Codex Gigas. The Giant Book. The Devil's Bible. Call it what you will. This centuries old tome has both confused and fascinated scholars, followers of Catholicism, believers and non believers of higher powers and darker demons since it was first unearthed in 1229 A.D. Was it the creation, the penance, of a wayward Benedictine monk or the work of the Devil himself? Did this desperate monk, in fear for his very own life, summon the dark Lord Lucifer to grant him the strength needed to atone for his sins? These are questions without answers. Only myths, rumors and suppositions remain. The only truth is this: The Devil's Bible is real.
Thought to have been created in the early 13th century in what is now the Czech Republic, this largest of all medieval manuscripts is graced, or cursed, with an illustration of Satan himself, thus denoting the popular non de plume, The Devil's Bible. Bound by wood, metal, and leather, the book itself measures 36 inches tall, 20 inches wide and 9 inches thick. It weighs an astounding 165 pounds and has more than 300 pages of vellum possibly created by the skins of more than 150 donkeys. Calfskin is another possible suspect in the creation of these pages but testing has proven inconclusive.
Herman the Recluse, a Benedictine monk, is rumored to be the writer and illustrator of the Codex Gigas; he was to be executed by way of being walled up alive - perhaps the inspiration for Poe's 'The Cask Of Amontillado', as punishment for breaking his vows. In order to save his life he swore to create a book glorifying the monastery and all human life and knowledge in the span of a single night. As night grew into early morning he realized he could not complete the task as promised and instead of praying to the God which the basis of the monastery was built upon, he beseeched The Lord Lucifer to guide him in the completion of the book, thus surrendering his soul to eternal damnation. The Devil lent his dark hand and was rewarded with a glaring illustration of his persona within the manuscript. This work is believed to be a campaign of at least 5 years, minus illustrations, upon continuos studies performed by scientists, scholars and historians. Yet this single monk finished his work in a single night. Surely it must be the work of the Devil himself.
What may have become of Herman the Recluse remains unknown to this day. There are no records of the man or his part in the creation of the book as the monastery was destroyed in 1648 and the collections and treasures within were stolen by the Swedish army; the book itself is now preserved at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, sometimes on display for the general public.
The Codex contains the entire Latin Bible, minus Acts and Revelations. The absence of Revelations is a clue to the fact that Satan did indeed aid Herman to historians and scholars. After all, who wants to admit defeat at the hands of your nemesis? In The Devil's Bible good does not prevail over evil. Satan is the victor. Not only is the book written in Latin, but also Greek and Hebrew, proving the author is a worldly and intelligent man. Or Demon. Illuminations abound in red and yellow and gold, and all work is fluid and uniform, pointing to the hand of a single man. Or Devil. Still, beliefs persist that the creation may have taken upwards of 20 years, and by more than one person.
Though there appears to be no proof of a certain amount of Devil worship or anti-Christ sentiments, this is an object that has baffled man for centuries. From Bohemia to Sweden. From Kings to Popes. Did a monk fear death so much that he would forsake his own God and sell his soul to the Devil? Within the pages of The Codex Gigas there may lay the answers. But what if the answers are those we wish not to hear? Do we discard our own belief and faith in things we do not and cannot see? Satan exists because of God and vice versa. One man created a book for the ages. A manuscript which will be debated about for years to come. Until Revelations.
And only the Devil may care.