Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Devil's Bible

The Codex Gigas is a wood-bound 13th century manuscript at the National Library of Sweden consisting of 620 pages that are each nearly three feet long, and weighing in at 165 pounds. It is also known as the Devil's Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside. It is the largest existing medieval manuscript and would have taken between 5 to 30 years for the single scribe to complete. The codex is believed to have been created by Herman the Recluse in the Benedictine monastery of Podla┼żicenear Chrudim in the Czech Republic. The manuscript contains the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, as well as an assortment of other texts that tackle everything from practical instructions for exorcisms to seventh-century grammar tips written by Isidore, the scholar-turned saint of Seville.

There is a legend that says the author monk resolved to write the world’s biggest book in one night. To do so he required the help of the Devil. Their deal? All the monk had to do was paint a full-page portrait of Beelzebub in the Codex and hand over his mortal soul.

More: Atlas Obscura


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