Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Janua linguarum  

Janua lingvarum reserata sive Seminarium lingvarum et scientiarum omnium, hoc est Compendiosa Latinam (et quamlibet aliam) lingvam una cum scientiarum artiumque omnium fundamentis perdiscendi methodus, sub titulis centum, periodis autem mille comprehensa


The Gate of tongues unlocked, or, the Orchard of all languages and sciences, that is, a Through approach to the mastery of Latin (and any other) language, together with the fundamentals of all sciences and skills, in one hundred sections and one thousand sentences


Origin of the work:
  1628 – 1631 Leszno

  ^lo^First version:

1631 Leszno

1633 Leipzig & Gdansk

1633 Leszno (Czech version)

1657 Amsterdam, Opera didactica omnia I

1957 Prague, Opera didactica omnia I (phototype edition)

1958 Prague, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. I, Czech version

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


Second version:

1649 Leszno

1652 Sárospatak

1666 Amsterdam

1657 Amsterdam, Opera didactica omnia III

1957 Prague, Opera didactica omnia III (phototype edition)

1959 Prague, J. Červenka, Johannis A. Comenii Janua linguarum reserata (synoptic edition of six authentic texts of the Janua)





Comenius was well aware of the lack of success for existing textbooks of the Latin language, the causes of which lay in didactic errors on the parts of authors failing to link words, sentences and the language as a whole to an understanding of things, when these words, sentences and language should be indicated and, where necessary, explained. It was out of these views that his textbook, intended for youths at gymnasium, arose. Under a hundred titles, it contains some 7,500 selected words in one thousand sentences. The Latin texts are ordered by the subjects they consider, and next to these in later publications their meanings in national (mother) tongues were set. Only if the word or text was thoroughly understood in the mother tongue was one to progress to the Latin text (or to the text of another language set in parallel in another adjoining column). It is therefore a kind of modern conversation, in which the author not only teaches languages, but at the same time provides material teaching from nature, and from the most diverse fields of human life and work. At the same time, this makes learning the language easier. Anyone learning the text of the Janua had not only mastered a vocabulary of the most important words and sentences, but had also obtained an overview of knowledge regarding the whole world.

Even during Comenius’ lifetime this work became, thanks to its practicality, extremely widespread, and it was published and improved a great many times. Comenius wrote it in the Czech language as well, and in 1633 published it at Leszno as the Dvéře jazyků odevřené (Dvéře). Its value was also recognised by the Jesuits, who in 1667 published it in print in Prague (in Latin, German and Czech) and introduced it into their schools.

Comenius himself was not satisfied with the origin (first) version, and therefore made amendments to it (the second version).


For further study, see also:

J. A. Comenii opera omnia, vol. 15/I. Prague 1986, pp482-488

J. Červenka, Johannis A. Comenii Janua linguarum reserata. Commentatio p. V-XLIII. Prague 1959

Dějiny české literatury I. Prague 1959, pp438-439

J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp161-168

Jan Kumpera, J. A. Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp247-248




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