Contemporaries of Erasmus contains biographical information about more than 1900 people mentioned in the correspondence and other writings of Erasmus. This paperback edition is a reprint of the three-volume set published between 1985 and 1987. The volumes have been combined into a single volume – without any editorial changes – to provide a manageable and affordable edition of a magisterial work. The remarkable breadth of Erasmus’ contacts throughout his life is reflected in this unique volume. Differing substantially from the national biographical dictionaries that restrict themselves to major figures, Contemporaries of Erasmus combines the famous with the obscure – popes and politicians, artists and poets, knights and theologians – covering every individual mentioned whose death occurred after the year 1450. Well known figures include Martin Luther, King Henry VIII, Machiavelli, Popes Nicholas V and Peter IV, and Emperor Charles V.
Dipping into the pages of this fully illustrated volume will intrigue and delight the casual reader, but the combined volume will also be an indispensible tool for those who have searched in vain for a biographical dictionary of the Renaissance and the Reformation.
'If the editors of Contemporaries of Erasmus had done no more than track down the proper names found in the Collected Works of Erasmus, the Leiden Opera omnia, and the correspondence edited by P.S. Allen, that in itself would have been a tremendous work and a welcome volume to Renaissance scholars. How much more welcome is this scholarly work in which evey name having Erasmian connections is identified, subjected to intense and competent research, and presented, not only with clarity, but with a measure of grace and distinction? Most biographical dictionaries list and identify only men and women who have distingiished themselves in some way, or who have by birth merited a place in the book. Contemporaries of Erasmus does not shrug aside anyone whom Erasmus has met or mentioned in his works or letters. Adrian, an obscure messenger, Carolus, a non-clerical steward in a monastery, Margareta, the daughter of an acquaintance -- all these and many of their kind are given place along with the more important friends and patrons of the great humanist -- popes, kings, scholars, emperors.'