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Codex Gigas

Codex Gigas

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Published by Irina Cebanu

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Published by: Irina Cebanu on Apr 17, 2011
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11/29/2012

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Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas is the largest medieval manuscript in the world.The
Codex Gigas
Giant Book 
) is the largest extantmedieval manuscript in the world. It is thought to have been created in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of  PodlažiceinBohemia(modernCzech Republic). During theThirty Years' War in 1648, the entire collection was taken by theSwedisharmy as plunder and now it is preserved at the National Library of SwedeninStockholm. It is also known as the
 Devil's Bible
because of alarge illustration of the devil on the inside and the legend surrounding its creation.
Appearance
 The codex is richly illuminated throughout. The codex is contained in a wooden folder, covered with leather and ornamented with metal. At92 cm
(36.2in.)
tall, 50 cm
(19.7in.)
wide and 22 cm
(8.6in.)
thick it is the largest knownmedieval manuscript. It initially contained 320vellum sheets, though eight of these were subsequently removed. It is unknown who removed the pages or for what purpose but it seemslikely that they contained the monastic rules of the Benedictines. The codex weighs nearly 75 kg
(165 lbs.)
. The Codex Gigas has 310 parchment leaves, perhaps made from calfskin.
 
History
The codex was believed to be created by Herman the Recluse in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice near  Chrudim,which was destroyed during the 15th century. Records in the codex end in the year 1229. The codex was later pledged to theCistercians Sedlec monasteryand then  bought by the Benedictine monastery in Břevnov.From 1477-1593 it was kept in the library of a monastery in Broumovuntil it was taken to Praguein 1594 to form a part of the collections of  Rudolf II.At the end of theThirty Years' War in the year 1648, the entire collection was taken by theSwedisharmy as plunder. From 1649 to 2007 the manuscript was kept in theSwedish RoyalLibrary in Stockholm. The site of its creation is marked by amaquette in the town museum of  Chrast.On September 24, 2007, after 359 years, Codex Gigas returned toPragueon loan from Swedenuntil January 2008 (on display previously at theCzech National Library).
Content
The Codex includes the entire Latin Vulgateversion of the Bible, except for the  booksof Acts  and Revelation, which are from a pre-Vulgate version. Also included are Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia 
Chronicle of  Bohemia
, varioustractates (from history,etymology and  physiology), a calendar with necrologium, a list of brothers in Podlažice monastery, magic formulae and other local records.The entire document is written inLatin.Illustration of the devil, page 577. Legend has it the codex was created by a monk who sold hissoul to the devil.

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