…yes, on a Sunday afternoon.

It’s a slick piece of publishing, well-scanned and well-printed with top-notch images that are the crispest I’ve seen. The foldouts (something every previous photo-facsimile I’ve seen has stumbled on) are lovely, and include miniature versions on the lower margin of each page to help you navigate your way around.


As a piece of collectable printing, then, it’s a top-notch piece of work, something that many bibliophiles would be delighted to find in their Christmas stocking: the jolly elves who produced it seem to be more Folio Society than Penguin, let’s say (though not quite Taschen elves).

Is This Photo-Facsimile The Ultimate Voynich Research Tool?

It’s the question that the Beinecke people seem to want people to be asking: but the answer, in a word, is no. The reproductions are so lovely that Ray Clemens’ suggestion that owners might fill their margins with their thoughts seems unduly barbarous: a bit like scribbling on a Jaguar’s leather seats.

And the included essays (Rene Zandbergen’s aside) all have an oddly early-1970s retro feel to them, as if this whole effort was a stopgap for researchers until such time as Mary D’Imperio’s “An Elegant Enigma” comes out.

In each case, you (the reader) get to the end of the essay just at the point where you want it to start: and so each finishes with a jarring emptiness, an <insert-good-research-here> lurch downwards, culminating in a mental picture of knowledgeable writers throwing up their hands in dismay. For example, when Jennifer M. Rampling writes (in her essay on alchemical imagery) “[a]lthough the content of this manuscript is almost certainly not alchemical in nature…” (p.46), it’s hard not to roll your eyes at the futility of the entire exercise.

By way of comparison, what I try to do with Cipher Mysteries is to write each post in such a way that a reader ends each post genuinely knowing more than when they began, and also with an idea of where future archival or research trails from there might lead: something one might reasonably call “Open Source History”.

Compare this with Yale’s photo-facsimile essays, and you’d see that what they offer is very much a closed book: none seems to grasp that the key to making progress with these Sphinxes is to give not only good quality images, but also good quality conceptual tools to work with those images.

Sadly, this is a bus-sized hole in the Voynich dam this present volume doesn’t even attempt to fill.

The Missing Book About The Book

Over the last few years, I’ve been consistently disappointed with the ever-decreasing quality of Voynich discourse. An all-too-common refrain is that new researchers now routinely ignore everything that has gone before in favour of ‘seeing things through their own eyes’. Yet in practice they almost always end up seeing it through exactly the same kind of cracked lens (whether linguistic, cryptographic, or whatever) that countless others have suffered from before: so, not so much “reinventing the wheel” as “reinventing the flat tyre“.

But this is just a superficial rationalization for their laziness and lack of commitment when faced by a sprawling and unfocused research landscape. Few even bother to read D’Imperio’s “An Elegant Enigma”, even though it is available for free download on the NSA website. Many of them are convinced that Voynichese is no more than a language protected entirely by obscurity: counting grains of sand would be a more productive use of their time.

All the same, anyone – from amateur to academic – arriving on the Voynich Manuscript’s shores would surely start with the idea in their head that there must be something out there that would give them a good basic introduction. Yet D’Imperio’s workbook-style book came out in 1978, roughly a thousand Internet years in the past: while my own “The Curse of The Voynich” came out a decade ago (and I may as well have carved it on a rock on the far side of the moon for all the effect that it has had). Similarly Churchill and Kennedy’s (2006) book did a good job of answering all the least interesting questions about the manuscript… and so on.

What’s missing is something closer to a “user guide”: that is, something that not only helps readers navigate around and within the Voynich Manuscript’s pages, but also provides a properly foundational set of insights into how its pages were constructed; how to visually parse its content; what the genuine core debates over its features are; and where the edges of the last forty years of research lie. The stuff, in short, that everyone shooting from their hip on a Voynich blog seems to have collectively forgotten.

I shudder to think what anyone from the current generation of researchers might produce in response to such a “user guide” challenge: perhaps a hundred pages of Bax-stylee linguistic noodling, followed by a further fifty pages of Rugg-themed hoaxery? What a horrible thought: Lord save us all from even a paragraph more of each than we have already suffered. 🙁

The Missing Documentary About The Book

A while back, I had the idea to produce a TV documentary on the Voynich Manuscript from the inside out. That is, rather than build up an account of it by peering at it through a long succession of wacky theories (with the by-now obligatory long succession of wacky theorists as talking heads), to instead start from the ink, strokes, and paint and build a fresh evidence-only account of it from the ground up.

A large part of me genuinely wants to transform the cack-handed way people have come to look at these wonderfully edgy subjects, to help them see through the lies and the difficulties to the interesting artefact beneath the mythology and bullsh*t.

Maybe one day I’ll find a way of doing this… but I do somewhat despair at how poxy and formulaic TV history has become that something as genuinely interesting as this looks even remotely left-field.

I guess all I’m trying to say is that I don’t really blame Yale for the yawning hole at the centre of their book: it’s a hole at the centre of the entire way people look at mysterious ciphers. But if I were to say that their beautifully-produced photo-facsimile even begins to tackle the problems of getting academics to look at the Voynich Manuscript in a useful or constructive way, it would be a big fat lie. Because right now, nothing comes even remotely close to doing this: and we’re all the worse for that. 🙁

78 thoughts on “Yale’s Voynich Manuscript photo-facsimile has just arrived here…

  1. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 6, 2016 at 9:53 pm said:

    Nick. Hi. You see the manuscript that the Jewish star ? ( A boat carryng Jewish star ). Write to me why there’s a cartoon.
    And do not be sad. The manuscript is written and encrypted in the Czech language.
    That’s why they never seen you understand how the manuscript. The manuscript is writen in a very complex way. No academic and linguist has no chance to succeed. Neither the NSA can not succeed. This is a very complex code and encryption.

    You see, at least on a large parchment of the citizen ???
    In this round it is written : Turn around . ( circle ). When you turn the ring, to make a figure together. ( figure = citizen).
    The figure holds in has hand ?
    What do you think holds in his hand. 🙂

  2. I always like your reviews, Nick. Probably I’ll buy the book some day, but on the other hand I got so comfortable with the scans that I’d hardly use it.

    I also agree with thr point you make about Voynich research. About a year ago I got interested in the manuscript, and the first thing I did was read a number of sources. D’Imperio is fine, but as soon as you enter the wider internet it’s really difficult for complete newcomers. Like everyone is tending to their own little patch of mud without growing anything.

    Some of the content is obviously valuable, but this is hard to figure out when you’re still learning what gallows and nymphs are, and which one of them is Eva. Luckily for me I ended up agreeing with many of Diane’s conclusions, which gave me something to build on.

    I myself try to help the situation a bit by commenting on people’s blog posts with agreement or criticism, but usually it’s pretty lonely in the comments section. I know of several people who don’t want to read blog posts to keep their minds uncontaminated…

    My feeling is that most people secretly dream of being Champollion and think that one day they will crack the code. They dread the thought of having to share that with other researchers, and therefore go to great lengths to present all findings as their own. But there won’t be a grand moment of revelation, our understanding will have to be built bit by bit. And in order to do that , the field will have to change. It has to grow up.

    It is true that it would be better with more attention from various academics, but I just don’t see how that’s gonna happen if things stay like this…

  3. Attempting to Read any ancient code or cipher inside out can only occur after a rigorously outside in set of patterns, be they letter or math patterns are available. Meta patterns govern the language(s) recorded in an ancient text. Mathematicians create the best meta patterns. Linguistist and mathematicians, must, at some point work as a team to solve any major project, be the topic Linear B, solved, Linear A, unsolved, or any other.

    Mayan four part language syntax is a case in point. Mathematicians were excluded until 1975, due to academic snobs, that falsely claimed there were no phonetic patterns hidden in the texts. Russians living outside European and USA snobbery opened the decoding door, and we’re finally allowed to publish in he West, after the death of Eric Thompson, the largest snob that I can name.

    The same snobbery held back decoding of Egyotian hieroglyphics for 25 years. In that case, one of the there can be no phonetic patterns crowd, allowed his young son to work on the problem.

    So what snobbery is holding back the fair reading of this text? NSA seems not involved. But NSA was of no help to read Mayan or Egyptian hieratic math texts.
    Looking deeply into math patterns is hard work. Good hunting.

  4. Koen: there are surely many workable definitions of luck, but finding yourself agreeing with Diane is one I was previously unaware of. 🙂

    As I recall, it was J.K.Petersen who wrote not so long ago that reading anybody else’s Voynich research was something he’d want to avoid wherever possible: but I’ve seen variations on that same basic theme many times over. Not that he’d ever read this comment, of course. 😉

    Personally, I’m always super-hopeful about the prospects of understanding the Voynich Manuscript, because I think a large amount of the basic research that has been done is solid, and that even a small amount of additional information or insight may trigger an avalanche of progress. But I’d agree that you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that from the general state of the Voynich blogosphere. 😐

  5. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm said:

    Nick. I’ll write it again. Big parchment. Which you call the ” rosette”.

    The author writes the manuscript no rosettes. (Czech language).
    But, he writes ” Wheels “. ( Circle ).
    The manuscript ( big parchment ) on that page written. (Czech language ). Turn circle.
    When you turn the ring, to make a citizen’s body.
    It’s something like puzzle. 🙂
    Nick expert. You see it on the parchment of the citizen ??
    He sees what hold in hands ?

    Twenty years to solve the gallows. Why ? It is no gallows. These are ordinary letters.
    Work more success and will surely soon be seen. Especially do not lose faith. Your efforts will surely be crowned with success. Ok.

  6. I also believe that it will be understood one day – the alternative is to buy into unlikely forgery theories and if that is the case we might as well all look for a new hobby.

    But everything points towards it being a genuine historical document, we just don’t understand it yet.

    The difference with many other mysteries is that in the case of the Voynich script we haven’t even figured out yet *what* it is. In other cases, we do get that advantage: we know whether it’s an ancient script, a pure cipher, the work of an individual or a society, a technical text or prose, intentionally obscured or not.

    I think before enough meaningful progress can be made we first have to determine in which direction we must go. But I’m not sure if that’s possible.

    This also ties into the academics problem. They don’t understand it very well either and probably realize they would have to dwell too deep into speculation territory to their liking. Like when they ask an experts on medieval herbals about the MS, he’ll say that it does-kind-of-look-like other herbals but in a very weird way. Which I read as “Don’t ask me about this, I have no idea” 😉

  7. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm said:

    Hi expert Nick.
    I will not bother. Citizen on a large parchment ( rosette ). 🙂
    Holding in his hand ” cat “. ( holding in his hand a cat ).
    It is written in the Czech language.
    Woman holds in her hand a cat. Ordinary cat . Cat .
    What do you as an expert ? What holds in his hand ?

  8. Josef: I have been told so many times how stupid I am for not seeing that the Voynich Manuscript is xyz that one more time can’t really make a difference. Perhaps Voynichese is Czech: and perhaps the moon is a balloon. Either way, who can say?

  9. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 7, 2016 at 9:43 pm said:

    OK. Nick. As you know,and you know. That is a big difference between Czech and English languages. And I give you all. And especialy you. Showing what is relevant and important. For all of you he writes in a letter Habdank Wilfrid Michal , who is at Yale. The letter also says. The possible author of the manuscript. Second. There he writes instructions for the translation of the manuscript. Instructions are the same as on the side of the 116. I know what is written on the side of 116. And of course I know what it says in the letter. I know instrutions for the translation.
    Therefore, I have several years of writing. The manuscript is written and encrypted in the Czech language.
    The same is written in the letter, which is at Yale, Beinecke Library.

  10. Nick,
    d’Imperio’s little summary is most valuable as a record of the unfounded assumptions, presumptions and biases which influenced the Friedman group’s approach to the manuscript, and problems of provenancing and interpretation.

    Most of it is now antiquated – not only in terms of historical method, provenancing methods, iconographic analytical method but above all for the way in which that generation’s Euro-centric and class-related biases made them selectively deaf and blind.

    s basically a summary of the Friedman group’s failure to understand the text, or the imagery, or to get the dating right or to stand apart from the presumptions and assumptions of their own social environment.

    Ways of approaching the manuscript from 2000-2006 (incl.) were clearly limited by the same over-attachment to d’Imperio’s book, and are still clung to by a few – whose constant reference it as if it were the latest authoritative utterance is not only a little pathetic, these days, but seems to be actively preventing the study advancing.

    During the past decade since “Curse of the Voynich” was published, and especially during the past couple of years, the study has seen the arrival of some new, acute, thinkers with appropriate experience and areas of expertise, take an interest in the manuscript,

    Increasingly, these have brought a new approach to both text and imagery It is no longer enough to parrot d’Imperio, or parrot anyone (with or without attribution). People are expected to show exactly why they hold an opinion, where the evidence is from which that “theory” was derived, and basically the study may well move out of the same-old-same-old-rut, so long as the old-timers, over-attached to the Friedmans and d’Imperio’s account of their methods and failure, will allow new approaches and stop idolizing the dead.

    Including ideas and theories which by every rational criteria killed off most of the Friedmans’ assumptions years ago. That they appear still to live is part of the problem.

  11. Nick,
    I see that you decided to publish the previous comment despite my asking that it not be published – at least not in that draft form.

    To sneer at Koen’s having accepted evidence and argument which opposes your “Averlino” narrative is hardly worthy of that intelligent interest you once showed in MS Beinecke 408 and in other’s study of it.

    It is unworthy of the person who made a valuable contribution in urging more attention be paid to codicology and – on the negative side – could be reasonably called hypocritical in a person who interpreted the botanical imagery as an effort to obscure mechanical devices supposedly hidden there by the imagined “author” as a fifteenth century architect.

    Time to move on, Nick – the study is moving on, with or without you.

  12. Diane: a comment that has been submitted is a comment, not a draft. You gave no good reason as to why I should remove it: and as it is (in my opinion) the single most telling thing you’ve written, I’m minded to keep it just as it is.

  13. Nick,
    No, it was posted accidentally and prematurely, and I asked you to remove it.

    Your insisting on it’s appearing seems another example of the type of petty-minded girly sort of ad.hominem of which I had supposed, for many years, you were incapable.

    perhaps its the company you’ve been keeping.

  14. Diane: onwards and downwards, onwards and downwards.

  15. Diane: it seems a pretty well-rounded diatribe against everything I do and think, I can’t obviously see how it could have benefited from any more polishing.

  16. Diane: peppering a complaint about (imagined) ad hominems with your own ad hominems hardly does your cause any good. If your biggest actual complaint is that I have approved a comment you left, something has gone wrong in your world.

  17. Gregory on November 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm said:

    Diane, your tortuous argument follows directly from your twisted logic, and I have the impression that you yourself do not notice, which is understandable, but what is worse, you are immune to any arguments.
    By the way, removing the entries. On your blog, first you put my statements, then you’ve removed – because they have become uncomfortable for you?

  18. bdid1dr on November 8, 2016 at 4:56 pm said:

    Can’t y’all get around contention and criticism of each other’s research and work? How about some teamwork; right here on Nick’s pages. That is, if Nick will allow it?

    Nick, is there some way you can begin ‘at the beginning’ — so to speak? I’d be glad to chip in (money-order-wise) to assist your purchase of the facsimile which seems to be receiving world-wide kudos. That is, provided that the facsimile is the entire contents of B-408 . I am hesitant to fund the purchase of a book if it hasn’t occurred to Beinecke to enlarge the the entire contents of the manuscript. Teeny-tiny discussions which can only be read by use of a large magnifying glass will not convince me of the desirability of the facsimile.

    beady-eyed-wonder-er : bdid1dr

  19. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm said:

    Hi Nick.
    Perhaps Voynichese is Czech : and perhaps the moon is a balloon. Either way, who can say ?
    Nick. You should be a poet.
    You ask. Who knows ? Who can say ?

    Well, I can tell you. I know. And that’s why you write.
    Pay attention to the letter, which is a Yale. On the cover letter is written tutorial on translation.

    Concerninq the cipher MS. 🙂
    Czechkniha the cipher 1,2,3.
    Czech kniha the cipher 1,2,3.
    The letter M is composed of two characters. ( I , 2 ). Number 2 is rotated by 180 degrees . The letter S , has a value numbers – 3. ( S = 3 )

    Letter I = 1. ( I =1 )

    Follow : Numerolog. system gematrie.
    1 = a,i,j,q,y.
    2 = b,r,k,
    3 = c,g,s,l.
    4 = d,m,t.
    5 = e,h,n.
    6 = u,v,w,x.
    7 = o,z.
    8 = f,p.

    Concerninq the cipher MS.
    3753525151 the cipher MS.
    Czechkniha the cipher MS.

    Czech kniha the cipher 1,2,3.

    Kniha = czech language. Book = english language. ( kniha = book ).

    And in the next line is written instruction for translation. ( Key ).

  20. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 8, 2016 at 9:08 pm said:

    Hi Nick and …..
    At the beginning of the manuscript, the author present you. Who writes them. He says who his parents are. He writes his name and origin. Also, he says Key.

    On page 2 shows you the way to write. Therefore, the root !! Root – made up of letters. The letters are : C,G,S,L.
    Why ? Because the system is used gematria . Substitution. 🙂 Author manuscript, shows you the way to write.


  21. Josef: I’m sorry, whenever I try to read gematria, I always end up feeling really 249338967.

  22. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 8, 2016 at 10:47 pm said:

    Yes Ok. Nick.
    So it is sorry for me. Very sorry. It will study the manuscript even a hundred years.
    When you see on large parchment citizen. Who holds in has hand a cat. So it is wrong.
    When you see a ship in the manuscript. Carrying a Jewish star. So it is wrong.
    When you see on page 2. Root composed of letters. So it is wrong.

    I write to you. Why is the root of the letters. Basic is the root of all.
    ….Root – letter – word….
    The word is composed of letters. ( The author also writes in the manuscript. That sows ( sown ) letters. )….. This is analogous to sowing the seeds plants.

    It is difficult to understand ? Poet Nick .

  23. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 8, 2016 at 11:04 pm said:

    Sorry . repair. I have not checked.

    You do not see . ok
    When you see . = wrong.

    Replace the word. 🙂

  24. D.N. O'Donovan on November 9, 2016 at 3:44 am said:

    I removed your comments because they consisted chiefly of ad hominem comments about Nick Pelling.

    While there is no point in ignoring the ugly habit among some of the older generation of Voynich writers, by which they take a difference of opinion about a single, fairly unimportant fifteenth century manuscript as sufficient reason to begin a no-holds-barred attack on the other’s character and reputation, and (as we see recently) Pelling himself is not above such things, I do not see why I should allow comments made by you or anyone else on my blog to advertise this aspect of the online culture.

    I fail to see why, if anyone wants to debate the evidence I’ve adduced, or the conclusions I’ve reached, that they cannot do so intelligently and reasonably.

    Your opinion of Nick Pelling is a matter of complete indifference to me, as is Pelling’s of Stephen Bax, or Zandbergen’s of anyone who won’t adopt his synthesis of the various Eurocentric story-lines.

    Bax’s linguistic approach appears flawed not least because he placed too much trust in things like Edith Sherwood’s assertions about the botanical section; Pelling’s book is badly flawed by the ‘Averlino’ novel; I’ve no doubt at all that my own work is flawed; cross-disciplinary studies usually are.

    But yelling vague nonsense which boils down to “don’t listen to him/her; listen to me because I’m good and he/she is a bad character” is surely as unproductive as it is anti-intellectual. I’d listen to Lord Byron if he knew anything about ancient and medieval imagery and mind-sets. “Moral high-ground” and claimed “logic” are the mentally lazy person’s substitute for research, intellectual integrity, and… plain hard work.

    Plain hard work informing Pelling’s work on the codicological issues – and that’s what you should take the trouble to read and study, Josef. really.

  25. Diane: Koen Gheuens wrote:

    “Luckily for me I ended up agreeing with many of Diane’s conclusions, which gave me something to build on.”

    To which I replied:

    “there are surely many workable definitions of luck, but finding yourself agreeing with Diane is one I was previously unaware of. 🙂”

    …which you seem to think (from the sprawling scope of your angry, hate-filled responses since) was the biggest ad hominem ever.

    It wasn’t.

    Leaving angry, hate-filled, ranty comments diminishes yourself and degrades the websites where you leave them. All the while you are unable to mentally separate your (apparently very personal) hatred for Rene, myself and others from what you have to say about the Voynich Manuscript, please don’t leave any comments here.

  26. Gregory on November 9, 2016 at 9:26 am said:

    Diane, this is a half-truth – you wickedly manipulating. You’ve removed my comment about you and your two entries appearing in the thread on some nonsense:


    When it comes to entry for Nick, it’s a completely different story:


    This was the project “a film about pirates in Mauritius” – which I thought was a complete misunderstanding. This entry is repeated on his blog and there is nothing on the nature of the ad hominem. I just expressed my opinion on the project – which, incidentally, he had expected. – (“What do you think?”)
    I have to admit – that my opinion Nick adoption of dignity admirable!:


    To sum up: Diane you manipulate, and this is very ugly.

  27. bdid1dr on November 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm said:

    Enough, people ! Stop the cross-criticism ! You are interfering with our enjoyment of a very well-presented puzzle. Please, Nick, bear with us (at least those of us who do not argumentate every single item of the so-called “Voynich” manuscript). Even my spell-check has been behaving erratically.
    @ Ms Zyatz: I apologize to you for my ‘catty’ characterisms of your work. I am now becoming more aware of your efforts (and your team’s) to provide us with clearer views of B-408 ‘ s contents.


  28. bdid1dr on November 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm said:

    ps: Is it possible to enlarge the hand-written commentary/identification which appears with each item in B-408 ? Maybe in the form of an addendum to your latest offering of B-408’s contents?

    Nick, if I am being intrusive, lemmeno !

  29. bdid1dr on November 9, 2016 at 10:26 pm said:

    ps: I read Spanish and Italian Latin, Pidgin, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Mandarin Chinese, and even “Voynichese”. If I don’t understand some phraseology, I am now enabled to refer to the dictionaries .
    My greatest hope for being able to translate the language of B-408 is you, Ms Zyatz (spelling?) . I also hope that your Library archives will remain available on the WWW. Perhaps the ‘enlarge’ facility will still be available to us (reviewers) who really ‘get it’ when they are able to enlarge the dialogues which accompany every item in the “Voynich” — and compare with the dialogues found in Fray Sahagun’s magnificent “Florentine Codex”.
    TIA !
    beady eyed wonder-er

  30. bdid1dr on November 10, 2016 at 3:47 pm said:

    Some day, maybe, I’ll write a short story about Haig and Muriel (musicians with the San Francisco Symphony). Or, perhaps my Hadjiani neighbors who told me about their love affair and marriage — likening it to Greek mythology: the goddess who brings Spring — after a long sojourn in the underworld.
    I have recently found six bags of sheep-wool (in my basement these past ten years). One very small bag was pure “Merino” . Treasured by shepherds, knitters, and weavers — world-wide.
    Ho Hum, you say? Well — I can offer dance steps/patterns from the annual Kolo Festivals (San Francisco and Mendocino). (?)
    Yassou !

  31. bd: white, no sugs, mugs above the sink, cheers. 🙂

  32. bdid1dr on November 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm said:

    This morning I did a search (based on a hunch) : Dandelion – Dent D’ Lion —
    Dent de Leon : Taraxum Officinale —- tl a x a tl . I did find one reference in Fray Sahagun’s Florentine Codex. Now I shall begin my search again, in the hope that some one will find an illustration and discussion of taraxacum officinale in the new edition of the “Voynich/B-408 . Oops: one more spelling of the dandelion:
    tlanoquilloni .


  33. Rookie Observer on November 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm said:

    Wow , I have been reading the wrong thread and posts. Way more adrenaline fuelled fun be had here.

    I gotta get me some popcorn.

  34. bdid1dr on November 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm said:

    The word “Latin” , for example: ll a tl n : the ‘n’ would look like a right parenthesis with a short diagonal stroke at its bottom. Tomatillo would be spelled in Nahuatl as ‘ tl o m a tl o ‘ The ‘m’ would look very much like the ‘n’ except for two small diagonal strokes.
    Nick, you’ve seen me lay out the discussions/translations, word for word, in various “Voynich” folios. Why the reluctance to discuss more features of Fray Sahagun’s diary/travelogue and his scribes and illustrators ?
    Although Fray Sahagun may not have spoken Castilian Spanish, his provincial Leonese may have been more comprehensible to the inhabitants of New Spain.


  35. bdid1dr on November 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm said:

    ps: While looking up my earlier notes, I found my discussion and identifying features of folio 11v Beinecke manucript 408 aka the “Voynich “Manuscript : I identified that strange specimen as being a single mulberry fruit .
    I translated the six lines of latin discussion which was written by Sahagun’s scribes and artists.

    The last two lines of script are discussing how hot the water has to be to unwind the cocoon which the silkworm began spinning after engorging on mulberry leaves. The procedure HAD to be done before she evolved into a butterfly and ate her way out of the cocoon. bombyx morii


  36. @Nick: When you are ready for me to translate, word-for-word, on your pages, the six lines of script which appear in folio 11v of the so-called Voynich manuscript — please lemmeno (let me know) .


  37. I’ve already identified and translated the crocus (by the appearance of its sex organs — and by its corms (rather than bulbs). PS: The dialogue in B-408 does not discuss what part of the crocus plant was most important. I’ll let y-all figure that one out.
    bd ;-^

  38. Good grief ! What a mess ! I finally went online to see what the reps at Beinecke had to say/translate about the facsimile of the so-called VMS: I gave up after the first two minutes of high-speed photography (with no captioning) and a bunch of “professionals” zipping from one side of the film to another: almost as if they were playing musical chairs. Yes, the film was accompanied by spoken dialogue — but, again NO captioning, that I could find.

  39. bdid1dr on November 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm said:

    I reiterate that the very best source for translating the contents of B-408 is the Florentine Codex — especially Book 11 (Libro Undecimo) “Earthly Things”. Translations by Anderson and Dibble (who did NOT depend on the offerings of the Voynich and the Beinecke). The Florentine Codex is translated in Spanish and Nahuatl. There is NO Arab. There is NO Chinese (except for sericine). There is not one word of Czechoslovakian.
    The same applies to the so-called “Voynich”. Not one word of Chinese, Arab, Czech, Dutch, Hindu, EVA………..
    So, why waste your time (and money) on a pretty object which does not aid the translation process?
    Also, why waste your time and energy following codes (EVA, for example) or numerical substitutions?
    Perhaps you are reluctant to explore alternatives to translating the contents of B-408? I hope Rene understands that I have translated the “Fairy Tale” in the Voynich. I’m hoping that there will be peaceable and collaborative efforts between some of your oldest correspondents — ongoing !

  40. When I refer to Rene and his translation/discussion, I am talking about that large foldout (in the so-called Voynich manuscript) which has drawings of a bird sailing down a waterfall. Also pictured are persons hiding and huddled under what appear to be giant toadstools (but really are the mushroom “Alcohol Inky”) . So, Rene, Diane, ThomS, ProfZ — and any other persons who may find that foldout folio much more interesting and easier to read: Go back to various of Nick’s discussions (and Rene’s offerings) and (Diane’s offerings) and compare with my offerings (the past two years, anyway). That particular folio is now much more easily read (and, so far, more easily translated).
    To be really safe, when consuming mushrooms (any mushrooms) DO NOT drink any alcoholic beverages with that meal until you are sure of your identification. I now understand why so many Popes died shortly after their recent election to the Papacy (over centuries).

  41. I am new to the Voynich party, but after a few glances around, I see its almost best not to let others bias you in what you see, so kindly take these as first impressions or thoughts.

    First, upon glancing at the lettering, Glagolitic is what first came to mind, perhaps a pre-Glagolitic version. Saints Cyril and Methodius developed/standardized a written language for the Slavonic Church, which I grew up in (Byzantine Catholic Ruthenian- Slovak ethnic). Some letters seem to read upside-down, but could be part of their standardization as many ancient languages didn’t always have a way the letters needed to face (backwards, etc). No, I cannot read it, but is reminiscent of writing on old church artwork. And likely there is secondary encoding going on if this is the case or it would have been solved by now.

    My second, slightly guilty, thought was how much many of the botanicals looked like lilies, leading me to Ethel Lilian Voynich, who went by Lily at a point in her childhood. While not all are true to the lily family, many appear as tropical and such, an argument I know has been disputed as likely you could draw anything plantlike and find something that looks close. An example is in folio 101r1r2, a plant that looks like a black and white candy cane resembles a Cobra Lily.

    She also knew Russian, a language written in Cyrillic which evolved from Glagolitic and worked in St. Petersburg at a time when Nihilism was in the midst, as was their use of cryptography. And lets not forget her husband, Mr. Voynich, who was an escaped revolutionary from Siberia and thus, likely, had intimate knowledge of ciphering… or how to imitate it, potentially for profit when he became an antiquarian book dealer.

    This would leave the questions of carbon dating and the aging process of the manuscript. Finding old materials, even inks, *could* be possible. Getting it to look naturally aged would add another layer, as would the provenance found at a later date. (There was an episode of a fictional show called “Leverage” here in the States where they fabricated a manuscript, though due to time constraints of the story line, knew it wouldn’t stand up to true scrutiny.)

    I do appreciate others opinions and want to learn, but I am also going to try not to bias myself.

  42. Carly: for what it’s worth, I don’t genuinely believe that anyone who starts from broadly these kinds of positions will contribute much of worth towards solving the deep mysteries of the Voynich Manuscript. Even after more than a century, we can still say little about how it was constructed, layered, shuffled and painted with any great certainty: which is a bit of an embarrassment, to be honest. And yet that is where we should be actually starting from.

    Still, feel free to buy yourself a copy of the Yale “Voynich Manuscript” book and have a look for yourself: it’s a fascinating object just as it is, withoug adding any speculation or theories on top. 😉

  43. bdid1dr on November 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm said:

    @ Carly (and Nick) :

    A facsimile usually is just that — a facsimile — which is no more helpful in TRANSLATING the faded and almost illegible written material of the so-called “Voynich” manuscript. IF ONLY the curators @ Beinecke had considered magnifying the discussions which appear with each illustration. Or, at least, extracting the written dialogues, enlarging them, and referencing each item to a “vocabulary/dictionary” either at the beginning of the book or at the end of the book. Then, maybe, there would be many more purchases of the facsimile.

  44. bdid1dr on November 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm said:

    Many of the botanical drawings in B-408 (the Voynich manuscript) are not given a botanical name ; but rather a discussion of their use. Each discussion is tiny, compared to the illustration being viewed.
    Not all investigators of B-408 are fortunate enough to use the ‘enlarge’ facility on their computer screen. I am blessed !
    ps: My favorite botanical illustrations are the mulberry and the crocus. Neither of which are accompanied with identifying discussion; but their uses or monetary value, and possibly poisonous (such as the monks-hood plant (which roots can be invasive).

  45. @ Nick

    I can understand where you are coming from, but also could see a potential convergence in the theories, i.e. it was a well designed “hoax” cipher from the 1400’s and translates to “Haha, you’ve spent your time on this for nothing”. And while often the downfall of cryptography, seeing patterns, in this case of a ‘created’ language looking similar to a real language, is a possible benefit IMHO. (Pattern searching is also a skill that is/was helpful in my real life career.) Knowing who wrote it would only seem to help in figuring the plaintext language, though many a cipher have been solved without this knowledge so I digress on my second thought from my post.

    @Nick and bd

    Whether or not its useful, I plan to get a copy of the Yale edition. I tend to be a pencil and paper decipherer, so holding something may prove helpful despite its size. I have looked through the high res scans and can zoom. Is there anything Yale is holding back? I am within reasonable driving range, though I wonder how many people they actually let see the real thing.

    Also, I don’t know if this is a forum to ask questions, but I have a couple. When manuscripts were made, I assume the vellum was already cut to size. Were the slits for binding also present before writing began? I don’t recall in other manuscripts seeing images or potentially text disappear into the binding gutter and re-emerge on the other half of the vellum as in several places in Voynich. This just seems sloppy on the part of the author, possibly a sign of inexperience or haste? Or if this is seen elsewhere, could it provide a clue where the manuscript was produced? Also, why has there not been genetic testing of the vellum and the current leather cover, or have I missed that info? I am fairly certain Yale has the resources…

  46. ps: my reference to the ‘mulberry’ illustration is that it is a single fruit from the mulberry tree which is being portrayed. From that single illustration, one is able to translate the accompanying discussion. (Mostly about the leaves of that fruit tree being eaten by the silkworm caterpillar (blattae).

  47. The Saffron Crocus which is pictured in the “Voynich” manuscript was valuable as a source of saffron. One can determine whether the illustration is a bulb or a corm by comparing its flattened base (in B-408) with other bulbous specimens. To this very day, people are still referring to the Saffron corm as being a bulb. I am disgusted that even Botanical ‘experts’ are referring to the saffron crocus CORM as being a bulb.
    Bah !

  48. Carly: the suggestion that Voynichese might a generated (semi-algorithmic) hoax is a peculiarly modern, computer science-y kind of notion, one that seems sharply at odds even with a sixteenth century dating – and the earlier the object’s actual dating, the sharper the disparity between the artefact and that notion becomes.

    The holes for binding were (almost certainly) added after the unbound pages had been written. And some of the paint was demonstrably added very late, even after the 16th century folio numbers (you can tell this from f42r).

    There has as yet been no DNA testing of the vellum (though I have proposed this a number of times in the past, specifically to try to help reconstruct the original nesting and gathering order of the bifolios): and the cover is not original (it originally almost certainly had wooden boards, you can tell from the woodworm holes near the ends, because woodworm don’t like eating vellum).

  49. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 17, 2016 at 8:50 am said:

    You’re very special investigators. 🙂 I give you and you Nick.
    I am writing. For the fifth time. Look at the letter, which is in the Beinecke. Letter from Ethel Voynich, Nill.
    In this letter is written the name. 🙂
    And that name is very important. Voynich Michael Wilfrid Habdank manuscript worked for 16 years. And he found enough. That name is the one you found. That name, of course, the manuscript appeared. It is the name of an important man, Czech citizen.

  50. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 17, 2016 at 10:07 am said:

    I am writing to all. Studying the letter, vhich is on the Yale Beinecke Library.
    And you silent as a fish. 🙂
    At least you can see the fish ?????
    That is dravn on a large parchment ( rosettes ).

    Do you know what a fish symbol ???? ( old books and old manuscript ).

  51. bdid1dr on November 17, 2016 at 5:09 pm said:

    @ one and all: I am fervently ‘praying’ that one of the purchasers of the facsimile will be able to copy and enlarge each folio which dialogue is so tiny as to be illegible. I can then be enabled to translate the discussions.
    As purchasers, you can not be hacked by the sellers (Beinecke).

  52. bdid1dr on November 17, 2016 at 8:09 pm said:

    If any one of you is interested in translating the contents of B-408, I refer you to Book Eleven of the Florentine Codex : General History of the Things of New Spain”

    I refer you to this book because it is written in two languages Espanol and Nahuatl. Even the front cover is an enlarged photograph of the Nahuatl fishermen using large birds (pelicans ?) to do the fishing. When the birds surface with bills full of fish, the Nahuatl fishermen pull their nets full of birds with beaks full of fish — and suspend them until they can empty the contents of the nets.
    The other illustration which appears on that same cover is a trail of insects winding their way through the root system of a succulent cactus. It is an amazing portrayal of a succulent remedy for insect bites or stings.

  53. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 17, 2016 at 8:09 pm said:

    Colleague blue eye. I write about a fish that is drawn on a large parchment. In the right circle. ( You call rosette ). ( Author manuscript of the geometrical shape, the circle alive. And of course in Czech language ).
    So let’s be clear. In the rosette ( circle ), which is on be right. It is drawn several pictures. And one of them is fish. Fish 🙂
    Fish is pretty thick. And you pretty waves. Also he has a big smile. Smile and teeth are formed = castle walls. The eyes are blue. The left eye is drawn as the entrance to the castle. His right eye is drawn as an entrance to the tower.
    The entire composition is drawn, as to the water.
    Rosette obviously has more significance. Fish is one of them.

    ! Baroque unites everything ! Everything is in one. 🙂

    Rosette – circle – of which I write is in the upper right corner.

  54. bdid1dr on November 17, 2016 at 8:26 pm said:

    In this same book, one will find illustrated discussions of the mulberry and sapodilla trees (just two discussions of many).
    Dibble and Anderson translated the entire contents of the Florentine Codex .
    Every item being discussed in the Nahuatl language is translated side-by-side into English.


  55. bdid1dr on November 17, 2016 at 8:43 pm said:

    So, compare the illustrations and commentary in B-408 (Voynich) with the illustrations and commentary which appear in Book Eleven Earthly Things of the Florentine Codex.

    @Nick :
    Today I am somewhat down-hearted because nobody seems to be following up on my recommendations for identifying and comparing the contents of B-408 with the contents of Fray Sahagun’s Florentine Codex: Book 11 (Libro Undecimo).
    Fray Sahagun (and possibly his Nahuatl assistants) were brought to the attention of the Spanish/Papal? Inquisition. Although he passed the Inquisitional trial, he never regained his health or peace of mind. Nor were any of his compositions (B-408 and Florentine Codex) ever returned to him.

  56. bdid1dr on November 18, 2016 at 6:52 am said:

    ps @ ProfZ : Anne Nill was secretary and good friend of Mrs. Voynich. She inherited much of the correspondence between the Voynich’s and booksellers.
    I have not found any mention of Ms. Nill corresponding with book sellers. It would be of interest to me if it turns out that Ms Anne Nill was the person who sold the VMS/aka Voynich Manuscript to that multi-millionaire who later donated it to Yale University’s Boenicke Library.

  57. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 18, 2016 at 8:46 am said:

    ps@. blue eye. Have you see the fish ??? ( rosettes ). 🙂

    It knows perhaps everyone. 🙂 The Nill was secretary Voynich. And friend Ethel.

    Not a indian manuscript did not write. You see somewhere in the handwriting of an indian ??
    The manuscript is Czech. I am writng this. It writes Michal Voynich in the letter.
    You have to read the manuscript. And do not you invent.
    The manuscript is not written : in English, Italien, Latin, etc. The manuscript is written and encrypted in the Czech language. 100 percent. 🙂

    Have you see the fish ??? ( circle, rosettes ) large parchment. 🙂

  58. SirHubert on November 18, 2016 at 10:43 am said:

    Apologies in advance if this is simply tl;dr…

    This feels very much like a coffee-table book with a few essays added. The facsimile is very well produced, as Nick and others agree, and this takes up the great majority of the pages. Harkness’s introduction and Clemens’s final essay frame it very well, and in fact I think that if a potted biography of Voynich plus an abridged version of Rene’s essay had been incorporated into what Clemens wrote, you’d have had a more coherent book. There would have been enough information for someone new to the manuscript to find out a little more about it, without anyone thinking that it was the latest or last word on the subject.

    That is not to say that some of the essays aren’t good – some of them are – but they are compromised by those which aren’t, and also by the very patchy ground they cover. Rene’s contribution, as one would expect, was more or less familiar territory to anyone who’s read the relevant section in voynich.nu, but it’s heartening to see relatively recent discoveries about the manuscript’s history being acknowledged in print. And I enjoyed the biography of Voynich, much of which is covered by Kennedy and Churchill, but I had not appreciated quite how shaky his financial footings were (owing Quaritch more than £1,000 on credit in the early twentieth century represents a staggering amount in modern terms).

    The other three, I felt, were more of a mixed bag.

    ‘Findings’ read like the reports of three scientific studies which had already been carried out, rewritten and explained for the non-specialist. Personally, because I don’t know a great deal about the analysis of membranes and inks, I’ve found it very helpful to have the views of professionals explained in this way. But it didn’t feel as if those same professionals had approached the manuscript from a fresh start and decided what they’d really like to test in order to find out as much about its date and manufacture as possible. There’s much of interest there, but the only questions being considered are the ones to which Beinecke already have answers.

    Bafflingly, Yale’s book contains no essay on mediaeval herbals, even though at least half of the surviving pages in the Voynich Manuscript look – superficially at least – as if they’re illustrating and describing plants. Instead, we have one by Jennifer Rampling on alchemy, a topic which she herself suggests is of tangential relevance. It’s not as if there aren’t experts on mediaeval herbals available to contribute to such a book, and I simply don’t understand the rationale for including an essay on alchemy while omitting one on herbals. It gives the impression that the editors think herbals aren’t relevant, which surely can’t be right.

    But I’m afraid the weakest contribution is that on decipherment. You’d think nobody had even looked at the text since 1965. All the usual suspects are there – Newbold (who really should be relegated to a footnote by now), Tiltman (better), and especially Friedman. Tiltman and Friedman made observations about the text which are as relevant now as they were then, but to finish the article with Friedman’s anagrammed suggestion that Voynichese is an early species of artificial language – as if that were the last word on the subject – is inexplicable. By all means steer clear of some of things like Perakh’s LSC, but you’re not going to scare the general reader by pointing out that it doesn’t look like a natural language, and that lots of words look like they have a prefix, stem and suffix, and that some letters turn up only at the ends of the words. Arguably, it’s the fact that the text hasn’t been read that makes the manuscript so interesting. Isn’t it worth explaining why it’s proved such a challenge? Isn’t that the kind of thing that anyone buying this book is going to want to learn about, rather than being told in two separate places that Anne Nill had doe-like eyes?

    I don’t want to be the kind of Voynichero who assumes that they know more than the experts, because I don’t. It’s really disappointing to read an essay that places the bar of ‘expertise’ so low that I can’t help hurdling it rather than limbo underneath. I shouldn’t come away from reading an article in a book of this nature with the feeling that even I could have done a better job, let alone someone who really knows what they’re talking about.

    As a facsimile, it’s a lovely thing to have, not least because it’s really important to remember what the manuscript actually looks like in the round, rather than seen on a computer screen or through the lens of EVA. Beyond that, it doesn’t work. The essays, except for that on the script and language, are fine – but there aren’t enough of them. They don’t cover the whole gamut of even mainstream Voynich studies, let alone those which involve the membrane being written on centuries after production. And that’s a shame, because this was an opportunity for someone coordinating the project to commission sensible essays by recognised experts on herbals, astrology, books of recipes, books of secrets in general, techniques of encipherment in the fifteenth century, languages and scripts from which the glyphs might have derived, whether the colour was applied all of a piece or at different periods, what the marginalia says and might mean, and even the basic basics like whether the pages are now in the right order (clue: begins with ‘n’, rhymes with ‘so’.)

    Still, it could have been worse. At least there’s no mention of Stojko.

  59. The life of Voynich is likely to be new ground for most people. It’s something I wasn’t particularly interested in until less than 5 years ago, and I guess many ‘Voynicheros’ might feel that way. It’s fascinating still, and there are more details in a new book by Gerry Kennedy, which came out too late for Arnold Hunt to take into account.
    They clarify the mystery of Voynich’s travels through Mongolia and China, and how he got from Shanghai to Hamburg in only a fraction of the time that it would take any ship in those days.
    Since he did not. It’s all invented and he took the train West 🙂

  60. SirHubert: put like that, perhaps the biggest criticism of the Yale photo-facsimile is not that it’s insipid or misfocused or incomplete, but simply that it is uninspiring for both academics and amateurs alike.

    I’d have done a better job of writing the text because I’m genuinely enthusiastic about the Voynich Manuscript, as well as optimistic about our collective prospects of making sense of the mystery. That kind of positive attitude seems not to have made its way to the essays etc… and the book is much worse for its absence than for the Stojkolessness. 😐

  61. Rene: what, Wilfrid Voynich lied? Why, the next thing you’ll be telling me is that he…


  62. SirHubert: thinking about it a little more, it’s perhaps more likely that they skirted round the issue of what is “mainstream” because they have – if you look at the Beinecke’s catalogue entry for MS408 – not the faintest idea of what that would look like.

    From my perspective, I had by 2004 iterated to something recognizably close to a mainstream position on the manuscript – mid-15th century, Tiltman-style multiple small ciphers, Northern Italy, urban humanistic scribes, etc.

    But quite why in 2016 this should still be so utterly alien to most “Voynicheros” is a thing that makes no sense to me.

  63. Nick, by a stroke of bad luck, not less remarkable than his chance glimpse of ELV from his prison in Warsaw, he was caught lying through his teeth by his wife. As she writes in her letters.
    It turns out he was boasting about his heroics on his train trip through Russia, and one of the co-travellers, a Swiss girl, happened to be sitting at a table near them, and corrected his story. (This is a bit from memory).
    There’s nothing ordinary about his life…..

    And on the other thing, errrm, no 🙂

  64. bdid1dr on November 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm said:

    Well, Nick, and Rene: Are either of you able to excerpt various items from the facsimile (photographs of botanicals and the Nahuatl/Spanish dialogues which accompany each botanical specimen)? If so, you may find some very interesting discussion which accompanies the manuscript’s illustration of a single mulberry FRUIT.
    That is just one translation (word by word, syllable by syllable, and in two languages (Nahuatl and Latin/Espanol).
    There is no codiology anywhere in B-408.

  65. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 18, 2016 at 4:46 pm said:

    Zandbergen .
    You see, at least those that fish ??? 🙂 On a large, folding parchment.

    He who does not see the fish. It should not work on the manuscript.

    The researcher and academic and linguist who sees the large parchment – fish.
    ( Fish, fish, fish ). He is a good observer and sees well. Seeing and partially understand handwriting.

  66. @bd

    No worries, I have glanced at it but haven’t had time to put into looking at the Florentine Codex yet. Sadly, my Spanish is rusty and obviously don’t know the other language but it looked interesting. Also, it sounds like you say B408 translates to Latin, at least in parts? Just curious as I’d started learning Latin a bit ago, but still want to see where my own things take me. I have also ordered the new Yale book, and its just shipped but I don’t know from where. If its coming cross country ground, I may not have it for a week, and next week is a US holiday. I have the resources to generate high quality images and enlargements if within the book they are clear.


    I may have to disagree with your statement that what I suggested would not have been possible without computers, and am unclear where or what that comment was about.

    You didn’t address it, but I do also wonder about the sketches that run onto other pages. I would think anyone generating a manuscript of potential importance would be more careful. You would just need to know the middle of the vellum and stay a couple centimeters away, unless the binding was done off center?

    As far as DNA testing, it needs to be done. Not only could it potentially place the vellum origin, but also when the book was recovered in leather, possibly rebound or disordered. It could lend credibility to the believed order of ownership.I am assuming only mitochondrial DNA would be useful but could also establish is the source of the vellum was a single area as its passed maternally and relatedness could be determined. The only thing I don’t know is if there is comparison population genetic data from around Europe for cow and goat DNA, sources suggested by the resources on voynich.nu. I have a connection to someone who did molecular work at Yale who may be able to help. I can send you an email and see what you think.

    OT, sorry, didn’t know where to post. I had sent you an email a while ago before I started posting publicly, i.e. D’Agapeyeff, and an encryption error in an example found in his original 1938 edition. I don’t know if it appeared in later versions, but is missing from text I found on a site having retyped the book. I only have access to ’38.

  67. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 18, 2016 at 10:32 pm said:

    Amateurs, academics, researchers and historians.
    Symbol – fish – is important. Know and know what the symbol means. Without knowledge of the symbol, it is pointless to bother with the manuscript. It is a waste of time. Knowing the meaning of the symbol is paramount.

  68. Nick and Rene : I hope you have not placed my comments and translations in the “Loony-bin” wastebasket. I no longer have the need for ‘someone’ at Beinecke to enlarge the small print which appears even smaller in the facsimile. Are y’all getting your money’s worth, as far as any new information/translations of Beinecke 408?

  69. If the facsimile isn’t working for you, I 1-nce again refer you to Fray Sahagun’s marvelous bi-lingual “Florentine Codex” for coherent discussions and illustrations of many of the objects which appear in Beinecke manuscript 408.

  70. The most valuable objects which appear in the “Voynich” manuscript are the saffron crocus, and the sericine-producing silkworm (which feasts on mulberry tree leaves. The only ‘hint’ of her presence (in B-408) is the single, greatly enlarged, illustration of a mulberry fruit. Have fun finding that illustration; it should appear somewhere in the facsimile……..

  71. Carly: to be precise, my point was that the kind of sequential algorithmic thinking needed to generate Rugg’s putative hoax is entirely typical of modern Computer Science, but entirely atypical of early modern thinking.

    Hence I see Rugg’s assertions as to the nature of the Voynich Manuscript’s construction as his modern back-projection of CompSci tricks onto the rather less algorithmic canvas of the sixteenth century.

    If a drawing runs across the centre fold of a bifolio, that would tend to imply that its original nesting positions within its (unbound) gathering was right at the centre.

    As for DNA analysis (to try to help reconstruct the gatherings and their nesting order), I’ve been proposing this for most of the last decade, but without any obvious effect. The current cover is not original, so analysing this would be unlikely to advance our understanding significantly. There are no DNA studies of 15th century European cow populations that I know of.

    Your 1938 edition d’Agapeyeff encryption error sounds interesting, but I seem to have overlooked your previous email, sorry about that. I’ll have a look for it over the weekend.

  72. Josef: I see the fish! But I doubt it’s intentional.
    It looks like a whale. Like this: http://www.livescience.com/images/i/000/032/421/original/beluga-whale-noc.jpg

    What is the relation between this and Czech language?

  73. Parallel fish from Czech language is very easy to deduce. Well, the Czechs derive their origin from the islands of Bora Bora and they dealt with alchemy (etymologically Bohemia). In the tenth century BC they arrived from these islands and settled in Europe. Therefore, the fish is typical reminiscent of their origin, as evidenced by their arms – not a lion, but the fish with an open mouth.

  74. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm said:

    Koen G.
    It’s very good to see. Fish. No whale. As I wrote. So rosette ( circle ).
    Which is in the upper right corner. It is multiple meanings. It this rosette is written. = Czech language – otoč kruhem. English language – turn circle.

    When you turn rosette 90 degrees. To the right. To join the fuselage figures. You’ll see it. Who writes in a rosette. Drawn figure citizen. It stand on its mine where silver was mined.
    At that time, the mine belonged to noble family, the Rosenbergs. Mine itself, is describes and drawn. The left rosette ( circle ). It was written the name and its region.
    Figure citizen stands at its mine. What many researchers ( academics ) deem racked ( missile ). It is drawn leather bag. In which the surface of the transported water. Or ore from which it gained silver. Here is drawn pouch ( bag) from which water flows.

    Rosette ( circle ) have multiple meanings.
    Baroque unites everything.
    Everything is in one !

    It should every academics, linguist and amateur understand.
    Twenty years working on the manuscript is wrong.
    To understand the significance of fish symbol. You have to study old Czech manuscript and books.

  75. @ Nick, Gregory, and Profz :

    Oh dear;
    The wasted years !
    All any of you
    Have to do
    Is translate;
    Use a slate,
    And memorize
    What is before
    Your very eyes.

  76. I did look up if genetic studies have been done on cows in European history (and world-wide for that matter) and found a wealth of information on the subject so the comparative data is there. I also was concerned if the preparation of vellum could in some way degrade the DNA, but also found a wealth of information on that subject- vellum in manuscripts is actually preserving as their storage in libraries and private collections is much less damaging to DNA than buried bones or other population samples that were used in the cow studies. Many manuscripts have already been dated and their area of origin determined using DNA sequencing. Comparisons to these could also help place the vellum’s origin. I do have to say- stop shining all those UV lights on it! That degrades DNA and DNA will likely give the least debatable results! I am sure, however, the minute sample size necessary for modern techniques can still be found, especially in the bound part of the manuscript.

    As far as Rugg’s hypothesis, well, I agree Rugg’s method for generating “Voynichese” just didn’t sit right when I read it and doesn’t coincide with my *possible* hoax hypothesis as I am keeping an open mind. And while I have not read his article in Cryptologie from September, I have read a well done article using genetic algorithms to look at “Voynichese” and found it to be a possible language. The authors used comparisons to known languages Chinese, English, Latin, Fortran programming language, and yeast DNA “language.” “Voynichese” fell between Chinese and English.

    I also received my Yale copy Monday and have been overwhelmed by it. There is something about actually turning the pages and holding it, even as a facsimile, that gives a different feel to it. I also got a deal on it- there are several sites in the US selling it for less than $50. When I ordered it was only ~$30 but has gone up to $36.

    Let me know if you can’t find my D’Agapeyeff email and I can resend it… while Rugg’s blog had found a different typo, not having a blog myself, I debated where to send it. I sent it to the one I thought best 😉

  77. bdid1dr on November 25, 2016 at 5:38 pm said:

    Biblical teachings (besides botanical) — which may validate ProfZ’s references to a big fish: Jonah and the Whale. Adam and Eve. Franciscan monks, Dominican monks, and Jesuit monks; they all told similar Biblical stories. One of the botanical items in B-408 is the ‘monks-hood’ plant: known for its invasiveness into cultivated gardens.
    Clary sage / Salvia Sclerae : eye wash ,
    yucca — roots for soap, shampoo, or for suds in root beer.

    All of the above-mentioned botanical items are illustrations which are not identified by name — and only their usefulness is discussed.

  78. bdid1dr on November 27, 2016 at 6:54 pm said:

    Other items in the facsimile are instantly identifiable (if you can find them in the facsimile): the Saffron Crocus, the Yucca, the Tomatillo (NOT the tomato). Salvia Sclerae, just to name a few…..

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