The Devil’s Bible or Codex Gigas, Codex Gigas + Download
Middle Ages. 1230 In a secluded cell of a monastery in Bohemia (Czech Republic), a monk whose terrible sins were kept secret, asks the senior monks to save his life. This monk belonged to the Order of the Benedictines, who were called the Black Monks. They wore black clothes, vowed celibacy and complete obedience, subjected themselves to difficult physical tests, self-flagellation, starvation. However, there were among them weak spirit who succumbed to various temptations. Their mistakes were severely punished, ranging from excommunication to solitary confinement. But the sinful monk is destined to have an even more terrible fate - he must be immured alive in one of the walls of the monastery.
The elder monks were adamant in their decision. Suddenly, on the sinner comes Divine inspiration. He promises that he will write the largest book of his time, which will house the Bible and all the knowledge available to mankind. Such a book will glorify the Benedictine monastery at all times. The monk also promised that he would do such a huge job in just one night. For a long time he begged the elder monks, until they finally agreed to give him the last chance of salvation. If he does not fulfill his promise by morning, the execution will inevitably take place. The sinful monk set to work. He wrote a book to the point of exhaustion. When midnight struck, the monk realized that he could not fulfill his promise, and he decided to conclude a terrible contract: he asked for help from the fallen angel - Satan. Satan responded to the call and helped the monk write the most terrible, mysterious, and most attractive book in the world.
So the legend goes ...
Codex Gigas, (or “The Devil’s Bible”) is a 13th-century long manuscript from Bohemia, one of the historical lands of the Czech Republic. The manuscript, known for its size and striking full-page image of the devil.
Only 2 people can lift this book, made of 160 skins. Legend has it that the Codex Gigas was written by a monk who, after passing his death sentence, according to which the monks were to be walled up alive in a wall, made a deal with the devil. With the help of the Devil, the monk wrote a book in one night (moreover, the devil wrote a self-portrait). Oddly enough, the handwriting in the book is surprisingly clear and the same, as if it were really written in a short period of time. Nevertheless, scientists believe that such work would take from 5 years (if you write without interruption) to 30 years.
This book is considered the most controversial, strange, possessing supernatural appeal. Many great people of this world tried to take possession of her, but she brought all misfortunes to all. The book has become a subject of hunting for many alchemists and magicians. For her sake they killed, sold souls, went to execution. Everyone who has ever seen her testifies to the hidden power coming from the book. It has some kind of diabolical nature, perhaps because on one of the pages the devil himself is depicted in all its "beauty." This medieval manuscript is rightly considered the eighth wonder of the world. It contains the Old and New Testaments, medical recipes, magic spells, 14 Latin texts, “Etymology” by Isidore of Seville, “Bohemian Chronicle” of the medieval chronicler Cosmas of Prague, “The Judean War” by Joseph Flavius, a calendar of church holidays and a list of names of monks of the monastery. The combination of texts in the book is so unique that you will not find such anywhere else. The height of the book is 90 cm., Weight - 74 kg., Width - 49 cm., Thickness - 22 cm. Initially, the book had 640 pages, now it has 624 pages. Many medieval books used material that was similar to parchment. It was made of animal skin. It is said that 160 donkey skins were used to create the devil's bible. The Gigas Codex is the only book in the world in which, next to the Old and New Testaments, there are sacred spells to expel the devil.
For many centuries, scientists and specialists have been asking themselves the same questions: for what purpose was such a book created and who created it? Was it a single person or a group of people? The exact date the manuscript was created is not known. Only the approximate date of completion of work on the book is known - 1230 in medieval Czech Republic. The place of birth of the book is the Czech monastery of the Order of Benedictines in the town of Podlážice. The Gigas Codex “survived” many centuries, many historical events and disasters, and practically “came out of the water” out of all the troubles, but many people who own it were far from lucky. Perhaps the manuscript absorbed the character of the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, which were filled with terrible events: constant wars, epidemics, continuous superstitions. At the end of the XIII century. everyone already knew the legend of the sinful monk who sold his soul to write the devil’s bible. Thanks to the book, the Benedictine monastery really became famous. However, he was threatened by a financial crisis. To avoid complete ruin, the abbot of the monastery decided to sell the Codex Gigas to another monastery. Already at that time it was believed that the possession of such a great book meant high authority and respect. And so the devil’s Bible passes into the possession of the order of white monks who wore a white robe, in contrast to the Benedictines who wore a black robe. The book was moved to the town of Siedlec, which is located near Prague. White monks placed the honorary book in no less honorable place, next to the cemetery, which was consecrated by the earth brought from Calvary itself. Later, the order of white monks also suffered a ruin. The bishop ordered the monks to return the Codex Gigas to the black monks. After this incident, the monastery was struck by a deadly epidemic - the plague. The black death claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people. The cemetery was filled with the bodies of the unfortunate. By the end of the pandemic, about 40 thousand corpses turned these places into catacombs. Today the monastery in Siedlec is a very creepy museum - the ossuary. This is one of the sinister chapters in the history of the devil's bible.
In the 16th century Gigas Codex served as a sort of album. Many churchmen from Prague, secular people visited the Benedictine monastery of Broumov to study the book. One of them was Christopher Schlichting, a supporter of the famous mystic, alchemist and doctor, Paracelsus. In 1565, Crown Prince Rudolph II received the prediction of Nostradamus, which predicted the death of his father. Prince Rudolph was destined to become emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, king of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and the German king. After this prediction, Rudolph shows a lifelong passion for occultism. He longed for Codex Gigas. With the help of various graces and honors shown to the Benedictine monastery, the prince got the location of the abbot of the monastery, and he presented him with a book as a gift. Emperor Rudolph was completely dissolved in the study of the devil's bible. It seemed that a great gain was created for such a great ruler. However, luck soon turned its back on the emperor. He became closed, distracted, prone to paranoia, locked himself in his castle, like an unsociable hermit. Unable to control his power, Rudolph soon loses the support of his subjects. He waged a civil war with his brother Matthias. In 1611, the nobility forced him to abdicate the Czech throne, which was occupied by his brother. The emperor died alone, without leaving behind any heirs. The kingdom of Rudolph was in the hands of his enemies. In 1648, Swedish troops captured Prague. The emperor’s castle was looted, including the royal library. Warriors removed the most outstanding book of the library, the Codex Gigas, from the country.
Having plundered the castle of Emperor Rudolph, the Swedish officers decided to present the Codex Gigas to their unusual monarch - Christine, the only female king in Europe. Christina's father, Gustav II, treated her daughter as if she were his son. He raised, trained and dressed her like a boy. Having ascended the throne, Christina swears an oath not on behalf of the queen, but on behalf of the king. Having received an unusual book from her warriors as a present, Christine ordered her to be placed in the library in the castle. In the official list, the Codex is the first of all valuable manuscripts. However, Christine was not destined to keep him for a long time. Less than ten years later, in 1654, Christine abdicated. She converted to the Catholic faith and went to Rome. Having collected her most valuable things on the road, the queen did not take the Codex Gigas with her. And the devil’s bible remained in Stockholm.
At the end of the 16th century. in 1697, King Charles XI of Sweden died in a royal castle in Stockholm. Suddenly, a flame of fire flares up in the castle. The royal family was forced to leave their monastery. Servants save everything that can be saved from fire. One of the servants threw Codex Gigas out of the castle window. Thus, a strange, mysterious book was saved from the fire. Did this book really bring misfortune to its owners, or did the natural, preordained course of events draw a parallel next to the procession of the Codex Gigas? It is possible that all this is just a coincidence, but maybe not.
The almost inhuman work, Codex Gigas, however, was created by one simple person. The writing by which the entire book is written is very uniform. While writing the book, the author could lose his eyesight, suffer from illnesses and grow old, but scientists have not found obvious errors in the Code. It is simply impossible to believe in such a colossal work, especially when you saw it with your own eyes. Perhaps that is why the well-known legend was born about the sentenced monk who sold his soul to the devil. Evidence that this book was written by one person was found by scientists and experts during an investigation conducted using text analysis, handwriting, and paper and ink sampling. In the Middle Ages, the monks themselves made ink. Inks were of two types: made from metal and from ground insect hives. If Codex Gigas was written by one person, then ink should have been of only one kind. Scientists have proven that the book used ink made only from insect hives, which means that the author was alone. The features of calligraphic handwriting also prove the validity of such a hypothesis. It can be assumed that working non-stop, around the clock, the monk scribe could cope with such a giant creation in 20-30 years, and certainly not in one night. The fact that a monk convicted of sins worked on the Code can be explained by the fact that in medieval monasteries, rewriting of holy books was a common form of punishment. Then it was believed that a person can atone for his sins by rewriting sacred texts. It is possible that the scribe created instructions for his own salvation, because the content of the book focuses on caring for the body and mind, on protecting the immortal soul.
Some features of the drawings in the Gigas Codec indicate that its author was a good artist, but far from a professional. He just wanted to make his work bigger, thicker than it was before him. Perhaps he was a talented self-taught. Usually professional scribe monks worked in huge rooms called scriptories. The monks had their own techniques and methods. If you take a medieval manuscript and compare it with the Gigas Codex, you can immediately see the difference. The codex looks old-fashioned and pretty unprofessional. However, such an amateur and a novice raised a real sensation around his work. After all, to create a full-height drawing of the devil was a very impudent and dangerous act. In the harsh Middle Ages, people believed that those who did or said something different from others were under the control of evil spirits.
It was the image of the unclean on 290 pages of the Gigas Code that brought the manuscript unkind fame. No joke, in any other bible there is such a huge drawing, the true embodiment of evil. Half man, half monster with a forked red tongue and clawed arms raised up. The devil wears the skin of an ermine, which symbolizes the highest power. Perhaps this is what Satan looked like from a legend. However, the artist portrayed the monster as if it was locked in the walls of its own evil. The author deprived him of his usual freedom, which no one had done before him. The character of the image of the devil can tell a lot about the time in which the author lived, about his psychology, about his education. In the Middle Ages, Dark Ages, people were not sure of anything, their life was constantly exposed to various threats, and they believed that threats come only from the devil. Therefore, the devil bothered their minds more than turning to God.
People nicknamed the Gigas Codex the Devil’s Bible for a reason. In addition to the image of the unclean, the book contains a group of witchcraft spells, and also describes the ritual "expelling the devil." The cunning striker was the greatest fear of medieval man, the attacker and penetrating into human nature. To cope with such a misfortune, it was necessary to conduct a terrible and frightening ritual of expelling the devil, where the priest and the victim fought for the soul of the possessed. There are also interesting points in which particularly superstitious personalities see a sign of obsession with evil. Firstly, immediately after the image of the devil, 8 pages were torn out. It is not known what was written on the missing pages, but this only fueled the interest of the superstitious public. Secondly, after the fire of 1697, in which the Codex Gigas nearly died, strange shadows appeared on some of its pages. Moreover, these shadows appeared on those pages that are adjacent to the image of the devil. And it is a page with a well-known design that seems darker than all other pages. But ... These shadows can also be explained. They could appear on the pages due to the ultraviolet radiation, which was constantly exposed to the material of the book - the skin, practically blowing it out. For many centuries, people paid attention, first of all, to the drawing of the devil, which testifies to the irrepressible human interest in the evil one.
The Gigas Codex is a unique creation, the largest medieval book, completed in several decades by one person. This man managed to glorify his creation for centuries, but he modestly left his personality in the shade. No one knows who this man was. However, there is a version that the book was written by a hermit monk named Hermit Hermit, as evidenced by the entry in the list of names in the book - Hermanus Monahus Inclusus.
It is possible that the legend of the sinful monk was based on a misinterpretation of the Latin word found in the Gigas Codex - Inclusus, which means "conclusion". For many years the meaning of this word was regarded as a terrible punishment, i.e. the walled up alive, but the word itself is much closer in meaning to the word "recluse". So, the terrible legend, which still excites the fears of superstitious people, can be refuted and proved that this is just a legend. The scribe was most likely a hermit monk who voluntarily retired to his cell, i.e. having departed from the outside world and from its temptations. For this monk, Codex Gigas could be a quest for insight, as well as the work of his whole life. Far from evil, he was inspired, but a divine blessing. He gave people hope for salvation, gave them the opportunity to choose, showed this choice in the form of drawings located opposite each other - a drawing of the devil and a drawing of the Kingdom of Heaven. Good and evil are measured by forces before eternity in the pages of the Codex Gigas.
The Gigas Codex is located in Stockholm within the walls of the Swedish Royal Library. In 2007, the Codex Gigas was first exhibited in its homeland in the Czech Republic in Prague. Despite the mysteries uncovered, the huge manuscript will continue to arouse people's interest, will evoke in their minds the images of a strange hermit monk, creating a unique creation of his tireless hands. In one, the legend turned out to be right: the monk really ventured to create a book that glorified not only certain places, but also certain events that influenced the course of history.