Mom peeks Carl Sagan Cosmos
Queens’ growing literary scene is starting to bear fruit, with a pair of high-profile page-turners set in the borough and written by Queens natives.
The Codex Gigas
The Codex Gigas (or ‘Giant Book”) is also known as “The Devil’s Bible.” A curious illustration of Lucifer gives the tome its nickname.
The 13th-century manuscript is thought to have been created solely by a Herman the Recluse, a monk of the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice near Chrudim in Czech Republic. The calligraphy style is amazingly uniform throughout, believed to have taken 25 to 30 years of work. There are no notable mistakes or omissions. Pigment analysis revealed the ink to be consistent throughout. The book is enormous - it measures 36.2” tall, 19.3” wide, and 8.6” thick; it weighs approximately 165 pounds. There are 310 vellum leaves (620 pages). The leaves are bound in a wooden folder covered with leather and ornate metal.
The manuscript is elaborately illuminated in red, blue, yellow, green and gold. The entire document is written in Latin, and also contains Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets. The first part of the text includes the Vulgate version of the Bible. Between the Old and New Testaments are Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, as well as Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymologiae and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus. Following a blank page, the New Testament commences.
Beginning the second part is a depiction of the devil. Directly opposite is a full picture of the kingdom of heaven, juxtaposing the “good versus evil.” The second half, following the picture of the devil, is Cosmas of Prague's Chronicle of Bohemia. A list of brothers in the Podlažice monastery and a calendar with necrologium, magic formulae and other local records round out the codex. Record entries end in the year 1229CE.
In 1648 at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedish army invaded Prague and the Codex was stolen as plunder. It is now held at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. For more information, check out this short National Geographic documentary and/or flip through this digital copy.
( Wikipedia entry, et. al)
Several short National Geographic videos ~
** If you have the least amount of intellectual curiosity or interest in history, the short vids above will only whet your appetite: might as well grab a cold drink & some popcorn, then settle in to watch the whole thing ~
Galdrs Of The Edda
By Lars Magnar Enoksen
The popular Scandinavian author has brought out a second English language book, following from his brilliant “History Of Runic Lore”.
This time he looks in depth at the various Galdr incantations that are scattered throughout the Codex Regius and delves into the purpose and meaning of Galdr.
“Every book is an image of solitude. It is a tangible object that one can pick up, put down, open, and close, and its words represent many months if not many years, of one man’s solitude, so that with each word one reads in a book one might say to himself that he is confronting a particle of that solitude”
— Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”
Spending some quality time with Sartre and his Being and Nothingness. Challenging book, but undoubtedly among the timeless philosophies. I’m not enjoying myself reading it, but I enjoy the fact that I feel this way…