I wonder if anyone has ever looked at Casaubon’s letters and his monumental diary (called the “Ephemerides”, and written in Latin) with a Voynich-informed eye?
Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) was regarded as one of the most learned men in Europe: and what is perhaps interesting to us (and that I didn’t know until a few days ago) is that though he started his career at the Academy of Geneva, he worked for a while at the University of Montpellier (1596-1598), before moving on to Lyon (1598-1599) at which point he was summoned to Paris by King Henry IV. In fact, though Dee researchers know him for his pursuit of John Dee’s papers, Casaubon only lived in London from 1610-1614 (and he couldn’t actually speak English), while Dee himself had died only in 1608 or 1609 (depending on who you ask).
Casaubon’s Latin correspondence (“Casauboni epistolæ, insertis ad easdem responsionibus“) was printed in Rotterdam (1709), while his Ephemerides were printed somewhat later (1850). Though I don’t think there is a critical edition of the Ephemerides available (nor indeed a translation, sadly), there are online editions of his letters here (I), here (II), here (III), here (IV), and here (V), courtesy of the University of Mannheim.
OK, I’ll freely admit that the chances of anything turning up from this are small (Casaubon doesn’t really seem the type to gossip about a mysterious unreadable herbal that was doing the rounds). But because (given the VMs’ apparent links with Southern France / Savoy I’ve blogged endlessly about) we’d perhaps be more interested in 1596-1599 when he was in Montpellier and Lyon, you never know! 🙂