43
The Final Act at Basel: Summer 1535 to July 1536

Behold, death is at your doorstep, ready to dash you to the ground from the height of your glory; swooping up all your possessions and yourself like a swift-flowing whirlpool. Thus our dear Rudolph Agricola wrote elegantly no less than truthfully: Death scatters all, what is born must die again. Only virtue knows no death, and good deeds abide.

De Contemptu Mundi, 6. Of the inevitability of death ( CWE 66: 149)

If I should count the number of years, I have lived a long time. If I should calculate how much of that time I have spent wrestling with fevers, the stone, and gout, then I have not lived very long.

Erasmus to Latomus, 24 August 1535, Epistle 3048 ( Allen XI, 215/38-42; translated by M. A. Haworth in Hillerbrand 285-6)

Once again Erasmus came to Basel with no intention of making a long stay, only long enough to take care of the business of seeing to his publications. There were still impossible thoughts of one more visit to Italy, of visiting Besanqon (that home of good wine), and possibly a return to the Low Countries. But his health dictated otherwise.

In the summer of 1535 he was greeted by the university upon his return to Basel, 1 and there were gifts of spiced wines and salutations by a delegation of professors. Oporinus, in fact, shook his hand so heartily that it made him cry out with pain ( Smith, 419).

He lived in the house 'Zum Luft' that was the home of Hieronymus Froben, son of his close friend Johann. After the death of Johann in 1527 Erasmus had worked even more closely with Hieronymus; and Bietenholz comments that 'it seems that it was chiefly Hieronymus who on his frequent trips to Freiburg persuaded Erasmus that he should return to Basel ... and it was in his house "Zum Luft" that Erasmus spent the last thirteen months of his life'. 2

His letter to Latomus on 24 August 1535, Epistle 3048, gives us

-350-

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Erasmus of Europe: - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Notes xiv
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • List of ILlustrations xvii
  • 18 Return from England: the Years in Flanders and Paris, 1501-1502 1
  • 19 the Early Louvain Years, 1502-1504 14
  • Notes 24
  • 20 the Enchiridion: 'Philosophia Christi' 28
  • Notes 40
  • 21 1504, a Threshold Year 41
  • Notes 49
  • 22 Return to England, 1505-1506 51
  • Notes 59
  • 23 Italy, 1506-1509 62
  • Notes 71
  • 24 the Adages 74
  • Notes 82
  • 25 England Again, 1509: the 'Period of Silence' 86
  • Notes 92
  • 25 the Praise of Folly 95
  • Notes 105
  • 27 the Cambridge Years, 1511-1514 109
  • Notes 122
  • 28 the Changing World in 1514 126
  • 29 Vocation and Life-Style 140
  • Notes 147
  • 30 to Basel, Summer 1514 149
  • Notes 161
  • 31 1516, the Annus Mirabilis 165
  • Notes 173
  • 32 the New Testament: A Life Work 175
  • Notes 189
  • Notes 210
  • 34 the Rising Storm of Controversy: Erasmus and His Catholic Critics, 1517-1522 216
  • Notes 231
  • 35 the Colloquies 236
  • Notes 243
  • Erasmus and His Friends: His Audience and His Geography 247
  • Notes 259
  • 37 Reform and Reformation: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda 263
  • Notes 278
  • 38 the Basel Years, 1521-1529: the Reformation Storm Rising 283
  • 39 Erasmus and Luther: on the Freedom of the Will 298
  • Notes 306
  • 40 Language and Style 310
  • Notes 317
  • 41 the Basel Years: Humanism and Religion 320
  • Notes 333
  • 42 the Freiburg Years, 1529-1535 337
  • Notes 346
  • 43 the Final Act at Basel: Summer 1535 to July 1536 350
  • Notes 359
  • 44 the Achievement of Erasmus and His Place in History 362
  • Notes 377
  • Appendix C Erasmus' Dispensations 381
  • Notes 383
  • Appendix D Erasmus' Wills 384
  • Notes 385
  • Appendix E Portraits of Erasmus 387
  • An Erasmian Chronology: LIfe and Writings 390
  • Bibliography 393
  • Index of Names of Persons 408
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