Ad Fontes Penning
The medal has been awarded since 1976 to individuals who have performed exceptionally well for Erasmus University Rotterdam.
One side shows an image of Erasmus. The phrase suis oculis cernere (to distinguish with one’s own eyes) refers to a letter of Erasmus, written in 1505, in which he clearly values personal research more than knowledge obtained through others. The letter served as a foreword to the Annotations on the New Testament by the Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457). Erasmus found the manuscript in a monastery library near Louvain and published it. Following years of studying the New Testament, Erasmus published Novum Instrumentum omne, a New Testament in Greek accompanied by a Latin revision of the Vulgate version and critical notes, in 1516. The publication caused a stir and is one of Erasmus’ most important works.
The other side of the medal displays a source and the words ad fontes (to the sources). Erasmus University Rotterdam chose these phrases because the line of conduct to which they point still applies to academic endeavour.