Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy



Opera didactica omnia Variis hucusque occasionibus scripta diversisque locis edita: nunc autem non tantum in unum, ut simul sint, collecta, sed et ultimo conatu in systema unum mechanice constructum redacta


The collected didactic works. Written prior to this time on various occasions and published at various places; now not only brought together in a single whole that they might be together, but also ordered in the final instance into a single, mechanically constructed redaction



Origin of the work:
  1656 – 1657 Amsterdam

  1657 Amsterdam

1957 Prague (phototype edition)

1986 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/I: the Dedicatio (dedication), the Praefatio ODO (preface to the ODO), the Praefatio ODO I (preface to the ODO I)

1989 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 15/II: the Praefacio ODO II (preface to the ODO II)



This is Comenius’ structured collection of all of his pedagogic works written previously.

After his departure from a Leszno consumed by flames (1656), Comenius found refuge in Amsterdam in Holland, where he was kindly welcomed as a world-famous expert in the field of education and schooling. The Amsterdam city council, prompted by an effort to improve education in its own schools, invited him to produce a collected edition of his pedagogic works to date; Comenius obliged them in 1657 with the Complete Didactic Works (Opera didactica omnia), the costs of producing which were met by Lawrence de Geer.



The work contains four parts:

Part 1: the Leszno treatises of 1627 to 1642;

Part 2: Elbląg and Leszno treatises of the period from 1642 to 1650;

Part 3: treatises from the Sárospatak years, 1650 to 1654

Part 4: added by Comenius to the volume, containing hitherto unpublished Amsterdam treatises of 1656 to 1657.

The collection is dedicated to the City of Amsterdam in the following words:

Urbi Eminentissimae Amsterdamo, Emporio Orbis celeberrimo ejusque sapientissimo senatui omnem prosperitatem (To the most eminent City of Amsterdam, by far the most celebrated marketplace of the world, and its most wise council, great prosperity!).

In the dedication, Comenius notes that even as a young man he came three times to Holland, but that now he comes as an old man. His earlier didactic works are gathered into three volumes, to which appends as a fourth volume those treatises composed in this city.

The preface to the whole work follows – the Lectoribus piis et prudentibus salutem (Greeting to the pious and prudent reader) – in which Comenius refutes objections to his endeavours. It is a law of nature that perfect things can only be reached through imperfect things. In his treatises concerning the study of the Latin language he had tried to assist young people in escaping from the labyrinth of earlier, difficult textbooks. If it seems that the collection contains too many works, it is necessary to remember that it is the work of thirty years.


The first volume contains the following works:

the Didactica magna (the Great Didactic)

the Schola infantiae (the School of Earliest Childhood)

the Scholae vernaculae delineatio (Outline of a National School; the Scholae vern. delineatio)

the Janua lingvarum reserata (the Gate of Tongues Unlocked; the Janua linguarum)

the Vestibulum (the Vestibule)

the Didactica dissertatio (the Didactic Dissertation)

the Pansophiae praeludium (the Herald of Pansophy; the Prodromus pansophiae)

the Conatuum pansophicorum dilucidatio (the Elucidation of Pansophic Endeavour; the Dilucidatio)


The second volume contains:

the De novis studia didactica continuandi occasionibus (On a new opportunity for continuing in didactic endeavour; the De novis occasionibus)



the Methodus lingvarum novissima (the Newest Method of Languages; the Methodus)

the Vestibulum Latinae lingvae, Vortür.. (the Vestibule of the Latin Language; the Vestibulum–Vortür)

the Latinae lingvae janua reserata, Die offene Tür… (the Open Gates of the Latin Tongue; the Janua–Tür)

the Grammatica Latino-vernacula (the Latin/vernacular Grammar; the Grammatica vernacula)

the Annotationes super Grammaticam novam janualem (the Notes on the New Janual Textbook; the Annotationes super Gramm.)


The third volume contains:

the De vocatione in Hungariam (On the Vocation in Hungary; the De vocatione)

the Illustris Patakinae scholae idea (the Idea of an Enlightened School at Sárospatak; Scholae idea)

the Schola pansophica (the Pansophic School)

the De repertis pansophici studii obicibus (On the Obstacles Encountered by Pansophic Endeavour; the Agenda Patakina)

the Primitiae laborum scholasticorum (the Basics of Scholastic Labour; the Primitiae laborum) – the common title for a collection of the following three works:

- the De cultura ingeniorum (On the Education of the Spirit)

- the De instrumento solerter versando, libris (On How to Skilfully Work with Books; the De libris)

- the Schola Latina (the Latin School)

the Eruditionis scholasticae pars I, Vestibulum (the Vestibule, the first part of the Scholatic Education; the Eruditio I Vestibulum)

the Eruditionis scholasticae pars II, Janua (the Gate, the second part of the Scholastic Education; the Eruditio II Janua)

the Eruditionis scholasticae pars III, Atrium (the Atrium, the third part of the Scholastic Education; the Eruditio III Atrium)

the De studii pansophici impedimentis (On the Impediments to Pansophic Endeavour; the De studii impedimentis)

the Laborum scholasticorum continuatio (the Continuing Scholastic Labour; the Laborum continuatio) – the common title for a collection of the following three works:

- the Methodi verae encomia (In Enconium on Right Method; the Methodi encomia)

- the De utilitate accuratae rerum nomenclaturae (On the Usefulness of a Precise Nomenclature of Things; the De utilitate nomenclaturae)

- the De eleganti elegantiarum studio (On the refined study of refinement; the De elegantiarum studio)




Fortius redivivus sive De pellenda scholis ignavia (Fortius redivivus, or, On the excising of laziness from schools; the Fortius)

the Praecepta morum (the Precepts of Life)

the Leges scholae bene ordinatae (Regulations for a Well-Ordered School; the Leges scholae)

the Vestibuli et Januae lingvarum lucidarium (the Elucidator of the Vestibule and Gate of Tongues; the Lucidarium)

the Schola ludus (the School as Play)

the Laborum scholasticorum Patakini obitorum coronis (the crowing of scholastic labour undertaken at Sárospatak; the Laborum coronis)

the Animae sanctae beatum satellitium (the Satellitium)


The fourth volume contains:

the Vita gyrus (the Maelstrom of Life)

the Vestibuli Latinae lingvae auctarium (the Supplement to the Vestibule of the Latin Language; the Vestibuli auctarium)

the Pro Latinitate Januae lingvarum suae apologia (the Defence of Latin in the Gate of Tongues, the; Apologia)

the Ventilabrum sapientiae (the Breath of Wisdom; the Ventilabrum)

the E scholasticis labyrinthis exitus (the Exit from the Scholastic Labyrinth; the E labyrinthis exitus)

the Latium redivivum (the Latium redivivum; the Latium)

the Typographeum vivum (the Living Printworks; the Typographeum)

the Paradisus juventuti Christianae reducendus (How to return paradise to Christian youth; the Paradisus reducendus)

the Traditio lampadis (the Tradition of the Torch)

the Paralipomena didactica (the Didactic Omissions; the Paralipomena)

the Didacticae idea ex arcanis aeternis (the Idea of Didactics from the Eternal Mysteries; the Didacticae idea)


For further study, see also:

J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp523-535

Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, pp274-278




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