A monumental Bible rumoured to have been written with the help of the Devil has been returned to Prague for the first time in 350 years. The 13th century Codex Gigas, which is 3ft long and weighs 165lb, is thought to be the biggest book in the world and is known as The Devil's Bible due to a supposed satanic bargain made by its author.It was looted by Swedish soldiers from Prague castle at the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648 and taken to Stockholm, where it isthe prize exhibit at the Royal Library.
But until now Swedish authorities have refused to lend it to the Czech Republic, which regards the Bible as stolen property, for fear they would not get it back.The priceless manuscript is housed in a vault-like room behind bullet-proof glass. One of the two pages on show features a drawing of the Devil. According to legend, the drawing is the scribe's tribute to the role Satan played in the Bible's creation. Sentenced to be walled up and die a slow death for some unutterable sin, a monk promised to write out the world's biggest Bible in return for his freedom. With just one night to produce it, he enlisted the help of the Devil. The text will return to Sweden early nextyear.
Factbox: Codex Gigas Written around 1229, its legend says it was written in a single night, though historians estimate it really took up to 20 years. 92 centimetres tall, 50.5 centimetres wide, weighing 165 pounds, its vellum used the skin of an estimated 160 donkeys. Its 624 pages contain the Old and New Testaments as well as formulas to treat diseases and uncover thieves. The real thing is the subject of a £8 million insurance, though it is widely regarded as priceless. Sweden has presented the Czech Republic with a digitised version of the Bible which cost £80,000 to make.