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.
Would you like to know more about the Devil's Bible?
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
Questions and answers about the Codex Gigas
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:
- Jospehus, The Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities (in the Loeb Classical Library)
- The etymologies of Isidore of Seville External link.
- Cosmas, The chronicle of the Czechs External link.
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.
- The book Codex gigas – the Devil's Bible: the secrets of the world's largest book (2007), by Kamil Boldan. The book is available in Libris External link..