A medieval manuscript that was peed on by a cat

Scribe was forced to leave the rest of the page empty, drew a picture of a cat and cursed the creature with the following words:

“Hic non defectus est, sed cattus minxit desuper nocte quadam. Confundatur pessimus cattus qui minxit super librum istum in nocte Daventrie, et consimiliter omnes alii propter illum. Et cavendum valde ne permittantur libri aperti per noctem ubi cattie venire possunt.”

[Here is nothing missing, but a cat urinated on this during a certain night. Cursed be the pesty cat that urinated over this book during the night in Deventer and because of it many others [other cats] too. And beware well not to leave open books at night where cats can come.]

Cologne, Historisches Archiv, G.B. quarto, 249, fol. 68r

Codex Gigas - the largest  ancient manuscript.


It takes two people to lift the book, which is made of more than 160 animal skins. It was written in the 13th century A.D., and it currently resides in the National Library in Stockholm, Sweden. At first glance, the contents of this bizarre book are equally strange. It contains a full Latin Vulgate Bible, interspaced with several other books, including Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, a collection of medical works by Hippocrates and Theophilus, The Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas of Prague, the Encyclopedia Etymologiae by Isidore of Seville, and other, smaller texts. The latter works include a text on exorcism, magical formulas, and an illustration of the heavenly city.