The Mystery Of the Codex Gigas aka The Devil’s Bible



Image credit: by the Royal Library via Large Norwegian Encyclopedia. License: Public domain at https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/deed.no

A short walk through almost any Czech city exposes the country as a historical epicenter of esoteric and occult treasures, with mysterious symbolism built into much of the architecture and city infrastructures.

The name of the capital city, “Prague”, or in Czech, “Praha”, is a synonym for “threshold.” This could be interpreted as the city being a threshold between eastern and western Europe, where two major groups of peoples and cultures reconcile in the middle of the continent.

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But many throughout history have interpreted Prague’s name as an indication of the city being a threshold between the physical and spiritual worlds, where if one truly wants to, they can reach into other dimensions to communicate with the saints, angels and demons whose statues adorn Czech streets and buildings everywhere.

Of the many prizes of Czech occult history is the Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil’s Bible. This is a 92 cm (36 in) long, 50 cm (20 in) wide and 22 cm thick book written under cryptic circumstances over 800 years ago.

The book is written in Latin in perfect calligraphy and contains multiple books, stories, alphabets, and historical accounts assembled together for esoteric, transcendental reasons and meaning. 

It starts off with two Hebrew alphabets and then continues with the entirety of the Vulgate version of the Old and New Testaments. But sandwiched in between the two testaments are a number of other historical works.

Complimenting the two books of the bible are two books by Jewish historian Josephus; The Antiquities Of The Jews, and The Judean War.  

Etymologiae, written by Spanish Archbishop and scholar Isidore of Seville (inventor of the semicolon and the full stop, or period), Chronica Bohemorum, written by legendary Czech historical figure Kosmas Pražský (The Cosmas Of Prague), and a collection of medical-related writings like the Ars Medicinae, and two books by Constantine the African are all included in the Codex Gigas as well.

On page 289, there’s a colloquial diagram of God’s Heavenly City, and right next to it on page 290, there’s the famous portrait of the Devil, with red horns and a forked, reptilian looking tongue. 

There is no known explanation as to who wrote the Codex Gigas, or why, but the legend states that an unknown monk, possibly named Herman The Recluse, broke his monastic vows and was sentenced to be walled-up alive. Trying to negotiate with his masters, he offered to write a masterpiece book to make the monastery famous. But around midnight, he realized he wouldn’t be able to finish the book, so he sent a prayer to Lucifer asking for his assistance in finishing it. 

Lucifer agreed but demanded the monk’s soul in exchange. Afterward, the monk drew Lucifer’s portrait in the Codex Gigas as a thank-you. 

To date, there is no known official story as to who created the Devil’s Bible, why they created it, or what they were trying to say by including all the various books and writings into one giant collection.

Alex Richardson

Alex Richardson

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Alex is a writer and trader living in Prague. He likes economics, anthropology, and cactuses.
Alex Richardson
About Alex Richardson 24 Articles
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Alex is a writer and trader living in Prague. He likes economics, anthropology, and cactuses.