The Codex Gigas: The Devil’s Bible And Everything We Know About It

By | October 5, 2020

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The Codex Gigas (the Devil's Bible) was written in the early 13th century in the Benedictine monastery of Podlazice in Bohemia and, during the Middle Ages, was regarded as a wonder of the world. (MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images)

Of the volumes of medieval texts that have survived for centuries, one book in particular stands out. The largest of all medieval books, it rightly earned the name Codex Gigas, or "giant book," but what is found within the pages of this 165-lb. volume earned it a much more sinister nickname: The Devil's Bible.

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The Devil's Bible was taken from its original home during the Thirty Years' War. (Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau/Wikimedia Commons)

The Spooky Spoils Of War

The Codex Gigas may have stayed hidden in a monastery in Prague had it not been for the Thirty Years' War. Swedish soldiers who sacked Prague in summer 1648 during the final battles of the war didn't realize until they were back home that they had pilfered a most unusual find. It seems like it would be hard to lug a book the weight of a person, and not a willowy one, either, across several countries without considering that it might be something notable, but hey, it was a chaotic time.