Devil's Bible: Codex Gigas in Klementinum

Very precious and unique old Czech manuscript is to be seen in Prague Klementinum – the National Library of the Czech Republic – from 20th September to 6th January.

Codex Gigas, which is in possession of the Swedish National Library in Stockholm, is the biggest manuscript in the world. It measures approximately 90×50 centimeters and weights about 75 kilos! This wonderful thick book is also known under names Gigas Librorum, Liber Pergandis or the Devil’s Bible. It was created in the first half of the 13th century, most probably in 1229, in the Benedictine convent in Podlazice, close to town of Chrudim. But nothing is sure about the author or reasons why and for whom was this huge manuscript originally made. Historians suggest, that this amazing book, which was considered as a world miracle in the middle ages, may have been created by one person, who dedicated maybe even 20 years of his life to its creation.

There is a legend explaining the creation of this amazing work of 624 pages. It says that there lived a monk in the Podlazice monastery, who was for his evil crime sentenced to immuring alive. To avoid a punishment, he promised to write the biggest book in the whole world during one single night – and this would not be possible without a help of the devil. As an act of gratitude, the monk painted the devil’s picture in the book. And this drawing, full page and colorful picture, is the most noticeable part of the whole opus.

The book is composed from different texts: the Bible, precepts for priests, magical formulas and so on, but especially there is the Chronica Bohemorum – The Czech Chronicle. Although created in the Podlazice monastery, by the time the book became possession of other different Czech monasteries, later ended up in the collections of the emperor Rudolf II. and from there Swedish army stole it during the 30 years war. Klementinum now offers possibility to see it again back in Czech. Especially because of this exhibit was even built a special safe depository room here.
Exhibition, which presents not only the book itself, but also details of its fate and history, is probably one of the most important Prague events of this fall for all history lovers.

2 Comments for Devil's Bible: Codex Gigas in Klementinum

  1. Jim Roth said,

    Oct 22, 01:20 #

    we are coming to prague 11/1/07 – 11/12/07. do we need an invitation to view the manuscript

  2. Elen Prague said,

    Nov 22, 12:56 #

    Yes, unfortunatelly… check the Internet.

© 2008 |