The Devil’s Bible or Codex Gigas is one of the oldest and most valuable medieval illuminated manuscripts in western civilization.
The book is 320 pages long; constructed of donkey vellum, it weighs a little over 160 pounds and is 36 inches by 19inches by 8.6inches. The book is currently in process of being digitized by the swiss government.
The story goes that the Codex Gigas was created by a monk sentenced to death for violating the monastic law. The monk said that he would create a manuscript of all human knowledge if they would remove his sentence. As the night drew on the monk knew he would be unable to finish the codex and called upon the devil for aid. The monk thus exchanged his soul in return for completion of the manuscript. In appreciation of completion of the codex the monk added an illustration of the devil.
The book was pledged to the Sedlec Monastery (The Sedlec Ossuary being a place of extreme interest in and of itself.) after originally being housed by the Benedictine monks in Chrudim. The book changed ownership to Prague in 1594, the book stayed in Prague for only 30 years before the Swedish army took it. The Codex Gigas has been in possession of the Swedish Royal Library for over 300 years.
The Codex Gigas will once again be returning to Prague for display , this being the third time it has left Sweden. The first two times were to display the book in the United States and then later Germany. The book will be displayed from September 20, 2007 to January 6, 2008. So if you have not made any holiday plans yet this could be a well worth while trip.