Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Didactica magna


Didactica magna universale omnes omnia docendi artificium exhibens sive Certus et exquisitus modus per omnes alicujus Christiani regni communitates, oppida et vicos tales erigendi scholas, ut omnis utriusque sexus juventus nemine usquam neglecto literis informari, moribus expoliri, pietate imbui eaque ratione intra pubertatis annos ad omnia, quae praesentis et futurae vitae sunt, instrui possit compendiose, jucunde, solide. Ubi omnium quae svadentur fundamenta ex ipsissima rerum natura eruuntur, veritas artium mechanicarum parallelis exemplis demonstratur, series per annos, menses, dies, horas disponitur, via denique in effectum haec feliciter deducendi facilis et certa ostenditur


The Great Didactic, offering a universal guide to the learning of all things by all people, or A sure and precise method how in all societies, towns and communities in any Christian kingdom to establish schools such that it will be possible to provide any young person of either sex, that none remain uncultured, with learning, ennoble them in the morals and fill them with piety, and in this way during their years of growing up to economically, pleasantly and reliably equip them for everything that lies ahead in this and the next life. These foundations are drawn from the proper nature of things, parallel examples from the crafts demonstrate the veracity thereof, all that is recommended is ordered by the years, months, days and hours, and finally it is shown a simple and sure path to happily take all things to certain results


Origin of the work:
1633 – 1638 Leszno

  1657 Amsterdam, Opera didactica omnia I

1905 Prague, Czech translation by A. Krejčí

1913 Brno, Veškeré spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. IV, synopsis of the Czech Didactics

1938 Brno, Jana Amosa Komenského veškeré spisy, vol. IV, part 2, 2nd ed.

1957 Prague, Opera didactica omnia I, (phototype edition)

1958 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. I, Czech translation by A. Krejčí & J. Hendrich

1986 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/I





After the dashing of the hopes of the Czech exiles for a return to their homeland and the success of his textbook the Janua linguarum, and on the basis of a consideration of his own scholastic experience, gained as a teacher at the Leszno Gymnasium, Comenius created the Great Didactic (Didactica magna) in Latin. While the basis of this work was the Czech Didactic (Didaktika), it was no mere translation. The author worked up in a single volume all of his deliberations relating to universal education. He used the Czech Didactic (Didaktika), the Paradise of the Church (Ráj církve) and the Short Proposal for the Restoration of Schools in the Kingdom of Bohemia (the Navržení krátkého o obnovení škol v Kralovství českém or Navržení krátké). The theoretical chapters of the Proposal remained, shortened and stripped of the direct references to Czech conditions. The new work was around a fifth longer than the Czech Didactic, due mainly to the addition of chapters detailing scholastic organisation. This work was not addressed to the Czech nation and its own educational reforms, but to the whole of Europe, if not the world.

Comenius made this treatise public only in 1657 at Amsterdam, in the collection the Opera didactica omnia (ODO). It was subsequently forgotten. It came into general knowledge as late as during the 19th century, and its extraordinary importance ranked its author among the world’s leading pedagogues.


For further study, see also:

J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/I. Prague 1986, pp436-437

Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. I. Prague 1958, pp23-27

Veškeré spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. IV. Brno 1913, pp5-17

Dějiny české literatury I. Prague 1959, pp434-436

J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp239-241

Jan Kumpera, J. A. Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp229




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