The Codex Gigas (Giant Book), also known as the Devil’s Bible because of a large illustration of the devil on the inside, is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world. Legend has it, that it was written by one scribe, believed to be Herman the Recluse, in the early 12th century, at the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in Bohemia (modern Czech Republic). The monastery was destroyed during the 15th century during the Hussite Revolution. Records in the codex end in the year 1229.
The codex is bound in a wooden folder covered with leather and ornate metal. At 92 cm tall, 50 cm wide and 22 cm thick, it is the largest known medieval manuscript, weighing in at a staggering 74.8 kg (165 lb). It’s composed of 310 leaves of vellum allegedly made from the skins of 160 donkeys or perhaps calfskin. It was even bigger, initially containing 320 sheets, the extra believed to contain the monastic rules of the Benedictines.
About half of the codex consists of the entire Latin Bible in the Vulgate version, except for the books of Acts and Revelation, which are from a pre-Vulgate version. The Old Testament and the New Testament are seperated. Inbetween are Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, as well as Isidore of Seville’s encyclopedia Etymologiae and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus. After the famous picture of the Devil which gives the book its nickname, the works are Cosmas of Prague’s Chronicle of Bohemia, a list of brothers in the Podlažice monastery, and a calendar with necrologium, magic formulae and other local records round out the codex. The entire document is written in Latin; in addition, it contains Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic alphabets (Cyrillic and Glagolitic).