History

81r

The origin of the Codex Gigas is unknown. A note written in the manuscript states that it was pawned in the monastery at Sedlec by its owners, the monks of Podlažice, in 1295 (f. 1v). It soon passed to the monastery of Břevnov near Prague. All of these monasteries were in Bohemia (now in the modern Czech Republic), and it is certain that the Codex Gigas was made somewhere in Bohemia, but not necessarily at Podlažice, a small and unimportant monastery .

In 1594 Rudolf II removed the Codex Gigas to his castle in Prague where it remained until it was taken during the Thirty Years War, with many other treasures, by the army of Sweden to Stockholm. It then entered the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden and put into the royal library in the castle at Stockholm. There it remained until 1877 when it entered the newly built National Library of Sweden in Stockholm.

There is a legend concerning the making of the Codex Gigas that relates that it was the work of one scribe, and that the task was so enormous it was completed with the help of the devil. The origin of the legend is unknown, and although it is clearly without any basis in truth, it shows how the enormous size of the manuscript so impressed those who saw it that was attributed a supernatural origin.

More about the history of the Codex Gigas