In the very end of the Thirty Years’ War was discovered one of the most mysterious books of all times – Codex Gigas or the Devil’s bible.
The summer of 1648, the famous Thirty Years’ War was nearing the end. This war was a destructive ambivalence that altered the political and religious map of central Europe.
A Swedish army sent to ravage around Prague collected many valued things. Along with them, there was the Devil’s Bible also.
As a matter of fact, there are lots of tales and legends regarding Codex Gigas. However, one of them steps out and it’s called Goethe’s Faust.
The story explains how the book was created in a single night, by a monk who had broken his religious commitment.
Because of his acts, he was about to suffer a cruel sentence; however, he saved himself with an agreement to compose a book that would combine the whole variety of knowledge that mankind possessed. Moreover, he pledged he will finish the book in only one night.
But, the time was going fast and the monk was getting desperate. In a moment of despair, he summoned Lucifer and asked for his help.
The monk sold his soul to the Devil and in return, he got help into finishing the book. In the same moment, it was ready, the Devil signed the document with a self-portrait of himself.
Just because of this depiction of the Devil that prowls wrapped inside the script, the book is also famous as the Devil’s Bible.
Of course, what we just wrote it is only according to the mainstream legend. The reality, on the other hand, says the manuscript took three decades to be done.
However, the paleographer Michael Gullick made a careful study of the full book. He confirmed that it was only one person who wrote it.
This means that the unknown writer probably spent a large part of his life creating this book.
The most genuine belief is that the author was a monk who lived in Bohemia during the 13th century.
Codex Gigas is 8.7 inches thick, measures 165 pounds and it contains 310 paper pages.
In width, the book is around 20 inches and in height, amazing 36 inches. At least two persons are required to get this book lifted.
Over the course of time, many pages have been lost. Some people theorize the pages were removed on purpose.
The Codex was supposed to be a historical work. This justifies the other texts in, besides the Old Testament.
There are The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities from Flavius Josephus of the 1st century AD.
It also contains a 7th-century encyclopedia by St. Isidor of Seville, the Chronicle of Bohemia by a Bohemian monk known as Cosmas who lived between 1045 and 1125 and shorter medicinal texts.
The Devil’s portrait is unquestionably one of the book’s most mysterious aspects. But, these kind of portraits weren’t something rare in medieval Europe.
On the picture, the Devil looks quite big and his torso leans toward the reader. He also appears to be naked except for the covering cloth.
The cloth is a representative of royalty and that’s why the picture is defined as a depiction of the Devil as the Prince of Darkness.
After three centuries spent in Stockholm, the Devil’s Bible was transferred back to Prague in 2007. It was there for one whole year when in 2009 it was highlighted in the Treasures exhibit of the National Library of Sweden.
Even though the book is no longer open for public observation, those who are interested can examine its digital transcription online.