Paul Skalich

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Portrait of Paul Skalich
Title page of Skalich's Encyclopaedia seu orbis disciplinarum tam sacrarum quam prophanarum epistemon from 1559

Paul Skalich (1534–1573), also known as Stanislav Pavao Skalić or Paulus Scalichius de Lika, was an encyclopedist, Renaissance humanist, and adventurer born in Zagreb, Croatia, and who lived part of his life in Germany.[1] His surname is rendered in various other ways: e.g., in English, Skalich, Scalich, Scaliger; in Latin, Scalichius or Scaligius; and in Spanish, Scalitzius.

Skalić studied theology and philosophy in Vienna and later moved around Europe, living in Bologna, Rome, Bohemia, Poland, France and Germany, among other places.[2]

His book Encyclopaedia seu orbis disciplinarum tam sacrarum quam prophanarum epistemon ("Encyclopaedia, or Knowledge of the World of Disciplines"; Basel, 1559) is one of the first books entitled encyclopedia. Robert Collison later wrote that the work was poorly written, only being important today for its use of the word encyclopaedia, and that Joachim Sterck van Ringelbergh had used the word cyclopaedia to describe his work in 1541.[3] Skalić also wrote a treatise on music: Dialogus de Lyra (Cologne, 1570).[4]

He and preacher Johann Funck exercised great influence over Albert (1490-1568), first duke of Prussia, and became wealthy. Religious differences with the king of Poland led to the execution of Funck and the rise of Skalić.[5]


References vary regarding Skalić's nationality. M. Girardi-Karšulin at the University of Zagreb claims that he was Croatian,[6] as does Darko Žubrinić.[1] But many modern English encyclopedias, such as Encyclopædia Britannica[7] Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, and Encarta[8] indicate that he was German. This could be because he lived at the time when Lika and the rest of Croatia was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, although, as stated above, he spent a major part of his life in Germany.

Older works such as the Spanish Enciclopedia universal ilustrada europeoamericana (Espasa) (vol. 19, (1930) page 1166) say that he is an Hungarian count ("y esta voz, ya latinizada, se emplea en el rótulo de la obra del conde húngaro Scalitzus", "and this term, Latinized, is used in the heading of the work of the Hungarian count Scalitzius".)[citation needed] The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) on page 169 says the same, referring to him as "Paulus Scalichius de Lika, an Hungarian count".[9]


  1. ^ a b Croatian Humanists, Ecumenists, Latinists, and Encyclopaedists (1995)
  2. ^ Lovro Županović. "Skalić, Pavao." New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  3. ^ Collison, Robert. Encyclopaedias. 2nd ed. (Hafner, 1966) p. 80
  4. ^ Josip Andreis (1974), Music in Croatia, Institute of Musicology, p. 47, retrieved 2011-01-27 
  5. ^ Schaff-Herzog article
  6. ^ Basic philosophical problems in Pavao Skaliæ's work (1994)
  7. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica "encyclopaedia"
  8. ^ Encarta "Encyclopedia"
  9. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica 1911 scan

External links[edit]