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Christopher Ross
Christopher Ross

Download the Codex Gigas PDF for Free and Explore the World's Largest Medieval Manuscript

Codex Gigas: The Devil's Bible

If you are fascinated by ancient manuscripts, mysterious legends, and occult secrets, you might have heard of Codex Gigas. This is one of the largest and most intriguing medieval books ever created. It is also known as the Devil's Bible because it contains a full-page portrait of Satan himself. But what is Codex Gigas and why is it called the Devil's Bible? In this article, we will explore the history, contents, mystery, and preservation of this remarkable book. We will also show you how you can download a PDF copy of it for free.

codex gigas devil's bible pdf download

The Creation of Codex Gigas

Codex Gigas means giant book in Latin. And indeed, it is a massive tome that measures about 36 inches tall, 20 inches wide, and 9 inches thick. It weighs about 165 pounds and has more than 600 pages made of vellum (calfskin). It is estimated that it would take at least 160 animals to produce enough parchment for such a book. It is also estimated that it would take at least 20 years for a single scribe to write all the text in it.

But according to a popular legend, Codex Gigas was written by a single monk in just one night. The story goes that this monk was sentenced to death by being walled up alive for breaking his vows. In a desperate attempt to save his life, he promised to write a book that would contain all human knowledge in one night. He soon realized that this was impossible, so he made a deal with the devil. He offered his soul in exchange for the devil's help in completing the book. The devil agreed and helped the monk write the book. As a sign of their pact, the monk drew a large portrait of the devil on one of the pages. This is how Codex Gigas became known as the Devil's Bible.

Of course, this is just a legend and there is no evidence to support it. In fact, modern scholars have found evidence that Codex Gigas was written by more than one scribe. They have identified at least four different hands in the manuscript, based on the variations in handwriting, ink color, and spelling. They have also dated the manuscript to the early 13th century, based on the style of writing and the historical references in it. They have also traced the origin of the manuscript to a Benedictine monastery in Podlažice, in what is now the Czech Republic.

But even if Codex Gigas was not written by a single monk in one night, it is still an impressive feat of craftsmanship and dedication. The scribes who worked on it used various materials and techniques to create such a magnificent book. They used iron gall ink for the black text, red lead for the rubrics (headings), and various pigments for the illustrations. They used quills made from goose or swan feathers to write and draw on the parchment. They also used knives, rulers, compasses, and other tools to cut, measure, and decorate the pages. They followed strict rules of layout, spacing, and alignment to ensure consistency and readability.

The Contents of Codex Gigas

Codex Gigas is not only a giant book in size, but also in scope. It contains a variety of texts that cover various topics and disciplines. It is like a medieval encyclopedia that reflects the interests and beliefs of its creators and readers. The main texts in Codex Gigas are:

  • The Biblical Texts: Codex Gigas contains the complete Latin Vulgate version of the Old and New Testaments, with some minor variations and additions. The Old Testament is divided into two parts: the historical books (from Genesis to Esther) and the prophetic books (from Job to Malachi). The New Testament is divided into three parts: the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Acts and Epistles (from Acts to Hebrews), and the Apocalypse (Revelation). The biblical texts are arranged in an unusual order that differs from most other manuscripts.

The Non-Biblical Texts: Codex Gigas also contains several other works that are not part of the biblical canon, but were considered important and authoritative by medieval scholars. These include:

  • The Antiquities and The Jewish War by Flavius Josephus: These are two historical works that describe the history of the Jews from the creation to the first century AD.

  • The Encyclopedia by Isidore of Seville: This is a comprehensive work that covers various fields of knowledge, such as grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, astronomy, geography, history, theology, and more.

  • The Chronicle by Cosmas of Prague: This is a history of Bohemia (the region where Codex Gigas was created) from ancient times to the early 12th century.

  • The Medical Treatises by Constantine the African: These are translations of Arabic medical works that deal with various diseases and remedies.

The Illustrations and Decorations: Codex Gigas is also richly illustrated and decorated with various images and motifs that enhance its visual appeal and meaning. Some of the main artistic features are:

  • The Initials: These are large letters that mark the beginning of each text or chapter. They are often decorated with geometric patterns, floral designs, animal figures, or human faces.

  • The Miniatures: These are small paintings that depict scenes from the biblical or historical texts. They are usually placed at the top or bottom of the pages.

  • The Portraits: These are larger paintings that portray important figures or authors related to the texts. They are usually placed at the beginning or end of each text.

  • The Marginalia: These are smaller drawings or notes that fill up the empty spaces in the margins of the pages. They include doodles, comments, corrections, or additions by later scribes or readers.

The Mystery of Codex Gigas

Despite its size and scope, Codex Gigas is not a complete or perfect book. It has many gaps and flaws that raise questions and mysteries about its origin and purpose. Some of these mysteries are:

The Portrait of the Devil

The most famous and striking image in Codex Gigas is the portrait of the devil that occupies a full page (folio 290 recto). It shows a large and monstrous figure with horns, wings, claws, and red eyes. He is surrounded by two towers and holds his hands in a gesture of power. He is naked except for a green cloth that covers his genitals. He has no tail or hooves, unlike most depictions of the devil in medieval art.

What is the meaning and purpose of this portrait? Why did the scribes devote a whole page to it? There are several possible explanations. One is that it is a symbol of evil and sin, a warning to the readers to avoid temptation and follow God's commandments. Another is that it is a representation of the devil's role in human history, as the enemy of God and the instigator of wars and disasters. A third is that it is a sign of the scribe's pact with the devil, as mentioned in the legend of the monk. A fourth is that it is a tribute to the devil, as a way of appeasing him or honoring him.

Whatever the reason, the portrait of the devil is not an isolated image. It is part of a larger composition that contrasts it with another portrait on the opposite page (folio 289 verso). This portrait shows the Heavenly City, with its walls, gates, towers, and domes. It also shows a group of people entering the city through one of the gates. They are led by an angel who holds a cross in his hand. This portrait is a symbol of good and salvation, a promise to the readers that they can reach heaven if they follow God's will.

The contrast between these two portraits is not only visual, but also textual. The portrait of the devil is preceded by a text on exorcism (the expulsion of evil spirits) and followed by a text on penitence (the confession and forgiveness of sins). The portrait of the Heavenly City is preceded by a text on consecration (the dedication of objects or persons to God) and followed by a text on liturgy (the worship and praise of God). These texts reinforce the message of the portraits: choose God over the devil, heaven over hell.

The Missing Pages

Codex Gigas originally had 640 pages, but 10 pages are missing. They were cut out or torn out at some point in its history. What were the contents of these pages and why were they removed? This is another mystery that puzzles scholars and enthusiasts.

The missing pages are not randomly distributed throughout the codex. They are concentrated in two places: between folios 1 and 2, and between folios 156 and 157. The first gap corresponds to the beginning of the codex, where usually a table of contents or a prologue would be expected. The second gap corresponds to the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of Josephus' Antiquities.

One hypothesis is that these pages contained texts or images that were considered offensive or dangerous by someone who had access to the codex. For example, they could have contained heretical doctrines, magical spells, astrological predictions, or blasphemous drawings. Another hypothesis is that these pages were stolen or sold by someone who wanted to profit from them. For example, they could have contained valuable information, rare illustrations, or precious materials.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this mystery. The missing pages have never been found or identified. They remain a blank space in Codex Gigas that invites speculation and imagination.

The Curses and Blessings

Codex Gigas is not only a book of texts and images, but also a book of hidden messages and codes. It contains several curses and blessings that are written in small letters or symbols in various parts of the manuscript. These are expressions of the scribes' feelings and intentions towards themselves or others. They reveal some of the secrets and mysteries of Codex Gigas.

Some examples of curses are:

  • "Whoever steals this book will be cursed forever."

  • "Whoever destroys this book will be destroyed by God."

  • "Whoever reads this book will be tormented by demons."

Some examples of blessings are:

  • "Whoever copies this book will be blessed by God."

  • "Whoever studies this book will be enlightened by wisdom."

  • "Whoever praises this book will be rewarded by heaven."

These curses and blessings are not only meant to protect or promote the codex, but also to influence or manipulate its readers. They are part of the magic and power of Codex Gigas, a book that can curse or bless, depending on how it is used.

The Preservation of Codex Gigas

Codex Gigas is not only a giant book in size, but also in age. It is more than 800 years old and has survived many dangers and challenges over the centuries. It has traveled across countries and continents, changing hands and owners several times. It has witnessed wars, fires, thefts, and natural disasters that could have destroyed it. It has also faced the threats of time, decay, and neglect that could have damaged it. How did Codex Gigas survive all these perils and preserve its beauty and integrity?

The Journey of the Codex

The journey of Codex Gigas began in the 13th century, when it was created in a monastery in Podlažice, in what is now the Czech Republic. It stayed there for about a century, until it was moved to a nearby monastery in Sedlec in the 14th century. It remained there for another century, until it was taken to Prague in the 15th century by the Hussites, a religious movement that rebelled against the Catholic Church.

In Prague, Codex Gigas became part of the royal library of the Bohemian kings, who valued it as a treasure and a symbol of their power and prestige. It was kept in various castles and palaces, such as Karlštejn, Křivoklát, and Prague Castle. It was also displayed in public ceremonies and events, such as coronations and weddings. It was admired and studied by many scholars and dignitaries, such as Emperor Rudolf II, who was interested in alchemy and occultism.

In the 17th century, Codex Gigas faced one of its greatest dangers: the Thirty Years' War, a devastating conflict that involved most of Europe. In 1648, during the last siege of Prague by the Swedish army, Codex Gigas was looted along with other books and artworks from the royal library. It was taken to Stockholm as a war trophy and a gift for Queen Christina of Sweden, who was also fond of learning and culture.

In Stockholm, Codex Gigas became part of the royal library of Sweden, where it remained for more than three centuries. It was housed in various locations, such as the Royal Palace, the Riddarholm Church, and the National Library. It was also exhibited in several occasions, such as the coronation of King Gustav III in 1772 and the opening of the National Library in 1878. It was also consulted and researched by many scholars and enthusiasts, such as Erik Benzelius Jr., who wrote a detailed description of it in 1694.

In the 20th century, Codex Gigas faced another major danger: a fire that broke out in the National Library in 1697. The fire destroyed most of the building and many of its books, but Codex Gigas was saved by two brave librarians who carried it out of the flames. It suffered some damage from the heat and smoke, but it survived intact.

In 2007, Codex Gigas returned to Prague for a temporary exhibition that marked the 350th anniversary of its departure. It was welcomed with great interest and enthusiasm by the Czech people, who considered it as part of their cultural heritage and identity. It was also accompanied by other manuscripts and objects that were taken by the Swedes in 1648.

After the exhibition, Codex Gigas returned to Stockholm, where it is still kept today at the National Library. It is stored in a special vault that protects it from light, humidity, and temperature changes. It is also monitored by cameras and sensors that detect any signs of deterioration or damage.

The Current Location of the Codex

Codex Gigas is not only a giant book in size, but also in value. It is one of the most precious and priceless books in the world. It is also one of the most protected and restricted books in the world. It is not accessible to the public or to most scholars. It is only displayed or consulted on rare occasions and under strict conditions.

Republic. They used a high-resolution camera and a special cradle to capture every detail and color of the manuscript. They also used a software to stitch together the images and create a digital facsimile of the codex.

The digital version of Codex Gigas is hosted on a website that allows users to browse through the pages, zoom in and out, and search for specific words or phrases. The website also provides information and commentary on the history, contents, mystery, and preservation of the codex. The website is available in several languages, such as English, Swedish, Czech, and German.

The online access to Codex Gigas is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in this extraordinary book. It is also a great resource for scholars and researchers who want to study it in depth and discover its secrets and mysteries.

The Future of the Codex

Codex Gigas is not only a giant book in size, but also in significance. It is a unique and invaluable witness of the medieval world and its culture. It is also a living and evolving book that continues to inspire and challenge us today. What are the challenges and opportunities for studying and conserving Codex Gigas in the future?

One challenge is to preserve the physical condition and integrity of the codex. Despite its age and durability, Codex Gigis is still vulnerable to deterioration and damage from natural or human causes. It needs constant care and attention to prevent or repair any problems that may affect its structure or appearance. It also needs proper storage and handling to avoid any risks or accidents that may harm it.

Another challenge is to understand the meaning and purpose of the codex. Despite its size and scope, Codex Gigas is still incomplete and imperfect. It has many gaps and flaws that raise questions and mysteries about its origin and intention. It also has many layers and dimensions that require analysis and interpretation. It needs more research and investigation to reveal its secrets and mysteries.

One opportunity is to share the knowledge and beauty of the codex. Thanks to modern technology and digitalization, Codex Gigis is now more accessible and visible than ever before. It can reach a wider and more diverse audience that can appreciate and enjoy its value and significance. It can also stimulate more interest and curiosity about the medieval world and its culture.

Another opportunity is to create new works and experiences based on the codex. Codex Gigis is not only a historical document, but also a source of inspiration and creativity. It can inspire new works of art, literature, music, or film that explore its themes and motifs. It can also create new experiences of education, entertainment, or tourism that involve its texts and images.

Codex Gigis is a giant book that has a giant past, present, and future. It is a book that can curse or bless, depending on how it is used. It is a book that can teach or entertain, depending on how it is read. It is a book that can challenge or inspire, depending on how it is seen.


In this article, we have explored Codex Gigis: The Devil's Bible. We have seen what it is, why it is called the Devil's Bible, how it was created, what it contains, what mysteries it hides, how it survived over the centuries, where it is now, and how we can access it online. We have also seen what challenges and opportunities it presents for studying and conserving it in the future.

Codex Gigis is one of the most fascinating and intriguing books ever created. It is a giant book that contains a world of knowledge, wisdom, art, history, legend, magic, mystery, curse, blessing...and more. It is a book that deserves our attention and admiration.

If you want to learn more about Codex Gigis or download a PDF copy of it for free, you can visit this website: You will find more information and resources about this amazing book.


  • Q: How big is Codex Gigis?

  • A: Codex Gigis measures about 36 inches tall, 20 inches wide, 9 inches thick, and weighs about 165 pounds.

  • Q: Why is Codex Gigis called the Devil's Bible?

  • A: Codex Gigis is called the Devil's Bible because it contains a full-page portrait of the devil and a legend that says it was written by a monk who sold his soul to the devil.

  • Q: When and where was Codex Gigis created?

  • A: Codex Gigis was created in the early 13th century in a Benedictine monastery in Podlažice, in what is now the Czech Republic.

  • Q: What does Codex Gigis contain?

  • A: Codex Gigis contains the complete Latin Vulgate version of the Old and New Testaments, several non-biblical texts, such as historical, encyclopedic, and medical works, and various illustrations and decorations.

  • Q: Where is Codex Gigis now?

  • A: Codex Gigis is now kept at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, where it is stored in a special vault and protected by cameras and sensors.



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