The CODEX GIGAS
In the year 1200 or so, a highly devout Christian magi known as Herman the Recluse vowed to produce the greatest book ever written. From that time on Hermannus Heremitus locked himself away for nearly every waking hour of life in the Benedictine monastery of Podlazice toiling over the construction of the Codex Gigas. This was all part of an elaborate self-appointed, but Church sanctioned and funded, quest toward enlightenment that led to decades of devotional dedication on the part of a medieval super scribe.
When he wasn’t attending worship services or performing his regular monastic duties, the insanely pious Mad Monk of the Black Order worked tirelessly on the Big Book, each and every day except Sunday of course. This was such a tremendous feat that the calligraphy alone would lead to deep meditative states that gave him profound visions and revelations. He could get lost in a painting for two or three days straight, and that was just one of many illustrations in the Codex Gigas.
Herman wrote the entire manuscript in Latin, making sure never to make a single mistake. Between the Old and New Testaments of the Vulgate Bible he added a selection of popular medieval works. More interestingly though the work includes a number of instructions on conjuration and exorcism, to name but only a few of the Theurgic things it contains. The Mad Monk finished his masterpiece in the year 1230. The finished text was three feet tall and several inches thick, consisting of 620 pages of literature made from 160 different calf skins over 30 years time. A great deal of vellum and insect ink went into the project, plus there is an immaculately hand-woven spine holding it all together.
Regardless, some time after that, the Codex Gigas made its way from the Order of the Black Monks to that of the White Monks. Once in the hands of another order of friars, the manuscript was taken to the Sedlec Ossuary. Bone Chapel was consecrated with sacred soil from Golgotha and contains the remains of more than 50,000 people. When the Black Order wanted the Great Work of the Holy Recluse to be returned to their monastery, a plague rapidly swept through the land. In the end, the Black Death took the lives of tens of thousands of men, women, and children from the families of the White Order.
As if that wasn’t crazy enough, around the year 1565 Rudolf the Mad Alchemist made a deal with the Black Monks to add the Big Book of Herman the Mad Monk to his own personal library. So, of course, eventually Rudolf II came to own the ornate religious relic that was once known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. Not long after that, the eccentric Mad Alchemist became cursed by the manuscript and cloistered away in his castle, fully possessed by the obsessed spirit of a recluse. Ultimately the monarch’s own family was forced to banish him from the throne.
By 1648 the Swedish military had seized the Codex Gigas as a spoil of war. They brought it to Stockholm and gave the tome to the She-King Christina. Then, the noble woman abdicated the throne and banished herself into exile. She left the Big Book behind with her kingdom. Later, the immense artifact nearly burned up in a tragic fire on Friday, May 5th of 1697. Fortunately, the highly-prized Codex Gigas was saved by a daring servant of the royal family. Nowadays the mysterious manuscript is specially housed in the basement of the National Library of Sweden, covered by a custom shroud and kept far out of reach of any accursed hands.