Friday, October 5, 2007

Devil’s Bible unique as only few ever explored itThe Devil’s Bible, the world’s biggest manuscript now on display in Prague, has an eventful 800-year-long history, accompanied by legends highlighting its emergence and alleged miraculous powers, and it is also unique as a book that only few Czech experts have ever been able to look at.

The illuminated Devil’s Bible (Codex Gigas) is of Czech origin but it has been kept by Swedes since the 17th-century.

“For the last time it was enquired into by [Czech early 19th century priest and scientist] Josef Dobrovsky, who actually re-discovered it in Sweden,” Czech National Library expert Miroslava Hejnova, who assisted at the rare book’s transport to Prague, has told CTK.

The Swedes took the Devil’s Bible away from Bohemia as part of their war loot at the end of the Thirty Years’ War. The first one to try to buy it out was Antonin Jan Nostic, the Austrian Empire’s ambassador to Sweden, in 1685-90. He gained back 133 sheets.

Dobrovsky visited Sweden in 1792 to examine the local works of Bohemian origin. He uncovered the Devil’s Bible and other Czech manuscripts in the Royal Library in Stockholm.


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