Devil's Bible or Codex Gigas, Codex Gigas + Download
Middle Ages. 1230 In a secluded monastery cell in Bohemia (Czech Republic), a monk whose terrible transgressions were kept secret, asks senior monks to save his life. This monk belonged to the order of the Benedictines, who were called Black monks. They wore black clothes, gave a vow of celibacy and complete obedience, subjected themselves to severe physical tests, self-flagellation, starvation. However, there were some among them weak in spirit, who succumbed to various temptations. Their mistakes were severely punished, ranging from excommunication to solitary confinement. The sinful monk is prepared for 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 divine inspiration descends upon the sinner. He promises that he will write the largest book of his time in which the Bible and all the knowledge available to humanity will be placed. Such a book will glorify the Benedictine monastery for all times. The monk also promised that he would perform such a huge labor in just one night. For a long time he begged the senior monks, until they finally agreed to give him one last chance for salvation. If he does not fulfill his promise by morning, the execution will inevitably take place. Sinful monk set to work. He wrote the book until exhaustion. When the monk struck midnight, he realized that he could not fulfill his promise, and he decided to make a terrible contract: he asked for help from a fallen angel - Satan. Satan responded to the call and helped the monk to write the most terrible, mysterious, and most fascinating book in the world.
So the legend goes ...
The Gigas Codex, the Codex Gigas, (or the Devil's Bible) is a long manuscript of the 13th century from Bohemia, one of the historic lands of the Czech Republic. The manuscript, known for its size and striking image of the devil to the full page.
Raise this book, made of 160 skins, can only 2 people. Legend has it that the Codex Gigas was written by a monk who, after the death sentence was pronounced to him, according to which the monk should have been mortalized alive in a wall, made a deal with the devil. With the help of the Devil, the monk wrote a book in one night (and, moreover, the self-portrait was written by the devil). Oddly enough, the handwriting in the book is remarkably clear and the same, as if it was actually 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. She tried to take possession of many of the greats of this world, but all she brought some misfortune. The book has become the subject of hunting for many alchemists and magicians. For the sake of it they killed, sold souls, went to execution. Anyone who has ever seen her testifies to the hidden power coming from the book. It has some kind of diabolical nature, perhaps because one of the pages shows the devil himself in all his "beauty." This medieval manuscript is considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. It contains the Old and New Testaments, medical prescriptions, magic spells, 14 Latin texts, Etymology by Isidore of Seville, Bohemian Chronicles of the medieval chronicler Kosma of Prague, Judean War by Joseph Flavius, a calendar of church holidays and a list of monks of the monastery. The combination of texts in the book is so unique that you cannot find such anywhere else. The height of the book is 90 cm., Weight is 74 kg., Width is 49 cm., Thickness is 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 from animal skin. It is said that 160 donkey hides were used to create the devil’s bible. The Gigas Codex is the only book in the world in which sacred spells to expel the devil are found next to the Old and New Testaments.
For many centuries, scientists and specialists have asked themselves the same questions: for what purpose was such a book created and who created it? Was it one person or a group of people? The exact date of the manuscript is not known. There is only an approximate completion date for the work on the book - 1230 in medieval Czech Republic. The birthplace of the book is the Czech monastery of the Order of the Benedictines in the town of Podladitsa. The Gigas Codex “survived” for many centuries, many historical events and catastrophes and practically “got off the water” of all the troubles, but many people who own it are 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, sheer superstitions. At the end of the XIII century. The legend of a sinful monk who sold his soul to write the Devil's Bible was already known to everyone. Thanks to the book, the Benedictine monastery was really famous. However, he was threatened by a financial crisis. To avoid complete ruin, the superior of the monastery decided to sell the Codex of 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 now the Devil's Bible passes into the possession of the order of white monks who wore white robes, unlike the Benedictines who wore black robes. The book was transported to the town of Sedlec, which is located near Prague. White monks placed the book of honor in no less honorable place, next to the cemetery, which was consecrated with the land brought from Calvary itself. Later the order of white monks also suffered ruin. The bishop ordered the monks to return the Codex of 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 overflowing with the bodies of the unfortunate. By the end of the pandemic, about 40 thousand corpses had turned these places into catacombs. Today, the monastery in Sedlec 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 The Gigas Codex served as a sort of album. Many clergymen 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 physician, Paracelsus. In 1565, Crown Prince Rudolph II received the prediction of Nostradamus, who predicted his father's death. Prince Rudolf was destined to become the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the king of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and the German king. After this prediction, Rudolph manifests a lifelong passion for the occult. He longed for the Gigas Codex. With the help of various favors and honors rendered to the Benedictine monastery, the prince obtained the location of the abbot, and he presented him a book as a gift. Emperor Rudolph completely disappeared in the study of the devil's bible. It seemed that a great acquisition was created for such a great ruler. However, soon luck turned away from the emperor. He became withdrawn, absent-minded, prone to paranoia, locked himself in his castle, like a reclusive hermit. Unable to control his power, Rudolph soon loses the support of his cast. He waged an internecine 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 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. The warriors brought from the country the most outstanding book of the library - the Gigas Codex.
Having plundered the castle of Emperor Rudolph, Swedish officers decided to present 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. Ascending to the throne, Christina takes an oath not on behalf of the queen, but on behalf of the king. Receiving an unusual book from her warriors as a gift, Christine ordered her to be placed in the castle’s library. In the official list, the Codex is listed as the first of all valuable manuscripts. However, Christine was not destined to keep it for a long time. Less than ten years later, in 1654, Christine abdicated the throne. She converted to the Catholic faith and left for Rome. Having collected her most valuable things on the road, the queen did not take the Gigas Code 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 the royal castle in Stockholm. Suddenly, a flame of fire flares up in the castle. The royal family was forced to leave their abode. Servants save everything that can be saved from fire. One of the servants threw out the Codex Gigas from the window of the castle. Thus, a strange, mysterious book was saved from fire. Did this book really bring unhappiness to its owners, or did the natural, intended course of events take a parallel alongside the march of the Gigas Codex? It is possible that all this is just a coincidence, but probably not.
Almost inhuman labor, the Codex Gigas, however, was created by one simple person. The handwriting in which the entire book is written is very uniform. The author at the time of writing the book could lose sight, suffer from disease 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 see it with your own eyes. Perhaps that is why the well-known legend was born about the condemned monk who sold his soul to the devil. Evidence that this book was written by one person was found by scientists and specialists during the investigation, which was carried out using text analysis, handwriting, and paper and ink sampling. In the Middle Ages, the monks themselves produced ink. The ink was of two kinds: made from metal and from milled insect hives. If one person wrote the Gigas Codex, then the ink should have been of only one kind. Scientists proved that the book used ink prepared only from insect hives, which means that the author was alone. The peculiarities of the calligraphic handwriting also prove the correctness of such a hypothesis. It can be assumed that working non-stop around the clock, the scribe monk could cope with such a gigantic 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 the rewriting of holy books was a frequent form of punishment. Then they 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, since The content of the book focuses on the care of the body and mind, the protection of the immortal soul.
Some features of the drawings in the Codec Gigas indicate that its author was a good artist, but far from professional. He just wanted to make his work bigger, fatter than it was before him. Perhaps he was a talented self-taught. Typically, professional scribes monks worked in vast areas called scriptoria. The monks had their own techniques and methods. If you take a medieval manuscript and compare it with the Gigas Codex, the difference is immediately visible. The code looks old-fashioned and pretty unprofessional. However, such a layman and a novice raised a real sensation around his work. After all, to create a drawing of the devil to his full height was a very bold and dangerous act. In the severe Middle Ages, people believed that those who did or said something different from others were ruled by an evil spirit.
It is the image of the unclean on 290 pages of the Gigas Code that brought the manuscripts unkind glory. No joke, in any other bible there is no such huge drawing, a real embodiment of evil. Half man, half monster with a forked red tongue and clawed hands raised up. The devil is wearing the skin of an ermine, which symbolizes the highest power. Perhaps that was what Satan looked like from a legend. However, the artist depicted the monster as if it were locked within the walls of his own evil. The author deprived him of his usual freedom, which no one had done before. 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, dark centuries, people were not sure about anything, their lives were constantly subjected 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 called Codex Gigas the Devil's Bible for a reason. In addition to the image of the unclean, the book contains a group of magic spells, and also describes the ritual "exorcism". The wicked forward was the greatest fear of the medieval man, the attacker and penetrating the human essence. To cope with such a scourge, it was necessary to carry out a terrible and frightening ritual of exorcism of the devil, where the priest and the victim fought for the soul of the possessed. There are also interesting moments in which particularly superstitious individuals see a sign of obsession with evil. First, 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 Codex Gigas almost perished, strange shadows appeared on some of its pages. And these shadows appeared on those pages that are adjacent to the image of the devil. And it is the page with the famous pattern that appears darker than all the other pages. But ... These shadows can also be explained. They could appear on the pages due to ultraviolet radiation, which the material of the book - leather, was constantly exposed to, practically knocking it out. For centuries, people paid attention primarily to the drawing of the devil, which testifies to the irrepressible human interest in relation to the evil one.
The Gigas Codex is a unique creation, the largest medieval book completed in a few decades by one person. This man managed to glorify his creation for centuries, but he modestly left his personality in the shadows. No one knows who this man was. However, there is a version that the book was written by a hermit monk named Herman the hermit, as evidenced by the record in the list of names in the book - Hermanus Monahus Inclusus.
It is possible that the legend of a sinful monk was based on an incorrect interpretation 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. mortalization alive, but the word itself is much closer in meaning to the word "reclusive". So, the terrible legend, which still stirs the fears of superstitious people, can be refuted and prove that this is just a legend. Most likely, the scribe was a hermit monk who voluntarily retired in his cell, thus having gone from the outside world and from its temptations. For this monk, Codex Gigas could be a search for insight, as well as the work of his life. Far from evil, he was inspired, but by a divine blessing. He gave people hope for salvation, gave them the opportunity to choose, showed this choice in the form of drawings arranged against each other - the drawing of the devil and the drawing of the Kingdom of Heaven. Good and evil are measured by forces before eternity in the pages of the Code of Gigas.
The Gigas Codex is located in Stockholm within the walls of the Swedish Royal Library. In 2007, the Gigas Codex was first exhibited in its homeland in the Czech Republic in Prague. Despite the riddles uncovered, a 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.