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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A compendium is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. A compendium may summarize a larger work. In most cases the body of knowledge will concern some delimited field of human interest or endeavour (for example, hydrogeology, logology, ichthyology, phytosociology, or myrmecology), while a "universal" encyclopedia can be referred to as a compendium of all human knowledge.

The word compendium arrives from the Latin word "compenso", meaning "to weigh together or balance".

The 21st century has seen the rise of democratized, online compendia in various fields.


An example would be the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a 598-question-and-answer concise book which summarises the same set of Catholic Faith and Morals.

The Bible is another example of a compendium - a group of many writings of the prophets and apostles over a space of time, whose books are put together to form the New Testament and the Old Testament.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Compendium" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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