So some Jesuit place near Rome ran out of money in 1912 and sold off some rare books to this Polish-British-American bookdealer dude called ‘Wilfrid Voynich’. And like one of them is a handwritten manuscript written in a messed-up language that nobody can read, even though it looks really simple.

Now the bookseller guy thought this had been written by Roger Bacon, a medieval monk who was like Sean Connery in “The Name of the Rose” (but for real), but it turns out it wasn’t so that was a bit of a bummer. Anyway, a hundred years on still nobody knows who made it so people call it “The Voynich Manuscript”, even though all Voynich did was like buy it and send scratchy copies round to professors and stuff.

The weird bit is like everyone goes la-la-la about whether it’s a lost language (yeah right, like some idiot’s going write down a lost language in code? Duh!) or a hoax (yeah right, what kind of an idiot’s going to pretend to write a book in code?), when it’s just written in some kind of special cipher thing but everyone’s way too proud to say that the Voynich is smarter than they are.

Sure it’s got a load of weird drawings but how can you cipher drawings without making them weird too? Like, duh! So, I don’t get it.

11 thoughts on “Like, what is that whole “Voynich Manuscript” thing? I don’t get it.

  1. Man, it’s the vibe of the thing.

  2. bdid1dr on February 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm said:


  3. bdid1dr on February 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm said:

    I may be verging on the limits of your patience by referring to a historical novel that describes what may be the writer’s “take” of the life and times of Jacquetta of Luxembourg who first married John of Lancaster (First Duke of Bedford).

    I’ve halted my reading some 90 pages in; because she has described several features that are common to the Vms. One thing, in particular, I would like to know is fact or fiction: She describes the Duke’s enormous library and scriptorium. She also describes what I will call a “mobile”: an enormous hanging display of the planets.


  4. bdid1dr on February 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm said:

    Author Phillippa Gregory

    Title: The Lady of the Rivers

  5. bdid1dr: sounds like a fun read, if a bit highbrow for a comment on a, like, basically satirical post. 😉 Hope you enjoy it! (PS: I don’t know if the library is fact or fiction, sorry).

  6. Jes’ thought it might strike your bump of curiousity as far as wealthy scriptorium/library owners go.

    ciao! (What does this word have in common with the popular Chinese dish? And why do we hear, like, man, its use by the “Now Generation” ?) Are you hip?

    One word that seems to be used by several generations (recently expressed by cjbearden): Cool!

  7. bdid1dr: ah, the issue there is that that’s basically working bass-ackwards. The Voynich Manuscript’s history is too diffuse to try to pick up its history that way round – there were literally tens of thousands of places it could have been, and even if we happened to be looking at the right haystack, the chances of finding a needle in it are terrifically small. For example, we have Marci’s letter telling us he had heard the Voynich was bought by Emperor Rudolf, and on the front of the Voynich Manuscript we have an ownership mark relating to Sinapius (who was Rudolf’s Imperial Distiller)… yet no amount of raking over court documents and inventories has revealed anything else at all. And there is a huge amount of documentation for the Imperial Court!

    Basically, we’d really need some kind of clue (or perhaps just a strong suspicion) that points us in a certain direction before we make a concerted effort to trawl every corner of some obscure European archive. For example, if someone were to find another document with the same unusual quire numbering scheme as the Voynich, the history, provenance and contents of that secondary document would likely indicate a whole load of research we could sensibly take on. But we haven’t found one yet!

  8. Off-topic, but: what happend to (it had Philipp Neal’s pages, and lossless jpegs, and other interesting stuff) ?

  9. Jojo: Glen Claston paid for several years hosting when he set it up ages ago (back in the days when hosting was expensive), but the domain and hosting contract for it finally expired this month. I took a copy of almost everything that was on there, and am now debating what to do with it all. Nothing’s ever easy, is it?

  10. Thanks, nice to know it’s not all lost.

  11. bdid1dr on February 22, 2012 at 6:00 am said:

    I understand. I’ve just done a trawl to compare Kastels with the Rosettes sketch. Just found a match (to my satisfaction ennyway):

    Castle Karlstejn, near Prague (not Rudolph’s original castle) built by Rudolph’s successor for safekeeping of the jewels/valuables. I can’t produce any “documents” other than the Vm, with reference to the “label” which I read from right to left as Kastel Kartel…..

    I’ll be heading off into cyberspace now to find other puzzles to solve. G’bye y’all!

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