Mikalojus Daukša (other possible spellings include Mikalojus Daugsza, Mikołaj Dauksza and Mikolay Dowksza[1]; after 1527 - 1613) was a Lithuanian and Latin[2] religious writer, translator and a Catholic church official. He is best known as the first among Lithuania's humanists to underline the need to codify and promote the Lithuanian language over Chancery Ruthenian and Polish language used at that time in the Grand Duchy[3]. His Lithuanian translation of Ledesma's catechism became the first book in Lithuanian to be published in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Daukša was a canon of Medininkai (modern Varniai, Lithuania) and a royal official of Samogitia[4].


Mikalojus was probably born after 1527 somewhere on the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (among probable birthplaces is Babėnai[5][6]).

Translation of the CatechismEdit

Under the auspices of bishop Melchior Giedroyć, he translated the catechism by Spanish Jesuit theologist Jacobo Ledesma[7]. The book, translated from the Polish translation by Jakub Wujek, was published in 1595, and became one of the means to fight paganism, at that time still present in Lithuania, and to counter the growing threat posed to Catholicism by reformation, promoted in Lithuania by the mighty Radziwiłł family. It was also the first Lithuanian language book to be published in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Publication of the Postilla CatholicaEdit

In 1599 he published yet another of his works, the Lithuanian translation of the Polish language collection of sermons by Jakub Wujek, the "Postilla Catholica"[8]. In his Polish language preface to the translation he advocated the promotion of Lithuanian in the Grand Duchy and gave a brief definition of Lithuanian nation and state[2].

Language UsageEdit

In his translations Daukša used the central High Lithuanian dialect, influenced by both eastern High Lithuanian and Samogitian[6]. As one of pioneers of written Lithuanian, he is credited with introduction of several neologisms into that language, among them mokytojas (teacher), valia (will), įkvėpimas (inspiration) and išmintis (wisdom).


He died February 16, 1613 in Varniai.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Konstantinas Jablonskis (1973). Lietuvių kultūra ir jos veikėjai. Vilnius: Mintis; Lietuvos TSR mokslų akademija. pp. 129. "Mikolay Dowksza" 
  2. ^ a b Eugenija Ulčinajtė (2 2004). "Latinitas jako część litewskiej historii kultury i literatury" (pdf). Terminus (2). Retrieved on 2007-11-7. 
  3. ^ Anna Jamróz, Magdalena Olkuśnik, Elżbieta Wójcik, ed (2001). "DAUKSZA Mikołaj". Popularna encyklopedia powszechna. 3. Kraków: Fogra. ISBN 8385719598. 
  4. ^ Polish Biographical Dictionary
  5. ^ various authors (1969). Gordon B. Ford. ed. Old Lithuanian Texts of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries with a Glossary. The Hague: Mouton. 
  6. ^ a b As cited in: "Mikalojus Dauksa". Postilla 400. Samogitian Cultural Association. Retrieved 2007-11-7. 
  7. ^ Full title in Kathechismas arba mokslas kiekwienam priwalvs. Paraszytas per D. Iakvba Ledesma Theologa Societatis IESV
  8. ^ Full title in: Postilla catholicka. Tai est izguldimas ewangeliu...

See alsoEdit

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