The world’s largest extant medieval manuscript which believed to be written in the early 12th century in the Benedictine monastery in Bohem, is called Codex Gigas orthe Devil’s Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside and the legend surrounding its creation.
The book is one meter long and has a weight of around 75 kilograms, which means you need two people to at least lift it up. According to the legend, the manuscript was written in one single night only by one monk who had made a compact with the devil. The implication is that the devil himself wrote this bible, which is why his portrait adorns it.
However, according to analysis of the ink and penmanship experts claim that manuscript was definitely produced by one person. Most likely the producer of the Devil’s Bible was a monk whose name is mentioned in the index and who probably devoted many years to the task, perhaps as a form of penance. So, the Devil’s Bible was written by one person, but definitely not in a single night.
The Devil’s Bible is considered to be the biggest manuscript discovered on the planet, and according to the experts the bible was written on 160 animal skins. Originally the manuscript contained around 320 sheets of materials which disappeared in the course of time. It still remains unknown why the pages were removed, though there are suggestions that the pages contained the monastic rules of the Benedictines.
Devil’s Bible facts:
- The 310 parchment leaves (620 pages) of the Devil’s Bible are made of vellum, from the processed skins of 160 animals, most probably donkeys. Some pages of the Devil’s Bible are thought to have been removed, and no one knows what happened to them.
- The entire Devil’s Bible is written in Latin. The calligraphy is lavishly luminated throughout.
- Including its wooden case, which is ornamented with metal, the Devil’s Bible is so heavy (about 165 pounds) that it requires at least two adults to carry it.
- The portrait of the devil faces a picture of the “City of Heaven,” the only other image in the Devil’s Bible. Some scholars believe that the picture of Heaven negates the portrait of the devil. Others have noted that no people can be seen in the City of Heaven.
- Also in the Devil’s Bible is the “encyclopedia” by St. Isidore, who, more than a millennium after he lived, is regarded as the patron saint of the Internet. Isidore’s Etymologiae was an attempt to record all universal knowledge of his time, the 7th Century.
The Codex Gigas, aka ‘The Devil’s Bible’ is currently on display at the National Library in Stockholm.