Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Cosmographiae compendium


Cosmographiae compendium

(De astronomia, prima parte Cosmographiae;

Medulla geographiae, secundae parties Cosmographiae)


A compendium of Cosmography

(On Astronomy, the first part of the Cosmography;

The essentials of geography, the second part of the Cosmography)



Origin of the work:
  1631 Leszno

  1963 Prague, Archiv pro bádání o životě a díle J. A. Komenského (Acta Comeniana), 22

1968 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. V, Czech translation by V. T. Miškovská-Kozáková under the title Popis vesmíru v nástinu [A description of space in outline] (editorial board)

1978 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 12





This two-part, Latin handbook of astronomy and to some extent geography, was created by Comenius at Leszno in his role as teacher at the gymnasium there. The manuscript survives as part of the ‘Leningrad miscellany’ of works by Comenius, in the Saltik-Shchedrin Public Library, St Petersburg, together with the other Latin texts of the Geometria, the Prima philosophia and the Historia profana sive politica, as well as the Czech-language O vycházení a zapadání přednějších hvězd oblohy osmé and the O poezi české.

The material is treated descriptively, and the work was intended to serve as a school textbook or for the preparation of teachers for class work. The first part of the manuscript is preserved in full, while the second survives in an insignificant fragment (and was apparently never completed).

The first part (De astronomia) contains ten chapters which consider the points and movable rings of the heavenly orb, the immobile rings of the sky, the number of heavenly bodies, the motions of the skies, the fixed stars, the planets, aspects, the phases of the moon and eclipses.

The second part (Medulla geographiae) contains only two short chapters on the parts into which the Earth is divided, and Europe as a whole. Comenius, like Aristotle and Tycho de Brahe, was an adherent of the geocentric theory; he classed the Sun among the planets, and following Ptolemy assigned it an orbit neighbouring that of the noble planets.


For further study, see also:

J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 12. Prague 1978, pp61-62

Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. V. Prague 1968, p47

V. T. Miškovská-Kozáková, Poznámka ke spisu Cosmographiae compendium, in: Archiv pro bádání o životě a díle J. A. Komenského (Acta Comeniana) 24, 1970, pp158-159

J. Kyrášek, Poznámky ke spisku Medulla geographiae, ditto, p166

Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, p216




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