• Introduction
  • The structure of Codex Gigas
  • Translations of OT and NT
  • The sequence of the books
  • The size of Codex Gigas
  • The ideas underlying Codex Gigas
  • The disposition as a narrative in itself
  • Was Codex Gigas ever used?



Manuscript A 148 has always attracted attention because of its sheer size and the picture, on one of its pages,  of the Devil enthroned in solitary state. Over the years it has gone by two pungent sobriquets: the Devil’s Bible and, in Latin, Codex Gigas – the Giant Book. In medieval times the manuscript ranked among the wonders of the world and was ascribed great material value. A note from the end of the 13th century on the inside of the front cover [f. 1v] records that the Benedictines of Podlažice, finding themselves in financial straits, pawned the manuscript with a Cistercian monastery in Sedlec (cf. de Hamel 2007, pp. 87-88). It was re-purchased for the Benedictines at the end of the 13th century by the wealthy monastery of Břevnov, the Archbishop of Prague deeming it right and proper for the treasure to be held by their order.

Codex Gigas contains numerous “I was here” inscriptions from the 16th and 17th centuries, testifying to its unfailing allure. As recently as the 19th century, two Czech authors, Josef Pečirka and Beda Dudik, pioneers of the scholarly study of the manuscript, inscribed their names in it.

The manuscript has also fallen victim to the greed of two famous art collectors. In 1594 Rudolph II had it transferred to his castle in Prague. The picture of the devil titillated his hankerings for the occult. Half a century later, Queen Christina added the manuscript to her splendid library at Stockholm Castle.

Codex Gigas has retained its powers of attraction right down to the present day. There is a picture of the opened volume in an American collection of stereoscopic pictures dating from 1906 and showing the sights of Stockholm. And in a series of Stockholm picture postcards published in 1929, the manuscript is made to represent the curiosities of the Royal Library.

The structure of Codex Gigas

Half the manuscript consists of the Old and New Testaments [ff. 1v-118r253r-286r], but these, instead of coming both together, are separated by Latin translations of Josephus’ (Josephus Flavius) two works on the history of the Jews (Antiquitates Iudaicae [ff. 118r-178v] and De bello Iudaico [ff. 178v-200v), Isidore of Sevilla’s encyclopaedic Etymologiae, in twenty books [f. 201r-239r], and eight medical writings.

The first five of these latter are a collection of medical texts [ff. 240r-243v], mainly of Greek or Byzantine origin, which, under the title of Ars medicinae (The Art of medicine), were required reading for medical students in Salerno, southern Italy, from the early 12th century onwards. Ars medicinae, later known as Articella, eventually became, with certain additions made to it, a standard medical textbook all over medieval Europe. Ars medicinae addresses medical topics in both theoretical and practical terms. The last three medical treatises [ff. 243v-252r] are devoted to practical medicine and were written by Constantine the African. He was a Benedictine monk at Monte Cassino in the second half of the 11th century and played an important role as Latin translator and European introducer of a number of Arabic medical writings.

The medical works are followed by the New Testament. This in turn is followed by the opening which constitute the core and quintessence of the whole manuscript, even though they come near the end of it, namely two full-page pictures, one of the Heavenly Jerusalem and, opposite, one of the Devil. [ff. 289v290r] The illustrated pages are surrounded by several leaves with coloured panels, partly blank, both before and after. The pages preceding the pictures contain a confession of sins [ff. 286v-288v] in lettering twice as large as that of the other manuscript pages. Two of the following pages contain various conjurations written in the same large hand. [ff. 290v-291r]

Next comes the Chronicle of Bohemia, the last lengthy text in the Codex Gigas [ff. 294r-304r], written by Cosmas of Prague. Codex Gigas is one of the most important of the fifteen known manuscripts containing the text of this chronicle, and indeed, the second printed edition of the chronicle, published in 1602, was based on it. The note recording the mortgaging of the manuscript also states that the Rule of St Benedict was once inscribed in it, after Cosmas’s chronicle. This is quite possible, because the remains of three excised pages are still visible. But the Benedictine Rule is a relatively short text, suggesting that the missing pages can have included another text as well.

The last fourteen pages are a Calendar [ff. 305v-311r], preceded by a list of names. [f. 305r] These are probably the names of members or benefactors of a local monastic community. The Calendar has distinctly Bohemian features. Several saints are mentioned who were particularly commemorated in Bohemia, and there are also the names of deceased persons who are probably connected with the history of the Podlážice monastery or with Bohemian history in general. This Calendar is a very important document for the history of the Czech language. The last two pages contain material relating to the Calendar. [ff. 311v312r]


Translations of OT and NT

The Old and New Testaments are given in the translation known as the Vulgate, the history of which goes back to the translation workof Jerome, one of the Fathers of the Church. But the Acts of the Apostles and the Book of Revelation here are both from an earlier translation, called Vetus Latina. These translations, made during the second half of the 4th century, represent a European textual tradition (as opposed to a North African one) and are very important evidence of the earliest versions of the Latin Bible.

The text of the Acts is very similar to the one which was used by Lucifer and is preserved in the form of long quotations in his own writings. The Book of Psalms is iuxta Hebraeos, the last of the three versions of the book prepared by Jerome in the closing years of the 4th century, this time straight from the Hebrew. The various alphabets of the three biblical languages – Hebrew, Greek and Latin – are reproduced on the first leaf of Codex Gigas, reminding us of the linguistic frames within which Jerome was working.

The texts of the Acts and Revelation are among the really antiquated features of this manuscript. Similarly, the sequence of the books of the Bible represents an older tradition than the one which was current in the 13th century and which the Vulgate usually conforms to. Instead the Codex Gigas sequence follows that of the Carolingian Bibles. The Pentateuch [ff. 1v-23v] is followed by the Prophets (both the major ones, plus Daniel, and the minor ones, plus Job) [ff. 23v-64v] and then by the poetical books [ff. 81r-98r], which are followed by Chronicles, Ezra, Tobit, Judith and Esther. [ff. 98r-112r] The Old Testament concludes with Maccabees [ff. 112r-118r].

The positioning of the four books of Kings [ff. 64v-80v] after the later prophets is unusual, in that these books, with their historical content, normally come before the major prophets, usually after Ruth. (What we call the First and Second Books of Samuel were known as the First and Second Books of Kings, and our “Kings I-II” were at that time referred to as, respectively, the Third and Fourth Books of Kings.) In the New Testament, the Catholic Epistles (James, Peter, John and Jude) [ff. 274-276r] come just after the Acts of the Apostles [ff. 269v-273r], which are accompanied by the Book of Revelation [ff. 276r-277v] and the Pauline Epistles. [ff. 278r-286r]

The size of Codex Gigas

The size of Codex Gigas, as a biblical manuscript, ties in with a tradition of Giant Bibles, very large manuscripts, often in a single volume, which were produced on the Continent between the second half of the 11th century and the end of the 12th. Some of these books could be over 70 cm high. Their size was intended to manifest the significance accorded to the Bible by the reforming popes of the 11th century, determined as they were to strengthen the liberty of the Church and its independence of the secular power. A central role was allotted to the Bible.

Large single-volume Bibles are known from earlier times, but it was not until the 11th century that their size took on a particular symbolic value. Manuscripts of this kind began to be produced in Rome, spreading eventually to Northern Europe. Often these Bibles were presented to churches and monasteries by powerful patrons as a means of indicating their status, or else they were gifts from bishops seeking to assert their power and emphasise the importance of the faith in troubled times. The exact role of these large Bibles in the practical religious context is unclear. Their size made them suitable for placing in a lectern in the monastic refectory for mealtime readings, in the chancel of the church for daily services. Several manuscripts show traces of such use. They could be used as an adjunct to other liturgical books. But above all they served as original texts and works of reference for the copying of new manuscripts.

A number of Giant Bibles are extant from the second half of the 12th century, a time when the foundation of many new monasteries had created a growing need for good biblical texts. The Devil’s Bible is the last instance of this tradition of large-format Bibles, and it is exceptional, considering that small-format single-volume Bibles were beginning to appear in Paris at this time. At 90 cm high and 50 cm wide, it is also the biggest of all large Bibles, and it differs from the others in its mixed contents and its remarkable embellishments. Taken as a whole, however, it seems well-planned and cogently conceived, an impression reinforced by the fact of the entire volume having been written by one and the same scribe. Legend has it that he was shut up in a monastery cell to produce the manuscript overnight, in a bid to expiate his sins. The task proving too much for him, he enlisted the aid of the Devil.

The ideas underlying Codex Gigas

What was the function of Codex Gigas? Why this particular combination of texts? How are the different texts interrelated? What was the role of the pictures of the Heavenly Jerusalem and the Devil?

The historical works occupy a strikingly large portion of the manuscript. The entire volume runs to 310 leaves. Leaving aside the Old and New Testaments, which are historical narratives par excellence, there are three long historical works in the true sense, and they take up 100 of the remaining 150 leaves. They comprise two works by Josephus and one by Cosmas of Prague, plus two works of a certain historical character, namely the list of names mentioned above and the Calendar with its necrology.

Another 40 leaves are taken up by the Etymologies of Isidore of Sevilla, the main purpose of which was, by investigating the derivation of words, to answer the question of the origin and genesis of the entire universe in all its forms, all human activity included. The work’s original title was Origines (Origins). From this point of departure, Etymologies gives a broad description of human history in general and the history of the Church in particular. The work was compiled in a time of change, the beginning of the seventh century, when the Catholic Church in Spain had defeated Arianism, the version of Christianity embraced by the Visigoths. This was a decisive period during which the need was felt for retrospect and summarisation. The past in all its variation was to be made visible.

The disposition as a narrative in itself

The character of Codex Gigas as a work of historiography is accentuated by the disposition of the texts. The Old Testament narrative of the history of the Jews is supplemented by the histories of Josephus, extending right down to the author’s own times, i.e. the first century of the Christian era. A brief passage in Antiquitates Iudaicae (in fact a later interpolation) concerning the Passion of Our Lord signals the beginning of the narrative of the people of the New Covenant, i.e. the Christians.

The ensuing Etymologies deals at length with the history of the Christians. But Isidore was aiming for something far bigger: a summary of all knowledge at that time, from a Christian perspective. His work stands as an introduction to the New Testament story of the new age, of the age of the Church and the fulfilment of promise which had been ushered in by the appearance of Christ on earth. This was a focal point in world history, imparting new meaning to everything that had gone before. The Old and New Testaments are concerned with two orders, two covenants, two peoples. The first was only meant to prepare the way for the second. At the same time, the appearance of Christ on earth, God’s intervention in human destinies through His son, is but an adumbration of the approaching end, the Last Judgement, when the contest between good and evil will be decided, when the longed-for salvation, the ultimate goal of all the faithful, can be accomplished. And this is very expressively illustrated in the two famous pictures which, in juxtaposition to each other, adjoin the New Testament. On the left, Jerusalem, and on the right, the Devil – Heaven and Hell, Civitas Dei (the City of God) and Civitas Diaboli (the City of the Devil).

The historical arrangement of the manuscript acquires a moral-theological dimension through the perspective of the last things. Augustine, one of the Fathers of the Church, portrayed this historical drama of the human race in his City of God. The City of God, abode of peace, is man’s ultimate objective and the supreme good. The confession of sins preceding the picture of Civitas Dei is the necessary precondition of admission to the Kingdom of God. The exorcisms following the picture of the Prince of Darkness offer necessary protection from the harm which the very sight of Lucifer is capable of inflicting.

The New Testament concludes the Codex Gigas exposition of a history of the universe and all humanity, from the Creation to the foundation of the Christian Church. This history is played out against the background of the promised ultimate salvation. It is followed by the history of a single people, the Bohemians. Cosmas’s relation of Bohemian history is a story of the passage of time and of the changes to which man in his physical frailty is subject. Nothing is permanent. It is only when world history is viewed in relation to sacred history that the worldly acquires meaning. The short introduction to the chronicle, describing the earliest, mythical period of Bohemian history, is followed by the true beginning of the work – the story of the country’s Christianization. The people of Bohemia become part of the wider unity represented by the Church and in this way their history is encompassed by universal history. All the events which the author described are predestined and are seen as mere tools for God’s consummation of His purpose. The earliest history of Bohemia is also the history of the Benedictine Order.

The first book of the chronicle describes how Princess Mlada, daughter of Duke Boleslav I (929/35-967/72), travelled to Rome to study the monastic rules and eventually was given the Rule of St Benedict and the abbot’s staff by the pope, enabling her to found the first monastic community in Bohemia. Probably the Rule of St Benedict is the text which has been removed from its place in Codex Gigas, after the Chronicle of Cosmas. Perhaps it was intended as a counterpoise to the chronicle’s secular history. At the same time it led onto a narrative of hic et nunc, here and now, i.e. the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice.

In the manuscript the Rule is followed by a list of the names of various deceased ecclesiastics and laymen. This is partly destroyed and illegible, but it probably began with a short prayer for the souls of the dead. According to Beda Dudik, who has closely described the manuscript, it could be a list of persons granted indulgences by the monastery. (Dudik, 1852, p. 403)

The Calendar which follows reflects, with its saints’ names, the history of the Catholic Church in general and the Bohemian church in particular. It also includes a number of obits including the names of deceased members of a large monastic community, as well as the names of the monastery’s benefactors and various persons of historic importance. All of them were to be remembered by the monastery on their death days. Certain of the historically known persons had already died before the Podlažice monastery was founded in about 1160. Moreover, nearly all of them have been entered by the same scribe (who is also the scribe of the manuscript). The whole thing gives the impression of being a transcript made on one and the same occasion. These necrology entries in Codex Gigas differ appreciably from others of the same type, which are usually written by different scribes over a long succession of years.

Was Codex Gigas ever used?

The practical usefulness of the manuscript has been a topic of discussion, and the observation has been made that it seems difficult to use, owing to its size and the relatively smallness of the script. This is certainly true, but all the texts in the manuscript were of great importance to monastic life. The Bible and the Rule of St Benedict had to be read daily, and the names of the deceased members and benefactors of the monastery all had to be mentioned on their death dates at the daily chapter meetings. The works of Josephus and Isidore were very widely distributed and read during the Middle Ages and were very commonly included in Benedictine libraries. The Chronicle of Cosmas, written probably in 1110-25, was the most important work of its time on the history of Bohemia and was clearly connected with the Benedictine monastery of Břevnov, the country’s largest, because it was written partly on the initiative of the abbot of the monastery, Clement, to whom the second book of the chronicle is dedicated.

In addition, there are a number of minor traces of the manuscript actually having been used. There is the Latin word Nota (N.B.) which occurs in the margins at a number of points, written in different hands next to passages of particular interest (certain Nota marks, however, may have been transcribed from the exemplar). A number of thirteenth century prayers have been added in the margins, and at the bottom of each Calendar page we find the opening words of the various introits to the mass, with musical notation. Their use has not been made clear. Possibly they furnished guidance during the Sunday services. At the end of the medieval period the manuscript was given parchment leaf-marks, clearly showing that it was meant to be used.

The eight medical treatises which come after Isidore may also have had a practical use. They were probably intended as an enlargement of the fourth book of the Etymologies, which is about medicine, a field in which the Benedictines took a particular interest. The Benedctine Rule made care of the sick a prime monastic concern – ante omnia et super omnia. The abbot was to serve as father and teacher, shepherd and physician. In addition to an infirmary and a herb garden, every monastery had its library and scriptorium. The monastery of Monte Cassino in Southern Italy was famed in the 9th century for its school of medicine. And other Benedictine monasteries, such as St Gallen, Tours and a number of communities in the south of Germany, were known for their medical activity and their book collections on the subject. We know that the Benedictine Thiadagus from Corvey practised as medicus at the court of Duke Boleslav in Prague during the 11th century.

It may also be that there is a connection between the medical texts of Codex Gigas and the picture of the Devil, which according to Carl Nordenfalk may have been modelled on an anatomical plate. The medical texts are a reminder of man’s frailty, a memento mori in this symbolically charged book.

Codex Gigas amazes by its size, its decoration, the profusion of its contents and its sophisticated combination of different texts and pictures to impart power and eschatological depth to the presentation. It puts one in mind of the Book of Life mentioned in Revelation (Rev. 5:1, 21:27). With its various antiquated features both inside and out, the manuscript is unique for its age. Its Bohemian and Benedictine elements are clearly and articulately manifested. These characteristics are further underscored by a subsequent addendum, comprising a Glagolithic and a Church Slavic alphabet which has been glued to the pastedown of the front cover, beside the original three alphabets, namely the Hebrew, Greek and Latin. This addition was written during the second half of the 14th century by Abbot Divisius of the monastery of Břevnov and is one of the very earliest records of these two Slavic alphabets.

But was Codex Gigas really written in a small monastery in Podlažice, a monastery not known for any other manuscripts and hardly mentioned in the surviving documents? It really does seem as though the assistance of the Devil, as related by the legend, would have been needed. The legend also reflects the medieval belief that the slow, painstaking business of writing made the scribe deserving of remission of sins. But it was very tempting to invoke the aid of the Evil One when the assignment proved beyond one’s powers or downright dangerous.

Codex Gigas is in many ways sui generis – in a class of its own – with no real counterpart among other surviving medieval manuscripts, which does nothing to lessen its fascination and significance.

Codex Gigas contains over fifty different entries added to manuscript after its initial completion.

  • Inside of the cover
  • 258r
  • 273 r
  • 276 r
  • 286 r
  • 304 r
  • 305rv
  • 306rv
  • 307rv
  • 308r
  • 309v
  • 310 r
  • 311r
  • 312r

Inside of the cover

 fpi detalj 1

Nouerint vniversi hoc scriptum inspecturi,

quod venerabilis / pater et dominus Dominus Bawarus, diuina miseracione Abbas / Monasterii Brewnouiensis, nec non eiusdem loci fere fundator / sacerdos viscera gerens conpassiva,

tam propter diuinam reconpensam, / tam eciam reuerendi uiri domini gregorii, sacrosancte pra/gensis Ecclesie pontificis, magnam peticionem,

librum pergrandem, / qui dici potest de septem mirabilibus mundi propter sui immensita/tem, continentem in se nouum et vetus testamentum, nec non / partem omnium septem arcium liberalium, Josephum, Cronicam / et Regulam almi sancte patris nostri benedicti, nec non Kalendarium /

quem fratres de Podlasitz ob nimiam domus sue egestatem fratribus / de Sedlitz obligauerunt

Sed tum iam prefatus liber fere perditus / fuerat et ab ordine perpetue alienatus,

Nos vero volentes sa/tisfacere precibus prefati antistitis, hunc librum redemimus ab abacia / sedlicensi

ex permissione monasterii Podlasicensi (sic!) quorum proprietas / fuerat, nolentes eum ab ordine alienari

dantes pro eo peccuniam / par<a>tam, pro domo nostra Brewnow perpetuo habendum et utifruendum,

superaddentes peccuniam super estimacionem valoris libri supradicti.

Acta sunt hec anno domini 1295, abbacie vero nostre anno 4:o.

Know all who see this work know
that the venerable father and lord, Lord Bawarus (Bavor of Nečtin), by the mercy of God Abbot of the Monastery of Břevnov, and almost the founder of the same monastery, a compassionate-hearted priest,
both out of [hope of] divine retribution and due to earnest entreaty by the venerable lord Gregorius, Bishop of the Holy Church in Prague,
the huge book, which can be said to belong to the seven wonders of the world by reason of its huge size, which contains the New and Old Testaments, and also a number of all seven of the liberal arts, Josephus, the Chronicle and the Rule of our gracious and holy father Benedict, as well as a calendar,
for which the brothers of Podlažice by reason of the great poverty of their monastery became indebted to the brethren of Sedlec;
but since the aforesaid book had nearly been lost and been forever removed from the Order, but we wished to accede to the prayers of the above-mentioned bishop and repurchased this book from the monastery of Sedlec
by permission of the monastery of Podlažice, whose property it had been, since we did not wish to remove it from the Order
and for the same gave ready money, so that it should in all perpetuity belong to our house of Břevnov and be of benefit to the same,
and added money in excess of the valuation of the said book.
This happened in 1295, in the fourth year of our abbacy.



Wentzl perger von Altenberg . . . ? . . . wejbertzi (?) kragehrodetzky (?)  Diß puch ist pey mir zu Nimburk gebest den 16 martzij.

Wentzl Perger from Altenberg . . . ? . . . this book was in my home in Nymburk on 16th March.

273 detalj

Aue maria gracia plena dominus tecum et tu mecum

o maria in omnibus / Tribulacionibus et necessitatibus et in hora exitus mei suscipe animam meam

Et offer eam dilectissimo filiu tuo AMEN.

Sancta maria sis mihi / Propicia famulo tuo Sobisslao et libera me ab omnibus peccatis MEIS

Orba te penis quas intulit orba salutis.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord be with thee and thou with me,
O Mary, in all trials and straits, and receive my soul in the hour of my death and carry it up to thy dearest son. Amen.
Sancta Maria, be gracious unto me thy servant Sobisslaus and deliver me from all my sins.
Deliver thee from the penalties she has caused who is deprived of salvation.

276 r detalj

Quos anguis dirus tristi mulcedine pauit

Hos sanguis mirus Christi dulcedine lauit

–N chorus angelicus sed et –m notat angelus vnus

Suffocat, extinguit, suffocat, guttura stringit

Cum simus limus nescimus quando perimus

Those whom a fearful serpent reared with a revolting caress
The same Christ’s wondrous blood washed with tenderness
-N means the choir of angels but –m a solitary angel
Suffocates, extinguishes, suffocates, strangles the throats
Because we are earth, we do not know when we succumb

286 r

286 r detalj

Salve regina misericordie vita dulcedo et spes nostra salue.

ad te clamamus exules filii / Eue, ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle

eya ergo aduocata / nostra illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos conuerte

et ihesum benedictum fructum ventris tui no/bis post hec exilium ostende.

Virgo mater ecclesie etterne porta glorie esto nobis refugium / Aput patrem et filium

O Clemens Virgo Clemens virgo pia virgo dulcis O MARIA

Exaudi preces suplicum ad te pia clamancium O PIA

Funde preces tuo nato ihesu Christo

Vulnerato pro nobis et flagellato, spinis [coronato], sputo, felle potato


Welcome, Queen of Mercy, our life, our sweet hope, welcome.
To thee we exiled sons of Eve do cry, to thee we sigh, weeping and wailing in this vale of tears
Hail to thee our helpmeet, turn thy merciful eyes upon us
And after this exile show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of thy womb
Virgin, mother of the Church, gateway to eternal glory, be our refuge with the Father and the Son
O gracious Virgin, gracious Virgin, merciful Virgin, sweet Mary
Hear the prayers of the fugitives who cry unto thee, O merciful one.
pour forth prayers to thy son Jesus Christ,
wounded for us and scourged, [crowned] with thorns, mocked after drinking gall
O Mary most holy

304 r

304 r detalj

Anno a Christo nato Millesimo quingentesimo xx.vijo  feria 3. post dominicam Cantate,

Ferdinandus I, Christianissimus Romanorum Imperator, Hungarie, Boemie et Dalmacie Rex, Archidux Austrie,

Hoc in monasterio [Braunoviensi], a Vratislavia Sylesiaca Vrbe, in Bohemiam cum suo regio et splendido comitatu pergens, pernoctavit, et hunc grandem codicem lustravit. Et in civitate Swidnicensi eodem quoque tempore subsistens, Seditiosum Concionatorem Swidnicensium in arbore pyri extra civitatem laqueo strangulare mandavit.

Joannes a Chotow, Abbas, in perpetuam rei memoriam hic annotare jussit anno 157[…

In the year 1527 after the Birth of Christ, the Tuesday after Cantate (21st May),
Ferdinand I, the most Christian Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary, Bohemia and Dalmatia, Archduke of Austria,
spent the night in this monastery [Broumow] when he was journeying from Breslau (Wroclaw) in Silesia to Bohemia with his royal and illustrious entourage, and inspected this great book. And when at the same time he was in the town of Schweidnitz (Świdnica) he there had hanged the rebellious preacher of the people of Schweidnitz in a noose in a pear tree outside the town.

Johannes from Chotow, abbot, had this noted down as a perpetual memorial in 157[…]


305 r


305 r detalj

Ego pater Albertus Wnesconius, prior monasterii Bramouiensis, sub anno Domini 1.5.9. Quarto, die vero quarta Martii, Hunc grandem codicem ex mandato reuerendi Domini Domini Martini, Abbatis Brewnoviensis monasterii in Bramow, transmissi per generosum Mathiam a Dorndorff et Biskupowo capitaneum policensem versus Pragam


I Father Albert Wnesconius, Prior of the Monastery of Braunau (Broumov), in the Year of Our Lord 1594, on the fourth day of March, have, at the request of the venerable lord Lord Martin, Abbot of Břevnov monastery in Braunau, sent this huge book to Prague through Matthias of Dorndorff and Biskupowo, gentleman, captain of police (?)


305 v detail1

305 v detalj 1

Anno domini 92 aderat petrus Loddereclerus prahenŭs Boemus adque haec ad perpetuam sui memoriam scripsit, dum ab ordinibus reuertebatur etc. Fidiss: F. S .

[6th January]
In the Year of Our Lord 1592 Petrus Loddereclerus from Prague in Bohemia was here and wrote this in perpetual memory of himself, while he was returning from the meeting of the Estates etc. most faithful … (?)

305 v detail2

305 v detalj 2

Ipsa octaua Epiphanie Anno 92. Abbate monasterii huius Reuerendo in Christo patre Domino Domino Martino, patre suo spirituali in Jesu charissimo primo hic fui Georgius Bartholdus Pontanus in Breitenberg, Metropolitane Ecclesie Pragensis Decanus, Comes Palatinus, Prothonotarius Apostolicus Canonicus Olomucensis.

Eodem die, Abbate, anno ut supra prima vice hic fui Laurentius Nigrinus Müglitzensis, artium liberalium magister ordinis Crucigerorum cum rubea stella Generalis ac Supremus Prior, denominatus commendator pontensis etc.

[12th January]
In the same octave of Epiphany (13th January) in 1592, when the abbot of this monastery was the venerable father in Christ Lord Martinus, I Georg Barthold Pontanus of Breitenberg, his best beloved spiritual father in Christ, Dean of the Cathedral in Prague, Count Palatine, Apostolic Protonotary, Canon of Olmütz (Olomouc) was here for the first time.

On the same day (13th January), Abbot, year as above (1592), I was here for the first time, Laurentius Nigrinus from Müglitz (Mohelnice), Master of the Liberal Arts, Grand Master General of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, appointed Commander of Brux (Most) etc.

305 v detail3

305 v detalj 3

Mors iuvenes rapit atque senes nulli miseretur

Death carries off young and old, shows nobody compassion.


306 r detail 1

306 r detalj 1

Joannes Huberus Pontanus, Sacrae Caesareae Maiestatis Cancellariae Imperialis Germanciae amanuensis, summo studio hunc grandem codicem, qui et multa ex eodem pro sua Maiestate Caesarea descripsit, perlustrauit, Anno 1597

[After 3rd February]
Johannes Huberus Pontanus, Amanuensis in the Imperial German Chancery of his Holy Imperial Majesty, most eagerly examined this huge book and transcribed much of the same for His Imperial Majesty, in the year 1597.

306 r detail 2

306 r detalj 2

Vivit post funera virtus. Samuel Phagelus Pisnensis, notarius Nymburgensis, scribebat 16 Martii Anno 1594

[After 28th February]
Virtue survives death. Samuel Phagelus of Písecký, notary of Nimburg (Nymburk), wrote this on 16th March in the year 1594.

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Ja hanus Buchloweczky z Krzyskowicz na ten czas Urzednik na Nachodie / wiedieti dawam wssem wuobecz zie tyto knyhy w domie mem byli / przes nocz w Nedieli genz slowe Reminiscere na nocz priwezeni a do / pondiely ostali Letta Panie 1594 Manu propria

[6th March]
I Hanuš Buchlovecký z Křížkovic, at present an official of Nachod, make known to all and sundry that this book was in my home for the night of the Sunday called Reminiscere. It came for the night and remained until Monday in the Year of Our Lord 1594, by my own hand.


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Petrus Maczak, Canonicus Ratiboriensis et vicarius Pragensis Anno 1594

Eodem die Lucas Tibelius senior Vicarius Ecclesie Metropolitane arcis Pragensis scripsit 1594

[Between 9th and 10th March]
Petrus Maczak, canon of Ratibor (Racibórz) and vicar of Prague, in the year 1594.
On the same day Lucas Tibelius the Elder, Vicar of the Cathedral of Prague, wrote this in 1594.


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Anno 1588 17 Aprilis Ego Frater Paulus Wilkowskij polonus, prior Braunouiensis, librum mirabilem et magnificum lustrauit qui eum admiratione vidit. In fidem propria manu subscripsit.

[Before 1st April]
In the year 1588 on 17th April. I Brother Paulus Wilkowskij, Prior of Braunau (Broumov), inspected this marvellous and magnificent book and saw it in wonder, as a witness did put in writing herein by his own hand.


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Haec scripsit in perpetuam memoriam Nicolaus a vandricze vanriczty (?) Eques polonus A. 93.

[After 17th May]
This wrote for perpetual remembrance Nicolaus von Wandritsch knight of Poland, in the year 93.


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pietas ad omnia utilis, habens praesentis et futurae vitae promissiones. Paulus de Hanniwald in Picsnicz et Rottensirben Sacrae Caesareae Maiestatis Consiliarius. Scribebat 12 Maij etc 90.

Tobias Wedemanus Luneburgensis Medicinae Candidatus anno Christi 1672 d. 13 Maij.

Christoph Prasun Brunsvig: Copenbruggensis scribebat hoc in perpetuam memoriam Anno 1672,  13 Maij.

Conradus Bom Hamburgensis hoc scripsit eodem die in me [sic].

Durat et lucet virtus 15 V 90. Daniel Printz a Buchau Sacrae Caesareae Maiestatis Consiliarius, cum ex legatione Polonica reverteretur, scribebat 12 Maij.

[End of May]
Faith is of benefit in all things, gives promises of the present and future life. Paulus de Hanniwald of Pilsnitz (Wroclaw-Pilczyce) and Rothsürben (Żórawina), Councillor to his Holy Imperial Majesty, wrote this on 12th May 1590.

Tobias Wedeman of Lüneberg, Bachelor of Medicine, in the Year of Our Lord 1672 on 13th May.

Christoph Prasun of Brunswick and Koppenbrügge wrote this in perpetual memory in the year 1672, on 13th May.

Conradus Bom of Hamburg wrote this the same day in me [sic.]

May virtue endure and shine. May 1590. Daniel Printz von Buchau, Councillor to His Holy Imperial Majesty, when he returned from the Polish embassy, wrote this on 12th May.

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Gott Ist Mein Trost. 15 K. 90. Adam Hanniwald in Pisnitz, Rottensirben et Altenhoff scribebat 12 Maji.

Dominus Felix a Linda, Praepositus Wisehradensis, Archidiaconus Metropolitanae Ecclesie Pragensis etc. cum suis commitibus haec scribebat. Anno et die cum caeteris.

[12th May 1590]
God is my consolation. Katharina 1590. Adam de Hanniwald of Pilsnitz (Wroclaw-Pilczyce), Rothsürben (Żórawina) and Altenhoff  (Stary Dwór) wrote this on 12th May.
Master Felix from Linda, Dean of Vyšehrad, Archdeacon of the Cathedral of Prague etc. and his companions wrote this. Year and day same as the others.


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Anno Dominicae Incarnationis 1593 ego Jacobus Henningk α̉δελφός α̉δελφο̃υ me scripsit et huic libro pro memoria inserui iiij Non. Augusti. ω

Andreas sachse L.L. (=legum) Studiosus scribebat hoc in perpetuam memoriam . Anno 1619. 3. die Junij.

[After 3rd June]
In the year of Our Lord 1593, I, Jacobus Henning, the brother of the brother, wrote myself and entered in this book as a memento, 2nd August
[After 4th June]
Andreas Sachse, student of law, wrote this for perpetual remembrance. In the year 1619, on 3rd June.


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Reverendus Amplissimus ac Nobilis Dominus Johannes Chotousky a Chotow, Abbas Brzewnouiensis meritissimus, placidissime in praesentia fratrum suorum obdormiuit in Domino XIIII Iunij Anno Domini 1575.

[At 14th June]
The most venerable, most illustrious and noble Lord Johannes Chotovski of Chotow (Chotów), highly meritorious Abbot of Braunau (Břevnov), passad away most peacefully in the presence of his brothers in the Lord on 14th June in the Year of Our Lord 1575.


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Caspar Kuenell, prefectus Monasterij Strigoniensis, Anno 1592, Junij 18.

Anno a christo nato 1593 huic loco aderat frater Felix Tremoniensis (?) eodem (?) pr (?) ordinis fratrum praedicatorum, et hunc codicem vidit 20 Junij

Martinus Stehelius, praefectus aurifodinarum episcopatus Wratislaviensis, evolvens hoc die hunc codicem, memoriae eodem (?) adscribeb? [=adscribit?] [dessa båda texter delvis utplånade]

[After 18th June]
Caspar Künel, Prefect of the Monastery of Striegau (Strzegom), in the year 1592, on 18th June.
[After 19th June]
In the year 1593 after the birth of Christ was in this place Brother Felix was in this place from ?, dean of that place (?) of the Order of the Preaching Friars, and saw this book on 20th June.
[On 21st June]
Martinus Stehelius, Prefect of the gold mines in the Diocese of Breslau (Wrocław), leafed this day through this book, and writes this on the same in memory.


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Adij 25 die Menssis Junij supscripssi Ego meo proprio nomine Maximilianus A. Zernouitz Sp et Nigromontensis(?).

[After 25th June]
… on 25th June I signed my own name, Maximilianus A. Zernouitz Sp and Nigromonte?? (= from Czernowitz and Schwarzberg?)


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Joannes Wienchota podlassus organista et Musicus Aderat huic loco Anno 1592. Die 17. Junij.

Caspar Schwarzer Kurzsche zur Striegau Anno 1592.

Anno 1587 15. Iunij Johannes Henceius artium magister nec non commendator Suidnicensis hoc aureum opus lustrauit.

[At the end of June]
Johannes Wienchota of Podlasic (Podlažice), organist and musician, was in this place in 1592 on 17th June.

Caspar Schwarzer Kursche (?) of Striegau (Strzegom) in the year 1592.

In the year 1587 on 15th June, Johannes Henceius, Master of Arts and Commandant of Swidnic (Świdnica), examined this golden work.


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Michael Adelmair ad Inspruck Anno Dominj 1592. 4. die Septembris

[Before 1st September]
Michael Adelmair of Innsbruck in the Year of Our Lord 1592, 4th September.

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Carolus Fred: Risbeck

[5th September]


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Anno domini fuit frater Bartholomeus Salvator. 91.

[After 9th September] In the Year of Our Lord 1591 Brother Bartholomeus Salvator was (here).


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309 v detalj 4

Hendrich Curtz


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309 v detalj 5

in uigilia mathei apostoli andreas chotowskij a chotow, frater et syndicus Joannis, Abbatis Brewnowiensis, obiit Anno Domini 1562, in brewnow sepultus.

Joannes a Chotow, praepositus Brewnoviensis, in Abbatem Brevnoviensem electus canonice Anno Christi 1553.

[12th September]
On the eve of the feast of the Apostle Matthew, Andreas Chotowsky of Chotow, brother and syndic to Johannes, Abbot of Braunau, died in the Year of Our Lord 1562, buried in Břevnov.
[After 21st September]
Johannes of Chotow, Dean of Braunau, canonically elected abbot of Braunau, in the Year of Christ 1553.

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Anno 1590 Christophorus Schlichtigius a churte (?) Ripa, Theophrasti Paracelsi certo quodam scripto De Origine et vera Cura pestis intitulato motus, hic venit Jatrochemicae Philosophiae et Medicinae Doctor, Serenissimi Principis Guilhelmi Ducia Bauarie Consiliarius et Medicus. AZOTH virescit.

Johannes Grunauer Glacensis Silesius cum Magnifico domino Christophoro Schlichtigio etc adfiuit eiusque promotione hic usus est. 1590.

[After 26th September]
In the year 1590 Christophorus Schlichtigius of Churte (?) Ripa (Reiffelbach?), prompted by a certain writing by Theophrastus Paracelsus, entitled ‘Of the origin and true cure of the plague (disease)’, came here, Doctor of Iatrochemical Philosophy and Medicine, Councillor and physician to the illustrious Prince William, Duke of Bavaria. Azoth shall burgeon.
[After 28th September]
Johannes Grunauer of Glacen (Klodzko) in Silesia together with the magnificent lord Christophorus Schlichtigius was present and here utilised his promotion in 1590.

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Sub A:o 1582 Cum incredibilis per universum Regnum Bohemie crassaretur pestis, eius de causa Felix a Linda Artium ac Philosophiae Magister, Archidyaconus Ecclesie Pragensis, Decanus Karlsteinensis et Canonicus Ecclesie Olomucensis, huc se contulit et haec pridie exaltationis Sancte Crucis scripsit manu propria.

Pancratius Ränbell (?) Wratislauiensis, 4. die Septembris A:o 1592.

[At the end of September]
During the year 1592, when an incredible plague ravaged the whole kingdom of Bohemia, Felix of Linda, Master of Arts and Philosophy, archdeacon of the Church in Prague, dean of Karlstein and canon of the church of Olmütz (Olomouc), came here for that reason, and wrote this by his own hand, the day preceding the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (= 13th September).

Pancratius Ränbell of Breslau (Wrocław), 4th September 1592.

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309 v detalj 8

Daniel Heroldt 1592 adj et ???

Daniel Heroldt 1592 came here and ???

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4 (?) 1593


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311 r detalj 1

Anno 1587. Ego Mathias Biskup de Dorndorff et Biskupow lustravi hunc grandem codicem multarum materiarum clarum et perinuentum (? = perimensum?) manu propria.

[2nd December]
In the year 1587. I Matthias Biskup of Dorndorff and Biskupow, inspected this huge book, brilliant and gigantic (?) of many materials. Written by my own hand.

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Georgius Sculteth Archidiaconus et Commissarius Oppoliensis Anno 1588 hec opus lustravit et propria manu scripsit propter adventantes et memoriam.

[11th December]
Georg Sculteth, Archdeacon and Commissioner of Oppeln (Opole), inspected this work in 1588 and put this in writing by his own hand for the sake of those to come and as a memorial.

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Joannes Abstemius Lucidillus Anno 1574.

[22nd December]
Johannes Abstemius Lucidillus. In the year 1574


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Michael Hess, 1588. die Julij 19.

Michael Hess 1588, on 19th July.

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Anno 1593 die 9 Maij. Stanislaus Elsnerus Artium ac Philosophiae Magister, Cum Reverendo patre Elia Ditricho inclyti monasterii Pomarijmontis professo hoc nobile ac insigne opus prima vice perlustravit.

In the year 1593 on 9th May. Stanislaus Elsnerus, Master of Arts and Philosophy, with the renowned venerable Father Elias Ditrichus of the illustrious monastery of Baumgarten, inspected for the first time this noble and lofty work.

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Anno domini 159 quarto die viii mensis Martii Nicolaus Szuski Polonus in Bauariam profectus, nomen proprium ac cognomen jnscripsit manu propria.

In the Year of Our Lord 1594 on 8th March, Nicolaus Szuski from Poland, on a journey to Bavaria, enrolled in his own hand his surname and forename.


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Johan Elers manu propria 31. Aug 1752

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Dne 21 srpna 1850 / dokončil jsem práci / svou v bibliotece řišské / Stkholmské přehlédnutím / této znamenité knihy. / Pečírka / doktor lékárství

On 21st August 1850 I ended my work in the National Library in Stockholm on the study of this renowned book. Pečírka, Čechus. M.Dr. (Czech, Doctor of Medicine).

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312 r detalj 7

D:r Beda Dudik monachus Ordinis Sancti Patri Benedicti monasterii Rayhradensis in Morauia codicem hunc aliquando matri meae, monasterio Breunouiensi pertinentem lustraui tempore aestatis Anno Domini 1851

Dr Beda Dudik, a monk of the Benedictine Order from the monastery of Raigern (Rajhrad) in Moravia examined this book, formerly belonging to my mother, the monastery of Břevnov, in the summer of the Year of Our Lord 1851.