Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book: Proverbs Chiefly Taken from the Adagia of Erasmus (Bland)

For my new series of Latin LOLCats, I'm going to be doing poster-style presentations so that I can include both the Latin and an English translation. I'd also like to use a source where people can get more information if they want, and Bland seemed like a good choice. The book is in the public domain and you can find it online here:

Volume 1: GoogleBooks
Volume 2: GoogleBooks
Volume 1-2: Open Library (Internet Archive

The full title gives you a sense of how this book works: PROVERBS, Chiefly Taken from the ADAGIA of Erasmus, with Explanations; and Further Illustrated by Corresponding Examples from the Spanish, Italian, French & English Languages. I like the long titles that you can find in old books like this; Bland's book was published in 1814.

Erasmus' Adagia, a landmark work in the history of proverbs, is written with an eye to readers with a knowledge of both Latin and Greek. What Bland has done is to "re-do" Erasmus in a way that will appeal to English readers. For more details, see Bland's own introduction to his work.

Below is a famous portrait of Erasmus by Hans Holbein the Younger; along the edge of the book facing the viewer the letters read "The Labors of Heracles" in Greek (ΗΡΑΚΛΕΙΟΙ ΠΟΝΟΙ = HERAKLEIOI PONOI), alluding to the amazing feats which Erasmus accomplished in his life as a scholar.

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