Polish Library Gets 8th-Century Manuscript of the New Testament
Poland’s National Library has acquired a 1,200-year-old manuscript of the New Testament, the oldest known book in the country, from a young man who was unaware that the wine-stained document, partly eaten by rats, was a priceless treasure, the library said Friday.
Library official Andrzej Piber said that the unidentified man who brought him the illuminated manuscript of 241 pages of sheepskin bound between oak had no idea it dated back to end of the 8th Century.
The volume, which had an anonymous curse written into it sometime during its history, had been eaten by rats in one bottom corner and parts of its top were once apparently soaked in red wine.
However, most of the Latin text, written in minuscule cursive script, was in perfect condition with the green, yellow and reddish colors of the illuminations preserved.
Piber said the owner of the book told the library that he had inherited it from his grandfather.