The Miraculous Versatility of Apophthegms

in Erasmus Studies
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Apophthegms circulated not only in collections, but also as parts of all sorts of texts. This article explores the relation between apophthegm and context in passages from Erasmus’ correspondence, Declarationes (1532), and Ecclesiastes (1535). From the point of view of the reader, the apophthegm is a surprising illustration of the argument. For the author, however, it may have been the starting-point of a passage, as appears from Erasmus’ De conscribendis epistolis. In his dedicatory letter to his own collection of apophthegms (1531), Erasmus stresses that these anecdotes offer more philosophy than one may suspect at first sight. This is corroborated by the passages discussed.

The Miraculous Versatility of Apophthegms

in Erasmus Studies

References

17

Ep. 2700ll. 88–92 Allen: “Ethnicus ille fabro talenti mercede pollicenti se effecturum ne vllus in ipsius aedes e vicinia prospectus esset decem talenta obtulit si qua posset efficere vt quicquid in aedibus suis ageret omnibus vicinis esset conspicuum.” Cf. LB 4:300BC 56; Erasmus Apophthegmata transl. Philips (note 7 above) 481 and 531 note 399 referring to Plutarch Moralia 800 F.

20

Ep. 2771ll. 25–27 Allen: “Aristippus quum vnguento quodam vehementer esset delectatus Male sit inquit istis cinaedis qui rem tam bellam infamarunt”.

21

Ep. 2771l. 6 Allen.

24

Ep. 1587ll. 189–190 CWE 80–82 Allen. Cf. ASD IV-4:249 Apophth. [754].

25

Ep. 1587ll. 89–92 CWE 85–88 Allen. Cf. ASD IV-4:68 Apophth. [56].

26

Ep. 1587ll. 190–193 CWE 180–182 Allen. Cf. ASD IV-4:347 Apophth. [1189].

27

Ep. 1587ll. 112–116 CWE 106–109 Allen: “qui [sc. Lutherus] has vmbras mihi obiicit qui sua haec commenta verborum inuolucris contorquet vt de eo Euripidis illud inuerti [!] possit ἃ μὲν συνῆκα ἀνόσια οἶμαι δὲ καὶ ἃ μὴ συνῆκα.”

32

CiceroPro Archia 24; Plutarch Life of Alexander 15. Cf. ASD IV-4:305 Apophth. [1013]; LB 4:370F 17.

34

Ep. 1652ll. 51–53 Allen: “et nugas nostras literarias quecumque illi offeruntur in peculiaribus suis scriniolis secum ferat et asseruet: hac vna sorte vel ipsi diuino Homero culex ego comparandus.”

35

PlutarchLife of Alexander 8 2; 26 1. Cf. ASD IV-4:306 Apophth. [1017].

38

Ep. 1650ll. 23–26 CWE 22–25 Allen: “Oh quam liberet in Linguae tuae miraculis depredicandis mea lingua vti aut calamo eius vicario nisi me tua dedocuisset in parum necessariis indulgere futilitati! ne quoque [!] post laudationes audiam ‘Quis hec improbat?’”

48

SenecaDe beneficiis 1 8 1–2; cf. ASD IV-4:209 Apophth. [591].

51

SenecaDe beneficiis 1 13 1–3; cf. ASD IV-4:308 Apophth. [1028].

56

Ep. 2352ll. 259–266 Allen.

57

Ep. 1450ll. 4–7 CWE 4–6 Allen. Cf. Suetonius Caesar 7 1; ASD IV-4:333 Apophth. [1131].

62

Ep. 2774ll. 15–17 Allen: “Aristippus reprehensus quod consuetudinem haberet cum Thaide velut vnus e multis respondit plurimum interesse quod caeteri haberentur a Thaide ipse haberet Thaidem.” Cf. Diogenes Laertius 2.75; ASD IV-4:227–228 Apophth. [672]. The name of the courtesan is Laïs.

63

Ep. 2774ll. 27–32. Cf. ASD IV-4:220 237 Apophth. [642] [712].

76

Ep. 1858ll. 348–358 CWE 325–334 Allen; 1891 ll. 304–312 CWE 287–293 Allen.

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