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The Age of Erasmus eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about The Age of Erasmus.

Rudolph Langen of Munster (1438-1519) was another who was known at Adwert.  He matriculated at Erfurt in the same year as Agricola, and was M.A. there in 1460.  A canonry at Munster gave him maintenance for his life, and he devoted his energies to learning.  Twice he visited Italy, in 1465 and 1486; and in 1498 he succeeded in establishing a school at Munster on humanistic lines, and wished Hegius to become head master, but in vain.  Nevertheless it rapidly rivalled the fame of Deventer.

Finally, Antony Vrye (Liber) of Soest deserves record, since he has contributed somewhat to our knowledge of Adwert.  He also was a schoolmaster, and taught at various times at Emmerich, Campen, Amsterdam, and Alcmar.  In 1477 he published a volume entitled Familiarium Epistolarum Compendium, the composition of which illustrates the catholic tastes of the humanists; for it contains selections from the letters of Cicero, Jerome, Symmachus, and the writers of the Italian Renaissance.  But he chiefly merits our gratitude for including in the book a number of letters which passed between the visitors to Adwert and their friends, together with some of his own.  The pleasant relations existing in this little society may be illustrated by the fact that when Vrye’s son John had reached student age, the Adwert friends subscribed to pay his expenses at a university; and thus secured him an education which enabled him to become Syndic of Campen.

A few extracts from their letters will serve to show some of the characteristics of the age, its wide interest in the past, theological as well as classical; its eager search for manuscripts, and the freedom with which its libraries were opened; its concern for education, and its attitude towards the old learning; and the extent of its actual achievements.  The earliest of these letters that survive are a series written by Langen from Adwert in the spring of 1469 to Vrye at Soest.  Despite the grave interest in serious study that the letters show, there are human touches about them.  One begins:  ’You promised faithfully to return, and yet you have not come.  But I cannot blame you; for the road is deep in mud, and I myself too am so feeble a walker that I can imagine the weariness of others’ feet.’  Another ends in haste, not with the departure of the post, but ’The servants are waiting to conduct me to bed’.  Here is a longer sample: 

I. LANGEN TO VRYE:  from Adwert, 27 Feb. 1469.

’Why do you delay so long to gratify the wishes of our devout friend Wolter?  With my own hand I have transcribed the little book of Elegantiae, as far as the section about the reckoning of the Kalends.  I greatly desire to have this precious work complete; so do send me the portion we lack as soon as you can.  The little book will be my constant companion:  I know nothing that has such value in so narrow a span.  How brilliant Valla is! he has raised up Latin
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