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Kreitling, Holger

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Die Welt - Germany | 15/11/2007

The Devil's Bible in Prague

The Codex Gigas, "a gigantic book also known as the Devil's Bible," is currently on display at the National Library of the Czech Republic (Klementinum), Holger Kreitling reports. "It is said that the skins of 160 donkeys were used to make its 312 folios (624 pages)." It is the largest book produced during the Middle Ages. "The Devil's Bible in Prague - that's a sensation from a historical point of view, because the book is basically a looted art treasure. Since the end of the Thirty Years' War it has been kept in Stockholm. The Swedish army took it from Prague as plunder in 1648. For many years, the Habsburg Emperor Rudolph II had the Devil's Bible in his possession; it was part of the collection in his renowned chamber of curiosities in Prague's hill-top Hradčany district. The emperor had a huge collection of valuable and bizarre treasures. After his death in 1612, the collection was scattered and later the Swedes transported the still momentous remnants to their home country. Seventeen years ago Czech President Vaclav Havel asked permission to exhibit the Devil's Bible, but for a long time the Swedes refused, and it's only now that they have acceded to this request."

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