De civilitate morum puerilium

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De civilitate morum puerilium is a handbook written by Erasmus of Rotterdam, and is considered to be the first treatise in Western Europe on the moral and practical education of children.[1] First published in 1530[2] it was addressed to the eleven-year-old Henry of Burgundy, son of Adolph, Prince of Veere, and gives instructions, in simple Latin, on how a boy should conduct himself in the company of adults.[2] The book achieved immediate success and was translated into many languages.[3] The first English version, by Robert Whittinton (or Whittington) was published in 1532, under the title of A Little Book of Good Manners for Children. Another translation by Thomas Paynell was issued in 1560.[1]

The book is divided into seventeen sections, each dealing with an aspect of behaviour.[3]


  1. ^ a b Erasmus, Desiderius (1997). Colloquies. Collected Works of Erasmus. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. p. 70. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b Arditi, Jorge (1998). A Genealogy of Manners. University of Chicago Press. pp. 113–20. ISBN 978-0-226-02583-4. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  3. ^ a b Elspeth Barker. "A Handbook on Good Manners for Children, by Erasmus of Rotterdam trs Eleanor Merchant". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008. Retrieved 7 August 2011.