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The Orbis Pictus   By: (1592-1670)

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[Transcriber's Note:

This text is intended for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (Unicode/UTF 8) version of the file. There are two main changes:

The "oe" ligature, used in the original Latin text, has been unpacked to its separate letters. The "oe" sequence (words such as "coeuntia") does not occur. The two sections numbered CIV used astrological symbols. When a symbol was used in addition to text such as a planet name, it is shown as empty brackets in its original location: Mercury []. When a symbol was used instead of text it is shown in brackets: [Mercury].

In the Orbis Pictus text, apparent errors in punctuation and typography (such as Italic type where Roman is expected) were unchanged except in chapter headers. Other errors, whether corrected or not, are listed at the end of the e text. Note that "Dutch" generally means "German".

The original text was printed in parallel columns with English on the left. For this e text the English and the Latin are shown in small blocks with differing indentation. Line breaks are approximately but not exactly the same as in the original.]





This work is, indeed, the first children's picture book. ENCYCLOP├ćDIA BRITANNICA, 9TH EDITION, vi. 182.

[Publisher's Device: School Bulletin Publications 1874]


Copyright, 1887, by C. W. BARDEEN.

It may not be generally known that Comenius was once solicited to become President of Harvard College. The following is a quotation from Vol. II, p. 14, of Cotton Mather's MAGNALIA:

"That brave old man, Johannes Amos Commenius, the fame of whose worth has been TRUMPETTED as far as more than three languages (whereof everyone is indebted unto his JANUA) could carry it, was indeed agreed withal, by one Mr. Winthrop in his travels through the LOW COUNTRIES, to come over to New England, and illuminate their Colledge and COUNTRY, in the quality of a President, which was now become vacant. But the solicitations of the Swedish Ambassador diverting him another way, that incomparable Moravian became not an American."

This was on the resignation of President Dunster, in 1654 Note of Prof. PAYNE, Compayre's History of Education, Boston, 1886, p. 125.


When it is remembered that this work is not only an educational classic of prime importance, but that it was the first picture book ever made for children and was for a century the most popular text book in Europe, and yet has been for many years unattainable on account of its rarity, the wonder is, not that it is reproduced now but that it has not been reproduced before. But the difficulty has been to find a satisfactory copy. Many as have been the editions, few copies have been preserved. It was a book children were fond of and wore out in turning the leaves over and over to see the pictures. Then as the old copper plates became indistinct they were replaced by wood engravings, of coarse execution, and often of changed treatment. Von Raumer complains that the edition of 1755 substitutes for the original cut of the Soul, (No. 43, as here given,) a picture of an eye, and in a table the figures I. I. II. I. I. II., and adds that it is difficult to recognize in this an expressive psychological symbol, and to explain it. In an edition I have, published in Vienna in 1779, this cut is omitted altogether, and indeed there are but 82 in place of the 157 found in earlier editions, the following, as numbered in this edition, being omitted:

1, the alphabet, 2, 36, 43, 45, 66, 68, 75, 76, 78 80, 87, 88, 92 122, 124, 126, 128, 130 141.

On the other hand, the Vienna edition contains a curious additional cut. It gives No. 4, the Heaven, practically as in this edition, but puts another cut under it in which the earth is revolving about the sun; and after the statement of Comenius, " Coelum rotatur, et ambit terram, in medio stantem " interpolates: " prout veteres crediderunt; recentiores enim defendunt motum terrae circa solem " [as the ancients used to think; for later authorities hold that the motion of the earth is about the sun... Continue reading book >>

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