Category: Weird Articles
Published on Friday, 15 May 2015 00:00
The Codex Gigas weighs 74kg and is the largest surviving medieval manuscript in the world. At nearly 22cm thick and 92cm tall, the book is so large that it can only be carried by two grown men and it is said to have required the skins of more than 160 donkeys to complete it. But its size is not the most mind-boggling part. Inside the ancient pages contain a disturbing full-page color image of the Devil, many believing that it is a self-portrait drawn by Lucifer himself.
The National Library of Sweden in Stockholm is home to the mysterious manuscript nicknamed “the Devil's Bible”. It is thought to have been created in the early 13th Century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in Bohemia, which today is the Czech Republic.
How it was created is still an unsolved mystery, but legend has it that it was conceived by a monk from the Middle Ages who was sentenced to being walled up alive for breaking his monastic vows. To avoid the punishment, the monk promised to write, in a single night, a book containing all human knowledge. As midnight approached, the monk became desperate and turned to Lucifer for help, offering to make a pact to finish the book in exchange for his soul. Lucifer agreed and signed the work by adding an illustration of himself. In the colorful image, he is placed against an empty landscape framed by two large towers.
According to a report by National Geographic
several years ago, an extensive handwriting analysis was carried out by palaeographer Michael Gullick at the National Library of Sweden indicated that the book entirely consisted of the same handwriting. Besides the handwriting, a signature within the text - “hermann inclusis” - points to the fact that there was likely to have only been a single author. The ink contained within is also made from crushed insect nests, and Gullick claims it is highly unlikely one scribe would use different types of ink.
Meanwhile, tests to recreate the calligraphy of the Devil's Bible suggest that it would take five years o non-stop writing to create it, according to a report in The Line Up
“Clearly, the author of this massive tome was possessed by something to create such a masterwork. Whether it was the power of light or darkness, is lost to time,” the report states.
The Codex Gigas contains five long texts along with the complete Bible. The book begins with the Old Testament, and it is followed by two works by Flavius Josephus who lied in the first century AD. It then ends with the New Testament and the last of the long works in a Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas from Prague. To think that one person could write out the contents of the Bible in its entirety along with other texts is insane. To view a digitized version of every page in the manuscript, click here
Some researchers believe the legend of the punished monk comes from a misunderstanding in the signature of the book which reads Hermanus inclusus. The single Latin word “inclusus” is thought to signify a horrific punishment, but the word's true meaning is closer to “recluse”. This suggests that the signature could have been made by a solitary monk who chose to shut himself out from the outside world and dedicate his life to the Codex Gigas.
Nonetheless, many others still believe that its pages are cursed by the sinister power of the fallen angel. Share this article with your friends to send a chill up their spines.