Mosaics from the heritage of ELTE – September 2023

The object of the month – A textbook in Latin

The coursebook of the Czech educator Jan Amos Komenský (in Latin: Johannes Comenius, 1592–1670), the so called ’Orbis pictus’, was originally made to help pupils to learn Latin the easiest way. However, it also contains materials from almost every scientific field, hence becoming a simplified encyclopaedia of the 17-th century knowledge.

The work was printed first in 1658, and until 1917 it was published for almost 300 times. The first four-language edition was issued in 1666 in Latin, German, French and Italian – this particular book was also written in these languages. In the beginning, the work was illustrated with woodcuts, but later on the pictures were printed with copperplates. The coursebook contains 150 topics, each illustrated with a picture and complemented with word-lists as tools to help the pupils in the process of studying. Among the topics one can find nature, flora and fauna, religion and the aspects of human life, e. g. the human body, craftsmanship and children’s games.

This book once belonged to historian János Mircse of Barátos, who left his book collection to the University Library. (This catalogue can be find under the call number J 147/d I-II.)

The book is part of the book adoption program of the Foundation for the University Library. Save a book, adopt a book! For more information visit our website:

RMK III 623/a

Komenský, Jan Amos (1592–1670): Joh. Amos Comenii Orbis sensualium pictus quadrilinvis emendatus, hoc est: omnium fundamentalium in mundo rerum et vita actionum pictura et nomenclatura Germanica, Latina, Italica et Gallica. Cum titulorum indicibus atque vocabulorum dictionariolis accurante Matthia Cramero, lingv. exotic. professore. Cum gratia et privil. sac. caes. majestatis. regis Poloniae et sereniss. electoris Saxonici.

Noribergae : sumptibus Martini Endteri, MDCCVII.

Source/author of illustration:
ELTE University Library and Archives