Title page of Preceptes of Cato
Even in the Middle Ages, Catonis Disticha (or the Distichs of Cato) had been amongst the most widely used textbooks in English schools. Composed in the 4th century by the now little-known Dionysius Cato, the work comprised a collection of Latin proverbs, mostly on morality and wisdom.
Although a printed edition had been issued in 1470, Erasmus’ edition of 1513 sought to provide a corrected and annotated version. The volume on display here is an English translation of that. By editing and publishing an improved edition of this key educational text Erasmus was able to complement his own growing list of educational publications, and to advance his educational agenda. Erasmus’ edition of Catonis Disticha proved hugely popular in English schools of the 16th century. This copy is a rare 1560 English edition.
Title: Preceptes of Cato, with annotacions of D. Erasmus of Roterodame (London: John Tysdale, 1560)
16th centuryErasmusX.16.1title pages