Devil's Bible goes on display in Prague after three century absence
The largest historical book in the world is to go on show at Prague's Klementinum Gallery on Wednesday. Known as the 'Devil's Bible', it was written in what is now the Czech Republic in the early thirteenth century, and during the Middle Ages was regarded as a wonder of the world. Plundered from Prague by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War, it is now to return to the city temporarily after an absence of over 350 years. Joshua Singer has more.
The book, which is almost a metre high and half a metre wide, consists entirely of parchment, and is made up of eleven sections. Not only is it the biggest, but also the oldest Czech chronicle written in Latin. Accompanying the bible on display at the exhibition will be detailed descriptions of certain chapters, and a history of the book's journey from its origins in Bohemia to its permanent home in Sweden's National Library, from where it is on loan.
Vlastimil Jezek is the director of the Czech National Library at the Klementinum:
History and legend differ as to exactly how the bible - also known as the Codex Gigas - came into existence. Historians believe that it was completed in around 1229 in a small Benedictine monastery in Podlazice, and was the life's work of one man. Legend however, asserts that it is the work of the devil. So the story goes, a Benedictine monk faced death for breaking the code of his order. To save himself from punishment, he sold his soul to Satan in return for creating what he promised to be the biggest manuscript in the world.
One ticket will allow visitors ten minutes to view the Bible, which will be on loan until January, when it will return to Sweden.