Title page of Enchiridion militis Christiani
The Enchiridion of a Christian Knight became one of the most widely read books of the Renaissance (Enchiridion can mean both ‘handbook’ or ‘dagger’). Erasmus wrote it in 1501 at the request of the wife of a soldier at the Court of Burgundy, who wished to win her husband away from his rough life. The resulting work is an appeal to Christians to act in accordance with the Christian faith rather than merely to perform the necessary rites. In the years of Luther’s rise Erasmus’ Enchiridion resonated strongly with those seeking to find new ways to serve God. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the soldier made as little use of the book as did Erasmus of the sword he received in return.
Author: Desiderius Erasmus
Title: Enchiridion militis Christiani [Handbook of a Christian Knight] (Basel: Johann Froben, 1519)