The Garden Guide

Erasmus, Desiderius

Born - Died : 1466 - 1536

The greatest classical scholar of the northern renaissance. Born near Rotterdam, he became interested in humanism through a dislike of scholastic theology. He broke away from monastic life, in the Augustian order, and became a wandering scholar, travelling between Holland, England, France and Switzerland. The Oxford Companion to Gardens speaks of 'The Erasmian Garden' on the basis of the garden description in The Godly Feast (1522). It was a square peristyle garden full of Christian symbolism (eg a Fountain of St Peter which would cleanse and refresh the soul). Erasmus name was used by the European Union in the 1990s for a funding progamme which helped students to study in different European countries to that in which they were born.