The Codex Gigas or the Devil’s Bible is famous for two features. First, it is reputed to be the biggest surviving European manuscript.Secondly, it contains a large, full page portrait of the Devil.
According to the legend that is already recorded in the Middle Ages the scribe was a monk who broke his monastic vows and was sentenced to be walled up alive. In order to forbear this harsh penalty he promised to create in one single night a book to glorify the monastery forever, including all human knowledge. Near midnight he became sure that he could not complete this task alone, so he made a special prayer, not addressed to God but to the fallen angel Lucifer, asking him to help him finish the book in exchange for his soul. The devil completed the manuscript and the monk added the devil’s picture out of gratitude for his aid.In tests to recreate the work, it is estimated that reproducing only the calligraphy, without the illustrations or embellishments, would have taken 5 years of non-stop writing
The original manuscript is kept in a climate controlled store room and is not on display for the general public.