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Great Educator: Desiderius Erasmus (Gerrit Gerritszoon) 1455 to 1536

“It is an unscrupulous intellect that does not pay to antiquity it’s due reverence”

Erasmus was born an illegitimate child in Rotterdam on 27th October 1466 to Gerard of Gouda – a priest – and Margaret, daughter of a physician of Zevenbergen.  His ‘illegitimacy’ troubled him greatly through life and as late as 1516 he sought papal dispensation for the circumstances of his birth.


Erasmus was deeply interested in the aims and methods of education from a young age.  He came to be known as the ‘Prince of Humanists’ advocating a new curriculum and new methods of instruction which contrasted to the traditions of the ‘Schoolmen’.  The humanist curriculum put emphasis on the formation of character and not necessarily the acquisition of knowledge per se.


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