Here’s what I think the Voynich Wikipedia page ought to look like. Enjoy! 🙂

* * * * * * *

History of a Mystery

Once upon a time (in 1912) in a crumbling Jesuit college near Rome, an antiquarian bookseller called Wilfrid Voynich bought a mysterious enciphered handwritten book. Despite its length (240 pages) it was an ugly, badly-painted little thing, for sure: but its strange text and drawings caught his imagination — and that was that.

Having quickly convinced himself that it could only have been written by one particular smart-arse medieval monk by the name of Roger Bacon, Voynich then spent the rest of his life trying to persuade gullible and/or overspeculative academics to ‘prove’ that his hunch was right. All of which amounted to a waste of twenty years, because it hadn’t even slightly been written by Bacon. D’oh!

Oh, so you’d like to see some pictures of his ‘Voynich Manuscript’, would you? Well… go ahead, knock yourself out. First up, here’s some of its ‘Voynichese’ script, which people only tend to recognize if they had stopped taking their meds a few days previously:

A nice clear example of Voynichese

Secondly, here’s one of the Voynich Manuscript’s many herbal drawings, almost all of which resemble mad scientist random hybrids of bits of other plants:-

Finally, here’s a close-up of one of its bizarre naked ladies (researchers call them ‘nymphs’, obviously trying not to mix business and pleasure), in this case apparently connected up to some odd-looking plumbing / tubing. Yup, the right word is indeed ‘bizarre’:

voynich f77v central nymph Q13 and Voynich balneology sources...?

Did any of that help at all? No, probably not. So perhaps you can explain it now? No, I didn’t think so. Don’t worry, none of us can either. *sigh*

Back to the History Bit

Anyhow, tucked inside the manuscript was a letter dated 1665 from Johannes Marcus Marci in Prague, and addressed to the well-known delusional Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher. Marci’s letter said that he was giving the manuscript to Kircher both because of their friendship and because of Kircher’s reputation for being able to break any cipher. The manuscript seems then to have entered the Jesuit archives, which is presumably why the Jesuit college near Rome had it to sell to Wilfrid Voynich several centuries later, just as in all the best mystery novels.

But hold on a minute… might Wilfrid Voynich have forged his manuscript? Actually, a few years back researchers diligently dug up several other 17th century letters to Kircher almost certainly referring to the same thing, all of which makes the Voynich Manuscript at least 200 years older than Wilfrid Voynich. So no, he couldn’t have forged it, not without using Doc Brown’s flux capacitor. (Or possibly the time machine depicted in Quire 13. Unless that’s impossible.)

Incidentally, one of those other letters was from an obscure Prague alchemist called Georg Baresch, who seems to have wasted twenty or so years of his life pondering this curious object before giving it to Marci. So it would seem that twenty lost years is the de facto standard duration for Voynich research. Depressing, eh?

So, Where Did Baresch Get It From?

Well… Marci had heard it said that the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II had bought the manuscript for the ultra-tidy sum of 600 gold ducats, probably enough to buy a small castle. Similarly, Wilfrid Voynich discovered an erased signature for Sinapius (i.e. Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz, Rudolf II’s Imperial Distiller) on its front page. You can usefully assemble all these boring fragments of half-knowledge into a hugely unconvincing chain of ownership going all the way back to 1600-1610 or so, that would look something not entirely unlike this:-

Which is a bit of a shame, because in 2009 the Voynich Manuscript’s vellum was radiocarbon dated to 1404-1438 with 95% confidence. Hence it still has a gap of roughly 150 years on its reconstructed CV that we can’t account for at all – you know, the kind of hole that leads to those awkward pauses at job interviews, right before they shake your hand and say “We’ll let you know…

Hence, The Real Question Is…

Fast-forward to 2012, and Wilfrid Voynich’s manuscript has ended up in New Haven at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Yet many Voynichologists seemed to have learnt little from all that has gone before, in that – just as with Wilfrid himself – they continue to waste decades of their life trying to prove that it is an [insert-theory-here] written by [insert-historical-figure-here].

If repeatedly pressed, such theorists tend to claim that:
* the ‘quest’ is everything;
* it is better to travel than to arrive; and even
* cracking the Voynich might somehow spoil its perfect inscrutability.
All of which, of course, makes no real sense to anyone but a Zen Master: but if their earnest wish is to remain armchair mountaineers with slippers for crampons, then so be it.

Yet ultimately, if you strip back the inevitable vanity and posturing, the only genuine question most people have at this point is:

How can I crack the Voynich Manuscript and become an eternal intellectual hero?

The answer is: unless you’re demonstrably a polymathic Intellectual History Renaissance Man or Woman with high-tensile steel cable for nerves, a supercomputer cluster the size of Peru for a brain, and who just happens to have read every book ever written on medieval/Renaissance history and examined every scratchy document in every archive, your chances are basically nil. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Honestly, it’s a blatant exaggeration but near enough to the truth true: so please try to get over it, OK?

Look, people have been analyzing the Voynich with computers since World War Two and still can’t reliably interpret a single letter – not a vowel, consonant, digit, punctuation mark, nothing. [A possible hyphen is about as good as it gets, honestly.] Nobody’s even sure if the spaces between words are genuinely spaces, if Voynichese ‘words’ are indeed actual words. *sigh*

Cryptologically, we can’t even properly tell what kind of an enciphering system was used – and if you can’t get that far, it should be no great surprise that applying massive computing power will yield no significant benefit. Basically, you can’t force your way into a castle with a battering ram if you don’t even know where its walls are. For the global community of clever-clogs codebreakers, can you even conceive of how embarrassing a failure this is, hmmm?

So, How Do We Crack It, Then?

If we do end up breaking the Voynich’s cipher, it looks unlikely that it will have been thanks to the superhuman efforts of a single Champollion-like person. Rather, it will most likely have come about from a succession of small things that get uncovered that all somehow cumulatively add up into some much bigger things. You could try to crack it yourself but… really, is there much sense in trying to climb Everest if everyone in the army of mountaineers that went before you has failed to work out even where base camp should go? It’s not hugely clear that even half of them even were looking at the right mountain.

All the same, there are dozens of open questions ranging across a wide set of fields (e.g. codicology, palaeography, statistical analysis, cryptanalysis, etc), each of which might help to move our collective understanding of the Voynich Manuscript forward if we could only answer them. For example…
* Can we find a handwriting match for the marginalia? [More details here & here]
* Can we find a reliable way of reading the wonky marginalia (particularly on f116v, the endmost page)? [More details here]
* Can we find another document using the same unusual quire numbering scheme (‘abbreviated longhand Roman ordinals’)? [More details here].
* Precisely how do state machine models of the Voynich’s two ‘Currier language’s differ? Moreover, why do they differ? [More details here]
* etc

The basic idea here is that if you can’t do big at all, do us all a favour and try to do small well instead. But nobody’s listening: and so it all goes on, year after year. What a waste of time. 🙁

A Warning From History

Finally: I completely understand that you’re a busy person with lots on your mind, so the chances are you’ll forget almost all of the above within a matter of minutes. Possibly even seconds. And that’s OK. But if you can only spare sufficient mental capacity to remember a seven-word soundbite from this whole dismal summary, perhaps they ought to be:

Underestimate the Voynich Manuscript at your peril!

Now ain’t that the truth!?

96 thoughts on “Alternative Voynich Manuscript Wikipedia page…

  1. onemadBlogger on March 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm said:

    Has anyone looked at non-European methods for enciphering?

    Ps you’re right. I quit.

  2. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 1:24 am said:

    Well, gee-whiz, Nick!

    Here I was trying to keep a low-profile, and at the same time trying not to stress you out by maybe addressing some issues that YOU are planning to address at your conference in May.

    So, I’ll sing the opening lines of a very well-known Christmas carol:

    Good King Wenceslaus (Rudolf?) looked down on the feast of Stephen (Prague Castle’s chapel).

    The carol ends: Ye who now will bless the poor, Shall yourselves find blessing.

    Rudolph II (the second Rudolph of the Wenceslaus Bohemian rulers) has been cited as being a very generous, fun-loving, sponsor of artists, performers, as well as having a big “bump of curiousity” about alchemy…

    I see a lot of parallels with the “Travellers” “Rom” “Roma”
    “Dom” possibly passing through Bohemia, Serbia, Macedonia…. ?

    Could it be a possibility that the Roma had a written language that would only be understood by other Rom? If not, could it be possible that Emperor Rudolph II may have had a scribe who could translate and/or paraphrase and write phonetically what he was hearing?

    Closing lines of “Good King Wenceslas” :

    Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
    Wealth or rank possessing,
    Ye who now will bless the porr,
    Shall yourselves find blessing.

    I’ll be back inamo with some other “goodies”.

  3. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 1:44 am said:

    Poor, the word is poor.

    Prior to the roundup and killing off the huge numbers of Romany in WWII concentration camps (even the word concentration is an obfuscation) the Roma had large populations in towns of:

    Edirne
    Kirklareli
    Kakava (Kashavo?)
    Sarayici

    Countries:Bohemia, Serbia,Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria……

    Take your pick of alphabets, scripts, ciphers. If I could, I’d draw a couple of “alphabets” that I’ve been finding online.

    Just to end this “rant?”: (how’s that for a weird/wierd word?) …

    My favorite ethnic dance of all is Kacerac (music is a shrill piccolo-type pipe). Kacerac, without the diacritical marks etc, is pronounced casherak. Can you just see some poor scribe trying to write down whatever he is hearing? Hence the qoteedy….et al……

  4. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 1:53 am said:

    One more observation. Do I understand correctly that Mr. Voynich was Polish/Polish-American? Can you tell us again how he came to learn of the manuscript and it’s whereabouts? Also, has anyone else on this site, followed the trail of “Kircher’s library movements to at least two other locations before Villa Mondragon?

  5. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 2:15 am said:

    Upon the subject of Athanasius Kircher’s supposed travels:

    I understand that he was the head of the Jesuit missionary activities. The many travels/topics that he addresses in his manuscripts/publications, could not possibly have been observed by him personally. He had to have gotten/cribbed much of what he published (engravings too) from his large troops of missionaries. I especially liked his treatment for snakebite: He somehow obtained a “cobra-stone” — from the brain of a cobra (India) that, when applied to a “viper” bite, counteracted the poison – and the victim lived. (Kircher doesn’t say how long.) Another item in Kircher’s book: A solution made from tree bark, that his Jesuit missionaries sent to him, that reduced fever and delirium.

    Me, with tongue-in-cheek: %^

  6. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 2:21 am said:

    In re: Kircher’s Phlaegraen Fields

    This, he may very well have been able to visit. The “Fields” are on the Bay of Naples. Not too far from Rudolf II’s relatives home castle.

    If one compares the engraving in one of Kircher’s tomes with the “Nine Rosettes page of the VMS”, I’m hoping you and Reed Johnson may find similarities.

    %^ (Beady-eyed wonder with tongue in cheek)

  7. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 2:24 am said:

    nuff fer now – heh!

  8. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 3:07 am said:

    Phlagraean Fields are even today being used daily. They are hot springs. The lady you portray is using a hot tub. The “turban” she is wearing was the head garb of Romany women.

    The strange tubes that she appears to have stuck her arms into, are probably intended to keep her upright, even should she faint from overextended hot-tubbing. If you examine the Nine Rosettes page (if I recall correctly, the uppermost left rosette has what appears to be a cave/tunnel near its left “flank” — and a peculiar “bunch” of three/four straight pipes (air exchange/exhaust system?) It is more likely than not that there was significant amounts of sulphur fumes present also.

  9. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 3:18 am said:

    I can’t help but “fixate” on the idea of the ms having been drawn as a map by which “folk” could wend their way through Europe and find really neat places to “hang-out”, gather greens/herbs (whether wild or from gardens here and there), get clean and de-flea-ed, do some laundry…..

    Actually, I wonder how the Romany got through the bubonic plague cycles?

  10. Ivan Y on March 5, 2012 at 6:46 am said:

    Did you just sabotage sales of your book by putting out a tl;dr version? 😉

    I’m a lot more optimistic about modern-day VM (i.e. “The Codex Seraphinianus”) being cracked than VM proper: not only CM’s author is alive who can, theoretically, vouch for correctness of a decode but we have a full original text sans any changes.

    On a positive side, there’s only one version of VM and it hasn’t been copied over & over thousands of times to/from multiple languages, so — at least — VM scholars are in a better position than, say, Bible scholars (Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus was a fascinating read on that subject).

  11. Robert on March 5, 2012 at 6:50 am said:

    I used to forget this kind of thing pretty fast but now that I’m older my memory seems much better for the most difficult material.

  12. Viva Ivan: Naah, all I scavenged was the title of Chapter One. And Luigi Serafini has declared that the Codex is meaningless. Nobody believes him, which is in itself hilarious, but there you go… 😉

  13. Diane: What was I right about? Sorry for asking, but nobody normally tells me. 😉

  14. onemadBlogger on March 5, 2012 at 9:36 am said:

    “so it all goes on, year after year. What a waste of time.”

    (icon sad)

  15. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm said:

    I shall next be examining the “balnealogical” pages (which may have been rearranged sequentially to the “bathing beauty” and “Rosettes” pages?)

    Someone (Diane? Edith?) compared the drawing of a group of ladies entering a pond as being a copy of a famous medieval painting. (Goddess Diana and her ladies?)

    There are so many clues sketched into the VM. Eventually ‘someone’ is going to be able to make the “code” intelligible.

    Meanwhile, Nick, don’t forget to visit the Phlagraean Fields next time you’re in the vicinity – Villa Mondragon” in May? %^

  16. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm said:

    Reiterating:

    The date which corresponds to the MAKING of any “medium” upon which something is going to be written is still applicable to the material only. The time-period for when something was painted/penned/scratched upon that skin, parchment, vellum,…is another thing entirely.

    Dare I mention Robert Feather and his correction of the weights/measures given in the “Copper Scroll”?

  17. Vytautas on March 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm said:

    I have not seen nothing said about binomial distribution of VMS “characters”… May it be indication of ancient block cipher? GC words about cipher family not forgetted 🙂

  18. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 8:39 pm said:

    I’m back from brunch. I just remembered an article I downloaded last night. I just checked your historians of note page (to make sure you don’t already have a link), so I think this reference might interest you:

    http://www.johnreilly.info/rocr.htm

    A lot of familiar names. Easy to read: one long column. Column heading should refer:

    “The Rosicrucian Enlightenment” by Frances Yates, Routledge, 2004″

  19. bdid1dr on March 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm said:

    I believe that even our most advanced computer technology is still based on the “math” of one and zero?

    I find that many of the posts on your site tend to bog down when post-ers begin to lay out x/y coordinates, frequency ratios, data printouts, chess moves, Dungeons and Dragons………

    I did, however, facilitate my sons’ intellectual activities as much as I could. We didn’t have a television – a big factor in useless, time-wasting activities. My older son learned to play chess when he was 7 y.o., while learning to speak Chinese with his chess opponents. He was, like his Mom, a voracious reader.

    My younger son became a “computer nerd” the day I brought home my Apple IIC. He became quite involved in software development and “voice recognition” technology.

    BTW: I graduated from high school with an 8th grade level in mathematics. In 1969-70 I was given the opportunity to take a 3-day seminar in Basic language programming. This was in the days of $60 an hour time-share computers……..

    Are we not almost at the speed-of-light computing age?

  20. Diane O'Donovan on March 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm said:

    bdid1r
    I see you bracket my work with that of Edith Sherwood. Regrettable to think they appear so similar.

    Difference is, I analyse imagery first, and then provide comparisons from an appropriate place and time as proofs.

  21. Diane O'Donovan on March 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm said:

    so for me, no image made after 1450 is much use. And since I do not regard the ‘ladies’ in the Vms as other than abstractions, and do not consider the ‘balneology’ section’s subject is ladies’ habits in baths, that Renaissance image would not be one I’d likely cite.

  22. Diane O'Donovan on March 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm said:

    another difference, of course, is that Edith’s name turns up 16 pages, and two devoted posts on this very blog. Enjoy!

  23. Diane O'Donovan on March 6, 2012 at 2:19 am said:

    perhaps irrelevant to the subject of the present post, but after investigating both, I’m more inclined to think Romaniot than Romany.
    http://constantinople.ehw.gr/Forms/fLemmaBody.aspx?lemma

  24. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 5:31 am said:

    Obsessed — Me? — I guess so. Nevertheless, I’d like to refer you to one of our latest handwritten Romany dictionary-makers/poet/singer. You, Nick, may even be able to connect with his contact/rep:

    Musafer Bislim

    Flames of God.com

    http://www.flamesofgod.com

  25. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 5:37 am said:

    Let me/us know if the website is of any interest to you, Reed, Rene et al. Thanx!

    %^

    (Do you wonder if I’m getting even more beady-eyed with every post?) p.s. the website has a short film/soundbite.

  26. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 5:52 am said:

    Dang it, proofread b4 posting…

    Mr. Bislim’s first name is MUZAFER

  27. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm said:

    Oh gosh, Diane! I sincerely beg your pardon if I appear to be categorizing/characterizing any person who is posting on Nick’s “labor of lovoynich” (Pun!)

    Some of our various posts get mixed/crossed times of posting because of our time zones.

    I was trying to remember the classic painter/artist who depicted a group of women (a goddess and her maidens) entering a pool of water.

    On another website, somebody got real “creative” with that same classic painting and sketched a ridiculous man (wearing a wet-suit) hovering overhead with a bow and arrow.

    Daphne? Diana? Ennyway, there are several “women bathing” drawings in the VMS. I was trying to comment on a post that Reed Johnson made several days ago in response to my proposed source of the VM being “out of India/Romany”.

    Again, my apologies if I’ve insulted you. Have you had a chance to “tune-in” to Mr. Muzafer Bislim’s HANDWRITTEN dictionary of Romany words? He also sings!

    I’m hoping that his handwritten script might have some similarity to the VMs. I’m also hoping that someone, with much better hearing than I, might be able to translate some of Mr Bislim’s written and vocal works.

  28. Reed Johnson on March 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm said:

    Hi bdid1dr–I hope I haven’t led you down the rabbit-hole with the mention of gypsies. As I said, it’s a dead-end; no sources that I’m aware of point give any evidence to this hypothesis, which was, as I said, idle speculation on my part. While Romany language may have some linguistic features that might be of interest to Voynich researchers, it is probably unlikely that, beneath the strange characters, the VMs is an unmodified natural language or argot. As far as I understand it, there are too many anomalous statistical features of the text. More likely is some sort of encoding, complex enciphering, or other manipulation of the underlying plaintext. And if the plaintext were already written in an argot, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason (to me at least) to disguise it with presumably somewhat unwieldy textual manipulations. But who knows? I have yet to read a single Voynich theory that does not weave a narrative out of sheer speculation, unacknowledged assumptions and much hand-waving. As far as I’m concerned, nobody knows nothin’.

  29. Diane O'Donovan on March 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm said:

    i’m sure that if you had confused me with Rene, or Nick, or Dana, I’d feel bucked and *they* might feel miffed. Edith’s opinions are far more widely known than mine.

  30. Diane: the odd thing is that Edith Sherwood has basically bought her slice of fame with Google Adwords. Lord only knows how much it has cost her: personally, I wish she’d put even half that money into actually researching her theory in real archives instead, but them I’m obviously a bit more old-fashioned than she is. 😉

  31. Diane O'Donovan on March 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm said:

    🙂

  32. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 8:58 pm said:

    Well, when a woman has trekked umpteen miles in a day, while hanging onto a child or two, and maybe another child on her back, I’ll bet she won’t hesitate to peel down and climb into whatever facilities provide hot water for aching feet (and/or body).

    From viewing some of the classical portrayals of Roma movements through European towns and principalities, I got the impression that it was mostly equestrian men followed by their families on foot.

  33. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm said:

    On an earlier post re Phlagraen Fields, I speculated commented on the strange tubular structures that seemed to be portrayed from above the flanks of the hillside. Yesterday, I took another look at the photos of the baths. Nearby were the ruins of a Roman temple, which still had three tall columns standing.

    OK, it’s cipher we’re s’posed to be focusing on. So, how much of the VM is written script vs pictorial “clues” as to what is being discussed? Are any of the drawings sketched in three-dimensional perspective?

    I mentioned on an earlier post, that there seemed to be a “chanting” repetition to the script. Something along the lines of: “How many miles to “dah de dah”? “So many miles and……”

    I think I made that post just about the time that Diane also was discussing the styles of battlements (swallowtail). I wondered if this was the same time we were examining the Carroty posts. It was from that discussion that I pulled up the full spread of the Nine “Rosettes” pages, magnified them, and then made the connections between the bathing beauties, the balnealogical pages, and the “castles” that appear on several of the rosettes.

  34. bdid1dr on March 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm said:

    So, I wonder if the entire “Rosettes” folio is a travel guide for the entire coastal areas of Naples, and the volcanos (Vesuvius, and maybe Etna?). So, I wonder if Kircher actually did climb Vesuvius (as he claims in one of his books).

    I get beadier-eyed everyday!

  35. Diane O'Donovan on March 7, 2012 at 2:40 am said:

    Interesting historical question:

    how many hot-water baths existed in the different countries of Europe from (say) the eleventh to the late fifteenth centuries. Of that number how many began as, or became public facilities, and exactly when and where (if at all) was access denied to any particular group/s of people?
    Now there’s a good five years’ worth of research, right there. Do I scent a thesis in the air?

  36. Diane O'Donovan on March 7, 2012 at 2:43 am said:

    There’s a famous quotation, said to have been uttered about Elizabeth I of England, viz that she was so particular about personal hygiene that ‘she takes a bath every three months, whether she needeth it or no’.

  37. bdid1dr on March 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm said:

    No, Diane — no thesis. But, here’s a feasibility Q. for Nick:

    Wouldn’t it be neat if Mr. Bislim could participate in your upcoming seminar? Especially if he could bring his hand-written Romany dictionary with him?

    I listened to his video short: It takes me right back to the 3-person musical troupes that played at our Kolo Festivals at UC Berkeley and the Russian Community Center in San Francisco in the 1970’s-2000’s.

  38. bdid1dr on March 9, 2012 at 11:03 pm said:

    The musicians I mentioned still play, live, at the center of the concentric circles of dancers. Several of the musicians also play at our our various Orthodox (Byzantine and Greek) festivals that are held in cities and towns across the United States and Canada.

    I’m aware that the British Isles have many festivals that seem strange to us here in the US. Any chance that there might be a “reservoir” of language/songs/folk tales in your part of the world that might yield some clues to the crytographers-at-large?

  39. bdid1dr on March 9, 2012 at 11:06 pm said:

    Please: Don’t “come back at me” regarding the “Burning Man” Festival that began their observances only a decade or so ago. I don’t have a clue!

  40. Diane O'Donovan on March 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm said:

    Since Rene’s talk for the conference is entitled ‘the pre-Rudolphine history of the Vms’, and Rene is a careful, conservative scholar, the writers of the wiki article might have to add a bit more fairly soon.

  41. bdid1dr on March 12, 2012 at 2:39 am said:

    Diane,

    I’m not sure to which wiki article you are referring. Perhaps it is my reference to Mr. Bislim’s various presentations of his work in several web venues? I was only able to catch a mere glimpse of his manuscript which is HAND-written in four languages.

    My observation of on-line reference works re various scripts/alphabets has shown practically no samples available on the WEB or Wikipedia of HAND-WRITTEN scripts for any languages.

    Rene’s website is the very best I have seen, so far, for meticulous presentation of material and references/citatations–not to mention great photos.

    Now, if only Nick were able to cut and paste some samples of Romany, Cyrillic, Macedonian
    HANDWRITING (not block print nor the formal upper-case wording that appears in medieval religious icons or paintings).

    One or two Cyrillic characters for the “tl” and “lt” sounds appear “here and there” to be somewhat like what I call the “loopy telephone pole” script. I gave up a long time ago trying to talk cipher code-speak.

    Because I am half-blind and half-deaf I usually have to work twice as hard to communicate by the written word. Even though I am an excellent lip/posture-reader, it doesn’t help me much when lecturers turn their back to me while addressing the blackboard/whiteboard/slide screen…..

  42. bdid1dr on March 12, 2012 at 2:54 am said:

    My earlier, flippant, remark I made about “The Burning Man” celebration refers to a crazy event that takes place in the Mojave desert. This event came into being only a few years ago. I had earlier mentioned that the British (Londoner’s?) have some strange-to-U.S.-eyes celebrations/ceremonies: For one, Harris Dancers?

    Ennyway, I hope everyone will have a great seminar. I hope Nick, Rene, Reed will keep us “in the picture” when they all get back home!

  43. Diane O'Donovan on March 12, 2012 at 9:32 am said:

    I was once aquainted with a family in which the husband was a Morris dancer. Very strenuous, by his account, and especially hard on the knees.
    My link concerned Romaniotes. Not exactly a wiki article.
    “The Romaniots were descendants of the Byzantine Greek-speaking Jews dwelling in the Ottoman Empire, who, in the course of some three hundred years since the settlement of Iberian Jews in Istanbul (1492-1560), were assimilated by the newcomers from Spain and Portugal”

  44. Diane & bdid1dr: please excuse me, the whole concept of Morris dancing makes me too cross to type sensibly. To my eyes, it seems every bit as genuinely historical as the funky chicken. 🙂

  45. Diane O'Donovan on March 12, 2012 at 11:00 am said:

    I know, Nick. But 46 posts – I think we’re going for the Cipher Mysteries Guinness record here. 😀
    But while your attention is here – will you promise to publish your Conference paper afterwards?

  46. King.Of.the.Stone.Age on March 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm said:

    I dont know if it’s known but…
    In many ancient calendars (eg. in florentine calendar) the year began with march, witch is the first calendar folio (if the folio order is right).

  47. KOtSA: yes, it’s well known, though strictly speaking the Florentine calendar began on March 25th rather than the start of Pisces. Incidentally, in Milan, the calendar started from January 1st, while in France it started in Easter: this kind of thing is forever shifting dates out by a year, as people would write different dates for the same date when writing to friends in different city-states.

  48. bdid1dr on March 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm said:

    Nick, Diane,KOtSA,

    Could/would you explain why Orthodox (Greek, Serbian)have different calendar dates for Easter? I know we discussed cisioannus earlier, but was any mention made as to why some Orthodox dates are different from Roman and Protestant?

  49. Diane O'Donovan on March 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm said:

    OK
    Originally there were various ‘New Year’s Day’s, depending on where you lived. Then as monotheist religions took over, the regions they controlled mostly conformed with the habit of the religious ‘capital’ as it were. Now the Christian calendar originally began with easter, a lunar marker, which took a fair bit of clever calculation to predict exactly-ish. Coptic Egypt established the system, but it was a bit too difficult maths-wise, so some Christian capitals either got it wrong and then became stubborn, or deliberately took a different method to emphasise that they did/didn’t think everyone but Rome was a heretic.
    Then came the Islamic conquests, where the old lunar calendar was frozen stiff (intercalations prohibited) and without intercalations any calendar, solar or not, will go haywire. Which it did. But that was ok because the Arabs artifically tied the lunar to the solar periods.
    (OK so far?)
    Then for one reason and another, some started to take Christmas as the beginning of the year, but that didn’t take off so well, and New Year’s Day as January 1st was observed.
    However, in the meantime, the calendar had been increasingly out-of-whack, so Gregory (Pope) chopped off a few days (I think) to get it all right again. But some people objected, and refused. Others…(too complicated).. and then you get Protestantism.

    See?

  50. bdid1dr on March 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm said:

    o-o-o-kay, right after I posted my last query that you just answered, my husband spoke over my shoulder:

    Our Cypriot next-door neighbor told my husband that the Greek Orthodox celebrate Easter because of “Doubting” Thomas’ asking Jesus to “prove it” by letting Thomas probe the hole in Jesus’ palm.

    Fascinating! BTW, did you check out the small joke/query I made to Nick on one of his other posts recently re: the lonely rabbit sitting at the base of a column, still standing, of a “Roman” temple.

    My joke/query “wondered” if there might be any relation to how the Easter Bunny got involved in delivering eggs in baskets for Easter (when it came to calculating the day of Easter). I got a big grin from Nick.

    Ennyway, it turns out that the particular ruin was an earlier temple to Oestre.

  51. Diane O'Donovan on March 13, 2012 at 7:33 am said:

    Possibly only appealing to English and Australian humour, but for my previous see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1066_and_All_That

  52. bdid1dr on March 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm said:

    Do Australians continue 1066 and All That humor with the earliest settlers sent to Australia?

  53. Diane O'Donovan on March 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm said:

    not the right sort of irony at all. Besides the criminals were English; the settlers tended more to be ex-military, or Irish. Then more refugees from the strife-ridden north, and more recently those fleeing more imperial activity. Sadly, the people who really own this country are treated worse than any. Rum place, its true.

  54. Diane O'Donovan on March 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm said:

    Seriously Nick (and only to Nick)
    There’s another reason for the research: to advance our knowledge of a fifteenth century manuscript.

    And I think the most valuable thing anyone could do in it, at the moment, would be to go back over the most commonly assumed items, and actually see how the evidence stacks up if one doesn’t approach a proposition as if liking it is good enough.

    For example: evidence that the book had ‘an author’ – none.

    Evidence that anyone prior to the twentieth century believed it originated in mainland Europe? None that I know of.

    Evidence that the letter in the manuscript belonged there, and refers to *this* manuscript and no other – purely circumstantial.

    If the letter had been bookmarking some other book, all the archived correspondence could be referring to that one, and not the Vms at all. (Not saying this is what happened, but the assumption about the link is more settled than the evidence warrants.)

    Evidence that Rudolf ever paid 600 ducats for any book – ever? none.

    Proof that the merlons refer to a building in northern Italy – none. Compare with the abstract use of the motif in the Zibaldone da Canal.
    Horned merlons take off as Ghibbeline symbol in the twelfth-thirteenth century, anyway.

    What the tutor actually said is that the person who reputedly bought the book was given 600 ducats.

    Not the same thing as being paid that amount for book. Perhaps he meant to imply that, but that’s not what he said. no matter what facile reasons could be used to support the assumption, the evidence doesn’t.

    And with each false assumption, another dead-end is being added to the maze.

    I’ve just spent three years on the imagery and at the end of it, after discarding about 90% of the avenues investigated and double-checking the rest, I think what is left is good. Trouble is, you can’t advance discussion if there’s no real discussion. And in Vms studies, alas..

    Anyway I have a long break coming so cheers. And for now anyway, I really am quitting.

  55. Diane O'Donovan on March 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm said:

    *sp ‘reputedly brought the book’

  56. Diane: I’ll try these points, see how far I get:-

    * evidence that the book had ‘an author’: none indeed. In fact, I think there’s pretty good evidence (from apparent error rates) that the writers were one or more hired scribes copying from wax tablets.
    * evidence that anyone prior to the twentieth century believed it originated in mainland Europe: actually, the Marci letter talks about Roger Bacon, and he’s definitely European.
    * evidence that the letter in the manuscript belonged there, and refers to *this* manuscript and no other: actually pretty good, and strongly bolstered by all the other letters to Kircher mentioning it. Baresch’s description is pretty clear
    * evidence that Rudolf ever paid 600 ducats for any book – ever: none indeed.
    * proof that the merlons refer to a building in northern Italy: none indeed. Yet those same merlons are useful for linking the manuscript to Europe rather than to Northern Italy.

    I don’t think these are false assumptions, I think they’re good working hypotheses that people discard at their peril. Baresch’s 1639 description still speaks loudly to me at least:

    From the pictures of herbs, of which the number in the Codex is enormous, of various images, of stars and of other things which appear like chemical secrets … This probability is increased by these exotic herbs, drawn in the Volume, which escape from the knowledge of the people in the German country.

  57. bdid1dr on March 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm said:

    Nick, Diane:

    I’ve spent several DAYS cruising the WEB. So far, I have been able to find one (1) handwritten document written in 29 June 1512 at Dlagopole (Slavonic Campulung-Muscel).

    It is extremely difficult to find antique documents in their original HANDWRITTEN form. Aggravating!

    The one interesting feature of the doc is the resemblance of most of the lower case writing to the VM. Another feature that showed up in the translation was the repetitive use of the first two words “And again” that appear at the beginning of each sentence.

    The script is a little “sharper-edged” than the VM, and has diacritical marks that aren’t apparent, to me, in the VM. So I shall now try to link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Neac%C5%9Fu%27sLetter.jpg

    If it doesn’t link, I hope y’all will still try to follow up.

    Cheers!

  58. Diane O'Donovan on March 15, 2012 at 6:19 am said:

    re Roger Bacon. I speak of ‘mainland Europe’ in the strictly geographical sense.

    description of ms by Baresch – yes, fair enough.

    I don’t favour research which begins from a ‘working hypotheses’. I see it continually employed in certain areas of research. It leads to far too many omissions and wrong conclusions. It’s not the same as investigating a line of enquiry, and its tacit bias [I think ‘x’ and will take whatever I can find in support] leads to frivolous papers, and if those are taken up, to a hardened belief which spreads independently of any real evidence for it. We may give Henry Ford the final say. I won’t quote him.

  59. Diane: as long as you don’t inhale the hypothesis vapours too deeply, I think the practice is worthwhile. 🙂

  60. bdid1dr on March 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm said:

    Sorry ’bout that! The bad link, that is. So, here’s the reference you can plug in to your search

    Neascu’s Letter

    It should come up as an article in wikipeda.

    Fascinating! Written in 1521 in Romanian Cyrillic. Not just another business letter. It gives warning of the impending Ottoman attack on Transylvania.

    The wiki gives quite a bit of detail besides translating re history, origin, and where the document is currently stored.

    Before I discovered this item, I had downloaded several documents showing 14th and 15th century Cyrillic Handwritten lettering. I now am going to try to download 16th century specimens to compare with Neacsu’s manuscript. There may have been some significant significant changes in the handwriting as a result of the Ottoman invasion (of which Neascu was warning).

  61. bdid1dr on March 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm said:

    When I pulled down Neacsu’s letter, I noticed several things in common w/Vms. Many pages of the VMs have no punctuation at all. The people who posted Neacsu’s document explained that they didn’t punctuate, but rather would use a “beginning phrase” (example: And again) to indicate the end of one sentence and the beginning of the next.

    So, I am comparing those endless lines of qoteedy qoteedy….etcetera. I have located some cursive tables of 14th and 15th century Cyrillic but not 16th.

    Reed Johnson, on Nick’s other latest post tells me that the VMs is not Romanian/Slav. So I shall continue my research into
    Rudolph II’s extensive “family tree” which is heavily leaved with Hapsburg’s intermarriages with cousins in many parts of the Holy Roman Empire, England. and the Russian Tsar’s wife Alexandria (who apparently passed the hemophiliac genetics to their son).

    BTW, are you aware that the remains of the
    Tsar’s son and daughter were recently found and verified by DNA tests?

  62. bdid1dr on March 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm said:

    Nick, Diane, Reed, and Rene:

    Please see my latest post on Nick’s “2011 Polish Paper” page which he posted 14 March
    of this year (3 days ago).

  63. bdid1dr on March 19, 2012 at 3:26 am said:

    in re my comments #8 and #33 above: That poor woman did look like she was suffering. I now think she had her arms inside those tubes so she could adjust the water temperature in the pool by simply manipulating whatever kind of “valve” may have been inside the pipes (maybe a hot water pipe on the left, and a cold flow of water on the other? I wonder if any curator at the museum could answer the question.

  64. bdid1dr on March 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm said:

    Nick, please let me (just this once) let Diane know that I have not been able to successfully post to her blog today, even though I was successful yesterday. Before giving up, though, I would like to respond to her latest Vms plant ID:

    The root shape suggests, to me, a pair of Dutch klompen/clogs. So, maybe used as a hot water soak for sore feet? Someday, when I’m able to post to Diane’s blog I’ll expound on my Photo-illustrated lecture on what feet look like when they’ve been tightly bound when the girl was only 4 or 5 years old.

  65. bdid1dr on March 21, 2012 at 12:15 am said:

    Please ignore my grouchy tone this morning. The skunk and racoons were especially hungry last night. They were chattering and clattering through the wee hours of the morning, hence 3 hours of sleep.

    Sabots (wooden clogs) Diane. The problem with trying to MAYBE decipher the VMs by identifying the offerings of the “botanical” section is that their uses or “folklore-names” will still be a mystery until we can identify the nationality/language that is being used with each plant. I don’t think Linnaeus is going to be very helpful.

    When I can get in touch via your blog/twitter, I’ll discourse on the uses of dogbane stem fibers (and how Linnaeus “missed” an important detail in his description.
    Fun!

  66. bdid1dr on March 21, 2012 at 12:25 am said:

    Nick,

    “The Grouch” is speaking again:

    Is it a “guy thing” that you’ve got that poor, foot-weary, nekkid-lady’s boobs and crotch exposed to the view of “ennyone” passing through?

    Heh!

  67. bdid1dr on March 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm said:

    Oops, did I make an immodest reference in item 67? Please forgive my faux pas.

    I went online again at Beinecke to take another look at Ms 662, Book of Hours, Use of Paris:

    It was not the central figures, but the elaborate borders that were significant when comparing images with the Vms: I mentioned them on an earlier post here but may have been a little confused/weary.

    I could spend the next hour or so explaining why I seem to be obsessed with finding comparison materials to what appears in the Vms, I’ll try to be brief: Mainly, I’m trying not to fall into the same swamp into which so many other “deciphers” have fallen. Quicksand?

    Beinecke Ms 662 (Hours, Use, of Paris, image ID numbers 1010076, 1010077, 1010078, 1010079, and 1010080 are elaborate color plates in the Book of Hours. The paintings are standard for medieval tomes. It is the elaborate floral frames that contain some VERY intriguing figures of demons/monsters/ogres. One, in particular, is very similar to the “mermaid” figure in the
    VMS that Reed Johnson compared with his Indian photo of “a woman being swallowed by a fish-goddess”. Or vice versa?

    Ennyway, my point: Until you can match any particular image with the image in the Vms, and hope that the image is accompanied by some explanatory notes, you are not going to be able to decipher the notes in the VMs!

    I’ll close this post, and pick up with the botanicals.

  68. bdid1dr on March 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm said:

    Botanical drawings — and maybe their connections with the apothecary jars/grinders/macerators. Also the significance/emphasis placed on individual plant parts: significance as to how the various plant parts are to be used.

    Linnaeus/latin plant terminology is not going to aid in deciphering the handwritten script that appears with every plant. Until you can find other documents with handwritten labels/or directions for using the various plant parts, you will sink into the quagmire.

    Linnaeus wasn’t always “right” — see my next post (a bit of humor).

  69. bdid1dr on March 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm said:

    A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to take a lesson in how to make cord from dogbane stem fiber. So, I brought some dogbane stalks with me to class. My teacher looked at what I had brought and said what is that? I replied that it looked like the dogbane in my Audubon.

    She showed me what she used and how to find it in the field, and how to make the cord.

    Several days later, I spent several hours with our local agriculture agent and her online ‘Linnaeus”. Turns out that Linnaeus apparently didn’t make the distinction between Apocynum androsaemifolium and Apocynum cannabinum (hemp v. but NOT marijuana).

    Dogbane which has pink striped flowers, and which leaves climb the stems in parallel pairs is easier to strip the bark from (starting from the terminal chyme).

    Dogbane which each pair of leaves rotate around the branch stems 45 degrees, will not allow a continuous length of bark to be peeled. It also doesn’t have a terminal chyme.

    My point? Linnaeus never indicated any difference in the growth patterns of Apocynum cannabinum and Apocynum androsoemifolium.

    So, the next time you’re on a hike and your shoelace breaks, whatcha gonna do?

  70. bdid1dr on March 23, 2012 at 1:51 am said:

    Nick, Diane, Reed, Rene:

    How’m I doin’? Am I wasting your time as well as mine by posting what I hoped would be some valid leads to possible answers to some of the knottiest questions you’ve been addressing for years now? How’s that for a run-on sentence?

    Clue #1: re Esther Molen’s apparently correct translation of F116 and its almost word-for-word translation of Kircher’s opening sentence to many of his published writings:

    “Cherish Liber…………In a Desire to…….

    Clue #2: Resemblance of the various features of the Nine Rosettes to:
    The Phlagraen Fields and Hot Springs near Mt. Etna. Kircher opens his discussion re the volcanos with “Cherish Liber……..”

    Clue #3: My tentative ID of the Castle/palace upper right Rosette as (maybe) being Hrad Karlstein — where most of Rudolph II’s valuables, works of art collection, and Crown ended up.

    Clue #4: After Reed kindly let me know that Romany may not be identified as contributing to the VMs, I went cruising into the Beinecke collections. Just a couple of days ago, I found a beautifully ornamented “Book of Hours” by “Cue, of Paris”: The wide borders of each of the paintings (Ascension) had “grotesqueries”. Only a few per each frame, but most interesting to me were the mermaid, pig strumming a lute, a woman/ogre torso on a lion’s body, and a blue-winged, red-bodysuited man climbing a ladder/tree-trunk. There were some other grotesques “jousting”.

    My husband came home yesterday with two books. I’ll just give the titles, and you can naysay any further references from me if you already have these books:

    Joscelyn N. Godwin – “Athanasius Kircher”, ‘A Renaissance Man and the Quest for Lost Knowledge’

    Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone – “The Friar and the Cipher” ‘Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World’

    One more item: I’m so tired. I tried to follow up on Diane’s post re Nicholas Bion (Archbishop (?) of Cues. Lost the link. I was wondering if Nicholas Bion might have had family ties with the “Cue, of Paris” which I just recently referenced (Ms 662, at Beinecke).

    Have a good weekend! I’ll still be pursuing my avenues of investigation, but will hold off on anymore posts until I get some feedback; positive, I hope.

  71. Diane O'Donovan on March 24, 2012 at 10:42 am said:

    Dear bdid1dr
    I see the problem presented by the Vms as one of provenance: setting the imagery in its appropriate period/s. That is, the range of dates for first composition and any rescensions indicated by the imagery. Its essentially an historical problem, and a problem of what the manuscript is about. I don’t see the aim of my own research as decipherment of the written text, a subject in which doesn’t excite me particularly, and which other people are more qualified to address.

    So the herbal section is about identifying the pictured plants, their style, origins and reference, not about ‘getting to the labels’. Medieval manuscripts to a certain period are written as ‘parallel texts’ and one can read either (at least in theory), without reference to the other. Standard works of the time included both herbals and lapidaries, and there in the moralisations provided by external works, you’ll perhaps find the meaning of those marginal figures in the work [?owned by Nicholas-] of Cusa.

  72. Diane O'Donovan on March 24, 2012 at 10:45 am said:

    * recensions – such as the one which included those merlons (I’d say 12thC or so) and the one which added clothing to some of the figures: that I put at the time of the last copying.

  73. bdid1dr on March 26, 2012 at 2:37 am said:

    Diane, Nick,

    I may seem obssessed. I’m not. Some of my “what if’s” are being born out by:

    Kircher’s document: “Veterus Albani Lacus et Albae Longae aliorumque adjacentium loco
    rum descriptio” The Alban Lake in Antiquity, “Latium, page 33”

    Kircher’s document: Delineatio Crateris Lacus Albani (The Alban Lake in Kircher’s Time) “Latium, page 38”

    I have extracted these two references from a softbound book, titled “Athanasius Kircher – A Renaissance Man and the Quest for Lost Knowledge” (author: Jocelyn Godwin)

    The above-named illustrated plates match, so far as I have been making progress, various features of each of the “Rosettes”, of which all have EVA “labels”. One of the features is labeled, in latin: “Forum Populi”- “Ho die Rocca di Papa”.

    If one looks at the “Nine-Rosette’s” upper leftmost Rosette, it has been identified by Kircher as being “Campus Hannibalis” olim Locus Feriarum Latinarum”

    “Forum Populi” structure is beneath the Campus Hannibalis” “hodie Rocca di Papa”

    I’ll post this item now, and perhaps I can contribute more items, if anyone shows interest, as far as matching Kircher’s identifying info with the EVA labels that appear on each of the Rosettes.

  74. bdid1dr on March 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm said:

    Kircher identifies the structure that appears in the upper right corner rosette of this same plate as:

    “Valscorum regni pars velitrae” This structure is the same as appears at the top of this (cipher mysteries) page.

  75. bdid1dr on March 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm said:

    By “cipher mysteries page”, I mean the green high-lighted header of his web-pages portrayed above this post/page.

  76. bdid1dr on March 26, 2012 at 9:19 pm said:

    May it just be possible that we will be able to convert Kircher’s identifying labels (latin) into Voynichese. Much as Esther Molen has translated folio 116 (Michitonese oladabetc/Kircher’s latin) into English)?

    Whatever happens, my failing eyesight (cataracts) makes it difficult to read tiny print. I shall continue to make contributions to our “chief”, though, as I go from “Rosette” to “Rosette”

    One side note about current conditions at Alban Lake: The small town perched nearby is being shaken considerably. Apparently, several factors are coming into play: tremors, acidity/sulphur fumes damaging the stucco faces and causing them to crumble. If you are at all interested, plug in the headline “Should Scientists Probe the……”

  77. bdid1dr on March 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm said:

    I just this morning downloaded a map of the area being discussed (Alban Lake area/Naples). I also downloaded some info on Frascati and Nick’s favorite “hangout”. Well, folks, we’re talking/walking less than ten miles between Frascati and Phlegraen Fields, Alban Lake, and the Fortress/Castle that appears as the logo for Nick’s Cipher Mysteries page (upper right “rosette”).

    (??)

  78. bdid1dr on March 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm said:

    More info on “Valscorum regni pars velitre”:

    Shakespeare wrote a play based on the inhabitants of the Fortress/castle which I mention in post #78 above:

    Gnaius Marcius Coriolanus

  79. bdid1dr on March 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm said:

    Featuring prominently in the two “Rosettes” that appear below the above- mentioned feature are:

    Several monasteries and their cultivated gardens/fields/vineyards. Perhaps they can be interpreted as some of the “thousand vegetables” that Esther Molen has recently translated. They are also referred to by Kircher, as part of his standard greeting for each of his publictions “Cherish Liber”.

  80. bdid1dr on March 28, 2012 at 8:35 pm said:

    I am now going back to the Beinecke Library to see if there are any other publications by Kircher, either in the manuscript holdings OR their library (book) holdings. As I’ve mentioned several time before, various universities here in the US have Kircher’s volumes. Some can be found online with Stanford. In fact, I seem to remeber that Rene Zandbergen visited Stanford U’s online resource several years ago?

  81. bdid1dr on March 30, 2012 at 1:05 am said:

    Nick, Rene, Reed,

    Have a great meeting in Frascati! I shall now be spending Spring and Summer between our mountain cabin and our lake-level ranch property.

    Cya around now and then! (no more posts from me).
    beedee

  82. If you are really interesting about VM, you must see these sites http://zlatodej.blog.cz/ . Sites are unfortunately in czech language. Author doesn´t speak english. VM is also written in old czech language and in addition is coded with gematria and special character .

  83. MMM. Pan Nick moje stránky zná.

  84. Zlatoděj: I certainly do. 🙂

  85. Hi Nick,I Found a similar Font. Want to send a link ?

  86. That`s prima. Can You tell (or write) me please, what do You mean of Zlatodějs solution?

  87. Diane O'Donovan on April 8, 2012 at 1:58 am said:

    bdid1dr
    Kircher was an antiquarian, interested in ancient relics and languages, so he was probably annotating a contemporary map with points of historical interest. On the region you mentioned Smith’s dictionary of classical geography remains a good place to begin:
    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0064:entry=velitrae-geo

    If you could give more exact details of where you found Kircher’s map/s I’d be interested to see them.

  88. bdid1dr on April 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm said:

    Stanford University (California) Oklahoma University (Norman Oklahoma)

    With Stanford, one gets not only the map of the Alban Lakes but pictures of the many strange objects that Kircher published. Several of the objects bear the Hapsburg double-headed eagle crest. Rudolph II was Hapsburg. Hrad Karlstejn, near Prague, ended up with some of Rudolph’s collection of paintings, and odd inventions/curiousities. Hrad Karlstejn was also the repository of Rudolph’s crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

    It is most likely that Rudolph’s brother, Maximilian, may have had only a short period of time to get the “treasures” into safe storage before “all hell” broke loose for a good thirty years.

    How the goods ended up with Kircher so many years after Rudolph’s death, is still a mystery, I guess.

  89. bdid1dr on April 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm said:

    Ref. correction: Rudolph’s brother’s name was Matthias.

  90. bdid1dr on April 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm said:

    As far as Who Transferred Rudolph’s Estate (and Ms)to the Pope’s/Jesuit archives: Puhleeze do not bring up Dee and Bacon one more time. Tepenezc and Vrancic are good candidates (you can find some of Vrancic’s publications in a website I referred to you a couple of weeks ago.

    I’m just an old grouch until I’ve had my second cuppacoffee. C-y’all later!

  91. Diane on June 17, 2012 at 6:59 am said:

    Bdid (if I may)

    The logical assumption is that the manuscript became the property of the Jesuit order from the time it was sent to Kircher. Jesuits’ property is held in common, so Kircher couldn’t own it himself. It might then have been given – by the Order – to another owner, or another library but no more. That’s why its being sold under the counter to Voynich is awkward. I actually doubt that they invited him to purchase: I think he used personal contacts as a way of getting access to more of his mainstay: medieval monastic works.

  92. Vroomfondel on June 9, 2013 at 10:31 am said:

    ^^^All you nerds convinced me to leave this manuscript alone without another thought…

    Peace

  93. That’s not true that nothing has been revealed. “9” are end of word marks, see http://voynichanalysis.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/more-comments-on-quire-numbers/, month names are pretty clear.

  94. Thomas on June 23, 2015 at 10:04 am said:

    This is the best page on the blog, so far. I only started reading the blog a week or so ago. Not systematically though, only in browsing style.

    I could not agree more. I myself cannot do big things with it, so I try doing small bits instead, as suggested.

    Already I reported a tiny observation, that the “tower in a hole” may be some kind of sectional view. Over the fold, an apparently matching earth mound from the hole may mean to show the tower’s below the ground foundations, or its continuation.

    “Underestimate the Voynich Manuscript at your peril!”

    Can I pen down my very own and original saying? The pyramids fear the Voynich! 🙂

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