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Conclusion: Emptying the Well

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Chapter Summary

One of the more loyal successors to Erasmus in the paroemiographic tradition of the Renaissance was the Dutch doctor, poet, and schoolmaster Adriaan de Jonge, who went by the name of Hadrianus Junius. Among his many achievements as a humanist is his proverb collection Adagiorum centuriae octo cum dimidia, which was first published in 1558, a generation after Erasmus' death. In his commentary on Alexander's proverbs, Tiraqueau duly notes the corresponding adages in Erasmus, and where there is no Erasmian precedent, he insinuates the illegitimacy of the saying. Erasmus did not omit Plutarch's proverb Dancing around the well, as Muret claims, but rather included it, somewhat surreptitiously, in another proverb on wells. Erasmus explains that the wolf going around the well is a figure of false hope and wasted effort: "in eos dicetur qui sumpta inaniter opera spe sua frustrantur".

Keywords: Alexander's proverbs; Erasmus; Hadrianus Junius; Plutarch's proverb; Renaissance humanism



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