Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Votiva acclamatio


Serenissimo Svecorum regi Carolo Gustavo, post novum feliciter confectum bellum junctumque novo foedere totum Septentrionem, votiva acclamatio


A Votive Acclamation of the King of the Swedes, Charles Gustav, after the new, happily concluded war, and after the unification of the whole North under a new treaty


Origin of the work:
  1658 Amsterdam

  (1658 Amsterdam), undated, place not given

1989 Prague, in: Acta Comeniana, 8 (XXXII), pp173-181



In his irenicism, Comenius encouraged the ending of wars and reconciliation, in particular among Protestants. In this sense he turned to the representatives of those countries from which he expected not just peace, but also the liberation of Bohemian and Moravia from Habsburg overrule. In the question of Bohemia he could accept even war, and this matter sought aides and allies among the Swedes and the Transylvanian Rákóczis. It was for this reason that after his time at Leszno at the outbreak of the First Northern War (1655 – 1660) he sent greetings to the Swedish King Charles X Gustav, who had fallen upon Poland, in the eulogy Panegyricus Carolo Gustavo. The war was initially successful for the Swedes as they were supported by the Polish nobility, who were to a great extent Protestant. The devastating acts of the Swedish forces, however, provoked general outrage among the Polish commons, for the most part Catholic, which grew into a massive patriotic resistance under which Leszno was razed. Comenius fled to the Netherlands, and in an attempt to save themselves the Polish Protestant nobility converted en masse to Catholicism.

The difficulties encountered by the Swedes in their fruitless occupation of Poland were seized upon by the Danes, who attacked Sweden, thereby beginning a conflict known as both the First Danish and the First Swedish War (1657 – 58); Charles Gustav, however, rapidly occupied Danish Schleswig-Holstein, and after the freezing of the gulf entered the peninsula of Jutland. By the Treaty of Roskilde (February 26th 1658) Denmark was obliged to yield Terra Scania and Bleking to the Swedes. Comenius followed the development of the Danish-Swedish war with misgivings, hoping for peace between the two Lutheran parties, although always sympathising more with the Swedes. The Votiva acclamatio was an expression of his views in this matter.





In the introduction Comenius enumerates the heroic deeds of the Swedish king that contributed to the victory over the Danes, and did not fail to mention the serious difficulties that the king, with God’s aid, had had to overcome. In doing so he makes allusion to the favourable weather conditions, which made it possible for Charles’ forces to cross the frozen sea, and compares this achievement to Moses’ passage of the Red Sea. He also highlights Charles’ magnanimous behaviour towards his defeated enemies, foremost among whom is the King of Denmark. He calls upon Charles not to forget that he will be victorious only in just wars, undertaken in an effort to attain peace. He values the circumstance that Charles attempted above all to attain his aims by negotiation, and that even after winning a war was just as prepared to treat for peace. He sees both kings as victors, as each as won a victory over himself. He encourages both of the participating parties to overcome their mutual antipathy, and exhorts other lands – Saxony, the Netherlands, Britain, Russia and Prussia – to gather around this northern lion, Sweden, that evil might find no outlet. He warns Charles Gustav against pride, and charges him to use weapons only as a tool of justice. Comenius is convince that the Swedish ruler will conduct himself in all this with honour, and regrets that this was not understood sooner by the Poles.


For further study, see also:

J. Beneš, Die Votiva acclamatio – ein neuer komeniologischer Fund, in: Acta Comeniana, 8 (XXXII), 1989, pp167-171




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