Codex Gigas: What You Should Know about Devil’s Bible

Demons Scary Secret

Sacred texts and holy books have always helped people come closer to their religion. They act as guidelines about what one should or should not do, present history about the particular faith and even just bring peace and contentment to one upon reading. From the Quran to the Geeta, Bible, and many more, these books are considered extremely holy and a voice of God and his messiahs.

The Devil's Illustration in Codex Gigas

However, very few people know that something that is known as The Devil’s Bible also exists in the world. The whole thing does sound surprising. After all, the Devil is on the other end of the spectrum from God and the Bible is a holy text that contains no evil and is in fact used to keep away evil. However, Codex Gigas is indeed known as the Bible of the Devil himself.

Devil and the Heaven

The reason Codex Gigas is so popularly known as the Devil’s Bible is because of a particular illustration in one of the pages. Although many medieval books do have pictures of devils in some pages, this one is unusual because the Devil’s picture covers one whole page in this manuscript. The devil in this illustration is wearing nothing other than a white loincloth, has a green head and large, red nails. Right next to this page is a photo of heaven, hence creating a contrasting image of Good and Evil.

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Codex Gigas: Description

Codex Gigas literally translates from Latin to ‘The Giant Book’, and rightly so. It is a huge book, and being 36 inches long and 20 inches wide, the largest known manuscript from the middle ages. It weighs around 75 kilograms and is made of wooden boards covered in leather. It is said that at least two men are needed to lift it due to its magnificent size. It is made from the skin of 160 donkeys.

It contains inside the entire Bible in Latin — both the Old and New Testaments. Along with that, it also contains a large encyclopedia, medieval knowledge, and other religious texts. It contains cures to fatal illnesses, spells for exorcism, and even things like how to catch a thief. While being made, it attempted to contain all the knowledge in the universe.

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History and Origin

It is quite a secret as to who exactly wrote this extensive manuscript. Archaeologists and scientists believe that with such intricate details and calligraphy, this huge text must have taken at least 20 years to complete, if not more. However, legend has it that Codex Gigas was written in only one night, by a Benedictine monk who was threatened to be removed from the monastery and into lifelong imprisonment after he failed to fulfill his monk duties. As a form of repentance, he promised the monastery that he would write in one night a book that would contain all of man’s knowledge and would bring fame to the monastery.

Codex Gigas Image of bible

The monastery agreed, but by midnight the monk realized that he would not be able to complete the task. Hence, he made a special prayer — not to God but to the Devil, Lucifer. He offered to sell his soul in exchange for the book to be written, and it is believed that the Devil then wrote the book himself. Some say that the picture of the Devil was added as a token of gratitude by the monk. Although it seems impossible that this large book was written by only one man, the consistent font and style indicate that it is, indeed, the case. Many pages from the book are now missing, and it is believed that they were torn because they contained secrets about the Monastery.

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Is the Codex Gigas Cursed?

The Devil’s Bible has been seemingly harmless throughout its existence, but if one looks at its history closely, it does seem to carry a curse. The Benedictine monastery that held the Devil’s Bible first had to sell it when they became financially troubled. They sold it to a monastery near Prague, but soon enough they also failed. After this, it went into the hands of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf, who at that point was obsessed about the Codex and also about other religious texts and books about alchemy. However, within a few years of possessing the codex, Emperor Rudolf was labeled unfit to rule and was banished due to his unpredictable and distrustful nature. In the 17th century, the Swedish Armies seized the codex during war and it now resides in the National Library of Sweden.

Despite many people’s belief that the codex could not have been written by the Devil since it contains the Bible, it is still known as the Devil’s Bible and the infamous legend about its creation still persists.

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