The Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas (or ‘Giant Book”) is also known as “The Devil’s Bible.” A curious illustration of Lucifer gives the tome its nickname.
The 13th-century manuscript is thought to have been created solely by a Herman the Recluse, a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice near Chrudim in Czech Republic. The calligraphy style is amazingly uniform throughout, believed to have taken 25 to 30 years of work. There are no notable mistakes or omissions. Pigment analysis revealed the ink to be consistent throughout. The book is enormous - it measures 36.2” tall, 19.3” wide, and 8.6” thick; it weighs approximately 165 pounds. There are 310 vellum leaves (620 pages). The leaves are bound in a wooden folder covered with leather and ornate metal.
The manuscript is elaborately illuminated in red, blue, yellow, green and gold. The entire document is written in Latin, and also contains Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. The first part of the text includes the Vulgate version of the Bible. Between the Old and New Testaments are Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, as well as Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymologiae and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus. Following a blank page, the New Testament commences.
Beginning the second part is a depiction of the devil. Directly opposite is a full picture of the kingdom of heaven, juxtaposing the “good versus evil.” The second half, following the picture of the devil, is Cosmas of Prague's Chronicle of Bohemia. A list of brothers in the Podlažice monastery and a calendar with necrologium, magic formulae and other local records round out the codex. Record entries end in the year 1229CE.
In 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish army invaded Prague and the Codex was stolen as plunder. It is now held at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. For more information, check out this short National Geographic documentary and/or flip through this digital copy.
( Wikipedia entry, et. al)
Several short National Geographic videos ~
One Helluva Book
Who Wrote The Devil’s Bible?
The Devil’s Bible - Part 1.flv (9:59) (derived from full video bleow)
The Devil’s Bible - Part 2.flv (9:59) (derived from full video below)
** If you have the least amount of intellectual curiosity or interest in history, the short vids above will only whet your appetite: might as well grab a cold drink & some popcorn, then settle in to watch the whole thing ~
NatGeo : The Devil’s Bible - Full video (44:58)