Charles University’s Oldest Documents
paperback, 64 pp., 1. edition
translation: Starý, Jan
published: april 2019
recommended price: 250 czk
In the year when Charles University celebrate the 670th anniversary of its foundation, it acquired two historical documents that are of significance not only for the university itself but also for the history of Czech and European culture: The original of Pope Clement VI’s charter, dated January 26, 1347, in which the pope gives his consent to the foundation of an institution of higher education in Prague, and the notary instrument initiated by the Chapter of Prague and dated June 30, 1347, which includes a copy of this document and a list of witnesses who verified the authenticity of the copy. It was an extraordinary discovery since the only hitherto known copy of the document was lost at the end of World War II. The documents were intended for the Archbishop of Prague, and from his archive, or the archives of the St. Vitus Chapter, they ended up in private hands under unknown historical circumstances. They were offered to Charles University through a mediator in the second half of June, 2018. The authenticity of the documents has been verified by leading Czech experts in paleography and diplomatics, and both the documents have been deposited in the Charles University Archives. This publication includes a facsimile of the text, a transcription of the Latin text with its Czech translation, a pictorial supplement documenting the current conditions of the two documents, and accompanying essays.