The Codex Gigas

The Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil’s Bible, is famous for two reasons: it is believed to be the world’s largest preserved medieval manuscript (Codex Gigas means "giant book") and it contains a large, full-page portrait of the Devil.

Old book with white cover adorned with metal fittings seen from the side.
About the Codex Gigas

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The Codex Gigas was created for a Bohemian monastery, but was brought to Sweden as spoils of war in the 17th century. Among other things, the manuscript contains a complete Bible, historical texts, magic formulas and spells.

You can browse a digitised version of the manuscript in the World Digital Library here. External link.

Codex Gigas in numbers

The Codex Gigas is at least that old.
That is how long it may have taken for one person to complete the book.
parchment leaves
The number of pages that the Codex Gigas comprises.
  • It's called the Devil's Bible because the manuscript contains a large portrait of the Devil. Read more about the Devil's Portrait.

  • The Codex Gigas contains a complete Bible, plus five additional long texts. Read more about the long texts.

    The manuscript contains a few short texts as well: one that relates to penance and another on how to drive out evil spirits. Read more about the short texts.

  • In addition to the Bible part, the following texts have English translations:

  • The Codex Gigas is on display in a glass case in the Treasury Room at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. Because the book sustained damage from being on display with an open cover for many years, it is now on display with its cover closed. If you would like to browse the work and see the famous portrait of the Devil, you can do this on a digital screen next to the showcase. To the exhibition.

  • Yes, the entire manuscript has been digitised. To the digitised version in the World Digital Library. External link.

  • Yes. The images may be used freely, on condition that photographer Per B. Adolphson is credited and that the image source is cited as follows: The National Library of Sweden, HS A 148.

  • Recommended reading:

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