Legend had it that to get rid of death sentence hanging just 1 inch above the neck, a monk named Herman the Recluse sold his soul to the Devil only to get things done. And there we have, the Codex Gigas. But the book is more than just a legend. Not only is it famous for the mystery surrounding but the enormous size as well.
Codex Gigas meant “the Giant Book”. And it is giant literally. The scholars believe that it took about 160 animals’ skin to make the book. At least two adult can lift the book. It measures 36 inches in height (91cm), 20 inches (50.5cm) in width, and approximately 9inches (22.86cm) in thickness. The book weighed 165lbs (appx 75kg).
With all the content inside the book, the scholars believe that to recreate the content inside the book, they have to spend about 5 years writing in hand (excluding the illlustration). So to write it from scratch, it could have taken the writers about 25 years.
The scholars believe that the Codex Gigas was a work of history. It contained the Christian Bible in its entirety, the Jewish War, Jewish Antiquities, and the Chronicle of Bohemia. Another shorter texts like exorcism or penitence, and medical practices also appeared in the book.
Legendary Origins of the Giant Book
According to the legend, the book was made when the writer paired himself with the Devil. That’s why sometimes the book is known as the Devil’s Bible. The writing style suggested that there was only one writer and he was under extreme pressure when writing the book.
It was a work of a monk named Herman the Recluse. His fellows sentenced him to death behind the bars for violating the monastic vows. To rescue himself from the death sentence, he promised to create a book with all knowledge of the cosmos. The wish was accepted; however, he had to finish the book within one night in order to gain his freedom.
To get himself out of this situation, the monk sold his soul to the Devil who would help him finish the book. And the deal was successful. There came the Codex Gigas.
However, no one knew where this legend happened and some scholars believe that this legendary origin was a part of religious propaganda.
The Devil in Codex Gigas
Inside the book, they found impressive illustration of the Devil and the Heavenly City.
The Devil took up a total page as a monstrous figure taking up the entire Hell. No charming prince, the Devil had the red claws protruding his slim hands and feet. His head was with two red horns and his tongue was red like two blazing fire. Small red eyes on the green face were bluntly looking as if he was about to deprive someone of their life. The Devil stands alone in a large page.
Another full-page presentation was the Heavenly City. Red walls accompanied inside the Heavenly City. Two neutral-colored towers appeared along the Heaven City like defensive walls.
The scholars believed that the illustrations of the Devil and the Heavenly City were waiting for people who lived either bad or good life. Only the Devil and the Heavenly City occupied full-page pages.