Codex Gigas means Giant Book. It is the largest surviving text from the medieval period which contains all the knowledge human possessed at the time including the old and new testament of vulgate Bible, the encyclopedia by St.Isidore, medicines and rituals to ward off evil spirit from human body. According to historians this book originated in the Benedictine Monastery of Czech Republic around early 13th century or late 12th century.
This book is 92cm long, 50cm wide and 22cm thick. This book weighing 74.8Kg is bound by wooden folder that is covered by leather and ornate metal. Its pages are made of 310 leaves of vellum. It is estimated that these leaves of vellum were made from the skin of 160 donkeys or maybe calfskin.
Why is this book known as the Devil’s Bible?
There’s nothing in the texts of the book that can be said to be the writing of a Devil but a full-page coloured illustration of a devil on page number 290 earned the book its nickname- the Devil’s Bible. It is said that it is the only bible of the time that illustrates Satan himself. There’s legend that tells the tale about the book and gives the reason why there’s the devil in the book and why the book is really Devil’s Bible.
What’s the legend behind the Devil’s Bible?
The legend recorded in the middle ages tells that there was a monk who was to be walled alive in punishment because he had broken his vows. To escape this harsh death penalty he offered to write a book that would contain all human knowledge and glorify the monastery forever, in just a one night’s time. When the midnight neared he knew that he would not be able to finish the book until morning, so he bowed in prayer for help.
Here comes the climax of the story! The monk did not pray for God’s help. He rather prayed to the fallen angel Lucifer and offered him his soul in exchange for the help. The devil agreed to the pact and finished the book in the matter of seconds. As gratitude the monk drew the Devil’s picture in the book. Yet another version of the story says that Lucifer himself made his picture as his signature to testify his work.