Binding

Front cover of Codex Gigas

The manuscript is enclosed by thick wooden boards covered with tawed (white) skin. The covers are elaborately decorated in blind, one of the most prominent tools being that of a crown, but none of the tools have been found elsewhere. Both covers also have pierced metal furniture, four corner pieces, each containing two griffins, and one centre piece, each with a circular raised part (boss) on which the book would rest when closed. The back cover has two additional pieces, each with a pierced raised element, probably to allow the Codex Gigas to be chained or attached in some way to a piece of library furniture. The date of this metal furniture is uncertain, but some of it probably dates from before the present binding.

The leaves of the manuscript were repaired with parchment and the present binding made in 1819 by a Stockholm binder named Samuel Sandman. The binder was paid a total of 78 riksdaler for his materials and work. (In 1820 a cow could cost 45 riksdaler, and this gives some idea of the value of Sandman’s work.) However, the wooden boards were probably reused from the first binding, made soon after the manuscript had been completed, in the early thirteenth century.

More about binding of the Codex Gigas