portrait of Desiderius Erasmus
Oil and tempera on wood by Hans Holbein (1523)

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Quotes of the Day for 26 October 2002 – Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus was born at Rotterdam, Holland on this day in 1466, probably. (There seems to be little dispute over the date, but the year is uncertain.) His parents weren't married, and he was orphaned at age 13, but managed to acquire a broad education and had made a reputation for himself throughout Renaissance Europe by age 30. He was the guest and frequent correspondent of kings, princes, the notable philosophers and theologians of his day, as well as being well connected with the Roman Catholic hierarchy which he later attacked. I'm impressed that he went from humble, in fact disgraced, beginnings to fame and fortune entirely on the basis of his intellect and wit, of which this is a sample.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

In the country of the blind the one-eyed man is king.

It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.

A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.

War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it.
Although Erasmus included this in an essay, authorship belongs to Pindar.

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

Fortune favors the audacious.
     - All from Desiderius Erasmus, 1466 - 1536

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