On the 5th of November 1997, a special meeting was held in the CU Catholic Theological Faculty to celebrate the occasion of the 650th anniversary of the founding of CU. The event, part of the general programme of celebrations for the anniversary, was attended by the CU Pro-Rector Prof. Pavel Klener, the CU Questor Josef Kubicek, representatives of the Protestant and Hussite Theological Faculties of CU, Deans of other CU faculties and representatives of the other theological faculties in the Czech Republic. Also present were the High Chancellor of the Catholic Faculty and Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Miroslav Vlk, the Apostolic Nuncio in the Czech Republic Archbishop Giovanni Coppa, and representatives of other Czech and Moravian church organizations. The gathering listened to a letter from the Substituus of the Vatican State Secretariat, in which Pope John Paul sent the meeting his greetings and apostolic blessing. The letter to the members of the Catholic Faculty included the following words: "The Holy Father, remembering his earlier pastoral visit to Prague, that important intellectual centre, sets great value on the contribution made by this institute to the enrichment of theological studies, and he sincerely wishes the school all the best in its further academic work in the service of theology and Christian culture." The celebratory programme included lectures on the history and activities of the Theological Faculty in the pre-Hussite period, which were given by the Dean of the Faculty Prof. ThDr. Jaroslav Polc, Prof. ThDr. Jaroslav Kadlec and Prof. PhDr. Stanislav Sousedik.
With a symbolic cutting of a tape on the 11th of September 1997 the Rector of Charles University, Prof. Karel Maly opened the new library at the CU Law Faculty. The ceremony was attended by important guests - the Minister of Justice Vlasta Parkanova, the Chairman of the Czech High Court Otakar Motejl, members of the CU leadership, and representatives of the Union of Czech Lawyers and Prague cultural organizations. The demanding reconstruction of the original library, which had become quite inadequate to the faculty's current needs, had been carried out by 1st Czech Construction Prague Ltd., starting in June of last year. The new library was built with major support from the Ministries of Education and Justice and the Charles University authorities. In the words of the CU Rector, the Law Faculty and Charles University now have "a library which is more than up to European standard and is unique in its technical level and equipment. This is a facility worthy of the 21st Century." The level of any faculty may be judged by the quality, equipment and comprehensive character of the services of its library. The new Law Faculty library possesses more than 280,000 volumes of specialist literature mainly in the field of law. It also offers nearly 300 journals, Czech and foreign dailies and electronic databases. In the words of the Director of the Institute for the History of CU and CU Archives, Prof. Josef Petran, the CU Law Library owns one of the best preserved collections of old editions of academic literature to be found in Czech libraries. This, the most modern university library in the entire Czech Republic offers, in addition to classical library services (reading, lending, inter-library and international loans), reprographic, reference and advisory services including information search from databases on the university's computer network. The spacious modern interior with barrier-free access and a huge depository (5 kilometres of books are stored there) has 200 places for users and combines free selection of publications on open shelves with independent user access to electronic sources of information (readers' records are also electronically stored and processed). The library is designed not just for students and teachers of the CU Law Faculty, but also for students of other universities and the non-academic professional and lay public. It is open daily, from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
On the 17th of September 1997, in a ceremony in the Great Hall of the Carolinum which preceded the graduation ceremony of the CU Faculty of Social Sciences, two students were awarded Josef Vavrousek Prizes.
The Josef and Petra Vavrousek Foundation gives these prizes, now for the second year, to students who have produced the most interesting work on the theme of the environment, since it was the fate of nature and civilization that was at the forefront of the interests of doc. Ing. Josef Vavrousek, the Vice Dean of the CU Faculty of Social Sciences whose distinguished career was cut short by his tragic death. Last year a total of ten candidates were entered for the prize instituted in his memory, and two received awards for their diploma theses: The Law on Protection of Forests and Forest Management in the Czech Republic and Abroad by Petra Ledvinkova, a student at the Department of Environmental Law at the CU Law Faculty, and Chances and Possibilities of Ecological Economics by Marek Scasny, a student at the Institute of Economy of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Both were presented with their prizes by the Dean of the CU Faculty of Social Sciences Prof. Lubomir Mlcoch, CSc. and by Ing. Eva Vavrouskova, representing the Josef and Petra Vavrousek Foundation. "The winning entries build, as it were, two intellectual arches over our threatened nature", said Prof. Mlcoch before presenting the prizes, "and I am happy to see that many students do not hesitate to pose the questions of life and death importance that were close to the heart of Josef Vavrousek."
On the 21st of October 1997, Prof. Eberhard Jungel, Professor of Systematic Theology at the Protestant Faculty of Tubingen University, visited the CU Protestant Theological Faculty. In addition to his work in evangelical dogmatics, Professor Jungel has made important contributions to New Testament theology, fundamental theology and philosophical hermeneutics. His most significant publication to date is his monograph, God as the Mystery of the World. At the faculty in Prague he delivered a lecture on the subject "Conscience - what is it?"
The Protestant Faculty received another important German visitor on the 29th of October, 1997. This was Prof. Eduard Lohse, Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Gottingen. He has several times been Bishop of the Lutheran Land Church in Hanover. His most important publications include a bilingual (Hebrew-German) edition of texts from Qumran, commentaries on a number of books of the Bible and a standard university textbook. At the CU Protestant Theological Faculty he spoke on the theme of "The Truth of the Easter Tidings."
The Goethe Institute in Prague and the Czech Christian Academy were joint organizers of both lectures.
During the matriculation ceremony for new students of the Hussite Theological Faculty, which took place on the 29th of September in the Carolinum, a new faculty mace was blessed (a photograph of the mace was printed in the first number of FORUM this year on the back of the jacket). The faculty symbol was made in the workshops of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Sofrin, where religious objects are manufactured. This was also one of the reasons why the mace was blessed by the Orthodox Archbishop Dorotei, Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Orthodox Christians - alongside those of other denominations - study at the Hussite Theological Faculty. The ceremony was also attended by the Patriarch of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, Josef Spak (most of the theologians at the Faculty are from the Hussite Church), and the newly consecrated bishop of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic, Dusan Hejbal (Old Catholics have been studying at the HTF since 1966 and Bishop Hejbal is a former student at the faculty).
The blessing of the youngest mace in the Carolinum collection meant the official inauguration of the faculty insignia.
In 1996, Charles University and with it the Czech public failed to use the unrepeatable opportunity to remind itself and the world of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of two Prague-born scientists who studied and graduated together at Prague University and after years of research - already living abroad and at the height of distinguished careers - were together honoured by the Nobel Prize for fundamental contributions to the understanding of the material transformation of saccharides. Prague has other Nobel laureates, although not, of course, enough to make them commonplace: it has "only" Suttnerova, Heyrovsky, Seifert .... and then Gerta and Carl Cori, after the Curies and Joliot-Curies the third married couple to win the prize. Mrs. Cori (apart from being the third woman Nobel laureate in science) also has two incontestable firsts: she was the first woman citizen of the USA to be awarded the Nobel Prize, and the first woman in history to be awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine.
The failure to honour their anniversary only underlines how bizarrely we have overlooked a couple who have contributed to the glory of Prague as the birthplace of the famous. This shameful tradition of neglect was easy to explain in the past. Neither the Nazi nor the communist dictatorship, always so ready to exploit the international achievements of any person for their own ends, could fit Gerta and Carl into their "ideological straitjacket", and so, unable to parasite on their fame, they preferred to pretend that the Coris did not and had never existed, or at the very most existed somewhere in the distance and were no concern of Prague. In this way whole generations of people grew up who for the most part had never heard the name of Cori at any level of their school education (if they did not study biochemistry or medicine, where the terms Cori Ester, Cori Cycle, and Cori Disease were part of basic terminology).
The dictatorships are gone, but their effects clearly linger on. Mere shame, and excuses for the missed jubilee are not, however, sufficient. The careers of the Coris offered us an immediate and almost equal way to make amends, since they won the Nobel Prize in 1947, exactly fifty years ago! Moreover, 1994 is the fortieth anniversary of Gerta's death. These are, then, the more than formal reasons why, in the framework of the celebrations for the 650th anniversary of the founding of Charles University, the CU 3rd Medical Faculty organized a seminar on the Coris on the 5th of December 1997. Its aim was to present a new, up-to-date view of the legacy of Gerta and Carl Cori after fifty years, and to mark their return to the memory of the nation.
The celebrations of the 650th anniversary of the founding of Charles University are being accompanied by an exciting series of exhibitions, among them the exhibition of the microphotography of doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc., a member of the staff of the CU Medical Faculty in Plzen. It is entitled Looking into the Microworld - the Hidden Beauty of Creation, and was opened in the Cloister of the Carolinum on the 19th of November 1997. In the words of Prof. MUDr. Josef Koutecky, DrSc., CU Pro-Rector for External Relations and well acquainted with Reischig's work, "Doc. Josef Reischig is a scientist and artist in one man. His photography introduces a new world, the world of the unbelievably beautiful ultrastructure of organic and inorganic matter in a dimension that we previously did not know, and so overlooked. He offers us the chance to expand our own horizons and to become truly aware that the most perfect creator of all is Nature - both from the scientific and aesthetic point of view."
For almost ten years, joint research by the CU Philosophical Faculty's Institute for Classical Archaeology and the Archaeological Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences has been underway at the most important Roman site in the republic - the Roman camp in Musov. Around Musov, the site of the only ancient baths and house with central heating (hypokaust) discovered in the area of the Mid-Danubian barbarian lands, we now know - thanks mainly to aerial photography - that there were around ten other Roman camps. The archaeologists have succeeded in making a detailed survey of the fortification of Musov, where the crown of the defensive mound was built of dried bricks (adobe), and it has also been discovered that the fortified area was much bigger than expected and was linked to a a dam on the river Dyje. Construction material had evidently been brought through Moravia and on the Dyje to Musov, since most of the bricks found here clearly come from Vindobona, today Vienna. A quantity of fragments of Roman weapons, traces of a fire and burial of horses in the ditch surrounding the camp show that the end of the military outpost was violent, and that an important battle took place here. Not far from the Roman position the archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a German magnate, buried with the highest quality Roman bronze and silver vessels, cavalry equipment, silver jewelry and many glass vases. Some of the objects in the tomb were made as early as the 1st Century AD, but the latest come from the period of the Marcoman Wars, when the barbarian magnate died and was buried.
The main settlement of Musov dates to the period of the Marcoman wars. Some finds near the river (todays dams, which have drowned the village of Musov), seem, however, to suggest that an older camp existed here, perhaps in the period of Tiberius's campaign against Marobudus at the beginning of the 1st Century AD.
Among the coins discovered at the site the most frequent show Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina the younger (among others, one gold coin in an excellent state of preservation). The oldest coins among the new discoveries date from the reign of Nero, but these evidently remained in circulation for a long time. There are also some ring gemmas - the subjects are musical (Pan with his pipe and military trumpets with birds), or represent other deities. One gemma depicts Hermes, and another, the best in terms of quality, the head of the sun god - Helios; the latter was made at the end of the Roman republic.
On a fragment of Roman armour from the Tenth Legion (the legion whose brickworks supplied Musov with bricks and rooftiles), is the inscription Bruti , and it is not without interest that V. Brutius Praesens was the name of the father of Crispina, the wife of Marcus's co-ruler and successor Commodus, who accompanied his father-in-law on the military campaign of the two caesars. The armour belonged to a junior officer, but he evidently took on an unusual name (such name-taking was common) from his far more important namesake. As is well-known, Marcus Aurelius wrote the greater part of his famous book, Meditations during the military campaign against the Marcomans and Quadii, in the area of southern Moravia and south-western Slovakia, which had almost become a Roman province when the death of the Ceasar in 180 AD halted expansion. On the whole of this territory, distant as it was from the Danube, we know only one fortress with a luxuriously equipped baths and central heating, worthy of a Caesar's visit. It is therefore quite possible that Marcus Aurelius wrote part of his celebrated humanistic book in Musov.