Title page of Spongia Erasmi
The Spongia is a skilful defence of Erasmus’ decision not to support Martin Luther once the Reformation threatened the unity of Catholic Europe. It was written in response to an attack on his work by the Protestant reformer Ulrich von Hutten.
The title page of this first edition includes a precious handwritten message to canon Johann von Botzheim, written and signed by Erasmus (‘Eras. Rot’ [i.e. Rotterdam]). From 1520, the two men had corresponded frequently with each other and in the autumn of 1522, Erasmus had decided to visit his friend as religious conflict approached the area surrounding his cathedral at Konstanz (now south-west Germany). Following the eventual triumph of the Reformation, Botzheim would finally leave the region in April 1527.
Author: Desiderius Erasmus
Title: Spongia Erasmi adversus aspergines Hutteni [Sponge of Erasmus against the aspersions of Hutten] (Basel: Johann Froben, 1523)