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Armen Ryabov
Armen Ryabov

The Codex Gigas: The Devil's Bible

The Codex Gigas: The Devil's Bible

The Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil's Bible, is a massive medieval manuscript that contains several texts, including the complete Latin Vulgate Bible. It is famous for its full-page illustration of the devil and its legends of being written by a monk in one night with the help of Satan.

The Codex Gigas was created in the 13th century in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic. It measures 92 cm (36 in) in length, 50 cm (20 in) in width, and 22 cm (8.7 in) in thickness. It weighs about 74 kg (165 lb) and has 310 parchment leaves (620 pages). It is bound in wooden boards covered with leather and metal fittings.


The Codex Gigas contains several texts, including:

  • The Old and New Testaments

  • Two works by the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius: The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities

  • The Etymologies by Isidore of Seville, a 7th-century encyclopedia of various subjects

  • The Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas of Prague, a 12th-century history of Bohemia

  • Medical texts by Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantine the African

  • A calendar with necrologies and magic formulas

  • A list of brothers from the monastery where the codex was made

The most striking feature of the Codex Gigas is the full-page illustration of the devil on folio 290 recto (page 577). The devil is depicted in a crouching position with large horns, red eyes, clawed feet, and two long tongues. He is surrounded by two towers and holds his hands up in a gesture of defiance or power. The image has been interpreted as a symbol of evil, sin, or the Antichrist.

The Codex Gigas has a mysterious origin and history. According to one legend, it was written by a monk who broke his vows and was sentenced to be walled up alive. In order to avoid this fate, he promised to write a book that would contain all human knowledge in one night. He realized that he could not complete the task alone, so he made a pact with the devil, who helped him finish the book in exchange for his soul. The devil then added his portrait as a sign of his ownership.

Another legend says that the codex was stolen by a thief who hid it in his backpack and fled from the monastery. However, the weight of the book was so heavy that he collapsed on the way and was caught by the monks. The thief then confessed his crime and revealed the location of the book.

The Codex Gigas has been owned by various rulers and institutions over time. It was taken from Bohemia to Sweden as war booty in 1648 during the Thirty Years' War. It was kept in Stockholm until 1697, when it was damaged by a fire that destroyed most of the royal castle. It was then moved to the Royal Library of Sweden, where it remains today.

The Codex Gigas is a unique and fascinating artifact that offers a glimpse into the medieval world of religion, culture, and art. It is also a source of mystery and intrigue for its legends and secrets. If you are interested in learning more about this remarkable book, you can visit its official website at or download a PDF version at 0efd9a6b88


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