Erasmus Seminar: Weaving in Greek words like emblems

Erasmus and Latin–Greek code-switching
Thursday 28 Sep 2023, 15:00 - 17:00
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The Erasmus of Rotterdam Research Centre (ERRC) regularly organizes the so-called Erasmus Seminars, where we bring together academics who have an interest in Erasmus from their research. The content of the seminars is diverse, from discussions on recent publications to extensive lectures. On behalf of the ERRC, we cordially invite you to the upcoming seminar on Thursday, September 28th, 2023. During this meeting dr. Raf Van Rooy (KU Leuven) will give a seminar on Erasmus and code-switching, who recently published a chapter on Erasmus and the spreading of New Ancient Greek.

-Please note that the opening of the Erasmus Exhibition in the University Library has been rescheduled to October 24th-

What? Erasmus Seminar with a lecture by Raf Van Rooy
When? Thursday, September 28th 2023, 15:00-17:00 hrs.
Where? Polak Building 2-14, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Campus Woudestein



This seminar proposes to explore the different dimensions of Greek in the oeuvre and material culture of humanist scholar and Neo-Latin author Erasmus of Rotterdam (ca. 1469–1536). Erasmus used Greek in various ways: he wrote it on paper, both in self-standing poems and through extensive code-switching in his vast oeuvre. He oversaw how Greek was printed by means of the new technology, and how works with Greek titles were typeset. He had himself portrayed with Greek on various media (paintings, engravings, and medals) and consciously displayed Greek text in public spaces.

After surveying the different dimensions of Erasmus’ uses of Greek in his oeuvre and material culture, I will discuss two case studies of code-switching in further detail. On the one hand, I will analyze his self-standing Greek poems and the way they interact with Latin. On the other hand, I will discuss the place of Greek in his Praise of Folly (Μωρίας ἐγκώμιον), focusing in particular on a meta-passage, where Folly makes remarks on contemporary practices of Latin–Greek code-switching (or better ‘word-weaving’), and presenting an automated language identification method that will help mapping Erasmus’ uses of Latin and Greek. The seminar will also serve to introduce two research projects that have Erasmus’ Latin–Greek code-switching as (part of) their subject and will start up in the coming months.


Raf Van Rooy (PhD in Linguistics, 2017) is assistant professor of Neo-Latin literature at KU Leuven, specializing in early modern Hellenism. Previously, Van Rooy was pre- and postdoctoral fellow (2013–21) of the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO) at KU Leuven and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow (2021–22) at the University of Oslo. A classicist, linguist, and historian, he is the author of Language or Dialect? (Oxford University Press, 2020), Greece’s Labyrinth of Language (Language Science Press, 2020), and New Ancient Greek in a Neo-Latin World (Brill, 2023). Van Rooy also supervises the development of DaLeT, the Database of the Leuven Trilingue.

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