Dita Asiedu at Radio Praha writes:
The Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil’s Bible, is the biggest book in the world. Made at the start of the 13th century in a Bohemian monastery, it was one of the country’s most prized works of art. In medieval times, its uniqueness was even put on a par with the wonders of the world. . . . Why, how and by whom the Devil’s Bible was made has remained a mystery until this day. But legend has it that the book was written by a monk, who faced being walled up alive for breaching a monastic code, and promised to create the biggest manuscript in the world in just one night in return for being spared from punishment. But when he realized that he would not be able to deliver on his promise, he asked the devil for help and his prayer was answered. The devil, to which the monk sold his soul, is depicted in the Penitential – a chapter that takes the form of a handbook for priests, listing various sins and the corresponding forms of repentance. “The book contains the Old Testament, the New Testament, a necrology of the Podlazice monastery, a list of Podlazice fraternity members, a script on natural history, the oldest Czech Latin chronicle – there are eleven contents items in all. It is estimated that skin from some 160 donkeys had to be used to provide sufficient writing material for the book. Written in Latin, it also includes mystical medical formula to treat epilepsy and fever but also solve unusual problems like finding a thief, for example. One of the most valuable chapters is the Chronica Bohemorum – a copy of the Bohemian Chronicle, drawn up from 1045 to 1125, that is considered one of the oldest and best transcripts of the Chronicle. The very end of the codex includes a list of the days on which Easter falls in the coming years.
Photos of the Book: