The Codex Gigas
Also known as the Devils Bible, the Codex is the largest manuscript in the world, written in the 13th century in Latin, it is 1 meter in length, 165 lbs, and takes two people to lift. It currently resides in the National Library of Stockholm.
The Legend of It’s Creation
- According to myth, the Codex was written by a monk who was sentences to death for breaking his vows. He made a pact with the Devil to write it in one night, with the Devils help, in order to prove to his monastery that he was worthy.
- Besides this myth, nothing is known about the books creator.
- Half of the Codex is simply just a translation of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- The two are separated by a copy of Josephus’ two histories of the Jews (antiquities of the jews) as well as De Bello Iudaico’s Encyclopedic Etymologae.
- It also contains eight medical writings by Hippocrates and other important figures of the time
- The Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas of Prague also takes up a large portion of the book.
- Smaller texts include texts on exorcisms, magic formulas, a picture of the Heavenly City, and a full page depiction of the Devil (both pictured above).
- The last fourteen pages are a Calender
Odd Facts about the Codex
- After being studied over and over, it’s practically perfect, without any typo’s despite being hand-written.
- Based on the handwriting, the book was written by one person.
- According to experts, even with strict devotion and every day writing, the Codex would have taken 25-30 years to finish.
- Despite this, the handwriting virtually doesn’t change from front to finish, almost like it was written in one day.
- The ink, made from insects, also virtually doesn’t change throughout the book despite the fact it should have (as bugs change from season to season and year to year, and ink doesn’t stay)
- In the picture of the City of Heaven, no people can be seen in the city.
- The pages surrounding the Portrait of the Devil are darker than the other pages of the book.
- Leaders of the catholic church admit to having no record of both the spells and the exorcisms listed in the book.
The Curse of the Codex
- According to legend, sorrow and tragedy befalls people who have owned the Codex in the past.
- Myths of previous owners include a monastery that contracted one of the worst cases of the bubonic plague after receiving the book, and the castle where the book was being held burning down, the book being thrown out a window in order to be saved from the flames.
- However, nothing has happened to the library it is currently being held.
If you want to know more, a documentary about the book called The Devils Bible, is on Netflix!
Faber Franco - O de Onda, 2013 Photography
If you’ve ever watched a crime scene drama like CSI, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Is that what really happens?” German photographer Patrik Budenz wondered the same thing, but unlike most of us, he decided to put in the time to find out.
To sate his curiosity, Budenz spent months convincing the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences in Berlin to give him full access to their facilities. For years after, he was constantly around cadavers. The results are two photo series: search for evidence (published as a book in 2011) is about forensic scientists and post mortem (published as a book this year) covers all the places dead bodies visit after death — funeral homes, crematoriums, etc.
“I wanted to confront myself with death and develop my view on the topic more fully with post mortem,” says Budenz. “Instead of shooting photos from a distance [like in search for evidence] I reduced the physical and mental distance in post mortem.”
While far from the only photo project on the subject, the tone and balance of Budenz’s projects stand out. They convey a peaceful acceptance of mortality that can be uncomfortable at first and then calming. Part of the discomfort is due to his unwillingness to pull many punches. With full access to these various institutes of death, Budenz was witness to some shocking visuals. He’s made photos of people sawing into heads, photos of people pulling brains out of bodies, photos of people smiling while they work with human body parts, and one particularly horrifying photo of a 13-year-old girl with her chest cut open.
Realizing most people would be taken aback by scenes like this, Budenz says he tries to be as sensitive but also as truthful as he can. The forensic scientists sawing open bodies to conduct investigations while smiling, for example, is a real part of a process most of us prefer not to think about. Dealing with human body parts is a serious job, but just like any job, it becomes routine over time.
“For most of these people, this becomes just a normal workplace,” he says. “Like other people who work in offices, they talk about what happened the day before or what happened that evening, typical chatting. At the same time, they also have a certain sensitivity because of where they are.”
So far, the reaction to the work has been positive. Some people think the photos go too far, and some people have to warm up to them, but he says “curiosity usually takes over.”
In the post mortem boom, the only text he includes is an email from a woman in China who titles her message, “i really like your photos of the dead.” In the message she talks about how hard it was to confront her grandfather’s death, but ends by saying, “i was shaking that night when he passed away, i didn’t even fall to sleep. i couldn‘t sleep alone for three years after he passed away. now i can sleep alone.”
Budenz says he included that email because he thinks it gets right to the point of the photos. Death is hard to deal with, but with time it can become more approachable and a little easier to understand.
All photos: Patrik Budenz
The poverty-stricken mother, whom could barely afford taking care of her three children, murdered them all and herself in a perceived act of mercy when she found out being pregnant with a fourth.
From an out of print German book on forensics, probably late 1950’s. More info appreciated.
Shotgun wound from a twelve-bore weapon. The circular outline indicates that the discharge was perpendicular to the skin surface.
The fingerprinting of a decomposed corpse sometimes requires the medical examiner to remove the deceased’s fingertips and slip them over their own gloved fingertips, which then allows them to take the prints.