Echiridion militis Christiani.

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Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536).


Echiridion militis Christiani.


Antwerp: Michael Hillenium,


October 1523.


Provenance: Surgeon and bibliophile François Rasse des Neux, both works signed and dated 1548; and Anthonii Hellin, with his very familiar motto, “et amicorum.”

The foremost scholar-priest of the sixteenth century and the best-selling author of his time, Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote two books on great professions: humanist manuals for a Christian knight and for a Christian prince. They rank among his most important works.
Enchiridion militis Christiani (The Handbook of a Christian Knight) is addressed to an anonymous wayward soldier, who read it and became an honorable Christian; it was nonetheless intended as a guide for all to achieve a faithful, decent and worthwhile life. Institutio principis Christiani (The Education of a Christian Prince) was written for a young Spanish prince, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Erasmus offers a humanist view of the intellectual, moral, political and religious standards required for a ruler, and urges the rapprochement of the Catholic and reformed views of Christianity.

François Rasse des Neux (d. 1587), a famous royal surgeon, man of letters, and bibliophile in Paris, was one of the earliest doctor-collectors of printed books. One of my major collections is early manuscripts and printed books related to the learned professions and skilled trades (expanded in scope from Doctors of Medicine after my 1996 member’s exhibition), These post-incunables—written by a great thinker in editions published during his lifetime, concerning occupations, their attendant responsibilities, and broader applicability, with a significant contemporary provenance and binding—are particularly suited to my collecting goals.


Andrew T. Nadell



Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536)., “Echiridion militis Christiani.,” Grolier Club Exhibitions, accessed September 24, 2018,