For over a year, I’ve been searching for a good Venetian document circa 1450-1460 that would illustrate the “parallel hatching” found in the Voynich Manuscript (particularly in the “nine rosette” map page). I knew there were examples out there, but hadn’t been able to find any.
Well: now I have…
A link from the always-interesting Daily Grail led to a November 2007 Science Mode article, which in turn led me to the American Geographical Society’s festival exhibition website, and from there to a reasonable-sized online scan of Giovanni Leardo’s 1452 mappamundi (made in Venice). Click on the four quadrants to see zoomed-in versions.
There’s much to be written on this, but for now, all I’ll say is: look at the rendering of the four prophets in the four corners, and compare them closely with the detailing on the nine rosette map page. Wonderful, fantastic, amazing – finding this made my heart miss a beat, perhaps it will excite you too…
Incidentally, you’ve got to love Elias when he types (26th Jan 2007): “Ein Königreich für eine Zeitmaschine” – [my] kingdom for a time-machine.
To me, these brief words speaks volumes for the frustration (and Renaissance-like itch for knowledge) Voynichologists suffer from (while deriving a vaguely masochistic mental enjoyment from the same thing). What keeps you awake at night, then? Too much caffeine?
Here’s a link to Elias Schwerdtfeger’s very interesting “Das Voynich Blog”.
Elias has worked really hard behind the scenes to find ways of visualising the statistics expressing what “old hand” Voynichologists (such as, say, Philip Neal & I) see when we look at the Voynich – you know, the highly bonded, multi-level internal structure that exists at the stroke, character, glyph, digraph, word, line, paragraph, page and section levels.
As an aside, I’ve long disagreed with Renaissance encipherment hypotheses for the VMs based on moving alphabets, specifically because they fundamentally destroy these kinds of internal structure: the only way to keep such hypotheses alive is then to argue (as, for example, my old friend GC does) that these structures are part of the “surface language”, i.e. that the encipherer is dynamically stretching his plaintext to mimic these structures in the ciphertext. Yes, it’s possible, but… put all the pieces together and it’s a bit too much of a stretch for me.
Incidentally, I’ve been looking at f2v recently, specifically because of the “fa” marginalia there (one of the very few marginalia I didn’t really cover in my book, “The Curse of the Voynich”). Elias discusses f2v at some length, proposing the eminently sensible (and testable) hypothesis that the same pe(rso)n that/who made the dubious (o)ish(i) emendation to the last line of f2v also added the “fa” marking above the second paragraph. They’re both in similar darker ink (which is a good start): but I think that the Beinecke’s scans – though fantastic for most purposes – fall just short of being able to resolve this kind of question definitively.
Actually, I’ve got a list of about 50 similar/related cross-indexing questions like that I’d like to address (say, by multispectral imaging or Raman imaging) in the future. But for now, that project is stalled (because the Beinecke turned my proposals down). Oh well: maybe next year…
Here’s a trailer for a Voynich Manuscript-inspired dance/theatre production (courtesy of YouTube). Lots of nymphs and Voynichese back-projection, if that presses your buttons…
Yet another Voynich Manuscript parallel I can barely believe I never saw before now: the Mutus Liber, a book on alchemy composed more or less entirely of illustrative pictures. In many ways, I think this has more of a feel of the Codex Seraphinianus to it, or perhaps even of the Pulcinellopedia:-
Here’s the blog page where I first saw the link to it:-
While the Mutus Liber hasn’t quite reached the Internet fandom level of the Voynich Manuscript, there’s still plenty out there on it. It is (as far as anyone knows) from no earlier than 1677: here are two “translations” of it:-
And here (for the interested) is a link to a page on Serafini’s Pulcinellopedia. Enjoy!
I don’t know how I managed to miss this before: a nice little site holding the interlinear comments and transcriptions for Voynich Manuscript pages, with b&w images. A text extractor too!
Hmmm… maybe the Voynich wikibook does this better now. Oh well…
Here are some current links to amuse (and possibly inform) you…
(1) A 49-second clip on Voynich manuscript page f2v (yes, really!) from that well-known research institution, YouTube. And no, I don’t know what the commentary is saying either (please tell me if you do):-
(2) Here’s a wonderful page from Uncyclopedia, an open-source Wikipedia parody (I say “an”, casually assuming that there must be more Wikipedia parodies out there). Yet the text is surprisingly fresh and on the money, and (some would say) no less enlightening or inspiring than any of Gordon Rugg’s media interviews (probably):-
(3) In November 2006, a Swede with the online handle “Pemel” announced that he might have translated the Voynich Manuscript, and that he had passed his solution on to a referee for external checking. OK, so his chance of success is sub-10%, but who knows?
(4) Finally, here’s a link to the blog of “Leandra Evals” (an anagram, surely?) who thinks there’s something to do with alchemy in the VMs. Could be… (though I suspect probably not):-
The Voynich Manuscript continues to inspire decipherings: here are two brand new ones from this year (2007):-
What I find fascinating about these two is that they both independently look at Voynichese (a good start), decide that it is probably written in some kind of non-obvious cipher (no great argument there), but then conclude that because they can’t decipher it, it must be nonsense, a hoax. What a waste!