Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae

Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae Facsimile Edition

Basel (Switzerland) — Ca. 1515

Biting mockery at the time of the Renaissance: witty criticism of the Church and society adorned with marginal drawings by Ambrosius Holbein and Hans Holbein the Younger

  1. The satirical work attacks superstitions, the Catholic Church, and various European traditions

  2. Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466–1536) edited the work in the home of fellow humanist Sir Thomas More

  3. The Latin essay played an important role in the early stages of the Protestant Reformation

Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae

Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae or In Praise of Folly by Erasmus of Rotterdam is a Latin essay written in 1509 and first printed in June 1511 that is regarded as one of the most significant works of the Renaissance and played an important role in the early stages of the Protestant Reformation. It is a work of satire attacking superstitions, the Catholic Church, and various European traditions. Originally written within a week’s time, Erasmus edited and appended his work while staying with Sir Thomas More, another noteworthy humanist, at his home in London. It begins with an encomium, a speech in praise of someone or something, in which Folly praises himself before moving on to a series of orations praising things like self-deception and madness before examining the superstitious abuses of Catholic doctrine. Its text is full of double or even triple meanings and the title can also be read as “In Praise of More”, the close friend of Erasmus with whom he shared a love of dry humor. The work enjoyed tremendous success across Europe, was translated in various languages, and even Pope Leo X is reported to have been amused by it.

Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae

In Praise of Folly by Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466–1536) was first published under a double title: the Latinized Greek Moriae encomium and the Latin Laus stultitiae. It is a satire inspired by De triumpho stultitiae or The Triumph of Stupidity, which was written between 1480 and 1490 by Italian humanist Faustino Perisauli (1450–1523). Both works are highly critical of the more ridiculous religious, superstitious, and societal conventions of the period. As such, it was an important and influential work during the early days of the Protestant Reformation. Erasmus himself was astonished and even sometimes dismayed by the success of his work and feared reprisals, but even Pope Leo X (1475–1521) is reported to have been amused by it. Translated into numerous languages, it became a popular text for teaching rhetoric, which enjoyed a revival during the 16th century, and influenced the art of adoxography, an elegant and refined style of writing addressing trivial or base subjects, which was a common exercise in Elizabethan grammar schools.

A Renaissance Satire

The opening encomium of is modeled on the 2nd century Greek satirist Lucian, whose work had recently been translated by Erasmus and his friend Sir Thomas More (1478–1535). It is followed by a series of orations that are darker in tone as Folly examines the superstition, corruption, and doctrinal abuses of the Catholic Church and the idiocy of pedants – those who make an ostentatious and arrogant show of learning. Despite his piety and faithfulness to the Church, Erasmus had a profound feeling of disappointment after returning from Rome, where he had turned down offers of advancement in the corrupt and bloated curia. The work is filled with allusions to classical antiquity, e.g. Folly is presented as the divine offspring of Plutus, the goddess of wealth, and Youth, a nymph. Folly is nursed by his fellow nymphs Inebriation and Ignorance. Her companions are Pleasure, Dementia, Wantonness, Intemperance, and Heavy Sleep. Unsurprisingly, Folly never stops praising herself and states that in the world "you'll find nothing frolic or fortunate that it owes not to me." In Praise of Folly ends with a Christian lesson in humility: "No Man is wise at all Times, or is without his blind Side."

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Erasmus von Rotterdam - Lob der Torheit
Date
Ca. 1515
Language
Content
In Praise of Folly
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Oswald Myconius (1488–1552)

Available facsimile editions:
Erasmi Roterodami Encomium Moriae – Kunstmuseum Basel (Basel, Switzerland) Facsimile Edition
Henning Oppermann – Basel, 1931
Limited Edition: 750 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Erasmi Roterodami Encomium moriae

Henning Oppermann – Basel, 1931

Publisher: Henning Oppermann – Basel, 1931
Limited Edition: 750 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Heinrich Alfred Schmid and Helen Henrietta Tanzer
Languages: English, German
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
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