangelical writings on the other. Many, if not most, of the proverbs cited by Erasmus are still in our common stock of speech today.

    The Collected Works of Erasmus is providing the first complete translation of Erasmus' Adagia. This volume contains the initial 300 adages with notes that 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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7061-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Annotator’s Foreword
    (pp. xi-xii)

    The purpose of the notes is to identify the sources on which Erasmus drew, and to show how his collections increased and fresh comments suggested themselves from theAdagiorum Collectaneaof his Paris days (1500) into the Aldine Chiliades of 1508 and its successive revisions published in Basel in 1515, 1517/8, 1520, 1523, 1528, 1530, 1533 and 1536. To pursue the use made of individual adages in the vernacular literatures and in the graphic arts would have been the task of a lifetime; it is the aim of this version to serve as a tool to workers in those larger...

  4. Translator’s Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xiv)

    The Latin of the first five hundred of theAdagiais for the most part clear and presents few unusual difficulties of interpretation. Apart from the intrinsic challenge of the Erasmian style, the problems that confront the translator are those which result from the development and design of the book: its history over nearly forty years of Erasmus’ life, and its primary intention of familiarizing the reader, particularly the Greekless reader, with the great authors of antiquity.

    The firstCollectaneaof 1500 (818 adages) contained only the germ of the subsequent developments, though it was important as one of the...

  5. ADAGES Ii1 TO Iv100
    (pp. 1-470)

    A proverb, according to Donatus, is ‘a saying which is fitted to things and times.’ Diomedes however defines it as follows: ‘A proverb is the taking over of a popular saying, fitted to things and times, when the words say one thing and mean another.’ Among Greek authors various definitions are to be found. Some describe it in this way: ‘A proverb is a saying useful in the conduct of life, with a certain degree of obscurity but of great value in itself.’ Others define it like this: ‘A proverb is a manner of speaking which wraps up obscurity an...

    (pp. 471-472)
    (pp. 473-493)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 494-494)