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10/03/2005Prague eyes rare Czech text in Paris auction
PRAGUE, March 9 (AFP) - The Czech national library will make a bid next week for a rare 14th-century book fragment to be sold at auction in Paris, a library official said Wednesday.
Library staff want to acquire a valuable fragment of a Latin translation of the Czech Dalimil Chronicle, which is to be auctioned on March 17.
The tiny booklet, the most valuable of the old and modern manuscripts in the auction, could fetch as much as EUR 1 million (USD 1.35 million), the library's Zdenek Uhlir said.
"Opinion is clearly subjective in the case of national heritage items," said Uhlir, head of the National Library manuscripts and old prints department.
The Dalimil Chronicle is the oldest Czech language verse text. Even though the fragment is tiny, it is extremely valuable because of its rare character, value and importance for Czech literature and history, said Uhlir.
The fragment of the Latin translation dates back to around 1340, only some 30 years after the original Dalimil Chronicle was written.
The 245x175 millimetre booklet consists of 24 richly illuminated parchment pages. Of the 106 chapters of the Dalimil Chronicle, it comprises only two complete chapters and fragments of another seven.
The chronicle, an ode to patriotism and to the independence of the Bohemian Kingdom, calls for resistance to foreign enemies.
But the national library would need a permit from the French state if it acquired the fragment and wanted to take it to the Czech Republic.
Subject: French News
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