Erasmus' Influence on More's Utopia. To be or not to be a humanist.

More was born on February 7, 1478, in London, which, if not yet the chief city of the world, was at least one of the most important commercial centres of Europe, in which the tendencies of the new mode of production were sharply and clearly defined.
He came of an “honest but by no means eminent” urban family, as the epitaph which he composed tells us. His father, John More, was a King’s Bench Judge, a sober, strict, almost miserly man, who gave his son every cause to reflect upon the economic conditions and to become acquainted with the material conditions of life.
In accordance with contemporary custom, Thomas had first of all to learn Latin, for which purpose he attended St. ...

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talents with which Nature had furnished him were improved by study and experience. When I was in England the king depended much on his counsels, and the government seemed to be chiefly supported by him; for from his youth he had been all along practised in affairs; and having passed through many traverses of fortune, he had with great cost acquired a vast stock of wisdom, which is not soon lost when it is purchased so dear.”
If through his father More became familiar with the material cares that were then weighing upon the world, the Archbishop of Canterbury taught him the nature of the forces that were then deciding the fate of the world, or at least usurping such right. Thus at an early age there came to him the desire to understand the present, above all its material problems, which the Humanists in the Northern countries generally lacked.
In spite of his youth, therefore, More was no longer a boy when he went up to Oxford University, probably in 1492 or 1493. There the new ...

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is not ignorant of the Latin tongue, but is eminently learned in the Greek, having applied himself more particularly to that than to the former, because he had given himself much to philosophy, in which he knew that the Romans have left us nothing that is valuable, except what is to be found in Seneca and Cicero.”
Among the Greeks Plato was his favourite, and Plato’s influence may be discerned from several passages in Utopia of which only the following need be quoted: “Therefore when I reflect on the constitution of the Utopians, and compare with them so many other nations ... I grow more favourable to Plato, and do not wonder that he resolved not to make any laws for such as ...

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Added: 4/6/2011 02:27:02 PM
Submitted By: oana189
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2457
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