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Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1467–1536) by Hans Holbein the younger, 1523 private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London


Erasmus, Desiderius (c. 1467–1536), humanist scholar and reformer, was born in Rotterdam during the night of 27–28 October in the late 1460s—a year about 1467 seems plausible. He was illegitimate, a circumstance that doubtless contributed to the uncertainty attending all record of his origins, family name, and early life. The source of much information is the ...