Codex Gigas

Codex Gigas (the Devil’s Bible) - the largest manuscript in the world

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Codex Gigas, otherwise known as ‘the Devil’s Bible’ is the largest and probably one of the strangest manuscripts in the world.  It is so large that it is said to have taken more than 160 animal skins to make it and takes at least two people to lift it.  It measures approximately 1 metre in length.

According to legend, the medieval manuscript was made out of a pact with the ‘devil’, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Devil’s Bible. It was written in Latin during the 13th century AD, and although the origin of the manuscript is unknown, a note in the manuscript states that it was pawned in the monastery at Sedlec in 1295.

Codex GigasThe story behind the making of Codex Gigas (“the giant codex”) is that it was the work of one monk who was sentenced to death by being walled up alive. Indeed, an analysis on the text does suggest that it was written by just one scribe due to the level of uniformity throughout.  The legend says that the monk produced the manuscript in just one night… with the devil’s help. However, it is not known where this legend started and it is suspected that it was religiously propagated.

Stories and legends say that the Codex Gigas brought disaster or illness on whoever possessed it during its history.  Fortunately, the National Library in Stockholm, where it is currently housed, appears immune to the curse of the codex!

Codex Gigas contains a complete vulgate Latin translation of the Bible as well as five other major texts. It begins with the Old Testament and continues with ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ by Flavius Josephus (1st century AD; ‘Encyclopedia Etymologiae’ by Isidore of Seville (6th century AD); a collection of medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus and others; the New Testament; and ‘The Chronicle of Bohemia’ by Cosmas of Prague (1050 AD).

Smaller texts are also included in the manuscript with the most famous ones including: text on exorcism, magic formulas, a picture of the Heavenly City, and a full page illustration of the Devil.  The illustration is the reason why legend says the codex was written with the devil’s help. 

According to the National Geographic, it would take one person working continuously, day and night, for five years to recreate the contents of Codex Gigas by hand (excluding the illustrations). Therefore, realistically it would have taken at least 25 years for the scribe to create the codex from scratch. Yet, all this time, the writing retained an incredible uniformity from start to finish. This may be the source of the legend which says that the monk wrote it in just one day.

The manuscript is currently displayed at the National Library in Stockholm where you can also view the digital pages of the Codex. Anyone in Sweden should pay a visit to the see Codex Gigas – and do not be afraid, it is quite safe to read the so-called Devil’s Bible!

Related Links

Codex Gigas – National Library of Sweden

Codex Gigas – Wikipedia

Codex Gigas: Devil’s Bible or Just an Old books?

Related Videos

By John Black

Comments

It really is a big book. It has 310 pages and measures 36.2" tall, 19.7" wide, 8.6" thick and weighs 165lbs. I have made small books before (around 100 pages and filled them by hand) and I can't imagine making one this size. Truely amazing.

archaeologyrocks

Wow!

Well structured, well written and informative.
The article inspired me to register and make this comment.

the creation of white man blonde hair blue eye! lol i believe we have a god and he has children Jesus and Aliens we dont remember and we r gonna meet some sunny day! I gotta whatch and listen again. Enoch the man who never dies! ok now i gotta listen for the math to time and space found in genisis this must be a pice too! math is word equations like in school joe went to suzies he left at ten ect. but they changed the words. Man was here then they came! Mated! I my self have blonde hair blue eye and in my family the irish blonde and blue or red and blue or green hazel are dominate over dark hair and eye genes. opposite of science!

Your family's genes aren't shown as the opposite of science. You just have recessive genes on both sides that are expressed often since both sides contribute the recessive gene. Of course the more matings of people with recessive genes the more kids with recessive genes who can only basically contribute those. If a person has brown eyes (dominant) but also has the recessive gene and contributes that to offspring, then if that happens on both sides, generally the offspring will have light eyes barring some mutations or other events.

As to all the rest..well...interesting.

Ugh, you people, and you're fanatic belief that your genes are somehow better because they're SO different.

Amazing the dedication of these monks, the hours and years they would spend in the often dimly-lit, cold scriptoriums to produce these works of art. No wonder books were so treasured!

malisa wright

I would to read this thing, especially since it hints on books from the bible. We need someone to make a digital copy of this book. I doubt there is anything evil about this book, stories are often fabricated to garner "publicity".

angieblackmon's picture

has anyone had the pleasure of viewing this item in the museum? a digital copy would be amazing, but i think it would depend on if the museum people would do it and what kind of condition the book is currently in!

love, light and blessings

AB

There's a documentary about this "Codex Gigas" on Netflix...it's a useless book, so it's kept locked in a box. And if they would bother displaying this book, they'll probably use it dogmatically by displaying the pages with the devil-goat and heaven city.

A digital copy sure would be nice to peruse. Something this amazing should be more accessible to more people to study.

malisa wright

This is interesting but the narrator made an error on the root of the word. Codex & gigas are both Ancient Greek words not Latin.

okay so we decided a digital copy would be good, but what about this...."why does this book exsist"? most books are written with a purpose, some intent, so what is there behind this book.

...if you know where to look, 438 MB pdf is the version I have...unfortunatly in latin so I can´t understand a goddamn thing, would like to aquire a translated version...

Codex Gigas online
blogs.library.uvic.ca/index.../codex-gigas-online‎
University of Victoria
Sep 3, 2008 - This early 13th-century Codex Gigas or Devil's Bible at the National ... It is now browseable online, with a digitized version of every page of the ..

Why is the devil depicted wearing a diaper?

It's a poorly drawn out loincloth... Supposed to represent native pagans, or something.

And it represents royalty and sovereignty, as in, "Satan is king of this world."

Truly interesting. I wonder just how many people have actually read the whole thing start to finish.

Book was written by a recluse monk, took at least 15-20 years Orr maybe 10 years to write it out. The illustration with the goat-devil is facing another illustration of a "heavenly" city...e two pages are also appearing to be stained most likely due to ultraviolet rays from the suns, because well, you know, everyone is just SO mesmerized by the depiction of the devil, o.o# 

do you believe they'll ever make tangible copies?? i would spend the money to have one

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