Selected Initials


There are different types of initials in the Codex Gigas. The initials to the biblical books are usually decorated and fully coloured (ff. 30v, 58v, 110v, 115v). Elsewhere there are less elaborate initials — either blue with a little drawn decoration in red (f. 205v) or plain red or blue (f. 285rv).

The colours are limited to red, blue, green and yellow, and the large initials are often edged with red. In the elaborate initials the decoration usually is of leaves and flowers, and the realistic squirrel at the top of the I in 110v is unusual, as the decoration only occasionally includes birds or animals. Gold was only used in two of the initials in the Codex Gigas, one of which is the large initial on 254r.

The decorated initials were first drawn or sketched, and then colour was applied quickly with a pen.