The world’s largest manuscript believed to have been created during the 13th Century is called the Codex Gigas or Devils Bible. The one-meter-long manuscript has a weight of around 75 kilograms and is believed to have been created in one night by a monk who made a pact with the Devil.
Codex Gigas, aka the Devils Bible, is considered as one of the largest –if not the largest manuscripts— ever discovered on the surface of our planet. Experts believe that this ancient ‘bible’ was written on over 160 animal skins. It takes two people even to lift the ancient manuscript which measures one meter in length. This manuscript has a weight of nearly 75 kilograms. Scholars indicate that the ‘Devil’s Bible’ contained around 320 sheets of material, but some of the sheets were removed through the years.
It remains a mystery as to why the pages were removed although some believe that they were removed because they contained the monastic rules of the Benedictines.
Legend says that this ancient manuscript was created as a result of a pact with the devil and because of the massive illustration of a ‘Devil’ that appears inside the Bible, precisely why some experts refer to it as the ‘Devils Bible.’ It is believed to have been written during the 13th century AD.
Curiously, the exact origin of the ancient manuscript remains a profound mystery.
Studies throughout the years seem to suggest that this ancient manuscript was composed by one scribe because of the level of uniformity throughout the entire manuscript. The entire document is written in Latin, although it also contains Greek, Hebrew and Slavic alphabets.
One of the legends behind the Codex Gigas suggests that the scribe who created the manuscript was a Monk who broke his monastic vows and was thus sentenced to be walled up alive.
To avoid the harsh punishment, he said he would create a manuscript that will glorify the monastery forever, and it shall include all human knowledge.
Just as midnight approached, the monk realized he could not finish his task so he made a unique prayer, not addressed to God but to Lucifer, asking for help to finish the bible in exchange for his soul.
The devil agreed and finished the manuscript. In ‘gratitude’ the Monk included Lucifer’s picture in the bible.
Interestingly, in tests to recreate the Codex Gigas, its original dimensions, and weight, experts estimate that reproducing the calligraphy only, without including the illustrations of the original work; it would take someone FIVE years of nonstop writing to create such a work.
The Codex Gigas, aka ‘The Devil’s Bible’ is currently on display at the National Library in Stockholm.
You can also check out the digitalized version of the Codex by clicking here.