"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?

Categories: Culture | Europe | History

In the first half of the XIII century, a novice of a poor Czech monastery wrote a book, which, because of its huge size, was called Codex Gigas, which means "Giant Codex" in Latin. Later it was called the "Book of the Devil", considering that the author of the book is Satan himself. And there were prerequisites for such a bold conclusion.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?

Legend has it that Herman, a reclusive monk from the Benedictine monastery in the Czech city of Podgalice, committed a serious sin. For sin, the brethren decided to immure him alive in the wall, but Herman promised the monks that in one night he would write a book that would glorify the monastery.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?

He kept his word, and by sunrise he had finished a book called the Codex Gigas, or The Devil's Bible. The manuscript weighed 74 kilograms, and the skins of 160 donkeys were used to create it. The book is 90 cm high, 49 cm wide, and 22 cm thick. According to legend, Herman made a pact with Satan, who did all the work for him.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?

Drawing of the Devil from the Codex Gigas»

The codex contains the only full-length medieval depiction of the devil. The drawing is placed on page 290 and stands out among the other illustrations. It has a different color and style, and the page itself is darker than the others. Supporters of the mystical version of the origin of the book believe that this is a kind of mark of the lord of hell.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?One of the ink-stained pages

On the devil's thighs is painted a bandage made of ermine skins-a symbol of royal power, which is an unthinkable audacity for the Middle Ages. It remains a mystery why the monk was allowed to leave such a defiant drawing. Eight pages immediately after the portrait of the devil are filled with ink and the meaning of what is written on them, the scientists could not find out. In total, the codex has 640 pages, but 624 have come down to us, and the missing sheets were torn out of the book and destroyed in the The Middle Ages.

The book is a collection of all the knowledge that the Benedictine Order had in the XIII century. In it you can read the texts of the Bible, the works of "Jewish Antiquities"," The Jewish War "by Josephus, the medieval encyclopedia of "Etymology" by Isidore of Seville, medical treatises, the New Testament and instructions in repentance. Then there is a portrait of the devil, descriptions of rituals for exorcising evil spirits, the" Czech Chronicle " by Kozma of Prague, and a calendar.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?The graphological examination confirmed that the text of the codex and all the illustrations were drawn by the hand of one person. For a scribe of the Middle Ages, it was considered the norm to rewrite 100 lines of text a day. Under the condition of continuous work in a six-hour light-day, it would take a monk 30 years to create the codex.

Interestingly, the monastery in Podlasica was considered a poor monastery with a small number of brothers, and writing any book, especially such as the codex, cost a lot of money. Where did the poor monks get the parchment, paint, and ink? Due to financial difficulties, the brothers sold the codex to the monastery of Sedlec. Subsequently, the folio was transferred to new owners several times and as a result ended up in the Broome Monastery.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?

In the sixteenth century, a mysterious book attracted the attention of mystics, and everyone began to talk about a manuscript written by Satan himself. The codex was examined by Paracelsus ' disciple Christophor Schlichting and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, who transported the manuscript book to Prague Castle.

"Codex Gigas": where is the book written by the devil himself now?During the Thirty Years ' War, the Swedes stormed Prague and took the codex out as a trophy. Since 1646 ,the Book of the Devil has been kept in the Royal Swedish Library in Stockholm. Despite its size and the large number of owners, the manuscript is perfectly preserved. Today, all the pages of the mysterious book are digitized and published in the public domain. In history, there are other examples of the relationship between man and the devil. The Inquisition accused the French priest Urbain Grandier of having made a pact with Satan for the sake of wealth and power over women.

Keywords: Devil | Book | Monk | Satan

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