He was among the first to say that different religions should flourish peacefully.He urged an end to burning heretics, witches and books.The greatest artists among his northern contemporaries were eager to paint his portrait, and he consented to sit for them because such portraits were welcomed as gifts by his friends.”“His faults leaped to the eye,” Durant continued.
Around 1484 Erasmus lost both his parents to the bubonic plague.
Apparently to get rid of the children, the principal guardian, a schoolmaster, consigned them to monasteries and squandered the family assets.
Swiss religious reformer Ulrich Zwingli: “It is impossible not to love Erasmus.”As historian Paul Johnson noted, “Erasmus made himself into a scholar with high academic standards; he was also a popularizer and a journalist who understood the importance of communication.
He wanted his books to be small, handy and cheap, and he was the first writer to grasp the full potentialities of printing.
Francis of Paula, an ascetic who ate roots and never bathed. He gathered 818 Latin sayings and some commentary into a little volume called.
Published in June 1500, it was the first of his many efforts to break the monopoly which clergymen had long held on learning.A king, Erasmus wrote, is “carnivorous, rapacious, a brigand, a destroyer, solitary, hated by all, a pest to all…” Ahead of his time, Erasmus urged a “limited monarchy, checked and decreased by an aristocracy and by democracy.”Individualist Albert Jay Nock hailed the “citizen of the world and native of all countries, the incomparable Erasmus of Rotterdam .” Lord Acton called Erasmus “the greatest figure of the Renaissance…He lived in France and Belgium, in England and Italy, in Switzerland and Germany, so that each country contributed to his development, and none set its stamp upon him.He was eminently an international character; and was the first European who lived in intimacy with other ages besides his own, and could appreciate the gradual ripening and enlargement of ideas.” French literary genius Francois Rabelais wrote that Erasmus was his spiritual father.The theme of republican liberty and peace runs through this as so many of Erasmus’ works.For instance: “Do we not see that noble cities are erected by the people and destroyed by princes?During the early 16th century, an era of religious persecution and frequent wars, Desiderius Erasmus emerged as the first modern champion of toleration and peace.“I am a lover of liberty,” he wrote with his only weapon — a quill pen.He denounced persecution by both Catholics and Protestants.He worked at speed, often in the printing shop itself, writing and correcting his proofs on the spot.He was exhilarated by the smell of printer’s ink, the incense of the Reformation.” Erasmus himself said, “My home is where I have my library.”Historian Will Durant remarked that Erasmus “wrote bad French, spoke a little Dutch and English, ‘tasted Hebrew only with the tip of the tongue,’ and knew Greek imperfectly; but he mastered Latin thoroughly, and handled it as a living tongue applicable to the most un-Latin nuances and trivia of his time.Erasmus ended up at an Augustinian monastery in Steyn.During his six years there, Erasmus spent a lot of time in the library where he read the works of Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) and other Roman authors.