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christian middle ages

I saw monarchy without tyranny, aristocracy without factions, democracy without tumult, wealth without luxury… Would that it had been your lot, divine Plato, to come upon such a republic.—on the Christian Middle Ages.

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2 replies to this post
  1. I may be completely wrong here, but I think this quotation needs a bit more context. I believe Erasmus is writing to a certain literary society of Strasbourg (Alsace). Erasmus is praising Strasbourg (with a special eye to the literati) in particular and not the Christian Middle Ages in general.

    It would be sadly ironic if he were praising the Christian Middle Ages to his Strasbourgian audience, since the history of medieval Strasbourg probably ought to be the last thing Christians should trumpet.

  2. I agree. Erasmus is a slippery guy. After reading Johan Huizinga's "Eramus and the Age of Reformation" many years ago (arguably the greatest intellectual biography of all time) I figured out what was going on with the deracinated intellectuals of my own time. Erasmus may have invented the type. But, taken alone, it is a lovely quotation, is it not?

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