"Erasmus' Adages is a collection of 4151 ancient proverbs, each accompanied by a commentary explaining its history and possible uses. Though most of these commentaries are very short, some just a few lines of scholarly explication, others are lengthy essays on social and political topics. The most famous of these is 'War is sweet to those who have not tried it, ' a major anti-war tract. Many of the proverbs have passed into modern usage ('Know thyself, ' 'To give someone the finger, ' 'Well begun is half done'), some even retaining their Latin form (Deus ex machina). And a few, as it turns out, were created by Erasmus himself through occasional misinterpretations of the ancient sources ('Pandora's box, ' 'To call a spade a spade'). The massive compendium, characterized by wit, elegance, seriousness, and occasional bursts of satire, was among the most learned and widely circulated of Latin books during the early modern period. This annotated selection of 116 proverbs, which includes all the longer essays, is based on the translation in the Collected Works of Erasmus."--Jacket.