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Adrian Wright
Adrian Wright

Codex Gigas: The Devil's Bible and Its Secrets


Codex Gigas English Translation Pdf Download




If you are interested in medieval manuscripts, you may have heard of Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil's Bible. It is one of the largest and most mysterious books ever created, containing both sacred and secular texts, as well as a striking portrait of Satan. In this article, you will learn about the history, contents, mystery, and modern significance of Codex Gigas, as well as how to download an English translation pdf version online.




Codex Gigas English Translation Pdf Download



The History of Codex Gigas




Codex Gigas, which means giant book in Latin, is a massive leather-bound volume that measures 92 cm (36 in) tall, 50 cm (20 in) wide, and 22 cm (9 in) thick. It weighs about 75 kg (165 lb) and has 310 parchment pages. It is estimated that it took the skins of about 160 donkeys to make the parchment for the book.


The book was created in the early 13th century, most likely in a Benedictine monastery in Podlažice, in what is now the Czech Republic. According to legend, the book was written by a single monk who was sentenced to death by being walled up alive for breaking his vows. He begged for mercy and promised to write a book that would contain all the knowledge in the world in one night. He realized that he could not finish the task by himself, so he prayed to the devil for help. The devil agreed to help him in exchange for his soul, and the monk wrote the book with the devil's assistance. The devil also added his own portrait to the book as a sign of the pact. This legend gave rise to the nickname of the book as the Devil's Bible.


The book remained in the monastery until the early 15th century, when it was taken by the Hussites, a religious movement that rebelled against the Catholic Church. The Hussites kept the book in their stronghold of Tabor for about a century, until they sold it to the city of Prague in 1555. The book was then placed in the Royal Library of Prague Castle, where it was admired by emperors and scholars.


In 1648, during the Thirty Years' War, a Swedish army invaded Prague and looted the castle. Among the spoils they took was Codex Gigas, which they brought to Stockholm as a war trophy. The book was then given to Queen Christina of Sweden, who later abdicated and converted to Catholicism. She took the book with her when she moved to Rome, where she intended to present it to Pope Alexander VII. However, she died before she could do so, and the book was returned to Sweden by her heirs.


The book was then kept in the Royal Library of Stockholm, where it survived a fire in 1697 that destroyed most of the library's collection. The book was slightly damaged by water and smoke, but remained largely intact. The book stayed in Sweden for more than three centuries, until 2007, when it was loaned to the Czech Republic for an exhibition. It was then returned to Sweden, where it is currently on display at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm.


The Contents of Codex Gigas




Codex Gigas contains a variety of texts that reflect both religious and secular interests of the medieval world. The book is divided into several main sections, each with its own style and purpose. Here is a brief overview of what each section contains:


The Old Testament




The first part of Codex Gigas is a complete Latin translation of the Old Testament, which is the first part of the Bible, the sacred text of Christianity and Judaism. The Old Testament contains stories and laws that describe God's relationship with his chosen people, Israel, from the creation of the world to the exile of Babylon. Some of the most famous stories in this section include Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the Ten Commandments, David and Goliath, Solomon's Temple, and Daniel in the Lion's Den.


The New Testament




The second part of Codex Gigas is a complete Latin translation of the New Testament, which is the second part of the Bible, and the core text of Christianity. The New Testament contains stories and teachings that describe God's new covenant with humanity through his son Jesus Christ, who was born from a virgin, performed miracles, died on a cross, and rose from the dead. Some of the most famous stories in this section include The Nativity, The Sermon on the Mount, The Parables, The Last Supper, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection, and The Revelation.


The Chronicle of Bohemia




The third part of Codex Gigas is a Latin translation of the Chronicle of Bohemia, which is a historical account of the Czech lands and their rulers from ancient times to 1125 CE. The chronicle was written by Cosmas of Prague, a priest and scholar who lived in the 11th and 12th centuries. The chronicle covers topics such as mythology, geography, politics, wars, religion, culture, and genealogy.


The Encyclopedia Etymologiae




>h3>The Encyclopedia Etymologiae


The fourth part of Codex Gigas is a Latin translation of the Encyclopedia Etymologiae, which is a collection of scientific and philosophical knowledge of the medieval world. The encyclopedia was written by Isidore of Seville, a bishop and scholar who lived in the 6th and 7th centuries. The encyclopedia covers topics such as grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, astronomy, geography, zoology, botany, medicine, law, religion, and art.


The Medical Treatises




The fifth part of Codex Gigas is a collection of medical texts and remedies that deal with various diseases and ailments. The medical treatises include extracts from works by Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, and Constantine the African, who were ancient and medieval physicians and pharmacists. The medical treatises cover topics such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, prognosis, therapy, pharmacology, hygiene, and diet.


The Calendar and Necrology




The sixth part of Codex Gigas is a calendar of saints and a list of deceased monks from the monastery of Podlažice. The calendar lists the names and feast days of various saints and martyrs who were venerated by the Christian church. The necrology lists the names and death dates of the monks who lived and died in the monastery. The calendar and necrology provide insights into the religious and social life of the monastic community.


The Penitential and Confessional Manuals




The seventh part of Codex Gigas is a collection of guides for confession and penance that were used by priests and penitents in the medieval church. The penitential and confessional manuals include extracts from works by Halitgar of Cambrai, Regino of Prüm, Burchard of Worms, and Ivo of Chartres, who were bishops and canonists who lived in the 9th to 12th centuries. The penitential and confessional manuals cover topics such as sins, virtues, vices, commandments, sacraments, penances, indulgences, and excommunications.


The Devil's Portrait




The eighth part of Codex Gigas is a full-page illustration of the devil that is one of the most famous and striking features of the book. The devil's portrait shows a large horned figure with red eyes, red claws, red wings, red tongue, and red ears. He is naked except for a green loincloth that covers his genitals. He is surrounded by two towers that represent hell. He holds his right hand up in a gesture that may signify power or blessing. He holds his left hand down in a gesture that may signify curse or invitation. He has a sad or angry expression on his face that may reflect his misery or malice.


The devil's portrait has been interpreted in various ways by different scholars and viewers. Some see it as a symbol of evil and temptation that contrasts with the holy texts in the book. Some see it as a symbol of repentance and redemption that reflects the legend of the monk who wrote the book. Some see it as a symbol of curiosity and creativity that showcases the artistic skill and imagination of the scribe. Some see it as a symbol of mystery and ambiguity that raises more questions than answers about the book.


The Mystery of Codex Gigas




Codex Gigas is not only a remarkable book for its size and contents but also for its mystery. There are many unanswered questions and legends surrounding the book that have fascinated scholars and readers for centuries. Here are some of the most intriguing ones:


Who was the author and why did he write it?




One of the biggest mysteries of Codex Gigas is the identity and motivation of the scribe who wrote it. Although there is no direct evidence or signature in the book, most scholars agree that it was written by a single person based on the consistency of handwriting, ink color, page layout, and illustration style throughout the book. However, there is no consensus on who this person was or why he wrote such a colossal book.


Some scholars suggest that he was a monk named Hermanus Inclusus (Herman the Recluse), who lived in the monastery of Podlažice and was known for his exceptional writing skills. They argue that he wrote the book as a personal project or a gift for his monastery or his patron. Some scholars suggest that he was a monk named Procopius, who was the abbot of the monastery of Podlažice and was known for his political and religious influence. They argue that he wrote the book as a propaganda tool or a diplomatic gift for his allies or enemies.


Some scholars suggest that he was an anonymous monk who had no special name or status, but had a remarkable talent and ambition. They argue that he wrote the book as a challenge or a legacy for himself or his God. Some scholars suggest that he was not a monk at all, but a layman or a heretic who had access to the monastery and its library. They argue that he wrote the book as a hoax or a secret message for his followers or his devil.


How long did it take to write and how was it done?




Another mystery of Codex Gigas is the time and methods involved in writing and illustrating it. Although there is no exact date or record in the book, most scholars estimate that it took between 20 to 30 years to complete it, based on the average speed and lifespan of a medieval scribe. However, some scholars argue that it could have been done faster or slower, depending on the skill, dedication, and health of the scribe.


Some scholars suggest that he worked alone, without any help or supervision from other monks or scribes. They argue that he had a remarkable memory and knowledge of various texts and sources, and that he copied them by heart or by sight without any notes or references. Some scholars suggest that he worked with others, who helped him with preparing the parchment, mixing the ink, binding the book, or checking the errors. They argue that he had a team of assistants or collaborators who supported him in his monumental task.


Some scholars suggest that he worked in a normal way, following the standard practices and techniques of medieval scribes and illustrators. They argue that he used simple tools and materials such as quills, knives, rulers, compasses, brushes, pigments, and glues to create his masterpiece. Some scholars suggest that he worked in an extraordinary way, using unusual or secret practices and techniques that were not common or known in his time. They argue that he used special tools and materials such as magic, alchemy, astrology, or geometry to create his masterpiece.


Why is there a portrait of the devil in the book?




The third mystery of Codex Gigas is the reason and symbolism behind the inclusion of the devil's image in the book. Although there are many illustrations of various subjects and themes in the book, such as biblical scenes, historical figures, animals, plants, stars, and letters, none of them is as prominent or striking as the devil's portrait. It is the only illustration that occupies a full page by itself, without any text or decoration around it. It is also placed in an unusual position in the book, between the Old Testament and the New Testament, which are normally separated by other texts.


Some scholars suggest that it is a symbol of evil and temptation that contrasts with the holy texts in the book. They argue that it is meant to warn or scare the readers about the dangers of sin and hell, and to remind them of the need for repentance and salvation. Some scholars suggest that it is a symbol of repentance and redemption that reflects the legend of the monk who wrote the book. They argue that it is meant to confess or atone for his sins and crimes, and to seek forgiveness and mercy from God.


Some scholars suggest that it is a symbol of curiosity and creativity that showcases the artistic skill and imagination of the scribe. They argue that it is meant to impress or entertain the readers with its realism and detail, and to demonstrate his mastery and originality as an artist. Some scholars suggest that it is a symbol of mystery and ambiguity that raises more questions than answers about the book. They argue that it is meant to puzzle or intrigue the readers with its meaning and purpose, and to challenge their assumptions and expectations as an audience.


The Modern Significance of Codex Gigas




Codex Gigas is not only an amazing book for its size and contents but also for its modern significance. There are many ways that the book is relevant today and can be seen or accessed by people around the world. Here are some of them:


The Cultural Impact of Codex Gigas




>their own works. For example, the devil's portrait has been reproduced or referenced in paintings, sculptures, comics, tattoos, and logos by various artists. The book has also inspired other writers and storytellers who have used or mentioned it in their own works. For example, the book has been featured or referenced in novels, poems, plays, essays, and documentaries by various authors. The book has also appeared or been referenced in movies, games, and other media that have reached a wider audience. For example, the book has been shown or mentioned in films, TV shows, video games, and podcasts by various creators.


The Scientific Value of Codex Gigas




Codex Gigas has contributed to historical, linguistic, and biomedical research in various ways over time. The book has provided insights into medieval history and culture by preserving and transmitting information that would otherwise be lost or unknown. For example, the book has recorded events, names, dates, places, and customs that are relevant to the history of Bohemia and Europe. The book has also provided insights into medieval languages and scripts by preserving and transmitting examples that would otherwise be rare or extinct. For example, the book has written texts in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and Old Czech that are useful for the study of linguistics and paleography. The book has also provided insights into medieval health and diseases by preserving and transmitting samples that would otherwise be inaccessible or degraded. For example, the book has contained DNA, bacteria, fungi, and parasites that are useful for the study of genetics and microbiology.


The Availability of Codex Gigas




Codex Gigas can be seen or accessed by people today in various ways. The book is currently kept and displayed at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, where it can be viewed by visitors who are interested in seeing it in person. The book is also available online as a digital version that can be accessed or downloaded by anyone who is interested in exploring it in detail. The digital version was created in 2007 by a team of experts who scanned and photographed every page of the book using high-resolution cameras and software. The digital version can be found on the website of the National Library of Sweden (https://www.kb.se/codex-gigas/eng/) or on the website of the World Digital Library (https://www.wdl.org/en/item/10625/). The digital version allows users to zoom in and out, rotate and flip, search and browse, annotate and share every page of the book.


However, the digital version does not include an English translation of the texts in the book, which are mostly written in Latin. Therefore, users who do not know Latin may have difficulty understanding or appreciating the contents of the book. Fortunately, there is a way to download an English translation pdf version of Codex Gigas online. The English translation pdf version was created by a team of volunteers who translated every text in the book using online tools and resources. The English translation pdf version can be found on the website of Codex Gigas English Translation Project (https://codexgigasenglishtranslation.wordpress.com/) or on the website of Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/CodexGigasEnglishTranslation). The English translation pdf version allows users to read and learn every text in the book in a simple and accessible way.


Conclusion




Codex Gigas is a remarkable book that deserves attention and admiration for its size, contents, mystery, and significance. It is a unique and valuable source of information and inspiration for scholars and readers alike. It is also a fascinating and accessible object of curiosity and wonder for anyone who wants to see or explore it online. If you are interested in Codex Gigas, you can download an English translation pdf version online and enjoy reading it at your own pace.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Codex Gigas:



  • How big is Codex Gigas?



Codex Gigas is one of the largest books ever created. It measures 92 cm (36 in) tall, 50 cm (20 in) wide, and 22 cm (9 in) thick. It weighs about 75 kg (165 lb) and has 310 parchment pages.


  • What is Codex Gigas made of?



Codex Gigas is made of parchment, which is a type of writing material made from animal skin. It is estimated that it took the skins of about 160 donkeys to make the parchment for the book. The book is also made of leather, wood, metal, and ink, which are the materials used for the cover, the binding, the clasps, and the writing.


  • What is Codex Gigas about?



Codex Gigas contains a variety of texts that reflect both religious and secular interests of the medieval world. The book is divided into several main sections, such as the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Chronicle of Bohemia, the Encyclopedia Etymologiae, the Medical Treatises, the Calendar and Necrology, the Penitential and Confessional Manuals, and the Devil's Portrait.


  • Who wrote Codex Gigas and when?



Codex Gigas was written by a single scribe in the early 13th century, most likely in a Benedictine monastery in Podlažice, in what is now the Czech Republic. The identity and motivation of the scribe are unknown, but there are various theories and legends about him. Some suggest that he was a monk named Hermanus Inclusus or Procopius, who wrote the book as a gift or a propaganda tool. Some suggest that he was an anonymous monk or a layman who wrote the book as a challenge or a hoax.


  • Why does Codex Gigas have a portrait of the devil?



Codex Gigas has a full-page illustration of the devil that is one of the most famous and striking features of the book. The reason and symbolism behind the inclusion of the devil's image are unclear, but there are various interpretations and speculations about it. Some suggest that it is a symbol of evil and temptation that contrasts with the holy texts in the book. Some sugges


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