The Codex Gigas [Giant Book] is the largest known medieval manuscript. It is also referred to as the Devil’s Bible, on the one hand because there is a large illustration of the Devil inside and on the other because of the legend surrounding its creation. The work contains the Vulgate Bible as well as many historical documents, all written in Latin.
The general consensus is that it was written in the early 13th century in the Benedictine Monastery at Podlazice in Bohemia, which was destroyed in the 15th century. The last text to be added is dated 1229.
The codex was later found in the Cistercian monastery at Sedlec near Kutná Hora and was then bought by the Benedictines of Brevnov Monastery The 1477 to 1593 the book was kept in the library of Broumov Monastery until in 1594, when it was bought by Rudolf II. in 1648, during the Thirty Year’s War, most of the emperor’s collection was stolen by the Swedish army, including the Codex Gigas, now at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm.
The Codex, 92cm high, 50cm wide and 22cm thick, is bound in a wooden folder covered with leather and metal. It weighs over 75kgand contains 310 sheets of parchment in perfect condition. Although it originally had 320 sheets made from the skins of 160 donkeys, some were removed for unknown reasons – perhaps because they set down the monastic rules of the Benedictines.
According to a medieval legend, the author of the Codex was a monk who broke his vows and was sentenced to be walled up alive. To avoid this terrible punishment, he promised to create the book in one night.
Around midnight, unable to complete this task alone, he addressed a prayer, not to God but to the fallen angel Lucifer, with whom he made a pact, delivering his soul in exchange for finishing the book. The book was then completed by Lucifer, and in his gratitude the monk added the image of the Devil. Experts estimate the time it would have taken to write the codex as around 20 years!!!