Voynich Theories

If you have ever found yourself asking “Where can I found out about XYZ’s moderately-loopy-but-eerily-hard-to-disprove Voynich Manuscript theory?“, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s very probably the longest list of such theories on the Internet…

And finally, Voynich theorists who wish to remain (at least partially) anonymous…

478 thoughts on “Voynich Theories

  1. Pingback: Voynich Manuscript: The Mystery | The RizBlue Blog

  2. Pingback: I Like A Good Ancient Mystery: The Voynich Manuscript « Quirk

  3. Upon viewing the Voynich Book page by page, IMMEDIATLY
    understood the language, and why no one in the past times have not deciphered.
    This language is ” The Heavenly Language”.
    No one has before has understood this language, It is a gift given. Man did not write this, it was penned by man, but the language was given from our heavens.
    Know that these plants were in the Garden, Long past.
    For Healing and Knowledge purpose. Look and see, understand.

  4. I am missing my development here:

  5. This is indeed a difficult book to break down, I have taken a look at it thoroughly, perhaps because it seems like it is a copy of another book and hence why it is scribed without fault in penmanship, with the exception of a repeated word here and there (which is often the case when someone is copying text from another book). Things that add more to my suspicion that this is a copy are the crude drawings, from someone with no drawing ability trying to re-draw a depiction by someone else as well as some of the drawings appearing somewhat similar to the botanical pharmaceutical portion of the Harleian Manuscripts. Perhaps both had access to the original and decided to “re-write” them by their own conclusions and perceptions. I don’t quite agree with the Manchu suggestion and many others as I had tried those languages. Problem with it lays in that it’s in the stylized writing of the era, almost as a Latin cursiva but with variations of what seem to be some sort of ancient language combination which meant the original writer was adept in linguistics as well as ancient languages. There’s a colophon, and there might be indeed the phonetic form of writing which adds even more difficulty in translation. If indeed some of the researchers suggesting that the writing is ancient Hebrew, because then there seems to be some mix match of Aramaic along with a few ancient Greek letters then that would mean that either it’s a copy of something from somewhere slightly before (or around) 300 BCE Mesopotamia or someone with a good knowledge base of the languages of the era. I don’t agree that this was something someone wrote to make a book seem to have more value, since I myself had made in the past some private journals written in a mix match of ancient languages or made up runes (like Tolkien’s Uruk) so no one could read my journals. But for the invented runs I do have a puzzle (a table or legend) to help break down the alphabet of those fictional runes if I were to give the journal to someone else. Meaning this was something secretive of the time in which only a selected few were meant to read it (ie apprentice). This is just my opinion from a mere observer, nonetheless despite everything it is a beautiful “journal” of sorts.

  6. thomas spande on December 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm said:

    Mary, I think you are right on many points, or at least they tend to agree with my prejudices. I believe it is in Latin cursive, maybe of the Czech flavor (no Q. W and the incorporation of what I think are “ch”s. I think the language overlaid is not Hebrew but Armenian which has a number of glyphs used in the VM: the 4, the 8 and 9, the mirrored “&”, the tipped “?” the “o” sometimes appearing as “a” and the backward swirly “S”.The key to a decrypt is the 8 and 9 which use letters (Roman e and t respectively) so that 89 becomes et (and). The 4, “mirrored &”, tipped ? are “c”. “f” and “ch” respectively. The herbs are deliberately fanciful and have medical uses embedded in them. They are reasonably well drawn but very poorly tinted and retinted. Orignal ink can be found in every one by careful inspection.I think the substituted ciphers (the c-c combinations and the gallows glyphs) were designed to resemble Arabic. Nick pelling on his pages points out the use of Latin scribal abbreviations for omitted letters and truncations. These abound in the VM. We may never know the purpose of this thing and the extreme care used in copying from some coded plaintext, likely in Latin but with a lot of English, German and Italian may as you indicate be intended for initiates or intimates of the scribes. I don’t think there is a “colophon” or if there were one, it was scraped off. The sentences on the last page were not by either of the scribal hands involved in the creation of the VM. Any normal colophon is in the hand of the vellum maker and scribe, not a sloppy thing like we see in the VM. Best wishes. Tom Spande

  7. Hello! I started to publish my first attempts at translation of the Voynich manuscript on my blog. I would be honored to your review at the work. Best regards

  8. thomas spande on December 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm said:

    Dear all, I think most Voynichers will agree to the following:

    1) the end product is Latin but likely a Latin style, loaded with scribal abbreviations, that is older than the early 15C vellum date of the VM.

    2)Most think it is a cipher substitution code

    3)I doubt personally that many, maybe none, of the plants depicted in the herbal section are accurate depictions of real plants but have been altered to feature likely medicinal uses. Some are totally fanciful with mouse- or beetle- shaped leaves. Leaves are often joined and indicate, I think, the plant’s use for healing breaks in the skin. If green, then fresh leaves are used. If brown, dried leaves can be used. If plant stems join, the leaves or roots can be used as an aid in healing bone breaks. If the roots are untinted, they are not used. Hidden writing is in some roots.

    3) Certain glyphs resemble those used in Armenian but have other meanings (my idea, not generally accepted).

    4)Two scribes are at work but both seem to use the same abbreviations and cipher substitutions so are likely working from an enciphered plain text. The VM is definitely a copy as has been shown by codicology studies of Nick Pelling and others.

    5)the tinting or coloration is of two types: original, very faint in most drawings or done later and perhaps several times by tinters of varying skills. Some water color is used, some crayon and apparently some goache is used. The original was evidently colored ink.

    5) The vellum has been fairly precisely dated by C-14/C-12 isotope ratios but the date at which the ink was applied remains uncertain. It likely also originates from the early 15C.

    Cheers, Tom

  9. thomas spande on December 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm said:

    Dear all, a “ps” to my last post. One very important point, recognized by most, is that the word lengths in the VM are arbitary but made to resemble real word lengths. Words have been taken apart and put back together in odd ways. There seem no really reliable markers for word endings although my view is that the tipped “?” which is “ch” in Armenian may serve often as the end of a word. The ampersand, “&” occurs here and there but often at the start of a word, sometimes isolated and sometimes at the end of a word. It can mean just the letters “et” but also Latin for “and” or part of “etc”. Its use in Latin, either medieval or renaissance, is a puzzle at the moment.

    There are many Tironian notes (Nick first pointed this out) and other scribal abbreviations which complicate life as often the usual indicators like the “overbar” are missing. Cheers, Tom

  10. Michael Kyle on January 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm said:

    After a brief study of the VMs, I came to a possibly insignificant conclusion to describe the plant drawings with no real life counterpart. Someone who would go to such great lengths to hide the meaning of the text would also find a way to hide the identity of the botanical plants referenced in the text.

    I believe the VM to be nothing more than an early 15th century physician or herbalist going to great depths to hide the secrets of his practice. After all, there was a lot of money to be made by reputable physicians from the noble class during this age. This author in the process just also happened to create an indecipherable text, probably due to his own paranoia of the subject matter becoming public, thus rendering his knowledge unprofitable.

  11. Michael: all fair enough deductions… but the big question is how. Specifically, how that person managed to achieve that before anything as complex as polyalphabetic ciphers were invented. 🙂

  12. Michael Kyle on January 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm said:

    nickpelling: I guess that is where my knowledge on the subject of ciphers and cryptology ends. I know very little.

    Now I could be very wrong, but would it be so hard to make up your own script and ways of transcoding that would be impossible for anyone to mathematically deduce based on the sheer randomness of the encoding methods?

    Say every letter has more than one character, actual spaces are random, deciphered spaces are indicated using a number of encrypted characters. Encoded character order shifts on a set order with the introduction of new sentences on a given page. Letter order for any given word could shift based on position in a sentence. etc. etc. etc.

    Could something that complex and thought out really be decoded by a person who knows nothing of the encoding methods? This subject is starting to fascinate me, I think I’m going to read more on it.

  13. Michael: it is indeed possible to tie very complicated (and random-looking) cryptographic knots with a relatively small amount of creative effort. Yet that’s [k]not what we see in the Voynich Manuscript: there, we see a strong patterning system, with even tighter letter-to-letter binding than in English or Latin. There are even strong statistical patterns in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like the first letter of a paragraph, two-thirds of the way along the top line of a paragraph, the end of a line, the start of a word, etc.

    So, the challenge here isn’t explaining away too much randomness, it’s explaining away too little randomness. Hope this is a help! 🙂

  14. thomas spande on January 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm said:

    Dear all, In my opinion, the cipher substitution is consistent and constant, i.e. a “backward swirly S” is an S throughout the VM. An important proviso however is that not all those swirly S’s are created equal. For example, some represent embedded scribal abbreviations, a right paren “)” atop a “c” null, at first glance looks like that backward swirly S but is made with two strokes of the pen and indicates truncation follows. Here is the nux of why the decoding of the VM is problematic. I think a consistent system of cipher substitution can be achieved but then another layer of the onion is met and that is the use of invented scribal abbreviations as well as incorporation of known abbreviations, such as the Tironian notation that Nick has commented on. We have layered atop a cipher substitution, the use of deletions and truncations that are indicated by what appear at first glance, simple scribal flourishes but are, I think, embedded macrons. Cheers, Tom S.

  15. Rolando (@fisicoteorico) on January 13, 2013 at 1:25 am said:

    I let them know that the code, is based on u8n code used by the kings of the world to communicate secretly, but the bigger problem is that this code behind, I met since I was 7a, there are other codes, that could only be decode, if someone had the table where there are over 784 simulated codes, right, 784 codes, to the left, 784 down codes, and 784 codes up, meaning that there are more than 3136 combinations, but I think just used the code 9, these tables may still be in the hands of some other king, he is satisfied of their ancestors, was the most common form of communication of their reigns and the decisions they had to do, I have a notion , some of the symbols, but these are artificial, and to decode them, must be obtained in order such as decoding, the plants are similar to each other, that we still have, but mostly, these plants seem familiar, are seen in Guatemala, Ecuador. I’m working on artificial remember those codes, I doubt that the words of 2, 3, and more letters, may be giving other codes, indicating that only the codes are fake or artificial, any communication, may do so by writing to rolandohernandezrivero @ gmail.com.

    quiero hacerles saber, que el código, está basado en u8n código que usaban los reyes del mundo para comunicarse secretamente, pero el problema mayor, es que detrás de este código, que conocí desde que tenía 7a, hay otros códigos, que solo se podrían decodificar, si alguien tuviera la tabla en donde hay más de 784 códigos simulados, hacia la derecha, 784 códigos, hacia la izquierda, 784 códigos hacia abajo, y 784 códigos hacia arriba, ósea que hay más de 3136 combinaciones, pero, creo que solo usaba el código 9, estas tablas, podrían estar aun, en manos de algún otro rey, que tenga constancia de sus ancestros, era la forma más común de la comunicación de sus reinados y las decisiones que tenían que hacer, creo tener, noción, de algunos de los símbolos, pero estos son artificiales, y para decodificarlos, hay que obtener en su orden dicha forma de decodificarlo, las plantas, tienen parecidos a otras, que aun tenemos, pero mayormente, estas plantas aparentemente familiares, son vistas en Guatemala, Ecuador.
    Estoy trabajando en recordar dichos códigos artificiales, dudo, que las palabras, de 2, 3, y más letras, puedan estar dando otros códigos, esto solamente están indicando a los códigos falsos, o artificiales, cualquier comunicación, pueden hacerlo escribiendo a rolandohernandezrivero@gmail.com.

  16. Diane O'Donovan on April 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm said:

    I would have liked to read Ackerson’s ideas, but the link seems long gone.

  17. Tricia on May 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm said:

    Landmann says
    They believe (through a wrong letter assignment) to read the word “oladabas.” Then they put to the level of the word “olazabel” and deem the VMS to be catalane. “Olazabel” is Basque.

    I wonder if that was ever tested more?

  18. Pingback: The Voynich Enigma | Malvern Books

  19. @Nickpelling

    Was just looking through comments, and you mentioned that no polyalphabetic ciphers had been invented.
    This is untrue, Leon Battista Alberti invented a known polyalphabetic cipher, the Alberti cipher, and was alive in the early half of the 15th century, so it is possible that his ideas had spread among a select few including VM’s author.

  20. TB: Alberti’s work on ciphers is well-known, but if you read his 1467 book De Componendis Cyfris, his invention of a cipher disk was specifically triggered by a conversation he had with his friend Leonardo Dati in Rome in 1465.

    There is, to the very best of my knowledge, no flicker of a mention of polyalphabetic ciphers before this date (though, as always, I’d be delighted to hear about any information or evidence to the contrary).

  21. Diane on June 22, 2013 at 5:10 pm said:

    Don’t know about ciphers, but I read recently that Arabic was sometimes written with Hebrew letters, though with numerals written in Coptic style (not Indian).
    and so

  22. Has it ever been considered that what is thought of as a character is actually a whole word? 200 pages is not much space to write a detailed medical book. Compressing words into characters would allow a lot of space saving. This insight offered to me when attempting to decipher Korean code in a programming problem.

    In chemistry there would be perhaps the twenty most common words like boil, concentration, titrate, pH, dissolve, temperature, etc along with a method for constructing odd terms. These would correspond to a letter. There needs to be numbers also. If I were a student or teacher of chemistry I would and have made my own shorthand. Try keeping up with university physics lectures and making notes in prose. It is not practical, it’s onerous and wastes precious lab time also.

    So when these frequency analyses are done, they seem to be cross-correlated with languages in general, why not specific science books of the time written in deciphered languages?

    Why not start by taking a science book often time, finding the most common words like boil and dry and dissolve and make the shorthand. Write out the book in shorthand, do a frequency analysis and then cross correlate that with the manuscript?

    You can email me comments to enrol@DivinIT.com

  23. This author suggest that it might have been written by a young Leonardo Da Vinci when he was around 10 years old. That might explain the poor drawings (thet are very childish, and is not hard to thing he invented some of the plants, like any child will do) here ‘s the link : http://www.edithsherwood.com/index.php

  24. Adriana, I don’t think that the drawings of the plants in the VMS are childish, even if difficult to identify. I would not know about a child of 10 years old, who would be able to invent plants, know about astrology and astronomy in detail, would depict nude women in baths and invent a script that no one could read. Not even Leonardo da Vinci.

    By the way, the origin of the VMS seems to me much older than is indicated by carbon dating. Probably 12th-13th century, when various towns and regions in Italy had yet their own scripts. The carbon dating pertains to the present VMS binding, not to its predecessor(s), so called libellae with various contents.

  25. Patrick David on October 21, 2013 at 1:33 am said:


    The link above is the Voynich Manuscript reproduction for sale. handmade and full size including the fold-outs.

  26. Patrick David: thanks for leaving three basically identical comments linking to what is presumably your own printing company. But… are you aware of the other Voynich Manuscript reproductions already out there? I know of at least three (French, Russian, Czech), all selling for roughly a fifth of what you’re charging for yours.

  27. Patrick David on October 28, 2013 at 3:59 am said:

    Nick, I’m curious to know where you can find those book. I have really looked everywhere for reproduction and couldn’t find any? I just figured since I wanted a real authentic reproduction others would too. The price I know is a lot, but since I sold a few i should be Cutting that in half soon.

  28. I would buy one if the price was halved Patrick.

  29. mark stahley on December 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm said:

    I had some luck relating the peripheral words to numbers.relating to the calculation of pi. (22/7)
    I used g= “=”
    v= “-”
    a= “+”
    e= “x”
    & or 8=2
    double loop=10
    3(+)(x) 2×2=total
    6 + 5 x2 =22

  30. Young collegestudent on February 27, 2014 at 3:02 am said:

    Has anyone pondered the possibility of it originating from another dimension? We cannot identify the pigments used in the ink, the plants used in the drawings, or the language. What if this text is from another dimension in the sense that someone actually somehow traveled to this alternate dimension and brought this text back or composed this text during his travels in said alternate dimension?
    Just a thought.

  31. David C. Rea on May 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm said:

    This manuscript is of Martian origin, the strange astrological interpretations, the plants which don’t seem to exist on this planet. And last and finally a language that cannot be deciphered by humanity, or any “earthling” because the language and the writing system did not originate on our planet. Considering an advanced language beyond our own may be impossible to decipher even given thousands of years without access to this language in any other form. This book which seems to be drawn on parchments from earth, by an earthlings hand, may in fact shed light on the fact that advanced beings from Mars have “abducted” Earths inhabitants and given them tours of their own home planet. I had even heard some theories that suggest Leonardo Da Vinci could have written the book as a child. Perhaps he was the “abducted” taken and taught about another planet and it’s biology with sensitivity to the beings that inhabit the said planet. Could this be why Da Vinci was often interested by flying machines, and designs, if you flew once in a machine you would know it was possible and perhaps even dedicate your own time towards this modern marvel.

    The renaissance, an evolution of humanity. I don’t find it hard to believe that an advanced race would attempt to make some kind of contact with people that could be trusted. I believe this book to be a renaissance humans field book from their visitation to Mars, fostered by Martians. Thus the book was required to be written in their language and writing which was also taught to our renaissance human.

    “In school do I not learn how to read, and write in our language, and then learn about our planet, the things that inhabit it, and our history using this language?”

    I am merely basing this off of what I have researched about mars currently. There is writing on the planet surface that matches the symbolism of the writing found in the manuscript. And almost all of Google Mars is blotched out in red swaths and the only bits of high definition released look like mountains fields, trees, and bushes. So what is NASA really keeping under the covers. I can see my neighbor on Google Earth but they’ve had satellites circling mars for years, and all we get is a little questionable swath of visible land? Think about it.

  32. Diane on May 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm said:

    Dear all, pick up a piece of Indian woodblock-printed fabric, or a Persian tile, or look at some old (i.e. pre-Roman) wall-paintings or even some medieval church wood-carving. The plants are not meant to reproduce botanical specimens whether or not meant to evoke a well-known plant.

    What we have in MS Beinecke 408 are not “plants unknown on this planet” but images… and ones that may well evoke a known plant in its more important aspects without conforming to our idea that plant drawings should be specimen drawings. Such does not appear to have been their purpose at all.

  33. Mirgry on May 19, 2014 at 1:40 am said:

    Greetings, All,

    I have been studying herbs for myself recently. I know that sometimes leaves, stems and roots of a plant are used together, and sometimes singly, due to one part being poisonous and the other parts not. Is it possible that the plants do not represent actual plants, but rather a pictorial combination of a concoction? For example, the leaves of Plant A, the stems of Plant B, and the root of Plant C? There are many remedies that use multiple plants to achieve the desired effect. Perhaps if a non-reader were to use the manuscript as a guide, that person would still know what plants were used in which combination. This was my first thought upon learning of the ‘mixed’ plant pictures and I only offer this possibility as a reasoning for the possible mix and match. This is my first introduction to the VM. Regards.

  34. Mirgry on May 19, 2014 at 1:43 am said:

    I have read that there are over 170,000 glyphs in the VM. Having just recently stumbled upon this mystery, I was wondering if anyone has put together a list of the glyphs? It would certainly save time from me going through and creating my own list. Regards.

  35. hakan on June 6, 2014 at 7:22 am said:

    In f68r2, The diagram contains 59 stars. Ptolemy (Batlamyus) calculated the distance to the moon as 59 times earth’s radius. This diagram may indicate distance between Earth and the Moon???

  36. hakan on June 6, 2014 at 7:29 am said:

    Perhaps this 59 stars referring to lunar calendar. The average length of the lunar month is 29.5 days.
    29.5 x 2: 59 days
    Who knows

  37. hakan on June 6, 2014 at 7:31 am said:

    continue to work…

  38. hakan on June 11, 2014 at 7:22 am said:

    Have you noticed, the stars drawn different. Some of whom six-pointed, some of seven pointed, some of eigth pointed. I even saw nine cornered. Why not drawn all the same ? Normally, draws everyone the same way. This should be troublesome. Perhaps, this is key the cipher. What do you think about this?

  39. Micah L Dean on June 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm said:

    In respect to everyone’s opinion they are wrong. The voynich manuscript is actual a medicine research book. And it can be proven

  40. Micah: the mechanics of such a proof would be the interesting thing – right now, it’s very difficult to prove even the most basic assertions about the Voynich Manuscript. 😐

  41. mary on June 19, 2014 at 6:24 am said:

    I will always maintain that the ‘best’ solution/explanation for the Voynic lies in the area of outsider art. The book was the product of someone with skill s and access to materials but had gone to some other reality in their head. Possibly after being a skilled illuminator in a scriptorium somewhere. If the text is ever deciphered it will be meaningless -other than to the author. Those intrigued by it should visit two galleries in Europe. One on the edge of Lille and the other in Paris. Both are wonderful and crammed with art made by people whose field of reference is way beyond the ‘normal’….

  42. Mary: thanks for dropping by. Outsider art has long been a popular Voynich meta-theory: but as time has gone by, we (Voynich researchers) have come to understand that the Voynich Manuscript was the product both of an ordered mind and (as it has ended up over time) of a disordered page evolution. In those places where we have been able to reconstruct its original (pre-quiration) gathering and bifolio nesting order, we have discovered additional layers of orderliness.

    All of which is not sufficient to completely rule out outsider art, but I think they are strong indications that the ‘outsiderness’ of the manuscript is only one of several truths that hold simultaneously.

  43. hakan on July 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm said:

    I have a strange theory, but nobody cares anyway

  44. M. Sox on July 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm said:

    I am very curious,hakan

  45. B Deveson on July 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm said:

    Hakan, I take it from what you said that there are no five pointed stars?
    If there are no five pointed stars in the VM, but plenty of six, seven, eight and nine pointed stars, then this could be a clue to the provenance of the VM. A lack of five pointed stars would seem to imply a prohibition on their use. I have conducted some searches but I can find no clear evidence of such a prohibition at any time or place. But, the five pointed star has religious meaning, particularly in Christianity and in Islam. I wonder if Islam had a prohibition against five pointed stars in the fifteenth Century?

  46. M. Sox on July 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm said:

    It happens rare that a author considers his own theory strange.
    When you will publish your theory,hakan ?

  47. B Deveson on July 21, 2014 at 8:58 am said:

    If five pointed stars are not present in the VM, then, to me at least, this implies a prohibition of some sort. I have not been able to confirm that five pointed stars do not occur in the VM because of a) eye trouble, and b) I am out in the mulga and only have access to an old computer with a poor screen. I did discover that in the fifteenth century the Star of David (Seal or Shield of Solomon) was a five pointed star, not six pointed.
    So, maybe the VM has a Jewish provenance?

  48. Kaytie on July 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm said:

    David C. Rea, you crack me up.

  49. Jenn O on August 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm said:

    I looked through the online archived version, and I couldn’t find any five pointed stars. I wonder if there aren’t more clues in the illustrations being accidentally ignored by cryptographers?

  50. Hi M. Sox. Firstly, I do not claim to break cipher, even a single word. And my theory is not related all of book. Just a single page concerns me. I could not find but may be someone mentions it was previously. Still do not have any evidence to support my theory. How can I publish my theory under these conditions?…

  51. The Voynich behaves like no known non-fiction book. There does not seem to be any Front Matter., Introduction, Chapters, Back Matter; Appendix or Index. Has anyone found anything to suggest this is not just a part of a large work? Like finding volume G of the Encyclopedia Britannica .

  52. Xplor,

    On the contrary, the VMS looks to me a mid 16th c. compilation of different documents (libellae) on different topics, but written in the same script, probably bound together to prevent them of getting lost. Internal relations between the ‘chapters’ have not yet been established, not even in the case of the herbal and apothecary pages nor between the register at the end of the book and the preceding ‘chapters’.


  53. Lost is what I was thinking. The VM could be a copy of a lost or damaged manuscript written in the Tyrsenian family of languages.

  54. 1Houghtaling on October 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm said:

    I’m not a linguist but, to me, the images on pages 77-78, if that is the right numbers on the pages, seem to me about making wine. The harvesting and pressing of wine. The depiction of nude women, maybe the author had a dirty mind. Other sections seem to look like a planting and harvesting chart page 86. Out of the 9 sections, the top one is the summer equinox, right one fall equinox, bottom winter and left spring. Bottom left is the early spring thaw, upper left is the first harvest of grapes (dry wines), upper right second harvest (semisweet), bottom right final harvest after the first frost (sweet wines). But then again I might be wrong. Its just my opinion. It looks like a gardening book where the author spoke one language and tried to write in another by using just the phonics.

  55. 1 Houghtaling. Without agreeing – or disagreeing – with specifics, I agree that the calendar section (often termed the ‘zodiac’ section) shows close connection to the sort of calendar known as the ‘Works and Days’ where it occurs in the medieval western world. Oddly enough, the closest which I found within a specifically Latin medieval context had been made between the 10th and 12thC AD. Overall, however, their origins lay in the pre-Latin east, and so I’d tend to attribute the ‘calendar’ section’s origin to the north-eastern corner of the Mediterranean and to a period considerably earlier than usually supposed. I cannot see how the Voynich manuscript can reasonably be considered the original creation of any fifteenth century Latin ‘artist-author’ – not even of two or three. By that time, and in that culture, several of the ideas and items pictured in the Vms were unknown. imo

  56. Dear Diane,

    It is nice to read, that you call the zodiac section a sort of calender known as ‘Works and Days’. Maybe you remember, that I have called it a calendarium as well and so I identified the two crowned figures as the souls of St. Justina of Padua and St. Parasceva of Rome, both with a martyr’s crown.

  57. I didn’t know that, Menno – the link to your web-page doesn’t seem to work for me and I’m sorry to say I can’t recall seeing it last year.

    The examples I used (as I recall) came mostly from early mss now in England, but also various stone-carved sequences, and one especially good one that is a mosaic from Norman Sicily. Also known as ‘Labours of the Months’ they show only the month’s visible constellation with whatever rural or agricultural task was performed in that month.

    Saints names routinely appear on the civil-and-religious calendar, since the observances of a day named the day for western Christendom, but this isn’t the type of calendar I mean even if we have some versions in which all this information is combined.

  58. Dear Diane,

    Certainly, it is a different type of calendar. You may be aware that f71r/v has been misplaced. It should be f74r/v, (which is now lacking) to get the normal month’s order. So be careful with your interpretation.

    Greetings, Menno

  59. Diane,

    The www has been mistaken for ww. You find the article (in Dutch) under H. Justina of Padua.

    Greetings, Menno

  60. Dear Menno
    I realise that the present form of that section does not offer unequivocal support for the instinctive notion of its representing a latin zodiac. However, I should prefer to question that notion and seek to understand the ms as it is, because the errors may lie in our own expectations rather than in the maker(s)’.

    However, there may be clear codicological evidence for the re-ordering you propose, as for the excision of a folio which many believe contained two more figures in the series.

  61. As a matter of interest – I had the impression (back in 2009 or so) that when I first mentioned the importance of Isidore’s Etymologies on the Voynich mailing list that I was the first to do so. No doubt this is not so, and just an impression gained from the sort of responses received at the time. If anyone knows about an earlier discussion of his work in this connection, do please give a reference so I can follow it back. Thanks.

  62. Dear Diana, I joined this forum some two years ago, so I don’t know about your earlier contributions. Unfortunately this forum is not indexed, which makes it hard to retrieve older posts.

    Greetings, Menno

  63. Nick, Menno and all,

    One of my Voynich day-dreams is that some wise persons will host an essay competition, the entrants required to offer (each 48 hours, say) their commentary on each folio in turn from ms Beinecke 408.
    In these essays, only comment on the primary evidence is required, the points being given for comprehensiveness and quality:- in observation, commentary, references and presentation of the writer’s discussion of the primary evidence.
    – for example: including reference to the codicology, a discussion of pigments and inks on *that* folio, description of the imagery with documented historical comparisons; reference to the observations of other and earlier Voynich researchers.

    Footnotes required; wiki articles not to be referenced; quoting any wiki article written by oneself or one’s personal acquaintances to be grounds for disqualification.

    Points positively deducted for failure to seek the original source for cited comments on e.g. gallows as Neal keys, or Comegys as proponent of a Nahuatl origin.

    Once each folio of the primary document has been analysed and commented upon, only then will the surviving contestants be offered the opportunity to propound a single theory to explain all the observed phenomena.

    That’s what a theory does; it explains – or tries to offer an explanation for – all the observed phenomena within the field to which it applies.

    Should one wish to propose a theory of Martian authorship and manufacture, then the theory must demonstrate that a Martian would have the knowledge and capacity to prepare parchment in this manner, and wield a pen, stylus or brush. If one wished the theory to include the manuscript’s botanical section, you would also have to show proofs for (a) photosynthesis on Mars or (b) the argument that none of the green-leaved plants in the Voynich are actually photosynthetic.

    I think a competition like that would be as likely as cats voluntarily running in flocks… but one can daydream, surely. 🙂

  64. Dear Diane,

    In fact a lot of the job you prpose has been done by VIB already, but this needs an update with new observations, ideas, suggestions and such. I don’t know, if VIB is willing to organize this.

    Greetings, Menno

  65. What number system was used in the Voynich?
    Was it Unary .duodecimal or Babylonian ?

  66. Xplor,

    I haven’t found a number system as such. Just compare with the quire numbers on the herbal pages.

    Greetings, Menno

  67. Hindu–Arabic numerals were not in use in Italy untill Fibonacci wrote Liber Abaci and then it took the printing press before they caught on.

  68. Dear Menno,
    Not sure who or what you mean by “VIB” – must say I’ve never seen any invitation of that sort, where people begin by setting out their analysis of each folio, and only then presuming to explain every aspect of the manuscript in terms of a single coherent historically-viable theory.

    Which is not to say such an invitation has never been published, only that I haven’t seen one. I am keen to know more.

  69. Menno
    Have now found VIB. Not quite the open and comparative treatment my imagined essay-competition would include, but a jolly useful companion to the older writers’ efforts.

    Whoever set up the site deserves many kudos!

  70. Dear Diane, Nick

    VIB stands for Voynich Information Browser, a German web site in English. One of the persons working on VIB is Rene Zandbergen, well known on this forum. The information of VIB could be extended to cover your historically-valiable theory or theories. I am curious about Nick’s opinion.

    Greetings, Menno

  71. Xplor,

    I don’t understand your comment. Fibonacci lived in the 12th century, the Voynich MS is early 15th century. So the Arabic numerals were in use for some centuries.

    Greetings, Menno

  72. Liber Abaci was first published in 1202, That would be the 13th century. Books at that time were wtitten by hand. Only 12 copies of Liber Abaci the from the 13th through the 15th centuries are known to be existence, many in the Vatican. If the Voynich has a ten base number system then it would be a copy of a Hindu or Arabic work. The Eva shows it as a 10 baded decinal system. I am not sure of others like Voynich 101. Do you think the education systems at the time the Voynich was written welcomed inovation or did they stick with the tried and true ?

  73. and:In this work the numerals are explained and are used in the usual computations of business. Such a treatise was not destined to be popular, however, because it was too advanced for the mercantile class, and too novel for the conservative university circles.

  74. Xplor,

    I don”t see your conclusion, that the VMS has been copied from Hindu or Arabic work, because it uses the modified Arabic numerals. These modified numerals were used for a long time already in Spain and Italy as far as England. You may find the chronolgy on my website under Voynich.

    An other question is, why EVA transcribed numerals into letters, which clearly show the shape of the modified Arabic numerals.

    Greetings, Menno

  75. and the ‘mercantile classes’ seem to have been pretty good at arithmetic, as the navigators were at what is effectively geometry and trig.
    For the first class of people, you might read that book I’ve been pointing people to for several years – not least for its routine use of ‘Ghibelline merlons’ in practical diagrams.

    Zibaldone da Canal is its title, and since I first referred Voynicheros to it (in 2009/10 I think), the number of internet sources for it have multiplied – so no need to dig up a hard copy as I did.

  76. The quire and pages numbers could have been added at any time and may not be original. The same with the washes. In fact I think the whole book shows signs of adulteration.

  77. Xplor,

    The quire numbers in the herbal section are in the same hand and ink as the herbal text (early 15th c.), the folio numbers have been added mid 16th c. in different ink and hand.
    The present VMS may have been copied from original libellae (c. 1250-1350) as is characterized by designs and washes.

    Greetings, Menno

  78. Dear Menno,
    You are fortunate in working on the ms in 2014. I assure you that when I gave my opinion in 2009 or so that the manuscript was obviously a compendium, with extracts taken from a number of sources and none original to the fifteenth century … well, the reaction was far from positive, especially among members of the Voynich mailing list of that time. Luckily, Voynich studies does move its Alexandrine length along (despite appearances) and today your expressing the same view will scarcely raise an eyebrow. Congrats all round. 🙂

  79. Menno
    I see that even the dates you give agree with those I offered on my first ‘exploratory’ blog for a critical stage in the manuscript’s evolution. Sorry I won’t be in town long enough to read in detail the narrative of your own research and conclusions, but (naturally enough) you seem to me to be on the right track. 😀

  80. Hello Nick, I wonder if you would allow a link to an article I’ve written about an aspect of the Voynich script, or even review it yourself?

    I promise I’m not a kook (though sometimes I worry).

    Link: https://medium.com/@thingsnorthern/the-equivalence-of-a-and-y-in-the-voynich-script-91886d6cd827

  81. Dear Diane,

    Thanks ! I have just now read your blog about f67v2 (your f67v1). I absolutely agree with you that the down left picture does not represent a T-O map. In fact the whole page deals with the phases of the moon, represented by odd faces. The down left picture shows the dark side of the moon taken as a globe like earth with an equator.

    Greetings, Menno

  82. Thank you Menno,
    Do any of you see the voynich as syllabic writing ? Has anyone used the Kober/Ventris Approach ?

  83. Thing,

    I have read your article on the equivalence of a and y. I think you missed the point, that many of the a-sequencies are misreadings of the o-sequences, e.g. in te prefixes al- ol-. You will hardly find a- prefixes, but hundreds of o- and qo- prefixes. You will find -aiin suffixes next to -oiin suffixes, so the equivalence is rather -a- with -o- than -a- with -y-.

    A more promising approach would be to take the special signs K, T, P, F and cKh, cTh, cPh and cFh into account and see, which sign precedes these special signs like aK, oK, lK, yK etc.

    Greetings, Menno

  84. Xplor,

    As far I know there is no syllabic writing involved, but I must admit that I have no idea yet about double ‘vowels’ of the type oe, oo, ee, eo and such.

    Greetings, Menno

  85. Menno: when I analyzed a/o letters a fair few years back, my conclusion was that though there was some miscopying at play, there was a strong underlying logic to the direction of that miscopying.

    For example (in EVA): though (qa / ak / at / af / ap) pairs were almost certainly miscopied from (qo / ok / ot / of / op) pairs, and (oin / oir / om / etc) clusters were almost certainly miscopied from (ain / air / am / etc) clusters, al / ol / ar / or were genuinely independent digraph pairs that were not simply duplicates of each other.

    But I need to read Thing’s paper (so far I’ve only skimmed it briefly, which isn’t nearly good enough) before answering this more substantively.

  86. Hello Nick,

    Thanks for your comment. Miscopies do not just pertain to a / o, but also to e / o. These a, o, e and the double vowels have so much similarity, that they can be misread.easily. Similarly I doubt, if iK- should not be read as lK. I am still puzzling the question, what may be the reason that non-prefixed special signs mainly occurr as first words of a paragraph and prefixed special signs mainly occurr within paragraphs and sentences. Do you have an idea about that ?

    Greetings, Menno

  87. Menno: as I wrote in Curse, I suspect “qo-” is a free-standing prefix (so “qokedy” should be parsed “qo-k-e-d-y”: I now suspect that “qo-” probably enciphers “lo” = “the”), while “ok-” is a completely different verbose pair (so “okedy” should be parsed “ok-e-d-y”). Similarly, I suspect that “ykedy” should be parsed “yk-e-d-y”, i.e. a [y + gallows] pair is a completely different cipher token to an unpaired gallows token.

  88. Nick, if you combine oK and yK to a new cipher token, other prefixes deserve the same, e.g.

    Kal (1x) prefix a; Kal (13x) prefix ch; Kal (1x) prefix solch; Kal (1x) prefix qe; Kal (12x) prefix che; Kal (1x) prefix shee; Kal (4x) prefix she; Kal (1x) prefix dl; Kal (4x) prefix sho; Kal (1x) prefix do; Kal (1x) prefix yo; Kal (138x) prefix o; Kal (191x) prefix qo; Kal (1x) prefix so; Kal (2x) prefix cheo; Kal (9x) prefix cho; Kal (1x) prefix olcho; Kal (1x) prefix r; Kal (1x) prefix dair; Kal (1x) prefix sh; Kal (1x) prefix s; Kal (16x) prefix y; Kal (1x) prefix shey; Kal (23x) prefix -; Kal (3x) prefix chol; Kal (1x) prefix qool; Kal (1x) prefix al; Kal (5x) prefix l; Kal (11x) prefix ol; Kal (1x) prefix shol


    Kaly (18x) prefix qo; Kaly (1x) prefix cheo; Kaly (1x) prefix ched; Kaly (1x) prefix che; Kaly (1x) prefix dy; Kaly (1x) prefix ol; Kaly (1x) prefix qoe; Kaly (1x) prefix she; Kaly (1x) prefix yqo; Kaly (24x) prefix o; Kaly (2x) prefix ; Kaly (2x) prefix ch; Kaly (2x) prefix cho ; Kaly (6x) prefix y

    I wonder, if o should be interpreted as a full stop (.) or slash (/).

    Greetings, Menno

  89. Thanks to both of you for taking time to read my article.

    Menno, the occurrence of “aiin” sequences and “oiin” sequences suggests that “a” and “o” are the same class of character but not the same character. They occur in the same environments but contrast in meaning, like vowels do, for example. Indeed, “y/a” and “o” are contrastive over almost their whole range, though with quite different frequencies.

    As for whether “a” or “o” are errors in any given word, I don’t know how we would be able to judge that at this stage.

  90. Is the Thing seeing  inflection in a and y ? Didn’t John Tiltman find the same thing in 1968. Only he used a and o.

  91. Hello xplor, I don’t believe there is inflection between “a” and “y”, but rather that they are the same character (or variants of the same character) which alternate depending on context. Specifically, “a” occurs before “i, l, m, n, r”, and “y” everywhere else, though some exceptions seem to occur.

    The main example I give in the article is that “oky” and “okaiin” are the same word but with different endings. Tiltman said the same thing, but believed that they were made up out of “ok-” plus either “-y” or “-aiin”. I believe that “oky” is the root word and “-iin” is a suffix which joins directly to it. Rather than the final “y” being removed, it transforms to “a” due to the influence of the “i” at the beginning of “-iin”.

    I hope that makes it clearer.

  92. Thing does your approach lead you to a language ?

    Has anyone read “Key to Aggas” by John Matthews Manly ? Is it available online?

  93. Hello xplor, my approach hasn’t yet led me to any specific language. I don’t expect that anything will pop out til a lot more work is done.

    I believe that, if my finding is true, it will be useful to most people studying the text of the Voynich manuscript. However, I think that it nudges the possible solution slightly toward being a language rather than a cipher. Only slightly though, and the range of solutions is still pretty wide, both language and cipher.

  94. Thing : We are still waiting for others to confirm or challenge your finings. My focus at this time is on the Bacon cipher in America. That is a search of what MI-8 knew an why they did not persue it. For Herbert Osborn Yardley it offered little reward and he distrusted W. M. Voynich. John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert did retained some intrest but their main work was with Geoffrey Chaucer.
    Nick was already covered this. The Voynich could still be a copy of a Roger Bacon work. Who knows?
    “Neither the voice of authority nor the weight of reason and argument are as significant as experiments from which come peace to the mind.” Keep up the good work.

  95. xplor: My findings definitely do need confirmation! I thought people would be more interested ruling them in or out. I would love to hear what Nick thinks. I’m already looking to build on the theory and find out some even deeper rules about how “y” works.

    As for Roger Bacon, I was dimissive of ideas that the Voynich manuscript could be a copy of his work, but I recently read some observations by Philip Neal. I now think there is some evidence that the manuscript is a copy, but whether from a draft or from an original, who knows.

  96. We celebrate the centennial of the Voynich in America,
    “If the manuscript is undecipherable it may be worth all the owners expect to get for it. If the ciphering were known, and I certainly did decipher it, the manuscript would only be another in the history of medicine. It is my firm conviction that some of the material in the manuscript could not be published now, it could even be called a Kinsey report from the 17th century.” “Leonell Strong to David Kahn June 21, 1962” So what would it be worth to the Beineke Library if it were solved ? Maybe the idea is not to solve it. That would explain why William F. Friedman’s work in the first study group was hidden for 5o years until Jim Reeds found it.

  97. Xplor,

    I am pretty sure, that public and scientific interest in the VMS will disappear as soon as the text and illustrations are fully understood, but this should not be a reason to stop investigations and leave the VMS as it is. By studying the VMS we learn a lot which may be of help for other projects as well.

    Greetings, Menno

  98. Menno

    We all take Pleasure in Finding Things Out. What have we learned so far? We can date the time time the animals died. Thing has found a relationship between some letters. That would lead us to a language. What do you think is the most important we now know about the Voynich MS ? Has it been solved and the NSA and GCHQ are keeping it a secret from us ?

  99. Xplor,

    Good question. I think every researcher will make his or her own list of findings, even without a proper identification of the yet unknown script, language, illustrations or code system of the VMS. Most imortant is, that we know now that de VMS as such is dated in the beginning of the 15th c. When looking at the herbal section we know that the original herbarium contained some 300p, counting the quires, the first part consistent, the second part scatttered around. So what we regard as the herbal section in fact is a first binding of incomplete older material, which can be dated 1250-1350 as compared to other herbaria, the second binding together with other texts (libellae) dates mid 16th c.
    I think no one will doubt the northern Italian or alpine origin because of the swallowtail merlons, dating from the same time. Both the date of the original exts and the geography are clean indicators to look for similar material.

    Greetings, Menno

  100. What was the status of women in the 15th century under the Ghibelline’ s  ? Are they normally depicted with clothes or was it more like the work of Lucas Cranach the Elder ?

    How have computers solved the Voynich?
    NSA has used Impossible differential cryptanalysis or was it an Infinite Improbability Drive to solve it ?

  101. Xplor,

    Please have a look at the Virgo and the Sagittarius to find the answer. Cranach the Elder has nothing to do with the VMS.

    The Voynich texts have not been solved by computers. I am afraid this will not happen either.

    Greetings, Menno

  102. It would help to know what Calendar is being used. Can we tell what hemisphere the star drawings came from ? It is too early to use the Gregorian Calendar.

  103. Xplor

    Certainly it is the Julian calendar, according to me a Saints-calendar, because the months do not always show 30 days in a row. As far as I can see the calendar reflects the northern hemisphere.

    Greetings, Menno

  104. I havn’t found any proof of a rule based calendar. Where is January and February [f75v] ?
    When is the winter solstice in the Voynich? If Tycho discovered Cassiopeia how did it get in the Voynich?

  105. Xplor,

    The VMS order is wrong: 71r/v should be 75r/v.

    Gretings, Menno

  106. If that was possible it still would not explain what happened to January and February.

  107. Xplor,

    Nothing happened to January and February. If you put the months in the right order you find the zodiac as we know it today.

    Greetings, Menno

  108. Xplor,
    I agree with Menno to the extent that there is no way that the present order of those folios represents a zodiac, and it is only by forcing a re-ordering and identifying some of the more dubious as e.g. sheep rather than goat, and vice versa, that the series can be said ever to have been intended as a ‘zodiac’.

    On the other hand, some activities do not occur all year, so a partial calendar may have had more practical relevance to the user(s) needs.

    In this case, and as textual critics had to learn by experience – it is not always the wisest course to reorder a text to suit a pattern with which one happens to be more familiar.
    Better to consider the object as-it-is and seek to understand it.

  109. How can we prove that is not a Coligny calendar ?

  110. Diane, Xplor,

    Certainly, it would not be right to adapt a certain text order to a known order and instead to understand the order as it is. I fully agree with that, but in the case of the VMS there is a different situation, because the last part of the VMS is a mess as you can see at the last part of the herbal section obviously scattered around. Similarly the zodiac, which ends with two lost pages (75r/v), whereas the light aries and the light taurus do not suit the months indicated and look like duplicates with the dark aries (or capricorn) and the dark taurus. It is so obvious, that a reconstruction in this particular case is feasible.

    Greetings, Menno

  111. Is there some need to show that the Voynich manuscript can’t possibly be Gallo-Roman Celtic?

    Or is the notion about a link to the old Coligny calendar in stone tied in some obscure way to Kircher’s documented connections with Avignon and Lyons – and presumably that notable pharmacist of Lyons who first introduced the scented rush to England etc.?

    – sorry if these references seem enigmatic to anyone. All treated in my blog at one stage or another –

  112. Menno – re your suggestion that the ‘German website in English’ could be ‘extended’ to include my own work – frankly, I think my conclusions run so counter to the usual ones that their inclusion on that site would be inappropriate – beyond, perhaps, a link to my own sites.

    My work can fairly be called marginal (if not marginalised) because it never had much to do with the written part of the text. Indeed, if you look through Nick’s post, all the theories relate to Voynichese – and no mention of my name among such as Stokjo, Rugg, Sherwood, and Herschel. They offered ideas about the language and/or script and/or imagined ‘author’ but my investigation was of the imagery and the materials used for the fifteenth-century manuscript.

  113. Dear Diane,

    I understand your position, but the main problem might be, that the comments on your blog are on the topic level, mainly art. I have not found yet an outline of your theory about the VMS as an umbrella for your topics, including language and script.

    Greetings, Menno

  114. Menno – each to his last.

    I have not the qualifications, practical experience nor (to be honest) level of interest to involve myself in discussions of Voynichese, so there would be little point in my commenting on that portion of the manuscript.

    While I accept that it is a common fashion to first plot out some preferred historical storyline, and then try to fit the primary evidence into that mould, reading the efforts of others who follow that method cause me much the same pain as reading of Cinderella’s sisters to wear her shoe.

    What I’ve done is more traditional and somewhat more scientific in approach, namely to research the evidence offered by the primary document, locate its historical and cultural context (or, more exactly, strata), and then see how this ties in with evidence provided by such scientific analyses as we have to date.

    Only then, sitting back and considering the implications of those findings, was I able to form an idea of the whole which approached the level of a theory. It must be incomplete, of course, until the written bits are better understood, but as far as the other elements go: inks, parchment, imagery, meaning/content and so on… it seems pretty solid by now. After about 5 years work or so!

    My conclusions – or my evolved ‘theory’ – has been enunciated here at least once, and in my own blogs: both the one which documents the process of research, and the other which sets out the results in a more orderly way.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘thematic’; I worked my way through the manuscript, folio by folio, section by section before addressing more particular themes such as the possible sense of that phrase used by Barsch: ‘thesauros Artis medicae Egyptiacos, or whether an inscription which Nick Pelling thought might read ‘Simon S..’ might also refer to that Simon who wrote a pharmaceutical thesaurus which is cited by Roger Bacon.

    Evidence first, theory (if any) absolutely last is my own preferred method.

  115. Light and dark was the year of a Celt. Samhain was the holiday that separated the change between light days and winter dark days. We call it Halloween. Does this holiday show up in the Voynich? Many of the Celtic holidays were taken up by the Christians. What we call ground hog day was the change from dark days to light days that section is missing from the V.M.

  116. If I can intrude on your kindness again, Nick, may I post a link to my latest article? It’s about the possibility that final <y> is expressed as a null when in a middle position. In short, <okey> is to <okedy> as <okeo> is to <okeody&gt

    Link: https://medium.com/@thingsnorthern/the-existence-of-y-deletion-in-the-voynich-manuscript-6fb511d6e497

  117. hakan (efeler1971@yahoo.com) on November 28, 2014 at 9:12 am said:

    in page 68r3, the figure contains 59 star in 4 sections. (16 stars, 18 stars, 14 stars and 11 stars)(16+18+14+11=59). in page 68r2, also contains 59 stars. 59 is a prime number. if, someone was tried to make fragmentation to prime number 59. but 16, 18, 14, 11 numbers are not coralation. anything, i ltried, but i do not found.

  118. hakan (efeler1971@yahoo.com) on November 28, 2014 at 9:31 am said:

    and in page 68r3, contains 59 stars and 7 stars. 7 stars are generally thought to be pleiades. is it could, seven sorrows of mother Mary? So, some source says, rosary of the seven pains of the Virgin Mary has 59 grains.(7 and 59 like picture). 59 grains are something standart, fixed? i do not know. because i do not know more about Christianty. in page 68r3, at the center there is a face. so,this may be mother of Iesus Christi’ s face?(mother Mary, Meryem).
    p.s: i am so sorry, if i make a religious error.

  119. hakan (efeler1971@yahoo.com) on November 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm said:

    page 68r1 contain 29 stars (mansions of luna, like pleiades). 29 is a prime number. if add sun? and moon? in this diagram; 29+2 = 31 also prime.
    page 68r2 contains 59 stars. 59 is a prime number too. if add sun? and moon? in this diagram; 59+2 = 61 again prime
    and this two diagram (p68r1 and p68r2) are not divided any section.
    for example; page 67v1 contain 39 stars and this diagram divided 17 section by rays. because 39 is not prime.
    heavily prime, is not it?

  120. Anton Alipov on November 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm said:

    Virgin Mary? I’d think it’s Moon rather…

    The VMS, if one considers it as a part of European tradition (which is not proved, but it is likely), is strange in the respect that it does not appear to contain any explicit visual reference to Christianity. No Cross, no Jesus, no martyrs, no eschatology there. Although some argue that there are Popes there, but again those painted persons are not manifesting themselves as Popes.

    This suggests that it’s perhaps not an “opus” but rather one’s “notes” to oneself, some portions like this “astro” section perhaps having been just reproduced from other MS’s that the author happened to read. In that case one would not bother himself with allusions to Christianity, given, of course, that those were not required from the practical point of view – but we don’t know what the author’s “profession” was.

  121. There is one cross. A woman at the top of 79v is holding one. Though otherwise you are quite right.

  122. hakan (efeler1971@yahoo.com) on November 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm said:

    ” it does not appear to contain any explicit visual reference to Christianity”. Yes, Anton, it is true, because it is a cipher text.
    i do not claim my idea is true. it is only an idea. I’m just saying my one of opinion. yes, it is true, i have no evidence. do have anyone? Why do you think it is Moon?

  123. Anton Alipov on November 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm said:


    Yes, indeed, I’ve been missing that, thanks! I wonder what’s the ring that the woman below is holding?!..


    Surely, from the cipher text we have yet recognized nothing; I meant specifically visual reference – drawings, markings, illustrations…
    Regarding the “Moon”, the consideration is straightforward. I note that the drawings which are placed on f68r and adjacent pages contain Sun – its rays leave no room for another hypothesis in its respect, I think. Then, on each page Sun is depicted either dominating the field, or accompanied by another object of a similar shape and “rank”, but without rays. By way of association, which is most probable if not the Moon?! In many (if not in any) traditions the Moon is surely “second most important” luminary after the Sun, so it’s natural to suppose Moon in the object of this rank and position in the drawings. The crescent which some of the “Moons” have onto them is also suggestive.

  124. Anton: I don’t know about the ring, though other similar items appear on other pages. Indeed, a study of what the men and women in the book are holding might be interesting.

  125. The ‘cross’ is simply an object that has a similar (but *not* identical) form to the Christians’ cross. Lack of Christian forms, Latin Christian worldview and so forth is so obvious a feature of the manuscript’s imagery, that only a very set determination on some contrary theory can explain the continued (and continuing) refusal to recognise the fact.

    I wrote on the topic of that approximately cross-shaped form some time ago, and since it is a current item, I’ll try to find and repost the offering from ‘Findings’ if you like.

  126. – done.
    The post from ‘Findings’ – in 2010 – reposted now on the voynichimagery wordpress blog. Cheers.

  127. Brian Cham on November 29, 2014 at 9:16 am said:

    Thing and Anton:

    You got me thinking of this section. How does the usage of the Christian cross in f79v even fit in context (whatever it is)?

    As to objects. The only one I’m sure about is with the figure on the left of f80r, in the vertical middle of the page. That’s a pair of forceps. Hints at surgery but not sure if that reading is historically accurate. Note that one on left is striking forcep guy in the eye (I had more observations but I’ll leave them for now).

    Bottom left of f79r is maybe a section of pipe that this figure is constructing?

    A lot are just vague plant parts, e.g. f76v left, f80r bottom left, f80v right middle. Figure at right of middle pool in f84r is pulling whole plant out of red bucket. Maybe explains other objects like f80v top left? Maybe relates to entries in herbal section?

    The rest (e.g. 75r top pool stake thing) appear to be tools of some sort.

    On f83r for a change the figures are directly holding up the shafts of the pipes; on the left one holds a star on a string like in zodiac section.

    Excluding pipes I think the only recurring held objects are the star (lots of times), the ring (three times) and whatever’s at top right of f80v (two times).

  128. Brian, I think the important thing is to discover a context within which all these curious emblems occur and within (say) a couple of centuries of each other. I admit it wasn’t easy, even for someone with some years spent in that sort of work. As it happened, I was fortunate that we have enough examples extant to make a fairly reasonable argument for the Hellenistic era (which continues, in cultural terms, to the early centuries AD in the eastern sphere where Roman armies never ventured). The thing you see as forceps appears at that time as a ritual object, the same time that we see the former situla devolved into a kind of bezel/ring. Both appear in these ‘bathy-‘ folios and are (imo) allusions to certain asterisms, marking the wayfinder’s routes. But the evidence from which I came to that view, and the reasoning behind it, took some years to present online so I shan’t attempt to persuade anyone in a blog-post. 🙂

  129. Dear Diane,

    Did you ever consider the idea, that the balneological pages may form a description of ‘how to get pregnant’ ?
    I happen to know, that in the middleages such baths were used for this purpose rather than for beauty or health reasons.


  130. Anton Alipov on November 29, 2014 at 7:55 pm said:


    Thank you for the reference to your post about that cross. The “lump” is a good observation, and to me this seems the only consideration against this object being the “crux ordinaria”. A budded cross would be fine, but a “partially budded” cross is something strange indeed. Of course we could attribute that for the slip of the pen, but as some other pages (e.g. f2r or f28v) show, micro-scale sometimes definitively matters in the VM, so we should be careful in here.

    However, I can not agree with the main message of your article (if I understood this message correctly). Yes, it’s rather obvious that this picture was not intended to depict “a woman holding a Latin cross”, at least within the framework of the Christian tradition. But that would not mean that the VM is something not of the Christian world.

    First, I think we should be very careful in considering these figures as “women”, and, generally “people”, these “vessels” – as “baths” or “pools”, et cetera. These well may be some “spirits” or, generally, allegories. Suppose this is an allegory of some spirit commanding a certain aspect of vitality, and the cross stands for the protection from evil influences. Or suppose this figure does not hold the cross, but it rather estranges from the cross, declines the cross, which is meant to underscore some grave consequences of that.

    Second, I think that the fact that there is no Christian imagery in the VM can in no way disprove its European origin. The subject(s) of the VM and/or the nature thereof may simply have not required incorporation of any specific allusions to Christianity. The VM may be just a handbook of some specific professional knowledge.

    Please excuse me if I did not understand your point correctly, but If your argumentation is that the VM is something not European, then the major weak point of it is that why then would its author write at least some of his marginalia specifically in German language.

  131. Anton: “at least some of his marginalia in German language”… I suspect that you are mistaken here, or perhaps relying on an assertion that is far weaker than you believe. Is this your opinion, or someone else’s claim?

  132. hakan (efeler1971@yahoo.com) on November 29, 2014 at 8:47 pm said:

    Dear all, what do you think about my prime number theory

  133. Anton Alipov on November 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm said:


    Yes this is my opinion, but it is not unfounded or based on my own “findings” solely. Each assertion taken by itself may be not that persuasive and/or may be ambiguous, but taken together they do form a non-contradictory picture.

    First there are color codes which have long been discussed.

    Second there is the “lab” thing corroborated by the adjacent imagery.

    Third, there is the “mel” thing – this is the weak point though, it’s a) emendated and b) being a short word, is not clearly corroborated by the adjacent imagery. This may or may not be German.

    Fourth, besides “lab”, there is some stuff in f116v which has previously been interpreted as possibly German. I think that it fits the context of f116v, but I’ve been busy (or lazy) to blogpost it, and yet need to previously check this guess with some German speaker.

    Maybe I put it in a bit assertive way, so one is quite welcome to call it an “opinion”, but yes personally I think that the above points are suggestive – unless and until, of course, some more adequate interpretation is introduced (which would be more than welcome).

  134. Brian Cham on November 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm said:

    Diane: Historical/cultural context is all fine but I have a feeling that a lot of the meaning is very personal. How do you interpret the violence against forcep guy? I’ve got your blog bookmarked but haven’t had the time to read it. Maybe some day.

    Menno: Could be anything really. As for historical baths, note that a few figures look like they are showering. Is there any interesting history for that?

    Anton: Maybe the “knob” is related to the one on the ring? I thought it was a clear gem but that’s probably my modern eyes being reminded of a wedding ring.

    Allegory was my thought. The Hygromanteia explains the medicinal properties of plants with star-spirits that imbue their powers into moisture. This struck me as being thematically similar to the Voynich Manuscript’s illustrations. Maybe the “balneo” section is showing the zodiac spirits in the water of the plant parts? Diane you may be pleased to know that the Hygromanteia is Byzantine in origin 🙂

    Nick: I think he is referring to the rennet bag thing he found tucked away on the last page. btw did you see my e-mail about David Jackson’s word analysis? (I have collected some large natural language text samples if you want to do your own comparisons)

  135. Menno and Anton,
    Thank you so much for the reply – it’s nice to have people say they’ve paused to consider my observations.

    Menno – I try not to form opinions until after investigating the primary evidence/document in depth. I like the forensic approach, rather than playing ‘chase my hypothesis’ 🙂

    In comparing the VMS imagery with the forms of Latin (Christian) Europe, and more importantly with its world-view as expressed in manuscripts made there before the mid-fifteenth century, I was at first puzzled, and then enlightened, by the Voynich manuscript’s resounding lack of reference to the most ingrained and reflexive western Latin ideas about the world, its social structures and so forth.

    Compare with any medieval illuminated manuscript, and you too may notice that unlike them, the Vms contains little of war ( perhaps one small vignette, if that); there is nothing of hunts, of kings, of the male hierarchy, of objects as sign of social weight, of Christian proverbs and allusions and so forth… and so forth.
    It is a perfectly consistent and resounding silence.

    About the manuscript as an object – yes, I do expect that one day we’ll be sure about where it was manufactured, and that place will prove to be in England or the western Mediterranean, northern Italy etc. Even Germany’s not entirely impossible, I suppose.

    However, it is hardly remarkable to point out that the place or time where a manuscript is manufactured is no necessary indication of where and when the manuscript’s content was first enunciated. If it were otherwise, one might argue that manufacture of a Psalter in thirteenth century France proved that the Psalms were first composed by a thirteenth-century Frenchman!

    I have always found it curious that those who are interested in the Voynich manuscript have so very rarely paused to distinguish between the thing as made object, and the matter in it as content.

    But investigating the imagery to determine when and where it might first have been enunciated, I did in fact find that nexus for the bathy- images: the ‘cross with lump’ has its equivalent in close proximity – in both time and place – tp representation of the situla-as-ring, to use of the aegis/parasol imagery, and an object which appears to modern western eyes as resembling a pair of surgeon’s forceps.

    I’d date the origin of the ‘bathy-‘ section’s imagery pretty confidently to not later than the 1stC AD.

    Other sections yield different results, as one might expect given their clear distinctions in matter and style.

    I believe that Voynich research has circled endlessly for a century not least because it began with two premises which were never thought through: 1) that assumption of coeval construction and first enunciation of content; 2) an assumption that both object and content would be a product of western Latin Christian culture.

    A number of informed voices have said otherwise, over the past century, but the passion of amateurs devoted to their personal hypotheses has fairly regularly drowned out those voices, distorted their message, or simply marginalised the person speaking.

    In the end, it’s just one manuscript of many, and the world offers more important and more pressing problems for the attention of rational persons. I have no desire to win the cardboard cup for ‘most plausible’ and I doubt there is any more tangible reward for simply understanding and appreciating this rare and rather marvellous work.

    I might add that the imagery is so perfectly done, and so complete, that I should think it perfectly possible that the pictorial and the written text(s) are wholly independent.

  136. Brian Cham on November 30, 2014 at 1:14 am said:

    hakan: Unfortunately numerological[sp] analyses are very prone to biases and are rarely taken seriously. For example you’d be amazed at the sheer number of people that have ever been linked to the number 666 (symbol of the Antichrist in Christian eschatology) through some mental gymnastics. If you could find prime numbers everywhere in the manuscript it would be interesting though. While you’re at it, maybe the coefficients of Pascal’s Triangle? 😉

  137. SirHubert on November 30, 2014 at 9:35 am said:


    I’ve been spending some time looking at the colour annotations, and indeed the other “letters hidden in plants” (as opposed to what is normally classified as “marginalia”).

    Some of them are written in German, especially “rot” “pur/por” and the “g” for “grun”, and there is the parallel of MS Vicenza 362 for these.

    There is another set of single Latin letters, written in a different hand, and these make absolutely no sense as German colour instructions.

    Whether the German colour instructions are contemporary with the production of the manuscript’s text and/or images is another matter entirely. The history of the illumination of the manuscript is also pretty complex.

    So yes, there is plenty of evidence that the manuscript spent some of its early life either in a place where German was spoken, or at least that it belonged to someone whose mother tongue was German. But the rest of the marginalia are fairly polyglot – Occitan/Catalan month names? – and I would be careful in making any assumptions about the text or production of the manuscript on this basis.

  138. SirHubert

    Am I correct in thinking that the theory these letters are German, and that the separate glyphs should be interpreted as ‘rot’ that look like a “t”, an “o” and then a “v” or “r” is a theory first offered by Rene Zandbergen? I remain doubtful about the assumptions here, but as a matter of form would like to ensure proper credit given if I mention it.

    PS If anyone else is sure about whose idea it was – do please chip in!

  139. Anton Alipov on November 30, 2014 at 12:43 pm said:

    Sir Hubert:

    As I wrote above, taken individually, the colour codes perhaps would not be a strong point of evidence towards the “German” assumption – not because we are not certain that those are colour codes indeed, but because we are not certain that they are in German language, due to their “abbreviated” appearance.

    However, there are other marginalia that suggest German language – there is the “lab” (rennet-bag) strongly supported by the adjacent imagery. There are also less-developed things, like some hints in f66r (although I don’t believe in “mussdel”), and the very ending of the VM (although I don’t believe in “goat’s milk” neither).

    Taken together, this begins to form a more substantiated picture, and what’s important – it’s a positive one (“this is something that fits into German language”) versus the negative approach (“we don’t know what it is, let’s neglect this”).

    You are right that there are marginalia that don’t fit into German language – like “mallior allor” or “michiton oladabas”. But why would all marginalia be necessarily in the same language? They need not be.

    The point is that one should either reject the idea that some of the marginalia are German, or accept it. In the former case, the researcher should provide some solid arguments – and ideally an alternative reading which fits better than the German one. In the latter case (i.e. if we admit that some of the marginalia ARE German), the question arises why would the author use the German language – especially for the purely “auxiliary” marks which the colour codes are.

    I would note though that the language of the author and the origin of the VM are not necessarily the same thing. E.g., suppose German was the mother tongue of the author – but this does not mean that the VM was written in Germany. The author may have been a missionary, a traveller, a refugee, a vagrant etc.

    Neither does the language of the marginalia tell us much of the language hidden behind the script. E.g., the script may well be enciphered Latin (or whatever you like).

    The only point of the German marginalia is that it links the author and the German language together. But that’s an important point in itself. One can not simply ignore this.

    As to the months’ names (“Aberil” etc.), I believe they are agreed to be a later addition and I don’t consider them. I consider only marginalia introduced by the author himself. The colour codes are in some cases painted over, so I think there is little doubt in their being “contemporary”.

  140. Anton: your ‘lab’ = rennet and bulbous drawing = stomach (?) identification claim is certainly intriguing, but it’s a long way from a pure demonstration of fact, and a very long way from a proof that any of the marginalia are systematically in German. The problem with f116v is that we don’t yet have any systematic language claim that makes proper sense, without hugely optimistic polyglot leaps of faith: while my own viewpoint (that there seems to be evidence of emendation to all the marginalia) is more of a commentary on the limits of trying to read f116v than a ‘reading’ of it as such.

  141. SirHubert on November 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm said:


    Actually, you shouldn’t be looking for a single European author here.

    Reuben Ogburn used to have a website which listed those letters of which he was aware, but you now need to use the Wayback Machine to find it. He names Philip Neal as an authority for suggesting ‘the identifications of ‘g’ / green and ‘rot’ / red, and Gabriel Landini as the first to read another instance of ‘rot’ in the red-coloured root of f7r. Ogburn does also identify ‘pur’ / purple in f9v and f32r without mentioning who, if anyone, had previously found these letters or suggested the interpretations. The version of Ogburn’s site I found was from 2004.

    Rene Zandbergen, as far as I know, was the first to find the parallel with MS Vicenza 362, in (I think) 2010. If you look up “letters hidden in plants” on Nick’s site this is discussed in some detail.


    I think your post is eminently sensible. I myself am not sufficiently confident that one can tell which, if any, of the marginalia or hidden letters can be securely attributed to the people who wrote the text and images. But I think it’s difficult to argue away the ‘g’ and ‘rot’ as being German colour indications given that we have an almost direct fifteenth-century parallel for these terms being used in this manner. I would just point out that a hypothetical manuscript written in Constantinople in 1440 and brought to southern Germany/northern Italy for illumination might well have the same marks.

  142. SirHubert: the two Cipher Mysteries pages I can remember writing on “letters hidden in voynich plants” are –
    * http://ciphermysteries.com/2010/02/27/letters-hidden-in-voynich-plants
    * http://ciphermysteries.com/2011/11/10/letters-hidden-in-voynich-plants-yet-again
    I concluded at the time that the two specific letter-groups Rene suspected might be “rot” probably weren’t: but that because there seemed to be a fairly consistent use of the same “open-top p” letter shape, these were probably added by the same person etc.

  143. SirHubert on November 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm said:

    Nick: yes, those are the two threads.

    With respect, I don’t agree with you on the issue of ‘rot’ which I think is pretty clear in at least two places. It’s unfortunate that Ogburn gives the colour-word in the blue-painted flower in f9v as ‘rot’ when it’s clearly ‘pur’, which makes far more sense. I’m not sure if this Ogburn’s slip or whether Gabriel Landini, whom Ogburn cites here, misread it originally.

    And of course you yourself read the very clear ‘rot’ on f4r as part of an elaborate cryptogram giving Averlino’s name. I will respectfully disagree with that also, although the rest of your Averlino hypothesis certainly doesn’t stand or fall by that detail. (And, actually, you do have an F and L in that folio if you want to make ‘Filarete…’ but I think that’s coincidence!)

  144. SirHubert on November 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm said:

    Sorry – when I say “very clear ‘rot'” I mean that the word is very clearly legible on scans of that folio – it’s not in any way meant as a criticism of anyone who wishes to read it differently.

  145. SirHubert: re-reading Reuben Ogburn’s page just now, it’s clear that I did miss one instance, so this is probably an issue to which I should return before very long. =:-o

  146. Anton Alipov on November 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm said:

    Regarding f9v and f32r, my idea is that those indeed are marked for purple, but that’s represented not by “pur”, but by “p v” = “purper-var” (MHD for “purpurfarbig”).

    The three-letter word in f9v is surely not “rot”, but it neither looks like “pur”. I’d say it’s rather “por”, which in the context of colour-coding is enigmatic.

  147. SirHubert on November 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm said:

    Anton: I agree that the three-letter word in f9v does look like ‘por’ in some versions. The colour is caked so thickly that it’s difficult to tell. If you enhance the image by removing the colour, it looks more like ‘por’. But if you enhance it by strengthening the colour of the ink itself, in my opinion it looks more like ‘pur’.

  148. Brian:

    yes, there is no statistical significance of the few datas
    Well, let disregard the prime numbers.
    i said page 68r2 contain 59 stars. and page 68r3 contain 59 stars in 4 sections
    *(1): 16
    **(2): 18
    ***(3): 14
    ****(4): 11
    sum of those: 59 as page 68r2
    author, have divided the number of stars on the first page (68r2) to four sections on the page68r3.there must be a meaning. but what? calendar, time, number of stars in a constellation, a biblical verse, coordinates or even

  149. Helmut Winkler on November 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm said:

    I read por too, and it is not as enigmatic as you think, it should stand for mhd. porfir, porphyr-, purpurfarben

  150. Brian Cham on November 30, 2014 at 8:15 pm said:

    SirHubert: Are you referring to the uppercase color codes (as opposed to lowercase for German) F,J,B? i.e. French fauve, jaune, blanc – Latin color names don’t match here.

  151. Sir Hubert,
    Thanks for the background. Also, your saying one shouldn’t look for a ‘single European author’ makes me positively nostalgic.

  152. Menno –

    Belated thanks for your comment of October 20th, which I failed to see. I prefer for the sake of a general readership always to use the pagination published by the holding library – and since scans are reasonably expected to read left to right, I use that system – hence 67v-1, not the mailing list custom of calling it 67v-2.

    I have seen no other analysis of that folio, and your announcement that the corner motif is being taken “as a matter of fact” to represent the moon must be based on some pretty interesting work. Whose?

  153. Speaking of folio 9v – apart from those larger glyphs that are mentioned above, what have others made (if anything) of a line of much smaller glyphs appearing on the second flower from the top, on the left, the left-hand petal? Heavily overpainted, it shows itself on enlargement to be classic ‘micrography’ of the medieval sort. But in what alphabet or abjad do people think it written?

  154. Brian Cham on December 1, 2014 at 4:31 am said:

    hakan: Intuitively the star maps are just star maps relating to astrology. If that’s just a cover and the numbers encode something, well it could be anything.

    Division into four is to be expected (four seasons, four ages of man, cardinal directions, etc. in European tradition) and appears quite often in the manuscript.

    Your idea of linking f68r2 and f68r3 reminds me of something I thought while looking at the “balneo” section. The elements on different pages may be the exact same thing, but at different stages in a narrative, or shown from a different perspective. For example instead of thinking of the balneo section as containing a large number of “nymphs”, it may be the same set drawn (assuming their identities matter) over and over in an ordered story. No I don’t have a story in mind, it’s just another way of looking at it, and seeing the stars as being redrawn into new categories is an interesting example of that sort of interpretation.

    However I’m not sure what to think of the folios you propose. The figure of 59 stars for f68r2 seems to include the slightly smaller ones on the outside. These go in a circle with no informative arrangement or labels, which suggests to me that they are only for decoration. Then again, not many stars are arranged or labelled informatively anyway. Any other correlations?

    What did strike me when I saw f68r3 was how well constructed it was compared to other folios. The circles are done with a compass, the lines are done with a ruler and the angles of the sectors are (almost) geometrically perfect. The author certainly spent special effort on this particular content.

  155. SirHubert on December 1, 2014 at 7:07 am said:

    Helmut: I thought of ‘porphyr’ too, but my German isn’t good enough to know whether that could be used as a colour.

    Brian: yes, and you can add a capital L to that too. Are those your own suggestions? I’ve not seen them discussed anywhere else on a Voynich site. But are there instances, as with ‘rot’, of these letters being used in this way? I can’t help noting that all the places in the VMS where these letters are used are still uncoloured (although that’s not a fatal objection) in the circumstances.

    Diane: cheer up, and have another read of Death of the Author 🙂

  156. SirHubert

    Thank you. 🙂

    It has been pouring with rain in this part of the desert, so I’ve had too much spare time this past few days. I expect we’ll be back to it soon, though.

  157. SirHubert on December 1, 2014 at 8:27 am said:


    “it shows itself on enlargement to be classic ‘micrography’ of the medieval sort.”

    If we’re looking at the same flower – the one with ‘pur/por’ in the top petal, then I’d say that’s just how the colour has dried. If you look at the lower right petal of the same flower you get more or less the same pattern at the edge of the patch of blue.

    And as a general point, if you’ll forgive my mentioning it, the term ‘alphabet’ is fine to include consonental alphabets as well as those with vowels. The term ‘abjad’ is actually confusing, and I’ve hardly ever seen it used as a general linguistic term.

  158. Brian Cham on December 1, 2014 at 8:53 am said:

    Diane: When that small writing is digitally enhanced it appears to be the “pur” we are talking about. The larger glyphs just repeat that.

    SirHubert: Where is the L? Yes those are my own suggestions. Not sure what you’re asking. I don’t know of any other manuscripts with those labels, if that’s what you mean. The J isn’t uncoloured. I figured the F went with the (fauve coloured) bulb next to it which is too small to write a label in. Lastly blanc for uncoloured would make sense (sort of :P)

    I have also seen “sil” for silber and “b” for braun but these are highly uncertain so don’t quote me on that.

  159. Helmut Winkler on December 1, 2014 at 10:57 am said:

    sir hubert – pophyr can be used as a term for the colour as well as for the the stone itself

  160. Sorry to refer to my own blog, but there’s a convenient enlargement there with the micrographic string highlighted.
    Post is dated 23rd June 2013 at http://voynichimagery.wordpress.com

  161. sorry: ‘micrographic string’ is more or less slang. I should have said ‘string of micrographic characters’.

  162. Anton Alipov on December 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm said:

    I agree with SirHubert that there’s nothing in the “middle” petal, it’s just structural.


    “Porphyr” is not found in Lexer, although it’s there in e.g. DWB by the brothers Grimm. Is that OK? Perhaps it is, because XV century is technically not MHD, it’s rather FNHD?!

    More strange is what’s the point to encode the colour twice in the same flower but in two different ways – “por” and “p v”? A natural assumption is that one of these is NOT a colour code. But “p v” is met in other places, while “por” is not. I previously thought that this is “pol” (which could make some sense), but with new scans it’s evident that the last letter is not an “l”.

    BTW, if we are discussing micro-writings, I wonder if the “get” thing in f1r has been previously discussed in any way? I wrote about that some time ago: http://athenaea.net/index.php?id=56

    (Since then the library issued better scans, so some considerations in my post are now invalid, but this “get”-shaped something is still there).

  163. Anton Alipov on December 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm said:

    Also, in f67r there seems to be a sign behind the blue at 2 o’clock – like Pisces without a cross strike, or perhaps it was meant to be Aquarius. I was lazy to write about that, just recalled this in connection with the above discussion.

  164. Brian Cham on December 1, 2014 at 7:03 pm said:

    Anton: The repetition of color codes is indeed strange. Even stranger is the tiny Voynichese phrase inside a leaf (forgot the folio).
    I’m afraid I can’t see your “get” on f1r or the thing on f67r (even after enhancing). On the topic of hidden things, what do you think of the stuff at the top of f1r? Like that big “diagonal line and hook” thing or “eagle”. Or the erased plant part at the top right of f17r that has been colored in already.

    Back to f9v, around the flower in question, does anybody else see Voynichese “l” between the large petal and the one to its right?

  165. Anton Alipov on December 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm said:


    The green arrow here points straight to the letter “g” of the supposed “get” (or whatever it is): http://athenaea.net/images/12.jpg

    For f67r, here I marked with the red circle the place where you should look for it: http://athenaea.net/images/13.jpg

    If you play with color filtering, you’ll see that it’s hardly structural, it’s rather in the same ink as in which the lines are drawn. As I look at it know in the new scan, it even appears like letters “ge” (Gemini?) If we treat twelve o’clock as Aries, then 2 o’clock is the proper place for Gemini, and 11 o’clock would be Pisces then – it’s exactly where the arrow is drawn, which may stand for the beginning of the circle (vernal equinox). Although it’s all quite indecisive. Why mark specifically Gemini?

    Regarding f1r, I’ve no idea on those elements. I can make only a general note that the 1st page of anything (especially if that anything is not covered yet) is a common place to accumulate (re)marks that are not initially intended to be there – blots, accidental notes, lazy drawings etc. The “get” thing (if it’s really there) is surely of this nature. The “de Tepenecz” stuff also falls to this category, by the way 🙂

    The partly erased plant in f17r is notable, cause it necessarily attracts the attention of one who is pondering over “mallior allor”, but I think there’s nothing uncommon in that – the author began to draw, but then dropped the idea in favor of another flower.

    In f9v I think this is not a Voynichese “l”, but just an accidental element of the flower, if I’m looking at the right place (to the right of “por”). There’s a Voynichese “y” (or a Latin “g”) to the right of the rightmost flower though.

  166. Brian Cham on December 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm said:

    f1r – If you follow your green guide further right, you see the end of the formation more clearly, it’s a bendy rectangle. I think the “g” you see is the other end which is curved and has a little flick. Looks just like the bendy rectangles in the diagonal-and-hook thing at the top.

    f67r – I see there might be something but it’s so small and indistinct that I can’t read it as “ge” or anything you propose. If I stare at it for long enough, I can see either a mustache or a Space Invader. With the amount of heavy paint over the top it’s ultimately an exercise in pareidolia.

    The top-left circle marker reminds me of a thought I once had; excuse the detour. Nick, you said the word next to the circle marker on f57v was an overflowing word. But (I think) the author has not made an overflow mistake anywhere else. This is the first appearance of the circle marker in the manuscript, so I think it more likely that the word is a deliberate “start” label to introduce the idea that these markers stand for the start of a circular sequence.

    Back to f67r – 12 (like 7 and 4) could be so many things in this context.

    f17r – The strange thing to me is how it has already been colored. Are bits painted as they are drawn? Did a separate painter try to color this in?

    f9v – Yes that “y” is why I looked for other letters around the other flowers.

  167. Brian: a magic circle reproduced by Richard Kieckhefer has an almost identical overflow word by a circle of text. It’s nice, you’d like it. 🙂

  168. Brian Cham on December 3, 2014 at 2:15 am said:

    Nick: Not sure how to take that comment, but I’m looking at that circle. Interesting parallel, are you suggesting a direct connection? Could be a precedent but I don’t think it discounts a “start” label completely; the Voynich Manuscript author is so careful with layouts everywhere.

  169. SirHubert on December 3, 2014 at 10:04 am said:

    Brian: to answer your earlier question: basically, yes. There is one set of letters and abbreviations written in a distinctive “lower-case” hand, including the “rot” and “pur” (and I do think “por” is meant to be “pur”), and another written in a very different “capital letters” hand. The lower-case abbreviations seem to me to be very plausibly interpreted as German colour abbreviations, given that Rene has found another contemporary manuscript which uses the same colour codes. The capital letters I’m not sure about. Your suggestion that they’re French colour abbreviations is not impossible, but would be much stronger if we had a parallel.

    There are also several other letters and abbreviations which are different again. At least some of those may be copied over from an original, and at least some of those may possibly be written in a non-European script. Which would be quite interesting, wouldn’t it?

  170. SirHubert on December 3, 2014 at 10:08 am said:

    Brian: oh, and I love your comment “If I stare at it for long enough, I can see either a mustache or a Space Invader.” If only we knew a games designer…maybe they could combine the two?

  171. Brian Cham on December 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm said:

    SirHubert: Unfortunately I’m not in a position to find other manuscripts to act as a parallel. Nor would I be able to explain why color codes would be in two languages. Where is the “L” you mentioned?

    Any pointers to the other letters and abbreviations? I know of the “ij”, the “a,b,c…” sequence in the corners of the cosmo/astro section and whatever’s in the middle of the flower in f28v, but can’t recall any others off the top of my head.

  172. Anton Alipov on December 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm said:

    The problem with all those might-be-somethings is that we are judging by scans only, and surely with vain effort in half of the cases. Direct visual examination would quickly decide upon those, because you can look at different angles and with good light. But, of course, if everyone goes there to resolve his own guesses, the book will soon deteriorate, they won’t allow that.

    Maybe the community should work out a reasonable list of things to check, and then some major researcher experienced in dealing with ancient manuscripts goes there to run this checklist.

  173. Brian Cham on December 3, 2014 at 10:46 pm said:

    Anton: Not that I know anything about the subject, but fancy scientific X-ray scan stuff would be good. I recall some high-tech technique used to “see” a draft Mona Lisa under the current one.
    Hmm “the community”. Reminds me of that Kickstarter idea a few years back. You could try but there are fundamental flaws in the communication structure of the online community (same goes for a lot of things, but that’s a story for another day).

  174. Talking of folio 57v, I rather think that directly (nor nearly directly) behind each of the figures is inscribed a symbol for “cardinal point” or something of that nature. In the second-from-outer ring, behind the crop-haired – or dreadlocked – head, you see a glyph formed as it were a bent arm with hand upraised and a small ‘9’ above the ‘forearm’. However, around the same band, behind each of the other three, there is what I take to be a more rapidly written version of the same. Hence my suggestion of it meaning ‘cardinal point’ rather than anything more specific.

    The sign is certainly an unusual glyph, but I believe I have seen something like the less cursive version in another textual source.

    If this of any interest for the linguists or cryptographers, I’ll try to dig out more information.

  175. Brian Cham on December 4, 2014 at 8:11 pm said:

    Diane: Interesting but the one at the West position doesn’t align with the figure like the others do. Still, I would love to see what you have found.

    On the general note of hidden colour codes and the like, I think we are asymptotically approaching the limit of things we can usefully notice and discuss in the manuscript’s content as it is. It has been my belief that the only way real progress can continue is with an expansion to the information base we have to work with. For example further scientific testing/imaging, finding missing pages, finding other manuscripts with unambiguous parallels, finding other historical mentions and so on. Otherwise it’ll just be tiny increments of observations (most of which are duplications of previous efforts) that will finally peter out in the 2020’s at the latest.
    Possible exception is statistical studies, but it’s ultimately a gamble whether one will find a genuinely useful pattern.

  176. SirHubert on December 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm said:

    Brian: it’s a question of knowing where to focus your efforts. There isn’t a publicly available list of these ‘hidden letters’, for example. I don’t have the expertise to interpret them, but thanks to two insomniac daughters I do have the time to look at the manuscript carefully and list what I see. And then, hopefully, someone better qualified can build on that.

    And lots of people are currently working on the other areas you mention, and others too. Lots of interesting things have emerged in the last twenty or thirty years. Nil desperandum, and all that.

  177. Brian Cham on December 5, 2014 at 3:25 am said:

    SirHubert: Such a list does exist. Two of them in fact. Well, they did exist but disappeared like so many other webpages. For the building and working I assume you’re referring to the mailing list?
    I don’t dispute the talents and efforts of the community. But with the loose connections between sites and many of them eventually going offline, I find that so many are unaware of previous work (e.g. you and the hidden letter list, not that I’m blaming you) and end up duplicating it. That has to be considered.
    Don’t think I’m despairing, giving up or blaming anyone. I’m just making the (subjective) observation that the rate of (real) discovery has been slowing down and pondering about the ultimate cause of that.

  178. SirHubert on December 5, 2014 at 11:46 am said:

    Brian: you presumably mean Reuben Ogburn’s for one. Which is the other?

  179. Brian Cham on December 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm said:

    SirHubert: Yes. The other was by Glen Claston.

  180. Anton Alipov on December 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm said:


    I think that for the “real progress” we just need greater involvement of academia. E,g. please have a look at the article “VM408 folio86v ‘The Rosette Map’: Elements of a Mappa mundi and a map of the Elements” by Wastl and Feger (if you haven’t yet). Excellent article, that.

    Although f86v almost manifests itself as the awkward map of the world with Jerusalem in its center, there turn to be so many features – like Nile, antipodes or elements – which amateur enthusiasts (e.g. like me) would never be able to interpret (however long we painfully google), just because it’s specifically professional knowledge and specifically professional research.

    So I think that in the absence of great funding, only greater interest on the part of academic researchers will move this stone.

  181. Anton: unfortunately, I suspect you’re completely wrong about academic researchers. Academics seem to fare no better (and often a lot worse) than amateur Voynich researchers, simply because there are so many different pits for them to fall into. The Voynich Manuscript offers a tempting swamp for PhDs and the superbright to leap into, from which they can use their power of rhetoric to convince themselves (and sometimes others) that they’ve made a sound judgment call: but they almost never have.

    The real lacuna in the study of the Voynich Manuscript is a convincing conceptual framework to collaboratively work within that stands some chance of getting results. It’s something that I’ve been working on all year: I plan to post about it soon, so please don’t abandon all hope just yet. 🙂

  182. Anton Alipov on December 5, 2014 at 11:26 pm said:


    I spent some time amongst academic researchers in the past, so I’ll assume I’m not *completely* wrong about them. 🙂 What I mean is not “we urgently need a guy with a degree” (I hold one, but sadly it’s not in relative studies), but we need wider academic input (from multiple disciplines, of course) and more systematic effort.

    I think I guess whom you are hinting at, but I need to say it was the boom raised by him that even actually introduced the VM to many people – (me included, previously I only heard of it once or twice without much interest). And the absence of result or the wrong way taken in a particular case does not mean that we don’t need the activity.

  183. Brian Cham on December 6, 2014 at 1:49 am said:

    Anton and Nick: It’s all of those problems and more. Anton, from my blog you’ve probably seen my rant about the transcription. I’ve got plenty more where that came from…
    I partially agree with Nick about academics. They have more potential skill but they’re not an automatic benefit, they need collaboration and direction. Academics blindly entering the field and running in circles are no better than amateurs doing the same thing, especially if they let their egos get the better of them.
    Nick I’m not sure what you’re talking about there but I look forward to seeing it.

  184. Dear Anton,
    I’m naturally curious about these persons who see folio 86v as a map of the world, since it was never thought so until I explained it in detail, with cross-references to appropriate documents and imagery.

    Indeed, for all the many visitors who’ve read those posts – covering the map stage by stage and setting the unusual form in its geographical and historical context etc. etc., I don’t think one has expressed themselves convinced. On the contrary, Rene Zandbergen, Rich Santacoloma, and all that mailing list crowd were quite determined that nothing in it suggested a worldmap at all, let alone a western style moralised schematic east-facing ‘mappamundi’ of the Latin sort.

    So this is wonderful indeed. I shall see whether or not a copy is to be had over here. It will be fun to compare our interpretations.

  185. I’ve had a look at the paper, Anton.


  186. Anton Alipov on December 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm said:


    Regarding the map. What I expressed reflected my own trail of thought (once more I should excuse that I sometimes put it in a bit assertive way – because what seems evident to one may not seem the same to others).

    To make it clear, the chain was approximately thus.

    There are drawings identified as the T-O map in the VM -> The T-O map is also present in one of the corners of f86v -> from the “European” segment of the T-O map the adjacent circle does emerge which thus is likely to represent Europe -> thus is it is likely that the whole f86v is a “zoomed view” of the “T-O world” – > hence one of the two folio corners adjacent to “Europe” should be Africa -> a tower to the right resembling the lighthouse suggests Alexandria, and thus Africa is probably this one. Next, it has long been suggested that the central element of the map with all those temples represents Jerusalem, and indeed Wikipedia says that it was common to place Jerusalem to the center of such maps. This strengthened my view of the whole f86v as the map of the world. Without specific knowledge, though, this was my stopping point – e.g. I had no idea of Constantinople, antipodes (I thought that both other corners stand for Asia together), elements (I thought that those intermediate circles were some kinds of “connectors” like seas) etc. When shortly afterwards I read that article, it approved my general view, while providing those additional considerations.

    I was never subscribed to the VM mailing list and thus I am not aware of those previous discussions and if there are solid arguments towards this NOT being a map of the world, but again, ceteris paribus the map is I think the first that would come to one’s mind looking at f86v. If you say that it was by no means so for the past research, then perhaps this illustrates the effect of a “clean start”.

    I won’t stand for *all* suggestions of that article as a matter of fact (for example there is a wall in f86v leading to that supposed “antipodes” continent – why should a wall lead to a continent? On the contrary, there is a famous great wall in China). But again, notwithstanding the details, the general picture looks to me natural, reasonable, and consistent.

  187. SirHubert on December 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm said:

    Professional academics, like professional anythings, are normally better at what they do than amateurs. It doesn’t automatically follow – the difference is simply that professional academics do what they do for a living while amateurs don’t (and therefore normally do something else instead).

    The problem here is that there is no single academic discipline into which the Voynich manuscript fits. So in this case, it may well be that an amateur who’s studied it for years will know more about this particular object.

    To exemplify this, I’m afraid I’m going to invoke Stephen Bax, who simply stated that he was using Edith Sherwood’s plant identifications, without any further explanation. You can get away with that, sort-of, if you’re quoting a well-known and generally accepted standard reference, but Edith Sherwood’s blog does not fall into that category. Her article starts “It would normally be regarded as a distinct handicap when viewing the botanical drawings in the VM, never to have seen a medieval herbal or botanical manuscript…” and in my opinion that’s a pretty shaky foundation for Bax to use. If Bax thinks that Sherwood’s identifications are right, that’s fine, but I’d like to have that confirmed by an expert in mediaeval herbals or botanical manuscripts, please.

  188. Hi Anton, I liked Wastl and Feger’s paper too, but similarly found some shortcomings. I’ve written my thoughts about it, which you may find interesting:


  189. Anton Alipov on December 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm said:


    Thanks for the link to your post. I haven’t heard about that volcano idea of SantaColoma and Tattrie before. I find this likely to be a volcano indeed. It’s slightly strange why it’s so big compared to the supposed Europe as a whole, but maybe it’s been personally significant to the author or something. If it be a volcano, then its internal structure gives us a hint of how would author depict mountains in general.

    I don’t think your idea to swap Africa and “antipodes” is good – not because the “Nile” is not uncertain (it is), but because this idea contradicts the T-O picture. If the author did not believe in the T-O picture of the world, he would not have included T-O diagrams into the VM. On the other hand, if he believed in the T-O, then why would his large map contradict that worldview?

  190. Anton,

    I think the mountain is big because–like the other three attachments to the circles–it is designed to depict the elements rather than be part of the map.

    Also, the presence of T-O maps elsewhere in the manuscript should not stop the Rosettes being seen as a different kind of map. The T-O tradition was coming to an end by this time, and the creator was clearly innovating here. We must bear in mind that the possible T-O maps elsewhere in the Voyncih manuscript have only three parts, not four. Simply by adding a fourth–whether the anitpodes or some western continent–the writer was moving beyond them.

  191. Anton Alipov on December 6, 2014 at 6:51 pm said:

    But the T-O is not only somewhere, it’s directly in that folio as well!

    I don’t have a feel that the VM author was innovating in any way in his MS. Who were innovating at the time were Gutenberg and Ulugh Beg, not he. (This is just a subjective feeling which of course can not be checked until the script is understood).

  192. Brian Cham on December 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm said:

    Thing: Your proposal agrees more with the idea of the suns being East and West. The original paper take those to mean the equator but I’m not really sure where they got that from.
    Their Lighthouse of Alexandria idea is strange as they take the yellow top to mean “fire”, but all the towers have yellow tops. Equating the “bridges” to isthmuses is also strange since there are vaguely architectural connections between all of the circles, though some old maps did have Africa and Asia connected to Terra Australis.
    Your identification of the drawings from the circles to the centre being elements is pretty convincing. But here you say that they are not directly part of the map, and on your site suggest they could be Mount Ararat and Nile. What’s to stop the volcano from being something in particular?
    As for WestVinIceAntilAtlanEtcLand being associated with air, a brief check of world wind current maps shows that the Atlantic coast of Europe has West-to-East winds (i.e. towards Jerusalem).
    But how do you interpret what they call the Lighthouse and Constantinople in your layout? Note the lack of anything like the Pillars of Hercules.
    The mention of Atlantis being “swallowed up” and the teeth made me laugh. Would this pun work with the original Greek text?

    Anton: If we take the map as a four-way world map then it would necessarily contradict the T/O map.

  193. The idea of the manuscript’s having an “author” is no more than an idea, and not exactly a fair assumption for a manuscript produced in the first decades of the fifteenth century. Content that has evolved over time, but is brought together in a copy – in this case presumably one produced around 1438-40 or so – will show the effect of that transition. So in this case, the basis of the worldmap (as I explained) refers to a much earlier period, with two phases of addition most evident, these being dated (as I see it) to about the twelfth century, and then the latest additions to about the end of the fourteenth.

    So there’s no difficulty in seeing allusion to the old idea of the tripartite earth being added to an earlier, and very different habit in representing the world.

    What is more difficult to simply explain away is the fact that the attitude to representing the world, and the particular stylistics are absolutely incompatible with the “all-European” theory. I defy anyone to produce a Latin work made earlier than 1440 in which coastlines’ characters are depicted according to a systematic patternation.

    In addition, to depict the world as a square, and locate its quarters at the diagonals, and then represent each of the four regions (not continents) using its own culture’s visual “shorthand” is a thing I’ve never seen in medieval European art.

    The bottom line, of course, is that the folio is a *picture* and pictures have to be considered by reference to their technical aspects too.

    Apart from the objects depicted, one has to be able to

  194. Brian Cham on December 7, 2014 at 3:55 am said:

    Diane: Does this feature in any culture? I’m aware that the Chinese viewed the world as a square, but that’s it.
    If it is what we think it is, I wouldn’t call it a map per se. Maybe more like an abstract diagram that mainly represents something esoteric and metaphysical, and just happens to also feature places shoehorned into the conventions of the outer diagram.

    Also Diane do you agree with the depiction of Constantinople? If so does it suggest pre- or post-conquest?

    In any case I’m reminded of the thingy at the bottom left of f67v2 (four circles in the T/O). That could be a reproduction of the four corner circles in the rosettes superimposed over the T/O, which suggests the layout proposed in the original paper but with two corners in Asia (as was usual) instead of Asia and Terra Incognita Australis.
    Now for more baseless speculation, the pipes in top-left could be Sirocco from Africa, the fountain in the bottom-left could be the Indian Ocean and the “teeth” in top-left could be crescents (you can see some separated).

  195. Hi Brian, I think that the “elemntal” depictions may well belong to the continents in question, but their position and size should not be indicative of anything. Whether they all represent named examples, I don’t know.

    As for the “swallowed up” pun. I admit that it doesn’t work in Greek. Really the Atlantis suggestions was thrown in for fun. If that circle does depict a western continent I expect Antillia to be the likeliest candidate.

  196. Brian,
    When I began the analysis of this folio, it was considered almost as unreadable as the written sections. No-one had suggested it a world-map, but I reached that conclusion after some initial study.

    I have never thought it reasonable to merely “imagine” or freely associate ideas in order to explain the meaning of pictures – no more than it would be to rely on imagination to interpret for a third person the meaning of another’s spoken words when the language was unknown to that third person.

    Learning a new visual language and vocabulary requires quite a bit of work, as learning a spoken language does.

    Something of that sequential process, with a selection from the mass of comparative imagery I investigated, are offered along with my conclusions in posts I made to voynichimagery dot wordpress dot com.

    Referring others to that blog is more efficient, I think, than trying to recap the whole thing here, which (apart from anything else) uses up Nick’s bandwidth.

    If you read the posts, I hope you will comment, too.

  197. Brian Cham on December 9, 2014 at 12:58 am said:

    Thing: If it’s a western continent I think it’s not Antillia or it would have a clear reference to the seven cities. Found this about Vinland on Wikipedia: “The name was explained in both texts as referring to the savage inhabitants’ ability to tie the wind up in knotted cords, which they sold to sailors who could then undo a knot whenever they needed a good wind”. Could that be the link you’re looking for?

    Though with the ball-and-stick connection I mentioned in a previous comment, I’m inclined to think of the suns as equator, top-left as Africa, top-right as Europe, bottom-left as Asia below equator and bottom-right as Asia above equator. Although we now know that the vast majority of Asia is in the Northern Hemisphere, look at the 1475 Rudimentum Novitiorum (https://commons dot wikimedia dot org slash wiki slash File:1475_Rudimentum_Novitorum_Lucas_brandis dot jpg ) to see how they could be divided. The author balances the two Asian sectors equally, for example with Persia and some of the Holy Land in the “south”. Note the mashing up of times (Biblical places mixed with contemporary), the Garden of Eden in the east, and imprecise locations (Vinland in Europe? Cyprus/Cipr9 north of Rome?), where the most important thing is which places belong to which quadrant.

    Antipodes just doesn’t fit with an expanded T/O map; in that model antipodes would be the other side of the map and not represented.

  198. SirHubert on December 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm said:

    Brian: to pick you up on your earlier point, you are of course right that the wheel gets invented fairly frequently in Voynich research and with varying degrees of success. (“You’re so clever, you tell us what colour it should be!”). But there’s nothing wrong with people repeating work done by others to improve their own familiarity with the manuscript, both contents and as a physical object. It’s a bit like a student being translating Homer – of course others have done it before and doubtless better, but it’s a great way to learn. And, personally speaking, that’s why I’ve been looking page by page for “hidden letters” – it’s a reason to look carefully at every part of every page. I’m not expecting to find anything new or exciting, although for what it’s worth Ogburn’s list is incomplete, but I’ve learned a lot by doing so.

    The biggest problem, in my opinion, remains peer review, so that those of us working outside our fields of expertise can have some confidence that the work of others is generally considered sound. Nick does a pretty good job of being a one-man de facto peer review here, but it’s asking a lot for one person to do this to everyone’s satisfaction while also maintaining an open and tolerant blog.

  199. Brian Cham on December 10, 2014 at 12:00 am said:

    SirHubert: I’m sure it’s good as a learning/stimulation/communication experience, that’s why I was discussing it too. But there’s a difference between this and the problematic “reinventing of the wheel” I was talking about. We are well aware of what we’re doing and why, and of other/previous efforts. We have the information so we have the genuine choice.
    But others don’t have the luxury of that knowledge and repeat efforts fully expecting an innovation. That in itself isn’t too bad (hey, they learned something too) but if it was more accessible they could read it and perhaps choose to use their skills more efficiently in something not looked at before. When you multiply that many times you have a systematic problem.

    As for peer review, that’s another problem, yes. Among many…

  200. Brian,
    Could you elaborate on the “we” here?

    “We are well aware of what we’re doing and why, and of other/previous efforts”.

    If you are aware of previous work that is directly relevant to the sort of ideas you are floating, could others also be made aware of these, so that they too can compare your ideas with those.

    As example, one might consider Nick’s posts about “hidden letters” which allows a reader to follow in sequence from the first person’s notice of them, through various speculations about them, to the present state of opinion(s).

    Have you considered a similarly objective approach to the position you and your collaborators occupy?

  201. Brian Cham on December 10, 2014 at 7:42 pm said:

    Diane: By “we” I meant the commenters on this blog participating in discussion. Clever folk. Not “me and my crack team” if that’s what you were thinking.

    Unfortunately I don’t remember exact sources for the info, it’s just in my memory. I’ll think about that.

    Considered, yes, but no time yet for those sorts of posts, and a lot of my musings here are on the side. My main focus right now is on a different aspect which will be on my website. Though “objective” is not a term that sits well with the study of this manuscript haha.

  202. Juergen on December 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm said:

    Anton, Thing: Thanks for your kind remarks and view on our manuscript. First of all, we are not the Voynich academics you think we are. I can claim an academic background in Molecular Biology, one of the areas clearly not in multisdisciplinary Voynich-land. We are doing our research in our spare time like many others – this paper of ours took some considerable time to get together and we welcomed your positive feedback. For the manuscript ( which we wanted to put to proper peer-review and a journal) we finally decided against it and made it open access so everyone can find & read it (lots of things happening right now in that area: Open Access & Citizen Scholars, but I digress).

    Thing et al: I had not much time to read through your blog – very interesting. I will respond thoroughly after this weekend, however, I believe our theories do not contradict at all! I haven’t seen a comment by you about the climate resulting of the positioning of elements and continents. Would be interesting to have your view on it. As I said, I will respond soon – lots of time constraints right now.

  203. Dear Brian,
    Interesting your saying that “objective” is not a term that sits well with this manuscript. It is true, and the reason for its being true is something that puzzles me more than the manuscript itself – or to be more exact, the manuscript’s imagery.

    When you think that we have so many thousands of manuscripts on parchment and other media, all made before 1438, and that about those items there are written perfectly lucid and objective comments – altogether I daresay commentaries occupy more shelf-space than the manuscripts – then why on earth do people constantly behave as if the only way to provenance and describe this manuscript was by consultation with airy sprites and wistful imaginings.

    I sometimes imagine the scene if a ‘Voynichero’ were to walk into the hallowed halls of some other rare books collection and engage in the same sort of ‘hypothesis-making’ about any of those manuscripts. Raised eyebrows, and offers of an escort to the door would be the least of it – or so I imagine. 🙂

  204. Brian Cham on December 12, 2014 at 1:03 am said:

    Diane: To answer the question, the mystery of the manuscript makes it easier and more fun to make wild and imaginative speculations rather than do the research. Good inspiration for writing a story but of course not so useful for actual investigation. As for the nationalist “theories”, well their motivation is obvious.

    I’m imagining the scene now. Ecstatic screams of “Eureka! Da Vinci was an Atlantean!” followed by chuckles and facepalms. 😀

  205. 😀

    thanks for that, Brian

  206. SirHubert on December 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm said:

    “The codex belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of Germany (Holy Roman Emperor, 1576-1612), who purchased it for 600 gold ducats and believed that it was the work of Roger Bacon. It is very likely that Emperor Rudolph acquired the manuscript from the English astrologer John Dee (1527-1608). Dee apparently owned the manuscript along with a number of other Roger Bacon manuscripts. In addition, Dee stated that he had 630 ducats in October 1586, and his son noted that Dee, while in Bohemia, owned “a booke…containing nothing butt Hieroglyphicks, which booke his father bestowed much time upon: but I could not heare that hee could make it out.” Emperor Rudolph seems to have given the manuscript to Jacobus Horcicky de Tepenecz (d. 1622), an exchange based on the inscription visible only with ultraviolet light on folio 1r which reads: “Jacobi de Tepenecz.” Johannes Marcus Marci of Cronland presented the book to Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) in 1666.”

    Looks like Yale employ airy sprites in the Beinecke Library.

  207. Juergen on December 14, 2014 at 8:29 pm said:

    TH Ing: I really enjoyed your blogpost with the review of my previously published manuscript concerning the Rosette map and the depiction of continents, classical elements and their interaction (climate). I now had time to look at it in more detail – very interesting details and if we could agree on distinguishing classical ( c-Elements as I call them) from earthly visible ones (e-Elements) then our theories agree in many instances.
    I copy here the the link followed by the final paragraph ( I don’t want to annoy others here and waste time)

    For those interested in my response, here the paper/link: Wastl, Juergen (2014): Elements matter: The context and perception of classical and cosmological elements versus earthly and physical matter in the Rosette Map. figshare.

    here the summary:
    ‘TH Ings theory improves and develops further the existing theory, if one agrees and accepts the distinction between classical Elements and earthly Elements (physical matter) as proposed in this manuscript. TH Ing provides further proof and visual identification for physical Elements (e-Earth in Asia and independent confirmation of e-Fire for Europe) fitting into the climate model as previously postulated. TH Ing’s theory on its own can’t be combined though with the climate and classical Elements theory of Wastl and Feger, partly due to a lack of meaning for the cardinal circles and different geographical allocations.
    Furthermore, even without the topics addressed in this response ( in particular the positioning of Africa and the Antipodes and the positioning and identification of the River Nile) both have much common ground. It will be interesting to follow up on these in further discussions.

  208. Cor – brings back memories.

  209. Juergen: you’ve obviously put a lot of effort into this project, and the link you make between the specific representation of Paradise on the 1203 map and the similar shape on the Voynich rosette page is definitely the high point of your original paper.

    My ‘takeaway’ is rather different, though: if the shape is a representation of Paradise in the manner of the Beatus map, then it is one to which extra (curved internal) lines have been added apparently to obscure the overall visual meaning. Which points to at least two stages of construction (i.e. writing, and then obfuscation), which matches what we see elsewhere (e.g. on the reverse side of the same hexfolio). But this also suggests that we should be suspicious of everything we see on the page: that the original alpha state of the rosettes may well have been far simpler, but that the way they all ended up was far more distracting to the eye.

    All of which is to say that I now distrust the overall impression this page gives, and will therefore be treating it far more warily than before. Thanks! 😉

  210. Juergen on December 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm said:

    Nick: Thanks for your feedback and your point of view (sic). Until now I didn’t see it that way. Keeping an open mind (once someone is deeply immersed in the matter) is something one shouldn’t ignore or forget.
    You clearly provide some food for thought – questions that immediately come to my mind;
    – What was the first propose? (if the second or last was to mislead the viewer/reader)
    – Where is the border between the two (or more) stages?

    Re your comment on the effort I spent: It took some time and effort (whatever somebody is willing to spend on a topic like this – I guess there are many hooked Voynichistas).
    The ‘paradise’ connection was actually the first one that brought me to that folio (2012, after reading your book). Thereafter in chronological order followed the Nile (5 branches – I blame my Latin teacher) and Heavenly Jerusalem leading to the elements via Ether. I thoroughly enjoyed the voyage (so far) and actually learned a lot about medieval philosophy and classical elements in that process. If I can contribute either positively or negatively (by exclusion) a small step to advance the understanding then even better.

  211. Just for interest’s sake: I see that in 2010, Julian Bunn included a post on roughly this sort of topic – makes a good read.
    His blog is called ‘Computational Attacks on the Voynich Manuscript’; the post entitled ‘T-O’ maps and the moon (27/03/2010).


  212. Joris Hoefnagel was a painter of plants and was in Rudolf’s court before the time that name was written on the manuscript. If it was Rudolf’s, it would be natural for him to see it, and maybe re-make the pictures for the emperor’s taste. Hoefnagel had also been in France and Spain and England, so maybe even met John Dee some time?

  213. Dr. Diego Amancio  bigger computers.

  214. My name is Sukhwant Singh and for the past couple of months I have extensively researched in depth on MS-408 better known as the Voynich manuscript.
    I hope, my explanation will lead to resolving the Voynich manuscript once and for all.
    The origins of the VM ( Voynich Manuscript ) lies in 6000 miles east from its current location. The place is in North Eastern Sindh region which is a part of Pakistan right now. The explanation in the VM is copied from an even older original book written in “Brahmi” language about ( 300-400 B.C ). The knowledge and editions of the books were passed through generations of merchants( Known as Mahajan’s with Vedic knowledge ) in ancient Indus valley civilization which also gave the name “Sindhustan”, the Sindh region in particular which was divided into India and Pakistan in 1947.
    The book is divided into 4 parts as mentioned by the author( details below ) written in early 15th century as that’s the time period when Khojki was more prominent.
    The book was taken by the “Holy” man from town to town and based on the knowledge he had( He was the go to guy and first person to approach in case of issues, either injury or some depression, bad dreams, marriage and business, Hex etc. ) , and the facts he collected from the inhabitants/customer. This man would then recommend to-do things. The book also deals with what kind of women she is based on the type of hair she has, what type of clothes she wears, what to expect from the second wife of the husband etc. What to do if someone has Hex on you and how to figure it out and recommendations for getting rid of the Hex.
    The book is not written for others to read and is usually passed within the family from Father to Son or someone more capable whom the Mahajan has taught and guided himself.
    Some background…..
    When the Arab conquered the Sindh region in about early 700 ADs and moved more towards the east they started eliminating learned Sindhi scholars and Holy men, who enjoyed rich merchant heritage and were established in the region. With passage of time, “Urdu” language was forced in the region and subsequently became an official language and in current times known as Sindhi language (Descendant language of Landa script) which is currently written in Urdu script.
    In early 15th century Khojki language was used by many to write prayer hyms and guidance songs. The extended use of this script and the underlining Landa script also indicate that the author didn’t revise his book into the periods urdu language but made it’s knowledge more hidden by superimposing Khwaja Khoji Vowel marks on top of Brahmi languages ( K, Ki, Ku, Kuu, Kay, Kaay, Ku, Kho, KHU, KHUU Gutturals ( Guttural).
    Brahmi language is considered as the main language based on which current northern India languages are based on. It itself is part of Indo-European set of language whose base is Sanskrit in general. This timeline spans 1000’s of years from the period of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
    This VM manuscript is a very important book and will be another key to bind “Roma” people in Europe with their Sindh region ancestry. Most likely this book was taken along with the movement of Sindh’s migrant population 100’s of years ago( as slaves by Arab rulers ) and was preserved in good condition because the knowledge it would provide and likely the person owning it wanted to one day use it to establish the same respect the merchants of the Sindh region held. “Roma” migration from Sindh region resulted in scores of people being moved as slaves into Turkey and then current Europe.
    There has been plenty of scientific tests conducted on the origins of Roma people. The book landed from a Roma person into the hands of Italian rulers as the poor Roma people faced many atrocities in Europe and many times were eliminated by the countries in which they tried to make their settlements.
    The main issue to decipher the VM had to do with the place where it ended first and then later in America. Considering the “Nasal” phonetic words particular to “Landa” language (Ancestor language of Khudabadi, Mahajani, Gurmukhi, Khojki, Sindhi languages) are not spoken in Europe and for that matter in America.
    English does not have these sounds at all. So for that matter it becomes next to impossible to decipher it and all the false theories it has generated, including its origins.
    In America, it being predominantly English speaking world it adds to the problem where from ages researchers started emphasizing that the VM is some sort of minuscule Roman language or some false code system( It is not ).
    That miscategorization has hindered the deciphering of the language for such a long time.
    I have deciphered the alphabet to what I think it is( As I originally belong to Punjab region and I am aware of the cursive writings from the region as well as phonetics ).
    The alphabet contains 4 different character set from languages spoken in same way but written in different form. There was no consistency of a set language in the region.
    The merchants/judicial holy Sindhu men started using 3,4 languages mix in order to hide the contents( depending on the knowledge of the person and area he traveled ). This was done to protect business know-how and maintain superiority at that time. The languages used by the merchants of North western Multan and Sindh were “Multani” and “Landa/Khudabadi/Mahajani” apart from other regional dialects and written words. It was what the Sindhu Mahajan’s( Merchants ) used to do. This kind of book and knowledge was in demand as people relied on auspicious moon cycles and it was part of daily life and it is still in many parts of the world.
    Day and night are divided into 15 “Mahurats” or auspicious times, Year is divided in 12 months based on astrological signs ( Not January February etc.. ) The day and night each were divided into 8 parts each based on Sanskrit astrology ( pages 67v and 69v clearly depicts the division of 8 parts segments around the sun and moon )
    The times, days, years were not depicted as in Roman date forms, nor did they had the same timeline of 24 hours. This book is thus written with calculating moon cycles and the positions of 9 planets and the Vedic astrological knowledge is gathered from the original Brahmi book ( 300-400 BC or even earlier ).
    Some details of which are recorded in India’s archaeological preservations.
    The characters are also intermingled from dialects in the region but they sound and mean the same example
    CH, TA, JJH, K, KH are written in mixed scripts, which makes it difficult.
    The Brahmi scipts usage from which the MS 408 book was copied adds to more complexity, but the words used are common short 2-3 characters found in recent Devanagari language. This book probably had 1-2 readers( at that time, Mahajan himself and probably his son or someone else he took along on his business in various towns There were other people who had similar books but probably not as detailed as this one. Holy men were killed by Arab rulers and their books were burned so that Arab rule could be established in force and almost everyone follow one language, which was Urdu ( like Persian script ). This book most likely was hidden by the author and usually people like him belonged to higher castes who had good people connections as they were respected for their knowledge and guidance. The so called lower caste people were made slave labor and soldiers to fight in wars. It is likely that this book’s author was killed and as this book was hidden was later picked by someone else and taken along as an important document to be used later. The problem occurred to decipher it at that time too, so the Roma person kept for generations hidden in the belongings until it ended in front of some Italian king’s subject.

    The languages used in MS 408 are ( Yes, there are multiple languages, but their pronunciations are almost same ).
    Landa, Khojki and Brahmi are used throughout the book.
    1. Landa ( Which later became Sindhi, Khudabadi, Khojki )
    2. Brahmi ( 300- 400 B.C ) Which gives a reason to believe that MS-408 is copied from an original book
    3. Multani
    4. Mahajani
    5. Khojki
    6. Gurmukhi which is also a descendent of Landa script ( Words which cuts at the end and sounds individual standing separately ). Gurmukhi usage is very minimal, which tells that the book was written prior to the era in which the Gurmukhi was main stream in Punjab region around 1430 AD.

    The last page 116V is written by someone else other than the original writer as it contains characters from Sarada and JaunSari scripts from mountainous region of Southwestern Kashmir as those few lines are similar to later on what became Kashmiri Dialect and scripted language.

    First paragraph from 1r goes like this.

    “Many 100’s of years desire tradition and as requested by the cultivator from his pouring knowledge in under increasing guidance
    To accomplish it this promise of the interrogation of field subjects and about those manner for eating about their power learning from oneself condition about
    under ongoing sufferings about stuck in those conditions which has already affected them learning from them in self-help either called for taking care during taking care or
    When called by the messenger one about trees provided information in parts and about desire….”
    Voynich Manuscript belonged to a Roma Sindh person and is in Landa Khojki scripts

  215. New kid to the VM here. I saw a comment in this thread from a couple of years ago from Thomas Spande who thought the text was loaded with scribal abbreviations. I think it’s more than just loaded with them. Rather than the language being a cipher, I think all the characters may be scribal abbreviation characters. I have matched around 15 of the simpler characters so far, all of which were in use in Europe/UK in the 1400’s, using online paleography texts and examples. Some of the more complex characters are compound characters made up of two or three abbreviations.
    oh…. how do I post a picture to show examples?
    Is anyone else aware of any work along the same lines?

  216. xenon on March 4, 2015 at 12:49 pm said:

    OK… so, using abbreviation symbols, and vowels, for the spiral writing at the top right of 86v…. it’s a bit rough… but I get .. [word] appears [bright?] shining to the [word] equator and ecliptic[word] the sun constant [hours?] is constant to [or against] Aries.
    … the transliteration was… [word] apares [?]lla coruscar(es) el [word] ecuador en eclipticas estar o sol constantes orar o sol estar ares contrares [or perhaps constances].

  217. D.N.O'Donovan on March 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm said:

    xenon -the proprietor here has first take; otherwise do leave a comment on my blog. I’ll be happy to carry a post there for you.
    voynichimagery dot wordpress dot com

  218. Jimbo on June 24, 2015 at 4:14 pm said:

    Consider the possibility that the crowned woman in the ‘October’ Zodiac represents a real historical monarch. She is there, presumably, because she was born in October. She must have reigned somewhere between 1400-1450 according to carbon dates.
    A queen who fits all of this is Elizabeth of Luxembourg the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund 1 who was born on 7 October and was the regent from 1437 to 1439.
    (which may precisely date the manuscript).
    Depictions of her in the art of the time show her wearing a crown just like the one in the drawing.
    This puts the manuscript somewhere in the Holy Roman Empire of the time, which is a big chunk of Europe but mainly more central and eastern.
    It may be worth looking for other real queens who fit the criteria as I have not scanned all of Europe.
    I think that all of the ‘stars’ are just stylised non-specific flowers.
    The preponderance of ‘o’ at the beginning of labels indicates that it is not a real letter at least in these cases, but perhaps some kind of copula.
    I have just started looking into this and must avoid spending too much time on it!

  219. Jimbo: you’re starting in a pretty decent kind of direction – I don’t know if anyone has systematically compared the crowns on the zodiac nymphs with real fifteenth century crowns (such as the Holy Crown of Hungary, etc), but I’ll try to put up a page inciting someone to do so. 🙂

    As for word-initial EVA o- : I’d go further and say that whatever ‘o’ is, it is not a real letter. But then again, I’d probably say the same thing about EVA ‘a’, EVA ‘i’, EVA ‘n’, EVA ‘r’ etc if you were to ask. 😉

  220. Tricia on June 25, 2015 at 1:55 pm said:

    I have seen this done. I think maybe Ellie Velinska?
    Someone else compared them to crowns on the calendar of saints, which sounds more medieval.

  221. Jimbo on June 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm said:

    I have looked up the crowns of Hungary and they do bear a strong resemblance to the one depicted.
    There are crowns with crosses on top in Poland and other places (France, England etc) so its not exceptional.
    Other candidate queens – Mary of Anjou born 14 October 1404 and Catherine of Valois born 27 October 1401 (maybe that is Saggitarius).

  222. Thomas on June 25, 2015 at 1:58 pm said:

    Nick: the Holy Crown of Hungary is so distinctive with its bent cross on top, that no one could wish for a more obvious give away sign. BTW I am still changing my allegiance daily. Currently I am fervent dianese. 🙂

  223. Emma May Smith on June 25, 2015 at 3:12 pm said:

    Jimbo: a huge number of words in the VM begin with EVA o (over 20%). Given that the labels in question may be predominantly nouns, singular, feminine, or indeed share some specific trait, could be reflected in the initial character. When you have a list of alike things, sometimes their names are also alike.

    Most Roman forenames for women ended in -a, and many of those for men ended in -us, when in the nominative case. Japanese female names often end in -ko.

    There are also phonological process which can insert sounds at the beginning of words in certain situations. Utterance initial (as individual labels may be) could be one such environment.

    There may also be a process which deletes whatever sound EVA o stands for when it is initial, but which is only found in running text. Hence it is more common in labels where such a condition does not apply.

    Although some patterns may seem unbelievable, hypothetical explanations at least show they are possible. Dismissing them narrows the evidence we have open to us.

  224. Emma May Smith: to be precise, dismissing hypothetical explanations (particularly very low probability ones) doesn’t narrow the evidence we have open to us – rather, it narrows the range of (low probability) explanations we feel we need to invest our time into evaluating in further depth.

  225. EMS: I should perhaps give a specific example. There is now so much specifically fifteenth century evidence about the Voynich Manuscript’s first few years of existence that I personally feel it is utterly safe not to consider 20th, 17th, and even 16th century forgery narratives about it.

    Yes, I completely accept that there is a possibility that some forger or hoaxer with near-superhuman powers could have been able to produce a Baudrillardian simulacrum in the style of the Voynich Manuscript that somehow manages to mimic all the behaviour and history it presents. But I also completely accept that there is a possibility that I am a programmatic version of me typing this from within a gigantic simulation of reality. And in neither case do I really judge that the probability of that possibility to be anything apart from dwindlingly minute. 🙂

  226. Emma May Smith on June 26, 2015 at 8:03 am said:

    Nick, I would not regard the arguments for a non 1400s date as even hypothetical, for they do not explain the evidence available. Even so, you are quite right that we can dismiss extremely low probability hypotheses.

    Yet EVA o and the linguistic/cipher arguments around it (and the script as a whole) are not in this class.

  227. Thomas on June 26, 2015 at 9:20 am said:

    The eternal encryption theory. 

    Did anyone think of this alternative theory? Besides the meaningless glossolalia and meaningless fake language creation theories, there is a possibility of permanent, unbreakable encryption of meaningful information, too. I would term this the eternal encryption theory.

    To describe it with an analogy, the eternal encryption is like closing shut a keyless padlock for good. And whatever is locked by this one-way working padlock, cannot be accessed by anyone ever, not even the person who locked it shut.

    The simplest example for this is mixing up randomly the letters of the originally meaningful plain text. I don’t know why anyone would want eternally to encrypt and so to hide from even himself a meaningful text for good. But I don’t need to demonstrate any possible reason for it. This act can be performed, however crazy and purposeless it may seem.

    Rugg’s process need not come from tabulated random syllables. It may come from tabulated syllables of meaningful text, orderly set in rows, columns or diagonals etc. in the table then read with randomly placed random templates.

    Rugg’s premise that the Voynich script is language like but meaningless, need not imply that it is not an encrypted meaningful material or simply not an encryption. I hope I demonstrated it that it can be an encryption of a meaningful text, even that which may have lost its meaning forever in the course of encrypting.

    Perhaps I am the first person in the entire world who thought of the concept of eternal encryption. But I do not promote it as my theory. I just spotted a possible niche in the market for others.

    What I’d say more seriously instead is that I have noticed, Rugg’s process may be applied to orderly tabulated syllables of meaningful text, too. And so he unintentionally though, but equally proved the possibility of encryption through his method, and not only of the creation of language-y gobbledygook from random syllables.

    In which case, the Voynich script should also be attacked with tries of reverse tabulating the syllables into rows, columns, diagonals etc. via various templates. I do not claim that I am the first owner of this idea, and very possibly I am not the first, anyway.

  228. xplor on June 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm said:

    Could the Voynich be part of a greater work and what we see is something like a glossary ?

  229. Jimbo on June 26, 2015 at 3:30 pm said:

    I presume that somebody has already pointed this out, but, regarding the Zodiac series –
    f70r – 29 ladies
    F70v – 15 ladies plus f71r – 15 ladies. Total 30.
    f71v – 15 + 15 =30 and 30 again and 30 again.
    f72r – 30 ladies and 30 again
    f73r – 30 ladies.
    f73v – 30 ladies
    f75v – 30 ladies
    So, is the author drawing a lady for each day (even though there were some months with 31 days back then).
    If so, what could be the purpose of enumerating this very non-secret fact?
    On some folios ladies have been added to the top as if the author had not planned his spacing in the intended rings and had to make an ad hoc reparation.
    This makes it look like the document is a hurriedly drawn draft for a final document that may never have been produced (or maybe a final version was never intended).

  230. Thomas on June 28, 2015 at 10:15 pm said:

    Jimbo: Upon one czech collegue’s passionate insistance on the VMS being czech, I cursorily researched this possibility, which is quite plausible, though not on the sparse evidence he presents.

    Among his claims is that the crowned lady is Barbara of Cilli. I looked up and there indeed is a strong resemblance of her crown on this picture.

  231. Thomas on June 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm said:

    Jimbo: the link failed to go through, so the picture is this:

    File:Meister der Chronik des Konzils von Konstanz 001-cropped.jpg

  232. Jimbo on June 29, 2015 at 1:18 pm said:

    I considered Barbara of Cilli also. She is a possibility and it’s a pity that history has forgotten her birthday. I fact, it’s remarkable how many birth dates or even years of birth are forgotten from these times – even for queens.
    I also thought that the Zodiacs might list name days but that doesn’t pan out that well. Anyway, modern name days may be different to 15th century name days.
    Apparently it’s a custom in Hungary to give women flowers on their name days. How old is that custom, though?

  233. Anton Alipov on June 29, 2015 at 1:54 pm said:


    There have been a discussion recently in the comments here and also in the blog of David Jackson upon that subject of the ladies composition, you may be able to google it out; I still believe that the “folk calendar” direction is well worth further investigation.

  234. Thomas on June 30, 2015 at 7:17 am said:

    Jimbo: The name days custom may come from the saints’ days, so it is maybe saints’ names that are written into the zodiacs…?

  235. Jimbo on July 1, 2015 at 2:26 pm said:

    Thomas: the same problem exists if name days or saint days are postulated. That is – the text uses a limited character set which is repeated in a different order over and over. If it were a list of names I would expect the use of a greater range of characters. That’s what I meant when I said that it doesn’t pan out.
    If the text is a list of names it is not a simple letter substitution in any language.
    So, even if if am on the right track (or if anybody else’s hypothesis is on the right track), it still comes down to proving it, and that comes down to cracking it. That’s the dead end for everybody.

  236. Diane on July 9, 2015 at 7:21 am said:

    My theory, to account for the bizarre way in which the course of Voynich studies moves, is that there are perhaps two or three people in the world with a genuine interest in the manuscript.

    The rest are interested only in having a turn at adding one more piece to the growing house of cards, one predicated on absolute determination that the work WILL be an object interpretable entirely by the corpus of European Christian Latin traditions. And very conservative limits maintained, even there. What we have ended up with its a virtual-reality manuscript, and a ‘course of research’ reads like the diary of a role-playing game’s MC.

    Its a collective delusion that the manuscript reflects, in any way, the habits, texts, or imagery of medieval Christian European society. Not really such a great game, but if you won’t play you’d better leave.

  237. Diane: I’d heartily oppose the suggestion that there is any kind of organized thought pattern permeating the Voynich research ‘cloud’, whether that’s an assumption of Christian European society, fifteenth century origins, or whatever. If anything, quite the opposite seems to be true.

  238. Anton Alipov on July 9, 2015 at 11:15 am said:

    f116v marginalia, as well as the color codes in herbal pages strongly suggest at least *some* relation to the “medieval European society”. I don’t know how it is possible to close eyes upon this fact.

  239. Anton: Voynich research eyes (and indeed cipher mystery research eyes in general) typically seem to have very powerful (and well-exercised) closing muscles. 😉

  240. Diane on July 9, 2015 at 11:54 am said:

    I wouldn’t dispute that the manuscript, as artefact, was manufactured i.e. produced in the early fifteenth century and probably in northern Italy.

    Where an artefact is made may, or may not, tell you anything about the content, its origins, age or nature.

    In this case, and reviewing the past century and more of Voynich studies, I see the “all Latin European” paradigm taken as a first position, and then later evidence hunted to support it. I consider what has happened to anyone, amateur scholar or otherwise, who has attempted to get through to people that the content doesn’t agree with that fixed idea. For example, independently Edith Sherwood and I (and perhaps others) all came to the common conclusion that one folio represents types of banana plant.

    I showed pretty conclusively that Latin European botanists had no clue as to what a banana plant looked like – and the culture in Europe did not deign to consult such lesser beings as merchants or seamen. Even when Poggio Bracciolini tried to learn about foreign plants, he was unable to do so – no technical terms in common.

    So this, in the normal way, would be taken as a fairly convincing bit of evidence for the work’s not being entirely the product of a Latin European auteur. Nope. Whole thing was glossed (or sneered) over.

    Same when Stolfi found the probable language Jurchen. Argument not adressed or formally opposed. Ad hominems until he left.

    Wiart and Mazar wrote a short article mentioning just two folios – came to the same view as I had. The botanical section doesn’t show European species. (I’d explained a lot more, and identified about 20, I think – but again.. ).

    That’s why I think the present state of things is just a fantasy-game. Scholarship looks at, weighs, accepts and acknowledges things which change one’s way of seeing the manuscript.

    I’m exasperated, but I continue. I do think that there are two or three people in the world genuinely interested in this fascinating manuscript. I agree with the earliest of the European experts in medieval manuscripts in thinking that it is a really valuable piece of history.

  241. Diane: I think it misleading to say that Jorge Stolfi identified a “probable language”. Given that he didn’t identify a single letter (and I don’t believe he ever claimed to do so), his interest was more in using statistics to identify deep structural features and similarities between languages (which may or may not be causally connected). Even after this long-ish period of time (i.e. between when he was active and now), this line of enquiry has failed to yield any further insight, despite a good number of people taking his results seriously and trying to develop them. Again, I’d define that as almost the opposite of “ad hominem”s.

    And as for researchers who cherrypick a limited number of herbal drawings without coming to any systematic conclusion about the rest of the herbal drawings, they seem to me to be inviting pareidolia to their research party with open arms. At the least, please accept that all herbal section identifications so far have been contentious because they only offer explanations for a subset (sometimes a tiny subset!) of the drawings, and are Wittgensteinily mute about the rest.

  242. Anton Alipov on July 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm said:


    Yes, I understand what you mean, and in fact the notion of distinguishing the content from the artefact is certainly reasonable, and should be included among the starting points of research. I agreed with that more than once.

    You point that the hypothesis of “European artefact with European content” meets certain obstacles. That is true.

    But the hypothesis of “European artefact with non-European content” meets certain obstacles as well. To name one of those: the main content of the VMS is the text in the unknown script. But the last line of f116v winds two words of the unknown script into some European text. Even if one does not agree that “so nim gas mich” is a coherent phrase in FNHD (Frühneuhochdeutsch), and even if “valden ubren” (or whatever it is) still lacks appropriate explanation, one would hardly deny that the Latin alphabet is used in this line of f116v. Thus Voynichese and Latin are used together in a single line. So either the creator of the “non-European” content was aware of the Latin alphabet (and for some reason suddenly chose it together with Voynichese to express his thoughts), or the creator of the content was a Latin European himself. In either case there is a clear relation of the content creator (not of the artefact creator!) to the European world – be that his belonging to the latter or simply some cultural relation or mediation.

    To assert that the *content* is *totally* unrelated to the European world is not correct.

  243. Just to point out that ‘Musa’ (banana plant) appears in illustrated MS herbals of the 14th and 15th Century:
    BN Lat. 6823 fol. 105v,
    Casanatense 459 fol. 165v,
    Sloane 4016 fol. 63r.

  244. Diane on July 9, 2015 at 2:56 pm said:

    Thanks for mentioning this – you make it clear that I wasn’t clear. I didn’t mean that there was no knowledge of a plant, usually called something like “the tree of wisdom” etc.

    What I meant to emphasise is that European botany had no idea of what the plant looked like, yet the picture in the VMS is just fantastic, and shows very clear knowledge of every aspect of the plant’s development.

    The same ignorance is often seen in European medieval sources, where they draw something-or-other and give it the name of a plant in their written sources.

    Offhand, I think the first mention of the banana in any Latin Christian work occurs in a Mozarbic text of the ninth or tenth century.

    So, no my point wasn’t that you get a picture labelled with the term used for bananas, but that you don’t get a picture of the banana plant.

    By the way, there’s a lovely image of Aldrovandi’s banana online. I expect you know Pinterest?

  245. Diane on July 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm said:

    I don’t know that the problem is a problem with the “argument” – an argument can be developed which sounds perfectly plausible and has complete internal consistency – but which is still dead wrong. Usually because there is a fundamental flaw in the initial, and unquestioned premises.

    I think that is largely what has happened. I had never seen, before I began work myself on this manuscript, any time *whatever* when someone sat down and asked the really most basic questions, such as, “Is the content of this manuscript contemporary with the date of manufacture?”.
    It is quite mind-boggling to realise just how many of the usual steps one takes in provenancing a manuscript have *never* been taken, the most fundamental questions never asked, and by about 2000, the presumptions – of European origin, of authorship and of first enunciation of content as contemporaneous etc. were not just ingrained, but formed the whole basis from which any work was done. Even to raise these most elementary question was (in c.2010) to risk being considered irrelevant because “everybody knew” this that and the other… but none of it ever established, not even by basic, initial comparative study.

    It’s astounding. As if the Chinese found a text written in Latin and decided that because it was found on Chinese land, made with Chinese paper therefore no alternative could be countenanced except that the written text was some form of Chinese!

    – not that I’m saying the text is Chinese. Just an analogy.

  246. Diane on July 9, 2015 at 3:32 pm said:

    correction – that image isn’t available to the public – sorry. There is another of Aldrovandi’s online, showing the Indian mastic (or mastich) plant, Calamacorus.

  247. I think this is quite relevant, otherwise I would have refrained from commenting.

    One wouldn’t want to fall into the trap of believing that a 15th C drawing (in particular in the Voynich MS) should be an accurate (photographic) representation of any object.

    I wonder if the supposed banana plant in the Voynich MS is on f13 (recto). I remember getting a very excited call from Andreas Sulzer in 2008, in preparation for the (in)famous documentary, saying that someone identified this as a banana plant. Therefore, the MS could not be very old.

    This is of course wrong on several counts, the most fundamental problem being, that, just because something in the MS ‘looks like’ something we know, it must represent it.
    (The other being that banana plants have been gradually introduced in S.Europe since the 9th C. or so).

    The Scorpio in the zodiac looks like a lizard.
    A small selection of the containers in the pharmaceutical section look like old microscopes or opera glasses.
    The Aries in the zodiac looks like a goat.
    etc, etc,

    In summary, even if f13 (recto) really shows a banana plant, this would not be anything too surprising. However, a reknowned herbal expert clearly told me that this drawing is not a credible 15th C representation of a banana plant.

    Either way, there is nothing that would allow one to draw any conclusion whatsoever.

  248. Diane on July 10, 2015 at 10:46 am said:

    One expert (me) has told everyone, and explained in detail that the plant has been represented according to non-European conventions. Various botanists have also identified that folio as a banana plant.

    I absolutely agree with your anonymous person that the plant is not depicted in accordance with 15thC *European* custom. And that is precisely my point.

    Failing to include there the modifiers “Latin” and “European” perfectly demonstrates my point about the ingrained habit in Voynich studies of beginning from a presumption that the content of this manuscript will be entirely a product of the Latin European milieu, in art as in corpus of knowledge.

    I don’t know how to put this any more simply. The iconography, in style and in content (e.g. its way of representing the banana-group, and the fact that it does) are among the myriad indications that that “Latin & European” presumption is inappropriate.

    The alternative to Latin Europe is not the Americas, nor did the world east of Suez magically appear ex nihilo upon da Gama’s rounding the Horn.

    It is quite a struggle to get through to amateurs fed the heroic tales of nineteenth century European triumphs that the world east of Suez had a very vibrant life and lines of trade into the Mediterranean long before da Gama was born.

    I would appreciate your help in the endeavour.

  249. Diane on July 10, 2015 at 10:56 am said:

    I must also protest the line of argument implicit in your saying that imagery cannot be interpreted correctly unless it is of the ‘photographic likeness’ sort. To be frank, that is a nonsensical position. Even in medieval Europe a great proportion of imagery is abstracted, stylised, allegorised and represented in other that the rather mundane literalist style.

    If your argument held, then the greater part of our art-histories would have to be torn out and burned, representing other than ‘correct’ forms.

  250. Thomas on July 11, 2015 at 4:18 pm said:

    Diane: I cannot see a difference between the forms of the wooden crosses on sale in churches and the form of the schematic line-drawn cross on f79v.

    I understand that you do not find anything in the imagery of the VMS that is related to Christianity, and so you argue that this depicted cross is not a Latin or Christian cross, because its form is not of the Latin or Christian cross.

    To me, a naive observer, it is of the same form. And when I see something like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then for me it is a duck.

    Despite however, I do not argue that the first enunciation of the VMS cannot be of a culture that is independent of Christianity. I only argue that the actual imagery, through supposed European copying of an earlier, original work, employs such Christian elements as crosses. And, maybe it employs such in a manner that is corrupting the purity of the original enunciation.

    Again, I am also aware that the crown with the cross on top of it may be a later addition or alteration to the imagery, as others have suggested that already. So the cross on f79v may be later addition too, if I may suggest it, though without any firm foundation. Who knows?

    But I play my role as the devil’s advocate not in the slam-bang style. If it was the issue of an image of a swastika in a medieval manuscript, I would certainly not be butting in if you argued with elementarily ignorant folks, that it had nothing to do with the much later Nazi imagery because of the context and difference in eras.

    But, returning to the cross, I need enlightenment. What sort of hand size cross-shaped objects, practical or symbolic, existed independently of Christianity or of the roman instrument of punishment and execution, in other cultures?

    I intend to be serious, but allow me frivolity too. A cross shaped box of oriental chopsticks (fitting lengthwise) and toothpicks (across)? 🙂

  251. Anton Alipov on July 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm said:


    The main problem with the supposed cross in f79v is that it is strangely “lumped”. However, there are some other resemblances of the Christian cross, such as that on the crown or those on objects looking like orbs.

    The cross is one of the most ancient symbols and dates back to primeval society. My “Great Soviet Encyclopedia” says that it has its prototype in the ancient primitive tool for producing fire.

  252. Diane on July 11, 2015 at 6:57 pm said:

    Thomas, let me untangle the back-to-front bit of argument first.

    The person who asked me to look at this manuscript supposed, as everyone did, that it was a product of medieval Latin Europe. On that basis, I expected to offer an opinion after a day or so. Nothing in the manuscript reflected any known tradition in medieval Christian art – including the herbal tradition, I might say.

    I then spent a couple more weeks puzzling over that discrepancy, and trying to find the seminal paper in which the supposed Latin European provenance had been established. I found that this first, fundamental stage had simply never occurred. No-one had studied the manuscript, looked at a wide range of comparative evidence, and then after weighing it all come to that conclusion. Wilfrid Voynich just asserted that the date and place of manufacture were those of initial enunciation for the matter contained. Thereafter people worked hard – some very hard indeed – to produce plausible excuses for that first, inexcusable error.

    To discover where the matter *had* come from – and in the process realising that the whole was extracted from at least four or five earlier sources – took a fair while. About 18 months in all.

    And my conclusion was that nothing in the imagery required a date for first enunciation much later than the third century AD, though there were signs of addition and ‘modernisation’ all of which could have been completed before the end of the fourteenth century. In other words, everything in the manuscript copies earlier material.

    I found nothing in the imagery to support the theory of Latin Christian origin. As I explained when treating the cruciform object, there is no parallel in Christian imagery for a religious icon, and specifically a cross being held in this way at arm’s length by a naked female. It is quite unheard of, contrary not only to the norms of Latin iconography but contrary to the whole tenor of western Latin custom.

    I don’t doubt that when you look at that object you do not think to compare it with anything but a Christian cross, but that is quite a different thing from saying that the person who drew that object was in the same position as yourself. In any case, it isn’t a Roman style cross. Its form, with the addition to one side of the cross-bar is rather closer to certain forms of measuring device used in the older Mediterranean, and of which we have some examples extant from Egypt.

    Perhaps you’d care to read the short essay (a.k.a. blogpost) in which I explained all this several years ago. Save my wasting too much of your time, and Nick’s bandwidth here.

  253. Helmut Winkler on July 11, 2015 at 7:34 pm said:

    … there is no parallel in Christian imagery for a religious icon, and specifically a cross being held in this way at arm’s length by a naked female … Mateo Cerezo, De boetvaardige Maria Magdalena, Rijksmuseum NL, http://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/?/en/items/RIJK01xxCOLONxxSK-C-1347

  254. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 2:12 am said:

    Precisely – as I explained all those years ago, the nearest parallel is Magdalen, and she is not shown:
    * with a cross (that is not a cross, but a crucifix. The difference is whether or not a figure is attached)
    * naked – she is not naked. The magdalen is usually clothed in some way. As indeed she is in that picture
    * holding the cross at arms’ length. Which she is not doing.

    What you have shown *is* a typical image of western Christian art. A *partly unclothed* female who stands before a crucifix **which she does not touch**.

    One constant difficulty, I find, is that people who have a sense that the manuscript *must* be a product of western Latin thought, cannot see that the elements forming a picture have equal weight. One cannot say “oh well, the clothes don’t count as a difference…. the form for the cross is quite different, but that doesn’t count… she isn’t naked.. but that doesn’t count…”. Discard all those elements and you discard those by which western custom allowed a person to distinguish an image of Magdalene from that of St. Theresa, or either from any number of other figures who are shown praying before a crucifix.

    You might as well argue that there’s no distinction, really been an apple and an orange and that to insist on the difference is just quibbling because they’re obviously both sort-of reddish and more-or-less round and both fruit.

  255. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 2:44 am said:

    and Helmut – just as a point of form. It is usual to compare a given work with ones produced before it was made, or nearly contemporary with it. If you couldn’t find anything comparable until almost three hundred years later, I do understand. I’ve been down that road, too.

  256. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 10:05 am said:

    That people have to try so very hard to find anything at all to support a theory of Latin Christian origin for the content is proof enough of the opposite.
    Find me an exception to the rule that western Latin manuscripts proclaim their religious and political attitudes in every image (not diagram) and every folio.

  257. Diane: what do you mean by “image (not diagram)”? Are you trying to exclude herbals / books of machines / zibaldone etc?

  258. Thomas on July 12, 2015 at 10:43 am said:

    Diane: I accept it that you had found nothing in the imagery that could support the theory of Latin Christian origin. In fact I am sympathetic to your very learned view that the subject matter in the VMS must originate from an early, non-Christian background.

    Having said that, the depicted cruciform object in question may still come from the Christian conditioned mindset of a later, possible European copier living in a Christian milieu, who may have introduced this device, thus possibly carelessly polluting the pure original spiritual or practical subject matter. We have no proof either way.

    When I look at the detail of the drawn cruciform object, I cannot see its thickness, so it may or may not be of a sheet of material. But the draughtsman may not cared to show a thickness, just as seemingly he did not care about the life like depiction of the proportion of human body parts.

    The lumped quality of the cross is not entirely clear for me. Is this adjective referring to the casual, maybe so perceivable as disrespectful way, it seems to be held by the lady? Today, Christians wear cross earrings in their ears, or I see a devout woman going to church with a chain around her forehead, with a cross pendant in front. Are these crosses lumped too?

    Now, with less shallow understanding, though I could have looked up if I was not that lazy, I see that of course this object could be many other things than Latin or Christian cross with its certain symbolic meaning.

    If not fire maker or measuring instrument or even a tool for drawing ellipses, then it could be even something that no written document depicts or explains in the history of mankind. Except maybe the VMS itself. And alas, we have no proof either way.

    For if we have no proof that the crown with the cross was added later, then we must still consider it that it was drawn at the time of the manufacture of the VMS. And if it was, should not we argue that the cross shaped device on the crown also is not a Christian or Latin cross, because the general imagery does not support a European Christian origin theory for the manuscript?

    I repeatedly stress it that I in no way pursue that theory. I only uphold my belief in a possibility of the presumed European copier of Christian background introducing the discussed symbolic device somehow freely and carelessly, and so bringing in an irrelevant or contaminant element into the original and pure enunciation of the mysterious ideas in the Voynich.

    Then, even one more aspect can exist. If I was a painter, an artist, I could have a concept for a work with a mysterious, abstract message that could be interpreted differently and subjectively by many individuals. With a touch of my frivol side again, I’d paint a naked man lieing on a waterboard, while a group of men, holding high an un-lumped cruciform object, pour water on his face

    If this painting survived six hundred years, future art experts, trying to understand its meaning, could argue that this cross has nothing to do with Christian ideas, because it does not look like any known example of Christian imagery. Of course I could have said that in a secret note on the back of the canvas. But, if I did not say, what that cross is doing there…?

    The question can be deeply abstract, let us admit.
    I am sorry for my free lateral, vertical and longitudinal thinking. I have still not a clue… 😀

  259. For me this is all much ado about nothing. I can’t remember anyone ever saying that this is a Christian Latin (or v.v.) MS. Proclaiming that this is not a Christian MS is like kicking in an open door. The lack of any certain religious imagery has been continuously recorded for decades.

    What always surprised me is why that should even be a problem. The Voynich MS is (as far as can be judged from the illustrations) a philosphical miscellany with a large emphasis on herbal medicine. Herbal MSs aren’t exactly known for their religious contents. Neither are astronomical MSs. So, there really isn’t anything unusual.

    If the Voynich MS has any dedication to any religion in its text, we’ll only know if someone ever produces an interpretation of it. A generally accepted one, I should say.

  260. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm said:

    Thanks for the question. I exclude diagrams such as astronomical diagrams or that on fol.57v as a general thing, because when that sort of drawing is made, it tends so often to be identical whether in a Latin manuscript, a north African, Syrian, Persian, Indian or Armenian manuscript.

    In practice, there are distinctions quite apart from the language of inscription – such as whether vegetable or mineral pigments predominate, and the type of parchment etc.etc. but they do not “proclaim their religious and political attitudes” to nearly the same extent as other forms of imagery do. It’s the same today, of course, an engineer’s diagram could come from anywhere if you discount the inscriptions.
    Contrast that with the figure of a king on a throne – it will invariably announce its attitude to kingship, to clothing, to religious allegiance and so on. The Vms crowns tell us little more than that at some stage people who knew the look of European crowns had reason to inscribe a couple or three. But we knew that. 🙂

  261. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 1:08 pm said:

    oh, sorry – that sounds awfully dismissive. I think the crowns are telling details, but they could be telling of all sorts of things – just by way of ‘f’rinstance’ – what if they relate the stones appropriate for a given crown to the stars believed to rule over that stone? Maybe the crown is there just as a memory-jog: sapphire in the such-and-such crown as example of this star’s virtue and so forth?

    This is how it goes… a list of all the historically sensible possibilities, then endless labour finding which (if any at all) are compatible with everything else gained so far.

  262. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm said:

    Nick – about the crowns. If I were you, which I ain’t, I’d haul out an old astrolabe and see if there were any correspondence between crown’s posited land and the equivalent celestial llongitude – just saying.

  263. Diane on July 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm said:

    Coming to understand the information offered by imagery in a manuscript such as this is rather like the process of working out a three-dimensional jigsaw, one with a thousand pieces or so. Given your natural inclination to “lateral, vertical and longitudinal thinking” I’d say you’ve got a good start. Now all you need is about ten years’ worth of solid reading and study, and ten years is nothing in Voynich research – you may yet be first past the post. Good luck.

  264. Anton Alipov on July 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm said:


    I’m not an expert in western Latin manuscripts (nor even in Russian manuscripts), so I even won’t attempt to answer your question 🙂

    But I would like to point two important (in my opinion) circumstances.

    First: to prove (or disprove) certain supposed cultural origins of the VMS, the latter is usually compared with other manuscripts, with the aim of finding respective parallels (or their absence). But this implies that the VMS is the same sort of thing – some more or less accomplished “work” or collection of works. Yet it is completely unknown in advance whether the VMS is really this.

    Suppose it is instead a notebook of a wandering medicine man, not intended to be used by anyone except himself. A completely practical thing, in which there is no place for Magdalene et alii, just because it has nothing to do with Magdalene et alii.

    Second: one should not omit from consideration those parts of medieval tradition which probably did not find their way into *visual* imagery of medieval manuscripts. For example, the medieval carnival culture. This is a suggestion; I may be mistaken here.

    After all, the dispute between “Latin” and “non-Latin” is a bit “dispute for the sake of dispute”. I really don’t see its scientific importance. In Russian we say: “to decant from empty into the unfilled”, which is somewhat like the English “to mill the wind”. Let ones follow the Latin trail, while others follow the non-Latin one. What’s the harm in that? On the contrary, it’s ever more effective when science works through different hypotheses in parallel.

    Let us not forget that neither those who stand for “Latin” nor those who stand for “non-Latin” could yet approach the ultimate goal (i.e. deciphering of the “unknown script”).

    We all sit “engaged in guessing,
    but no syllable expressing”. 🙂

  265. Out*of*the*Blue on July 12, 2015 at 10:41 pm said:

    If the topic of heraldry can be considered in the investigation of the first three VMs Zodiac pages, then at least some questions can be raised about apparent interpretations and the credibility of the images. Are there some some heraldic influences present?

    Here is the problem. Those who are slightly to moderately familiar with heraldry will either fail to discover anything of relevance, or they will pick up on certain difficulties and irregularities to be found in the illustrations. And these problematic issues will then seem to indicate that the author was not a person well-acquainted with heraldry and further investigation lacks relevance.

    Only with the discovery of the radial illusion of f71r and the recognition of the positional construction of the obscure papelonny pun can the extent of the authors heraldic knowledge be adequately gauged.

    The illustration of f71r, according to heraldic identification, is a representation of a certain historical situation in the Roman Catholic Church circa 1250 CE. But for reasons of the author’s choosing, it is not patently displayed, but diminished, tucked away and disguised in a complex construction which also contains multiple confirmations of the intended identities.

  266. Diane on July 13, 2015 at 3:56 am said:

    This is taking us ever-further from the post’s topic, isn’t it? The dominant culture in Europe is described as the “Latin” because that was the formal language of education and diplomacy etc., just as Arabic was in Islam or Greek in Byzantine territories. Other languages and minorities existed within each area, of course.
    Methods helpful in isolating a language or solving a cipher may not be so much help when attempting to identify and understand imagery. An image (to simplify, a bit) is composed composed of certain elements which do or don’t combine in a given tradition, and within that, in a certain region, and in that within a given draughtsman’s work. But artists pick up ideas across cultural boundaries, which adds another element to the whole.

    To be able even to recognise whether a given image belongs in a given tradition (e.g. a specific image for the sun) is not so dependent on logical thinking as on the depth of background which enables the reader to recognise which details are determining ones, and which peripheral. It also takes some natural facility, as maths does, and a lack in that facility is remarkably common among people who are very good at analytical logic. Paradoxically, the sort of person most likely to be interested in the manuscript is least likely to be talented in analysing imagery. I’ve certainly got minimal interest in, or talent for, solving cipher puzzles. Just the way it goes.

    I suppose in a way you could say that the mental process of eliminating possibilities is like linear maths, where iconographic analysis is more like non-linear maths.

  267. Diane on July 13, 2015 at 4:18 am said:

    even a travelling carnival man had a first language, and was exposed to particular iconographic traditions, which would inform his idea of how one drew a picture of the sun.

    The problem in Voynich studies, as I see it, is that our attitude to making pictures says that they should be entirely WYSIWYG or else that it is incomprehensible in the last analysis to anyone save the maker.

    I have had people become quite annoyed when I tried to explain that this isn’t how things were for most of human history. The VMS imagery isn’t WYSIWYG though so many people think it can be understood just by looking at it, but neither it is incomprehensible or ‘personal art’. Its roots are in ideas, attitudes, customs in drawings and actual written texts, but to ‘get’ the image, those things have to be in the reader’s tool-box. Simple as that.

  268. Diane on July 13, 2015 at 5:26 am said:

    I should add that those unable to address the evidence have, in the past, often resorted to pooh-pooh noises, evading the clearly non-Latin nature of the imagery – that is, its natural “language” by muttering that such distinction is ‘irrelevant’ and ‘quibbling’.

    I’m sure that was not your intention. You will see that to correctly identify the culture and background which produces this imagery is likely to help those working on the written part of the text.

    Further, if (as is the case) the imagery indicates that the work(s) proper context was a widely-extended east-west trade in certain specific goods – as it does – then that should help others to look within appropriate vocabularies and languages.
    To suppose that it doesn’t matter if people continue to limit their comparisons to the corpus of Latin manuscripts is not appropriate in this case, and certainly to suppose so might be called an amateur’s error; no informed analyst would begin from such an assumption with so enigmatic a work.

    Comparing an image in a manuscript only to manuscripts in a preferred tradition has had a most unfortunate effect in Voynich studies, now, for decades. Almost all the work which linguists have done from assertions about the supposedly European content of the imagery has been wasted, in my opinion.

    Among the great number of errors one might mention was the development of an idea of German origin for the work on the basis of such inaccurate ideas as that the ‘wolkenband’ or again the standing archer figures were in some sense proof for that origin. In fact, the ‘wolkenband’ is proof of Asian influence on western imagery, and the standing archer enters Christian Latin iconography through France, and before that came from a very narrow region within Palestine. Errors of this sort have led the linguists and cryptanalysts on long wild-goose chases for decades. To better identify the imagery’s roots and cultural “language” is not, I hope, merely milling the wind.

  269. Thomas on July 13, 2015 at 12:05 pm said:

    Diane: You are right and I am not wrong either. I keep an open mind, while I take your word for all the evidence that you have found through years of thorough work. Evidence, which you believe to be excluding.

    I don’t want to defend the possibly misguided Latin theorists, and I am certainly not one of them. I just try to think aloud and relate my thoughts here.

    In imagery, or in other ways of expression, there are innovators who break with tradition. There were the Beatles who styled mop heads. No popular music group members had mop heads before. Yet, despite this unusual feature, we cannot state that they were pop musicians whose art must have grew out of some unknown, distant culture, and without the slightest influence of the general popular music of the era. Because mop heads were nowhere to be seen up until their appearing.

    Or, take Picasso’s Guernica. Apart from his unrealistic figure painting, this work of his is nothing like the then known usual paintings, religious or worldly. On it, a soldier appears to have the stigmata of Christ on his hand. But, is it not just a bullet wound…? For it cannot be stigmata as no other known art work depicted such in this manner.

    I thought of the wrongs and persecutions by the Christian church, and I thought, what if six hundred years ago already there were critics or humorists, free spirits, who blew a raspberry. While I hope the Voynich has no such irreverent topic, the possible Christian influenced background should not be discounted with a final decree.

    Look at, and analyze, some imagery on house walls in Ireland, in total isolation of any knowledge or guessing in your mind. You see a man in black balaclava holding a machine gun.

    Then you must conclude that there cannot be a Christian connection whatsoever, for no such Christian imagery was encountered on house walls before. Generally, crosses or little Virgin Mary statues in niches were on Christian influenced house walls, but no large paintings of violent men.

    Until we know the content of the writing in the VMS, we just simply cannot know for sure its sources and influences in its creation. Of course, it is helpful to take all the evidence gleaned from its imagery, to lead us to deciphering the content. I know it looks like a diabolical circle.

  270. Thomas on July 13, 2015 at 1:07 pm said:

    Sorry, Anton, I believed in rennet bag for a day, but…

    I was trying to see how a rennet bag is used in sausage making or generally how it looks when stuffed with minced meat or the like. I tried to figure out the top closing, and why those gathered folds seem to be there.

    I also entertained myself with thoughts of cheese making, ewes’ cheese of course, and milk, perhaps bathing in milk, all those ladies in the Voynich, for beautiful white skin.

    Then, all of a sudden, like in a curious optical illusion picture, I could see a foot. Somehow, those folds looked like toes, and I counted exactly five. Moreover, the big toe looks bigger than the rest.

    I can see the foot as viewed from the heel and so the sole is visible, as though even the ball of the foot were also expressed with a faint line. And its continuation seems downwards, the ankle and the leg.

    I know it goes from sublime to ridiculous, but it is not all. The word “lab” suddenly took another meaning. It means foot or leg in Hungarian!

    Before people say, hey, hold it there, I myself am very aware of the national nuttiness where every Tom, Dick and Harry of all nations of the world claiming the Voynich is of their culture.

    I could not care less whose culture it comes from, but I hold myself responsible to disseminate this discovery, however erroneous it may be.

    And anyway, somwhere elswhere it was mentioned that hungarian is unlikely, as for the language of the Voynich. Still, it is the michitonian page that is not the proper Voynichian, but debated as this or that, even polyglot it may be.

    In the course of my further speculating, I remembered a possible pregnancy or child birth relevance of the VMS. Somebody somewhere mentioned that the prone, distorted bellied lady on another page may have a breech position baby, where we know the foot and leg will be born first.

    Well, the belly of this lady too, is somewhat similarly misshapen, if not that pronouncedly.

    Since I am not an obstetrician (thank God), I have no realistic picture in my mind of such birth. So I tried to look at the top “lab” figure, to discern a foot and leg emerging from the birth canal.

    However, it cannot make full sense. What is the heart shape feature on the leg? And, how, if that it meant to be, the scrotum gets out, and how it seems to have already the testes descended into it?

    Dear friends, I have heard of another theory, a phallic one because the apparent scrotal shape, but I just don’t know. Currently this foot and breech birth is on my mind. Please come and shoot me down. I just speak my mind.

  271. Thomas: why on earth would I want to shoot you down when you’re obviously gaining so much enjoyment from this? 😉

  272. Thomas on July 13, 2015 at 4:48 pm said:

    Anton: I envy you for your Great Soviet Encyclopedia, though I would not have a place now where to put it. In the pre-Internet era I surrounded myself with such heavy tomes of reference books myself.

    Speaking of russian language, and this idea could be very relevant to the Voynich, I employ a coded note for the PIN numbers of my bank cards. Russian, with Hungarian transcription, backwards.

    Something like this: eritesc mezsov avd niyga. If anyone finds it in England, where I live, I don’t think he will know, and my money stays safe. 🙂

    Maybe the Voynich guy, he wrote backwards in similar obfuscation with languages and pronounciations, who knows?

  273. Thomas on July 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm said:

    Now, I know it is cranky, but I have looked at the michitonian text and tried reading it as anagrams.

    “Valden ubrey” can be twisted out to read “buy lavender”. Yeah, a note by the scribe for himself not forgetting the stuff against the moths when he next goes shopping.

    And never mind the possible “levendula” (?) or whatever is the true medieval form of the name of that plant, just speak 20th c. English. 😀

    More seriously, or rather, less unseriously, “oladabas” can be rearranged to “oldasaba” which, again, is Hungarian for “into its solution” or “into its solving”.

    Here, the root of the word is “old” = “solve” (a task, a problem), “dissolve” (a substance in a solvent) or “untie”, “undo” (a knot, an attire etc.).

    “oldas” means the act of solving, while “oldasa” means the act of solving this or that particular something. Finally, “oldasaba” is “into the solving of this or that particular matter” in the context.

    I keep an open mind about the possibility of any European tongue and their mixture employed on this page, amongst them the Hungarian or Magyar. It is not that I promote a monomaniac idea, but I simply inform this community of my thoughts.

    I do not know medieval Hungarian, so I am not sure if this modern form is the same as the old one and so if it can apply at all. The anagram forming secrecy method is also just an assumption.

    Considering the alchemist or herbal preparation subject, as well as the possible later would-be code breaker’s obfuscated note on that page, the terms and their related meanings, solving, solution, in the solution, into the solution, etc seems to be quite relevant.

    So much of the “oladabas”, of which I cannot make heads or tails in any other way.

  274. Thomas: you have to understand that when most cipher researchers hear the word “anagram”, a silent power takes control of their eyelid muscles and forces them to close. 🙂

    More specifically, I would assess the chance of Voynichese being anagrams in this kind of way is precisely orez. 😉

  275. Diane on July 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm said:

    You restore my joy in Voynich studies. It can become clogged with so much logic, and going over the same old pathways. More strength to your arm!

  276. Wha tifit isn’ tan art ificiallan guage, i tsjust th atthes pac esha ve be enpu tin thew rong pla cesTh isis eas yen ough tod o.
    Thet ext stil lflo ws nat urall yen ough. Itma yex pla inwhy thel an guaged oesn ot fol low thes amer uleso therl an guages do.

  277. SirHubert on July 14, 2015 at 3:39 pm said:

    Or even “Sod al. Baa.”

  278. (What if it isn’t an artificial language, it’s just that the spaces have been put in the wrong places This is easy enough to do.
    The text still flows naturally enough. It may explain why the language does not follow the same rules other languages do.)

  279. SirHubert: perhaps het quaser toro fo cufk lal?

  280. Thomas on July 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm said:

    Nick: Of course you are right, and I never seriously meant that the main body of the Voynich could be anagrammatic enciphering, arbitrarily constructed for each word. That would be a nightmare for the author himself, slowly solving his own set puzzle when he wanted to read his own book.

    The michitonian page can be treated differently. And I just noticed with a spontaneous perception that by flipping and shuffling the syllables around makes a word with a known meaning:

    ol – ab – ad – as
    ol – da – sa – ba

    This is not a purely mixed up letters transformation. I feel it is somewhat akin to the playful Spoonerian swapping, which can first baffle the uninitiated with the altered meaning, then amuse him upon understanding the rule of the play.

    For a secretive lone soul, trying to hide the content of his notes on f116v, why should not we consider such method?

    And, as you too must know, there are secretive folks around Bethnal Green and beyond, whose strange talk can be so topsy-turvy and playfully twisted, that dictionaries of their language are published for visitors to London. For them, the Voynich must be full of bristols, if you get my drift.

    For all what we know, the writer of f116v could have been the proto-cockney of all cockneys. 😀

  281. Thomas on July 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm said:

    Diane: Thank you, and I wish the same to you.

    Yeah, we tend to use too much logic… But even the little I use is quite a strain on my brain cells. This Voynich is doing my head in.

    Desperate situations need desperate measures. So I’ll go and try tree hugging, humming, universal resonance, or whatever else but thinking for a while, to get the spark to crack it! 😀

  282. SirHubert on July 14, 2015 at 5:40 pm said:

    Nick: not unless the Duke of Quaser-Toro was Averlino’s patron…

  283. Thomas on July 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm said:

    I have an idea of a possible enciphering method where some syllables or word parts tend to appear in the front, while others in the middle, and yet others at the back of the words.

    This hypothetical method of mine also happens to be verbose. In fact, it is more verbose than the storage hunters’ fast talking auctioneer. 🙂 For in it, each cipher text word only describes a single plaintext letter.

    Imagine an arbitrarily arranged, rectangular template of all the letters of the alphabet of the plaintext language, also punctuation marks, and even a space as well. This is the key for the cipher.

    Now, let the initial letter of the plaintext be marked with an equivalent symbol in the cipher text. Like, say, a funny gallows character in the Voynich. The second letter of the plaintext is then encoded thus:

    Locate the initial letter in the template. Then find the second letter in it, and trace the route from the first to this one. The route could be described like this: “two steps left, three steps down”. In short, “letwdoth”. The next word may describe another route to the consequent letter: “rionupfo” for moving one to right then up four. And so on.

    Inherent in this system is the possible frequent repetition of words, like “uponrion”. So we could easily get a cipher text fragment like “uponrion uponrion uponrion”, for three consecutive letters in the plain text that happen to be next to each other on a diagonal in the table. That repetition is not stranger than the Voynich’s “qokedy qokedy qokedy” for example.

    I know it would imply a huge amount of scribing for a short content of information, but in practice it is perfectly feasible. I am not saying that this is the key to the secret text of the Voynich, but the VMS reflects the possibility of the use of some elements of this method.

    To test this hypothesis, I have no tools or scope. But maybe somebody finds merit in it to have a go. Even so, there are immense combinations of variables.

    Supposing that Latin was the language of the plaintext, it is daunting even to imagine, how many possible array can be made of its alphabet for the template. Then, based on known letter frequencies of general medieval Latin texts, it can be a nightmare to figure out the most possible template, by testing them with guessed left, right, up and down coordinates from one guessed letter to the other. To me it seems that those consecutive Voynich words with curiously swapped or permuted syllables could be the weak points of the cipher, assuming that this method or elements of it were employed.

    I only share my thoughts for the wise experts’ consideration.

  284. Thomas on July 22, 2015 at 7:55 pm said:

    Example key with four spaces at the bottom.


    Trionupon dotw leonupfo rith dofo letwuptw rith dotw lefouptw rion leondoon

    (T – right one up one – down two – left one up four – right three – down four – left two up two – right three – down two – left four up two – right one – left one down one)

    (To be or not)

    That’s verbose! 😀

  285. Roland on July 30, 2015 at 10:50 pm said:

    Dear all,

    I’ve just spent a couple of hours diving into this riddle since I noticed it yesterday for the first time.

    According to René Zandbergen, “Attempts to make an author profile have been started but no thorough, documented attempt is known to me.” and I seriously wonder why.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to claim to have a solution for this riddle. That would be presumptuous. But I do believe that everything I read about it so far lacks some basic deductions which are quite clear to me. Has anyone tried to put him- or herself in that (original) author’s shoes – from a very basic perspective of the human nature?

    So I thought as a non-academic, non-voynichian researcher with an unobstructed view on the matter at hand you guys need a fresh basic perspective. Just a random guy who read about it yesterday and just thought about it instead of working on it. Feel free to contradict or tear it apart. 😉

    A quick note: I’m referring to the author as a male, but it’s just symbolic. I don’t rule out a female person. It’s just hard to imagine a person who meets all of the following criteria at that time.

    It is obvious that the MS was created by a human being, at least one. It is also obvious that it contains information which was meant to be shared, but not meant to be open to the public. That means the author knew for some good reason the content could be in danger or a thread to either himself, one specific person or a group/party. Or, in other words, he was worrying it could fall into wrong hands. Considering that the author took great pains not only to hide that information but to delude everyone who tried to make sense of it suggests he knew his “enemy/enemies” quite well and what they were capable of. This leads us to a motivation of protection and preservation.

    Protection requires an emotion. You don’t protect something that doesn’t mean anything to you. You need a motivation. And love is the strongest motivator we know. What kind of love you ask? Could be love of truth, science, knowledge, mankind, everything you can think of in this scenario. Potentially a good mixture of it.
    Equally, you don’t preserve something if you’re not absolutely convinced that it is of some value to mankind in some way in the future.
    It is further obvious that this work took hours and hours of time, for reasons most of the Voynich researchers are aware of and agree with.

    Deduction: The greater the effort, the stronger the motivation and thus the connected emotion, the more crucial the information – at least to himself. Furthermore we know: Where is love, there is fear. Given the circumstances at that time, he must have feared being exposed and in the worst case scenario killed by someone/some party who had the power to do that, most likely the church. That means he was willing to risk even his life for that information.

    Imagine you are him and you know your enemies, namely the entire world of cryptographers of that time and/or the church. You know that cryptographers would try to decode it. You know that the church would destroy it if it contains controversial stuff. What would you do? You know that an encryption could eventually be decrypted. So, wouldn’t you take efforts to draw attention from the importance of information? Illustrations as such at hand could make it appear harmless, even weird and irrational. And that’s exactly the point of cryptography: hiding *and* delusion.
    At least I would intentionally make it look like it’s just some unreadable gibberish alchemy stuff from some weirdo whose fanciful “work” isn’t worthy enough to undertake more efforts in decrypting. The church wouldn’t even bother to anticipate explosive stuff in there. And cryptographers would give up at the latest if they tried all possible decryption methods they know. And their typical reaction afterwards? If they can’t break it, it’s not breakable and therefore not meant to be meaningful. Or in short: rubbish. A typical weakness of their ego which you could almost rely on with the help of a comlex layer of encryption.

    First conclusion: It was a work of passion, so crucial to him and mankind in some way that convinced him it was worth it even to go that far to risk his own life. Only love is a motivation strong enough to endure hardships of a work of this extent (which is why it can’t be a fake, by the way *1). He knew that he had to create a work that stands the test of time. Passing it over to the future, where science rules over religion some day. Our time. That’s why he used high quality materials, it had to last as long as possible. Furthermore, the level of complexity and delusion is a masterpiece, since no one has solved it until now, regardless how old it really is. And we all know that a masterpiece requires brilliancy.

    So, who we are looking for?

    We are looking for a person who couldn’t take the risk to let somebody in on that crucial information. Not even intimates. Of course, he could have commissioned that work to one or more experts. But then, again, he wouldn’t know if he could really trust that person. Too risky. Thus, to take no risks regarding trust issues, he did it on his own, in secrecy. Which means, this work had only one original author who either seemed to alter his work over the years himself or someone else did it after he died. During his lifetime he wouldn’t have allowed anyone to manipulate his work.

    We are looking for a very wealthy person due to the extremely high prices charged for the high quality materials. Also, that person needed at least some knowledge about how to aquire it and where it came from. That would require an aristocratic person at least. A king or queen doesn’t fit because of their obligations and the constant presence of their entourage around them. Their sons or daughters are more likely to fit.

    Speaking of secrecy, he would need a place no one would suspect at first glance. A castle, for example. A good place to hide something and to write something in secrecy. Also hard to invade. Plus, his noble rank was a good protection against easy raids from church or thieves.

    In addition, we are looking for a person who had not only access to state-of-the-art cryptology works at that time, but had to understand it in order to do it on his own. Plus, he needed to know if his encryption method had been used in the past or the present to rule out a known one, even if it was used a single time by a single person. The latter requires scholarly exchange, he needed to know what his “rivals” were working on or up to as far as possible. That means he must have been a scholar of cryptology. Not a famous one, that would mean too much attention, visitors, time for scholarly publications, exchange, traveling and so on. In one word: A cryptologist who must have had a good idea about what was going on in his area and being not too famous / quite ordinary at the same time.

    It is further obvious that he was a very cautious man who was used to take the long view, but had strong faith in scientists who are capable of reading his MS one day. He must have had faith, otherwise all of his efforts wouldn’t make any sense. That allows us to consider him a philosopher and a philanthrope, at least to some extent.

    Given the abovementioned conclusions, especially the one that he did it on his own, we can deduce that it took him a long lapse of time. Realistically years, even if he worked day and night, considering the time to invent a script, to encrypt it complex enough but not unsolvable (including research time on this field), to imagine those drawings, to care about materials and the actual time to create it. This indicates that he couldn’t have had much obligations beside his work in that time.

    What else?

    We can also deduce his health. I think most Voynich researchers would agree that this work doesn’t create the impression that it was written in a hurry. That rules two things out: one, the person didn’t face his last days. Two, he had no acute illness he was aware of. Both cases would mean he wouldn’t know how much time he has left to finish his work. So we are looking for a person who was enjoying good health, physical and mental. But there is more. Remember the risk he was willing to take? If he was in urgent danger of death, that would have had an impact on his work, e.g. shaking hands. But the handwriting and drawing tell quite the opposite. That means he was aware of the possibility that his life was in danger in the worst case scenario, but there were no threatening signs at hand.
    Plus, we can narrow down the age to somewhat between the earliest age one can be being quite established as a cryptologist and a noble at that time and years before the average end of life expectation. I’ll leave the numbers to the respective experts. 😉

    —- end of deduction

    *1) To anyone who is still convinced that the MS has no meaning: I invite you to sit down and seriously try to create (and not just tracing it) just the first ten pages as close to the original as you could with materials that where available at that (1405-1438) time. Even if you are skilled in ink-writing and drawing, it would take weeks and month. My point is that you will quickly be demotivated and eventually give it up. Not because it’s simply to much effort. It’s because you lack the proper emotional motivator to create this work. Spitefulness, Bitterness, financial hardship – each of them is a paralytic. Not strong enough to keep you motivated for years *and* remain a steady quality we have at hand.

    final words:

    You may have noticed that I didn’t use any of the scientific findings that were published officially so far for my deductions. Just basic ovservations of the whole matter that are quite obvious to me and allow further conclusions regarding the author. No Sherlock needed.

    I’m sure I’ve missed a good deal and there maybe logic errors, just consider this as a beginning that can be further developed.

    I’m also aware of my non-scientific wording, it’s deliberately simple and emotional. I’m an amateur and my simple message is this: Think more like an actual human being in that time. Seriously try to put yourself in his shoes. What would you do?

  286. sean kirby on August 19, 2015 at 10:13 am said:

    ‘the rich can afford action, beware rich cautions’

    The codex is more logical than most people see. It has rhyme and reason- big clues there.

    This has been a hobby of mine for a short while and runs perfectly with the methods of analysis that the Open University course I am taking teaches. I am finding so far the codex makes sense and does have varying languages where certain words in one language might not have existed in the master tongue, but would be recognizable as a source from another.

    Early days yet though, but I’m finding this a fun challenge which gives us armchair amateurs something to add that might just help the professional cynics out when they claim its undecipherable.

  287. Sean: be warned that Voynichese offers many blind corners for linguists to drive their cars around at speed, only to find an unexpected mountain in the middle of what they presumed was going to be an autobahn all the way to the chequered flag.

    The best-known linguistic Fangio to crash into many of these mountains is Stephen Bax: I would strongly advise reading his well-publicized conclusions, if only as a sadly cautionary modern tale of how linguistic and methodological naivety combined with pride and self-promotion can lead to some (frankly rather ridiculous) conclusions. But that’s just my opinion, make of his theories what you will. 🙂

  288. May I speak up, here, on behalf of Stephen Bax’ work?

  289. sean kirby on August 19, 2015 at 10:58 am said:

    PS Roland I think you make perfect sense and it is logical to see why.
    About the time the manuscript was written (between the vellum carbon-dating of 1404-1438 AD, and Rudolf II purchasing it around 1586 AD) there were the rifts in Europe you described (the church vs science and other teachings outside of its religious zealotry) which meant certain written words had to be disguised.
    The subjects that are covered in the fabled Philosopher’s Stone which alchemists of the period were trying to create (and manage to con the rich with promise of its creation as Edward Kelley was rumoured to have done, which is how he got funded by -and conned- John Dees/emperor Rudolf II etc) all seem to be elements of what the stone’s knowledge is. Logically, the VM could be seen as the work of such an alchemist, who we would maybe call a scientist or chemist in today’s society?
    Also, there are references to plants found only in the Americas- and why not? It has crossed my mind that the plant section could include what was discovered there after Christopher Columbus’ discovery in 1492.
    There are many different interpretations of what the VM is about- one of them will undoubtedly be right, but as far as I see it the codex is genuine and does make perfect sense. Out of 26 or so characters I have made sense (in my interpretation) of about 16. What I need to work out is if the rest follows the rules of what I have seen so far, and if anything of interest crops up I’ll submit a post
    In the meantime, keep hunting all of you Voynich’s out there and maybe one day someone will have this work of art understood for all, so we can see another context of the world in which our earlier generations lived.

  290. sean kirby on August 19, 2015 at 11:15 am said:

    Thank you Nick and yes, i am aware of the history of where the codex has led people on the wrong motorways.
    As an OU student we are taught open-mindedness and to look at effect, technique and context to convey meaning. This is a big hint in the route I am driving, as I have looked at history and, like Roland pointed out, tried getting into the mind of the creator(s) of this art. That is what I am treating the VM, with the respect and dangerous blind-alleyways that we are taught to accept, drive down and explore, take note of in case it leads to another route, and drive back from should we hit the mountains.
    There are no autobahns in learning, deciphering and exploring, no quick routes to the answers.
    Besides, it’s the nasty little lanes and mountains that i like exploring, as it only takes a seemingly insignificant stroke of the pen to change an interpretation or the direction in which, for example, an artist might allow you to understand him.

  291. Diane: speak up all you like. 🙂

  292. sean: there is no Royal Road to understanding the Voynich Manuscript, not even any of those that go via Milton Keynes. 🙂

    But I would add that any route that tries to read Voynichese as some kind of lost or wilfully obscure language will fail miserably, having wasted a dramatic amount of your time (that whole notion was essentially disproved 50 years ago, though nobody bothers to listen).

    Good luck all the same. 😉

  293. sean kirby on August 19, 2015 at 6:57 pm said:

    Thanks, and possible variations to the quote i put up earlier after looking again at the page I am slowly driving around-

    the rich can afford zion beware of a rich cousins care

    compared to:

    the rich can afford action beware (of) rich cautions

    (sorry I missed out the ‘offa’ part in the original quote hence its in brackets here).

    It could also be ‘the rich man of h-lord aeion, beware of rich cautions’ or something similar along those lines, but the point to remember is that phonetically they are similar, which is as good a place to start than any, considering that any written language is ideally supposed to put the heard sounds down onto paper of the dialect for later recitals.
    Like you said Nick, there are many mountains to climb and different various ways that the script could be read. Hell, I could probably find ‘the cat ate my hat’ somewhere in there if I made a solution to the codec to fit that. All I do know is that what I’m seeing is kind of making sense, and with a few more hours of investigating some more phonetic qualities, I might be able to make sense of some of the repeated words and explain what I think they are about.
    For the moment, I am treating them as a tune-up for the codec and cross-referencing what I have with the letters used to create the 3 lines I have written (and anymore I can see from the section I am using within the manuscript).
    If you are still looking into VM, and most likely have more expertise in it that I, then does this make sense as another road to drive down?
    That’s the autobahn I’m on anyways :).

  294. Out*of*the*Blue on August 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm said:

    I agree with much of the recent commentary. And a clear demonstration of this can be found on VMs f 71r, [aka White Aries]. It deals with a topic well-known to the author in his/her time, but apparently poorly known, if known at all, to many VMs investigators. And that is heraldry.

    Look at White Aries and think heraldry. Let me know what you find. And when you’ve burnt out on that, remove all radial influences and think heraldry again. It would work lots better if you knew some early Italian heraldry. If you knew the right bit of heraldry, the illustration would work like it is supposed to. And if not, then not. Presumably, as it was supposed to. If effect, a selective ideological gateway for those who are down with the semiology. Standard heraldic semiology. Standard and historical in some spots, standard and obscure in others.

    A heraldic interpretation of the patterns on the tubs of certain ‘nymphs’ in the first three VMs Zodiac pages opens up some rather interesting pathways for further investigation of these images. The more obscure the heraldry, the more powerful the confirmation. Wait and see.

    However, there is also a bit of deception at play, Rules can be bent and even flaunted, but laws cannot be broken without the loss of heraldic recognition. Take away the radial illusion. What’s there in the illustration is clearly there, but it has been intentionally covered with obfuscation to disguise its identity. And there it is – historical verification – in the VMs!
    Historical verification paired and repeatedly confirmed in the illustrations.

  295. sean: anybody determined enough can make a few Voynichese words fit together into some kind of polyglot “reading”. (If you’re really determined, you might also consider putting out a press release at that point.) But sadly, the chances are 99.999% and up that your linguistic optimism is making a fool of you.

  296. OOTB: please don’t write “selective ideological gateway for those who are down with the semiology” on my website, it makes me feel queasy. 😐

  297. sean kirby on August 19, 2015 at 9:34 pm said:

    Well Nick I applaud your optimism towards anyone looking into the VM by saying we are doomed to 99.999% failure. I was genuinely asking if you had considered phonetics so we could discuss the method I have come up with that makes clear logical sense.
    Obviously, beings as this is your website and you have admin etc (which I didn’t know so apologies) I can see you are the expert on this and not I. So I bow down and will step back, and maybe see if anyone from Yale online would give me the help I was after.

  298. sean: on the contrary, I’m only saying your efforts have a 99.999% chance of failing if you persist with the kind of naive polyglot word-trawling that has so far produced countless well-meaning (but utterly rubbish) efforts. Please read Leo Levitov’s translation or John Stojko’s translation to see examples of how this approach works out for masters of that particular art.

    As I say, this entire approach was already known to be without merit for the Voynich Manuscript at least fifty years ago: and the decades since have only served to strengthen this conclusion. Feel free to ignore that if you wish, though, it’s only your life you’d be wasting. 😉

  299. Ok – thanks, Nick
    First, you could argue that the whole idea of the text as enciphered was disproven, or at least dismissed, by Tiltman and by Friedman, but people continue to insist that it is.

    As ‘Sam G’ put it, “whether the text is meaningful or not, it is clearly very language-like…the structure of the text is absolutely there, regardless of whether the text is gibberish or not”.

    I appreciate Bax’ work for a number of reasons: first that it has enabled a kind of Voynich-specific but neutral forum to appear online; second, that his method does not begin from an assumption that we know what the manuscript contains. I think this is an important change; it doesn’t beg nearly so many questions as most ‘theory-first’ approaches have done in the past. And thirdly, whether the linguistic approach seems valid or not, it does seem to have led to something not unlike the conclusions of Tiltman and Friedman – namely that the text is written in an artificial language. It could well be a polyglot, I suppose, though I have no idea how a grammar would work in that case.

    We do have examples of polyglot texts. They generally seem to be near-gibberish as Hisperica famina was considered at one time, or were dismissed as ‘magical’ glossolalia. Which is not to say the latter don’t exist too.

    But Bax has allowed this idea to be considered, too, and overall I don’t see why something of the sort mightn’t prove the answer.

    We all stumble forward here. Obviously, I like the idea that the text might be polyglot, since the view I reached (after a great deal of stumbling in the dark, lightened chiefly by the posts here which treated most Voynich theories), I came to the view that the book was not only a manual for some peripatetic profession, but possibly one gained via the Radhanites. They weren’t the only multi-lingual group in the Mediterranean of course, but at least we know which languages they had.
    There are obvious weaknesses, of course, such as assuming that the botanical identifications used are correct, or that the stars will have post-seventh century Arabic or Arabised names, because the Latin west knew only the Latin descriptions and those. However, even Michael Scot was able to learn alternatives, including some he terms ‘Berber’ which aren’t.

    Overall, and even if the linguistic approach proves a dead-end, as it seems every approach has done until now, Bax’ contribution to Voynich studies deserves credit, I should say.

    Thanks, Nick.

  300. PS – Bax also, wisely, allows one to preview and edit a comment before posting. 🙂

  301. Diane: Tiltman did not support Friedman’s conclusion that the Voynich Manuscript was written in an entirely artificial language. Rather, he concluded that it was formed from a number of overlapping simple ciphers cleverly arranged. What Tiltman and Friedman (and indeed Elizebeth Friedman) did all agree on fifty years ago was that attempts to read Voynichese as a straightforward language – or even as a polyglot assemblage of language-like bits – were utterly doomed to failure.

    Hence it would seem that you have misunderstood the contributions of these three giants of cryptology.

    Bax’s approach started from the equally fallacious and wrong-headed position that what we were looking at was clearly a simple language with deep linguistic roots that only someone with a brain head as big as his could possibly understand; and that the rest of us plebs had better fall in line behind him because he was going to Show Us The Way To Read It (oh, but please don’t hold your breath while you wait for this Voynich Rapture to occur).

    How falling into a fifty-year-old trap and then bragging about it so incesssantly makes him neutral or worthy of credit I simply fail to see.

  302. I shall re-read the giant’s story, to correct any erring recollections.

    I do not find this ad.hominem approach consistent with your usual style of dialogue, and I think you confuse a natural excitement about the *idea* of having cracked a little of the manuscript’s mystery with more personal egotism (or is it egoism, I never know).

    Given the energy, and sheer joy with which you described your own research and its results, I should think you might understand a similar elation in another person interested in the manuscript. I know I do. 🙂

    Perhaps all our efforts are doomed to failure, and serious intentions to be swamped by the weight of a consensus built less from honest scholarship than a desire to be deemed right which is greater than the desire to do justice to the manuscript. Wilfrid Voynich was an odd combination of both, but his propaganda campaign, if it can be called that, distorted the study for its first fifty years or so. I don’t think Stephen Bax is another Wilfrid; perhaps he is another me, or another you? A little too excited, a little too hopeful, a little too interested in harmony.. Nice of him to post the scan, wasn’t it?

  303. Also – to be frank – so many the voynich-nu congregation greets any non voynich-nu-compatible research with such concerted ad.hominem attacks – though never, as I’ve seen by sober efforts to address supporting evidence – that Bax’ site is the one remaining public arena in which alternative views are taken. Since 2008, I have never seen any respect shown your work, or mine, or anyone else’s. Only the plainly ‘fringe’ theories are left alone; I suppose they do not constitute a perceived threat.

    I do not think your attacks on Stephen Bax can do anything other than reduce his character in the eyes of your readers, and this is unfortunate, I think. It forces people into ‘camps’ and surely one is enough.

  304. Diane: I channelled my initial elation and excitement about the Averlino hypothesis into sustained hard work and long-term research, with the specific aim of testing it against as much pertinent historical evidence as I could gain access to; and only once I had largely completed that painstaking process did I then start to tell people about it.

    Stephen Bax took a handful of small steps which had already failed for a large number of prior researchers, and then – by dint of self-promotion – has made Google searchers think that he has solved all the mysteries of the Voynich Manuscript; when in fact his ‘solution’ has more holes than a sponge the size of Everest, answers no questions about the manuscript, makes no predictions about the manuscript, and remains resolutely untestable.

    I therefore don’t think it constitutes any kind of ad hominem to say that I think what Bax did was *not* in any way comparable to what I did.

    I agree that it’s nice that so many people have contributed to his website through their comments and efforts. But I don’t believe that anybody there has found anything that remotely approaches even the smallest vindication of his so far utterly unconvincing linguisticist approach. And that shouldn’t be surprising, because they can’t.

    Really, studying the Voynich Manuscript with precision, clarity and perceptiveness is a hard enough challenge without people continually adding layers of unwarranted nonsense on top: and so far, that seems to have been Bax’s main personal contribution. Voynichese is simply not – and could never be – the kind of polyglot-like Ur-language that shallow idiot linguists of his general ilk want it to be, and the more sophistry such people employ in their tangled efforts to make it so, the more they pollute the entire discourse.

    Yet even after all the abuse and nay-saying I have endured over the years from the kind of dishonest, ideology-driven and wonky-theory-driven non-scholarship out there, I still maintain “the desire to do justice to the manuscript”, as you put it so well: so if that necessarily puts me into a different camp to Stephen Bax, then so be it.

  305. Nick,
    Your endurance amazes me.

  306. sean kirby on August 20, 2015 at 6:31 pm said:

    Nick- my apologies. First and foremost I have to consider you seeing me as a ‘new kid on the block’. I’m gonna be frank and write how I feel comfy from all this academic crap.
    I’ve looked at all the posts above and had a kind of new light shed when realizing that VM invokes a kind of infuriating enlightenment we seek to find, so cut the crap with presumptions over your intelligence over mine as our histories and how we are are different.
    If you are serious about VM- I see it as a piece of work I came across about 3 years ago when I typed in ‘indecipherable codecs’ in google and came across it- because I was looking at Zodiac.
    (Consider a distant relative who died in relatively the same kind of game-and-mouse scenario as the Zodiac case in mind screw-ups, 18 years ago, knowing I was right with my instincts when the family dismissed it, and I take no pride in revealing that.)
    If, like Diane and others who have posted on your site, are interested (and cutting out the trolls who seek attention) whom have the same compulsions and respect in which this artwork was written care to share ideas, with the acknowledgement it is a team effort, then I would be gladly to join in.
    Otherwise, I’ll see where my autobahn takes me as I am passionate about VM and, like you, most likely don’t wish to waste time theorizing about crap.

  307. Out*of*the*Blue on August 20, 2015 at 8:47 pm said:

    So Nick,

    Maybe a couple good queases will change your perspective.

    There is a lot more to be discovered in the first few pages of the VMs Zodiac than most of us can initially recognize. First there is the altered sequence of astrological illustrations from the standard Aries, Taurus, Gemini, … sequence, to the VMs unique Pisces, Aries A, Aries B, Taurus A, Taurus B, Gemini … sequence. Would anyone propose that this structure is somehow accidental? It has to be intentional, but it’s hard to see intent without purpose.

    The odd VMs sequence is notable in that each of the first five houses in this zodiac sequence contain or represent a pair of some kind and, then, there are further examples of compounded pairing within this set of signs. This establishes the idea of the pairing paradigm, which rests on one of the laws in Deuteronomy, that truth must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

    So the minimum number is two, a pair. And heraldry and history provide such an example to further the paradigm; bendy, argent et azur. The blazon for the armorial insignia of the pair of Genoese popes. Something very much like the pair of blue-striped patterns that are found in the White Aries illustration, f71r, as it might have looked before the rest of the illustration was added.

    And it’s not just the evidence of armorial identification. There is ecclesiastical heraldry, and several other positional confirmations included in the illustration. The most significant of these confirmations is the papelonny pun. And it is significant, not because it is funny. It is in part because it is an unqualified confirmation of papal identity, and it is because there is nothing left but to recognize that this matching placement is the author’s intentional construction. Historical identifications are found within the VMs, but precautions have been taken and disguises have been used, nevertheless, confirmations based on position are objective. The whole complex construction works together according to the author’s intent. It is too complex to be a concatenation of circumstance and there is no other choice besides an intentional construction.

    So in the matter of the interpretation of symbols, specifically in this case making reference to the standard heraldic description, image, definition of papelonny and its use as a sort of semiotic gateway, those who can see and interpret the symbols found in the text will proceed in one direction and those who do not understand the intent of the symbols, symbols chosen by the author, will proceed elsewhere.

  308. Why would anyone reveal a proposed solution to the VMS that doesn’t resolve most of the document’s words? If a solution doesn’t work for most of the words, how can it be correct? And why would anyone else want to glorify such antics?

  309. Don: ‘antics’, such a perfect word. “Farrago” is almost as good. 🙂

    Sadly, most Internet people seem to assume that because Stephen Bax kind of looks the part (i.e. of the clever-arse academic), his solution must also kind of look the part too (i.e. of a clever-arse solution). Nobody seems to want to apply any critical thinking skills or technical analysis to his claims, hence there they sit on a Google search for ‘Voynich’, in third place (after Wikipedia and voynich.nu).

    How anyone can call decoding nine words (and then only if you really, really squint hard) out of roughly 35,000 a ‘solution’ with a straight face I’ll never know. That’s, what, 0.026% of the text, which is – surprise, surprise – also roughly what you find if you count the number of English words that randomly appear in the EVA transcription (I found: or, car, char, shy, echo, oar, chain, air, chair… before I got bored, but there are probably a few more).

  310. Amancio explains why so many treat the Voynich (text and imagery) as a Rorshach. Inevitable, really


    (thanks to Felipe Maia).


  311. sean: feel free to drive, or park, or whatever other motoring metaphor you want to pursue – after all, it’s your car and your petrol. All I’m trying to point out is that Voynichese is much, *much* subtler than most people consider, and attempts to ‘just read it’ (Bax-style) are naive in the extreme. Hope that I got that point across. 🙂

  312. sean kirby on August 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm said:

    I agree with the subtle sense you refer to. The Yale site for inspecting the pages is my resource material when looking on the net for close inspection.
    Has anyone noticed the 10 Latin star-signs? First 2 are repeated (Mars-March/Abril/Avril) which gives 12 months, but because its 10 different named (Jan/Feb aren’t star signed) it hints at the old Roman calendar. Puzzling eh?

  313. sean: you’re at least fifty years behind on the zodiac roundel discussion. Perhaps you might consider downloading and reading Mary D’Imperio’s “Elegant Enigma”: her book sums up a lot of evidence that had been collected by the 1970s, and with the added benefit of being published a long time before any Internet Voynich theories came into being. 😉 Here’s a link…

  314. Don –
    “Why would anyone reveal a proposed solution to the VMS that doesn’t resolve most of the document’s words?”

    I can think of a couple of possible reasons, though one is a bit of a cynical proposal.

    1. Because they are explaining the subject-matter, origin, historical and chronological context implied by the imagery.

    2. Because they are creating a house of cards, on a non-existent foundation, supported by flimsy ‘looks-like’ comparative imagery, and are driven by an agenda – even if only to virtually crowd-surf before they retire. Call it the rock-star urge.
    In the first case (not that I’m thinking of anyone in particular) the aim is to provide a finite frame, a pretty definite theme for each of the disparate sections, and an idea of the range of natural languages which *might* underlie the written part of the text. Doesn’t sound so useless, put that way.

    Personally, I think the written part of the VMS text constantly fits easily into the style of technical-abbreviated texts. Don’t know if yours is THE right one, but I think it’s a dam sight closer than anyone else’s… except maybe my ‘knitting pattern’ model. 😀

  315. Nick, I tried to explain to you, pretty directly and quite gently that some of the articles of faith on which you based your interpetation of the VMS imagery were mistaken – to put it mildly. I put off publishing the blankly contradictory evidence for years, to avoid open embarrassment. In the meantime, at best you ignored every new “find” and only bothered to comment to suggest that I had no idea of my own area of expertise.. and so forth.

    I’ve been a loyal reader here and a steady contributor to this study for some time. I would have liked to think that when I published recently plain evidence that cross-hatching was not a form invented in fifteenth century Latin Europe, that you might have had the grace to admit it.

    I’m sorry to say that I no could not these days say that I see any substantial difference between your own attitudes and those of which you accuse Stephen Bax, and I’m very truly sad to say this in public. Your ‘Averlino’ thesis is nonsense. No architect trained in Latin Europe *could* produce imagery like that in the VMS; his hand and eye had had an entirely different training, and that sort of muscular response cannot be unlearned, I’m afraid. Leonardo drew like Leonardo. Averlino liked geometric forms, neat lines, finely proportioned human figures – naturally. As for the fantasy-machine-plants… well, we tend rather to acknowledge and appreciate your codicological efforts, and your earlier efforts to review and do a fair review of new work. Nine years down the track, Nick..
    ” in fact his ‘solution’ has more holes than a sponge the size of Everest, answers no questions about the manuscript, makes no predictions about the manuscript, and remains resolutely untestable.”

    true for 90% of people involved in the study.

    It’s been interesting, but I’m signing off.

  316. Diane: according to the playbook of Art History as I understand it, one should look not for *absolutist* origins of techniques, for there can always be individual artefacts that can be made to prove anything if you look back far enough and wide enough to find them.

    Rather, what you are supposed to look for is continuity of ideas, for transmission of ideas, and for technical fashions. In that sense, parallel hatching was indeed a brief technical fashion in mid-fifteenth century Europe, largely yielding to (the more expressive and useful) cross-hatching by 1490 or so. We see this brief timeframe captured in Leonardo’s sketches, and in the works of numerous other artists of broadly the same time and place: from what I have read, that kind of historical technical narrative is not even remotely controversial.

    However, you seem to disagree with this from your own absolutist point of view, i.e. that if an expressive technique can be shown to have existed in Ancient Greece, Assyria, China or wherever, then that somehow disrupts the entire apple cart. Actually, this is your own absolutist point of view speaking, which is in itself a meta-theory of history far bigger than any Voynich theory, Averlino or otherwise. The only way you can get to your results is by discarding the central tenets of local continuity and local transmission, notions which underpin the entire Art History monolith.

    Obviously these constraints are too restrictive for your kind of history: and it is entirely your right to have your own unique methodology. However, you simply cannot expect everyone else to ditch these kinds of constraints just because you happen to believe them to work for you. As an example, the central point about my Averlino hypothesis is that it sits squarely within those (and numerous other historical and cryptographic) constraints: it is a strict Intellectual History hypothesis, insofar as it looks for a unique solution within as strongly bounded a constraint space as possible.

    You don’t seem to understand that Averlino plainly did not (physically) write the Voynich Manuscript himself, and I don’t believe I have ever argued that he did: rather, from its humanistic ductus alone, I think it can be safely deduced that it was written by one or more professional or trainee scribes, almost certainly in a high-culture city centre, almost certainly in Northern Italy. All of which is Kryptonite to your own (far more syncretic and yet non-synchronic) reading of the artefact: but given that all that formed part of the constellation of locally coherent evidences from where I started my own chain of reasoning, it shouldn’t be any surprise that these constraints also figure in the hypothesis that emerged from them.

    Nine years down the track shouldn’t be a surprise, given that I exhausted (I believe) all the primary sources and the major secondary sources concerning Averlino before ever publishing. The only really new thing I discovered since then (which also came as a surprise to other Averlino experts) was that Averlino had his own herbal, written elegantly in Tuscan. Which hardly amounts to a disproof, however you want to present it.

    Good luck with your book. Hopefully your conclusions and methodology will themselves still be standing in a decade’s time.

  317. boyfriend on August 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm said:

    Hi Nick. Very nice to have wrote. Neither Diana nor Bax and can never decipher handwriting. You have only assumptions and the chance to succeed in deciphering.
    For Christmas I gave everyone a gret gift. This is one of Zandbergen mysterious figure on the side of 116th.
    The top image is a picture of the key. In writing the instructions for decryption.
    Therefore, there is a drawing of keys ( key).
    The middle image is ???? You know what Nick middle picture expresses ?
    I think that the importance of the figure coming. It´s that simple.

  318. Out*of*the*Blue on August 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm said:

    Fun as it is to see a bit of cultured, intellectual fur fly, I still think we’re better off working on the VMs. And in the specific matter of cross-hatching as it relates to the VMs, the usage of this technique that I recommend is found in the Zodiac Section. Various examples exist on the first three pages, in the patterns on some of the tubs in which the ‘nymphs’ are standing. These patterns in many instances can be interpreted as quite similar to certain standard designs long established in the heraldic ordinaries and sub-ordinaries. The investigation of potential heraldic interpretations of the illustrations on these three pages leads to a surprising set of discoveries and seeming discrepancies that I have been posting about for several years, with several of these specifically focused on the clearly visible use of hatching and the matter of the potential interpretations. Anyone interested in that?!

  319. OOTB: errm… having not seen a single person bite so far, the answer they’re trying to send you would seem to be ‘no’. I’m the guy who actually seems to have first used the word “cryptoheraldry” in 2004, and even I’m not 100% sure what you’re trying to get at, beyond telling a story about various coats of arms that doesn’t quite seem to match up with other dating evidence.

  320. Out*of*the*Blue on August 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm said:


    No worries there, I have been bitten before, repeatedly. Silence is not disagreement. Who knew papelonny before my discovery? Since no one can add to it at present, what is there to say?

    Please, tell me something about your idea of “cryptoheraldry”, like what it is and where it can be seen. So we don’t get things confused.

    My investigation concerns the discovery of historical heraldry in the illustration of VMs White Aries (f71r), as part of the author’s complex construction of the images in the first five astrological houses of the VMs Zodiac. Here the illustrations clearly present a series of pairs and compound pairs, first in the astrological signs, then in the heraldry-like patterns of VMs Pisces and Aries.The pairing paradigm derived from Deuteronomy. Finally comes the matter of historical validation and if you can look at White Aries and get past the radial illusion, to see the blue-striped patterns in their natural state and wipe away the historical dust, then you will have a specific historical connection, unique because the armorial insignia are paired. And with the prospective historical identification further validated in the illustration by the red galero, proper hierarchical placement, favored heraldic positioning, and the choice of White Aries for celestial sacrifice. Why did you think the page was so thoroughly painted anyway? Not to mention English heraldry or any of the funny bits about hatching. You really have been under a big rock, way off in Oz; try hatching.

    Historically, the Fieschi popes of Genoa were in the mid to latter 13th Century CE. Definitely not anachronistic for any manuscript composed or copied on VMs parchment. The actual event illustrated could be dated to 1251 CE, when Pope Innocent IV, the originator of the cardinals’ red galero, made his nephew a cardinal. The connection to English heraldry then, could be seen through the nephew’s later service as papal legate there.

    So I’ve no idea what your “cryptoheraldry” entails, I’m looking for historical connections.

    Historical ecclesiastical heraldry in the VMs illustration of White Aries further identifies the pope’s golden key. Based on the unique connection of the blue-striped insignia and the patterned box in the circular band of text. That’s the way it was drawn!!! But of course, this is the silver key and the papal keys do come in pairs – check the heraldry. All parts of an internal narrative designated by pairs, like a pathway defined by paired garden lights. One either moves from pair to pair or one is *not* on the designated path.

    Oh! And the papelonny pun paired. Specifically placed in quadrant and in sphere to match the blue stripes of White Aries. You do know *where* the papes…er, popes are? Positional confirmation certainly seems objective to me. Every thing is based on history and standard interpretation, except the punny part. That is based of French.

  321. Out*of*the*Blue on August 25, 2015 at 8:19 pm said:

    So I found your hypothesis connecting Cicco Simonetta to the VMs based on the proposed heraldic interpretations of a possible hidden eagle in f46v in combination with an altered version of the “lion root” from f90v1. Is this correct?

    If so, this is certainly not the VMs Zodiac and therefore not the same thing I’ve investigated. What you have done is to take two separate potential animal images and attempt to give them an interpretation as heraldic charges. It is what it is. I can’t tell you it’s wrong. However it seems fairly tricksy to me, as lions and eagles among the most common animals used as heraldic charges. So the difficulty is in finding the correct example, if all there is to go on is the image of an eagle or a lion.

    My heraldic example is entirely different. In the first place, it starts with the question of the identification of certain heraldic insignia – whether or not that is possible. An eagle is not always a heraldic charge. It could just be a bird. It could be a mnemonic (aquila for aquiliegia) and have nothing to do with heraldry. But a pattern that is evocative of a heraldic insignia starts off pretty much as a heraldic insignia. And proceeds from there – in pairs.

    What you have found might be isolated elements of cryptic heraldry. What I have indicated is a compact and complex construction which includes heraldic identification and disguise – in pairs.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  322. OOTB: I didn’t say anyone was right or wrong, I just said that I used the term “cryptoheraldry” more than a decade ago in connection with possibly concealed heraldry in the same manuscript.

    I also looked very carefully at the albarelli / barrels in which so many of the zodiac nymphs have been placed. Long before the radiocarbon dating had been commissioned, I noted that the kind of sparse geometric design used there seemed strongly consistent with a mid-fifteenth century dating.

  323. Out*of*the*Blue on August 26, 2015 at 8:24 pm said:


    I wasn’t asking for an opinion on validity, merely inquiring whether I had understood and stated your hypothesis adequately. So far I’ve only seen the one page from the 2004 VMs-list archive and don’t know if you added other info or examples later. I know I had several significant additions from my initial set of interpretations, most all of them providing strong confirmation – and those which did not are intentional parts of a disguise of three veils. Well, two out of three were intentional. I have not used the term ‘cryptoheraldry’ to describe my investigations of White Aries and the VMs Zodiac, preferring ‘disguised’ or ‘hidden’ heraldry. But disguised, hidden and concealed are all pretty much the same thing.

    I see that Alchemy and Astrology are in the list of your discussion headers here, but Heraldry is not. Let me guess… That’s because it’s gone crypto. Right? And never been seen since. I do believe that heraldry is at least as relevant to VMs investigation as the other two topics.

    I’m not that familiar with early albarelli and the Google images are all shown with floral and pictorial designs. I found the tub patterns in the VMs evocative of certain basic designs in heraldry, primarily those with multiple lines like the paly, barry and bendy – both ways. And there is an example with chevrons and another with roundels and on to papelonny and so on. The work is not that great in the heraldic sense. Some examples are adequate to make a heraldic interpretation, Others, not so easy, But perhaps that is the exact intent – to make things a bit ambiguous. To introduce certain ideas, but not to make them glaringly obvious. Thus we find the Zodiac illustrations contain a radial illusion (etc.) to disguise and a papelonny pun (etc.) to confirm the historical identities represented. And it also confirms that the disguise is intentional. There really is a radial cloaking device, invented by the Romulans, isn’t there?

    In my view the actual number of VMs examples is really a rather limited percentage from the total number of nymphs that populate the VMs Zodiac. Only Pisces, Aries and Taurus have nymphs in tubs. Only the outer circle of Pisces and the two pages of Aries have tubs with these designs. The tubs on Taurus are blank and a few more blanks in Aries decrease the number even more.

    Starting at the top of Pisces, there are two things. There is hatching and there is pairing. If the hatching is given a heraldic interpretation, then there is the matter of dating. It still seems there are difficulties pushing the various hatching systems of tincture indication that preceded the Petra Sancta anywhere prior to 1600 CE. That is one side of the situation. Using the Petra Sancta will initially yield plausible heraldic interpretations. And it works all the way to the chevrons.

    What works after that is a little different. Either the author is ignorant of heraldry or is creating an intentional diversion. The effect of which may well be to deflect the investigator’s research with a pattern that is purple and green. What’s needed is perseverance, to continue on to papelonny and the author’s positional confirmation. Here the author’s methods and humour are better revealed. Meanwhile hatching might be considered as being heraldic colour in a generic sense. As tincture distinguishes between metals and colours, but not otherwise identified.

    As to the author’s methods, they are progressive. Introduce the first example in a clear and obvious way. The first astrological example is the pair of fish on Pisces. The first tub pattern pairings are at the top of Pisces. Subsequent examples are more difficult, some are moderate, others harder. Aries and Taurus are intentionally split to make pairs. Along with the shock value. It’s a lot more than just an example of armorial heraldry that has been hidden here,

    The paring paradigm and historical heraldic identification now connect with Stolfi’s “start here” markers and reveal what may be a uniquely repetitious segment of text. It really makes me wonder what the purpose for such a complex construction might be.

  324. boyfriend on August 27, 2015 at 7:16 am said:

    Hi Nick.

    Pictures 116 MS.

    1. image = Key. ( Algorithm )
    2. image = Fox. ( Name )
    3.image = Woman. ( Author )


    Fox = Name.
    Czech language . Fox = Liška. ( Liška – Czech language)

    Liška = Eliška. ( E Liška = Ě Liška = Je Liška).

    Elizabeth Rosenberg – English lenguage.
    Eliška z Rožmberka – Czech language.

  325. Dear NIck, Diane, Rene, OOTB, ProfZ:
    Until you can understand that B-408, folio 116v was the last (blank) page of Fray Sahagun’s pre-publication draft of what was to become the “Florentine” manuscript, you will not be able to decode nor make sense of the entire contents of the manuscript. “Michiton oladaba” is NONSENSE — at least it does not relate to the rest of the document:
    Ambassador Busbecq was simply signing off from his diplomatic efforts (w/Suleiman) — and he picked the shabbiest manuscript upon which to sign off. Busbecq makes mention of Ancyranum res Divi Augustus as being his port of departure from “Turkey” (with several hundred manuscripts) to be delivered to his boss.
    I’m sure there are historians “out there in the WWW” who can give you more details of the religious turmoil which was occurring throughout the 15th-17th centuries worldwide.
    Fray Sahagun’s preliminary notes for what eventually became the “Florentine Manuscript” were what we are now able to view worldwide via the World Wide Web.
    Nick — I thank you (from the bottom of my heart) for your graceful and masterly presentation of the VeryMysteriousManuscript .

    beady-eyed wonder-er ‘-)

  326. Rick A. Roberts on October 13, 2015 at 3:05 am said:

    I have been looking at some of the text of the Voynich Manuscript. The portion that I am working on is, ” fachys … ydaraishy “. I am trying to break it down. Here are some of the results that I have came up with from this text. ” Y “, refers to the division of past vice and virtue of development of human lifeThe word ” daraiin “, refers to a Myth of Creation in Manichaeism or the Myth of Light and Dark . ” Shory “, refers to ancient people who traveled the world in great flying cities of glass or glass-like material during the ” Age of Dynasty “, or magic known as Aeromantic Infadibulum. ” Sory “, refers to a glass mineral ore of vitriel. ” Kor “, refers to the bed that belongs to the underworld in Norse Mythology. I will post more as I can.

  327. Cayden Mascarenhas on November 22, 2015 at 7:25 am said:

    Anyone consider that it could be a work of fiction belonging to some long lost tribe?
    And maybe it was found in a monastery because a monk found it and it was kept safely there since he was trying to decipher it? I’m pretty sure it’s a work of fiction.

  328. Cliff Curtis on December 4, 2015 at 10:31 pm said:

    My whole life has been emphasised with a creative artistic talent I believe I was simply born with. I also have a fair amount of ESP. The picture’s layouts and styles are basically similar to my own in any freehand rendition of notes. I recognise the drawings in the VMS as being from a person of my own artistic ability and so I can offer a perspective into what the pictures are saying. First, many of these drawings are difficult and carefully done, taking several hours if not days, to complete. Hence, were very important to be included. What was coming to mind as I studied the drawings was that this person was probably a human but not originally from this world. I also got the impression that this person was a student of chemistry, probably female, and had knowledge of another worldly practice so incredibly advanced it’s beyond our full understanding. We probably wouldn’t even find it morally acceptable at this time. I don’t believe all the plants depicted are from our planet either. These drawings apparently show an amazing fusion of machines and plants being utilised in some aspect of the creation of “drone?” human type females. The women in the green liquid are reaching out with a hand on each other because they’re nervous about something. They may be adding something to, or absorbing something from, this green liquid they’re standing in. This was a journal of notes relating to a recipe that was accidently lost by an alien visitor. The truth is out there. Thanks and good luck.

  329. Hello colleagues!
    The manuscript is written in Abgal (Oannes). I have 6 circumstantial evidence.
    Returning to page 79v. I think the top two drawings should be considered together. On the upper figure female holds a symbol of masculinity. The next – female. Together they form the astronomical symbol of the Earth (mankind). It is very similar to the Egyptian ANKH symbol (consonant with the name of the god Enki). All the same page is an interpretation of the Sumerian epic “Enki and Nimni” about the creation of man. With the help of genetic engineering have made crossbreeding Homo erectus with people-fish. As a result of it a hybrid lost tail. (bottom picture).
    Page 84v symbolizes the intrauterine development of cloned human mothers.
    Sorry for bad english.

  330. D.N. O'Donovan on December 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm said:

    I quite missed your comment of August 24th., 2015.

    My approach to this manuscript was that which is normally taken when approaching an artefact of unknown provenance.

    With regard to MS Beinecke 408, while there is a reasonable, if less than conclusive case to be made for its manufacture in England or in mainland Europe, its content is another matter. There, one has to begin by attempting to identify the origin, and any chronological strata evinced by the imagery and – separately – by the written part of the text.

    Obviously – because even within Europe one may find imagery from one tradition combined with written text from some other. The typical example might be a Greek text provided with characteristically northern French layout and illumination.

    There has been a very general expectation in Voynich studies, and one which lingers in many tacit assumptions, that the text and imagery may both be attributed to some ‘author’ or quasi-author, and that this will permit attribution of every element to a single region and period: witness the habit among amateur Voynicheros of supposing that the research may be limited to one medium (Manuscripts), from one region (e.g. Constance) and still more narrowly to one period (15thC). This is not a valid method for establishing the provenance of content whose source remains unidentified.

    Since we cannot identify the language of the text’s written part, so the research should have focused first on the codicological and palaeographic evidence – unfortunately, the first was largely ignored, and the second question “settled” by presuming one had the answer before investigation: namely that the hand was a European one. Whether it is, or isn’t a humanist hand has yet to be adequately argued, I think.
    In provenancing imagery, it is inappropriate to begin as if one were writing an undergraduate essay in the history of European art styles, because to do so one has to first determine whether or not the matter has come from European sources, and whether or not it belongs to the Latin European ‘renaissance’ period. As Steele, Panofsky and indeed Wilfrid Voynich – together with the keeper of manuscripts at the British LIbrary – all noticed, this manuscript shows no sign in its imagery of any affect from medieval European Latin style, including that late medieval style called ‘renaissance’.

    If, however, one begins with a determination that it *shall* be a product of the Italian Renaissance, then arbitrarily defines any use of roughly parallel lines as “hatching” one’s art-history argument may proceeed along the lines you appear to believe required.

    However, if one investigates the motif itself, it is soon clear that the habit is not one which is limited to the ‘renaissance’ nor to the Latins’ artistic traditions. As a means of provenancing, such roughly-parallel and slightly curved lines do not indicate much that is helpful.

    On the other hand, tracing the origin and transmission of many such elements, one reaches a point of convergence – to cut the longer process short. And that point of convergence becomes the posited locus for final enunciation of the image as we have it. Ideally, the provenancer will also explain the lineage of such imagery, including any anomalies.

    So far, my method has identified folio 86v as a map of the maker’s world and identified it’s range, its Hellenistic basis, and its chronological strata, concluding with the Mallorcan/Genoese period, and even identifying a close similarity to works produced by a particular family in Genoa.

    I have also recently identified the particular type of crossbow in folio 73v, by reference to a technical innovation attested only in Spanish crossbows designed for use at sea.

    This in addition to identifying the style, and method of construction used in the botanical section, and identifying the so-called “pharma” section as more probably a form of “bill of lading” cum catalogue, and comparing it with a type of illustrated bill of account found among the papers of a fourteenth-century merchant: an Italian who spent some years in Avignon.

    Altogether: considering the materials, the page-layout, lack of typical Latin habits (such as ruling-out), and inclusion of certainly non-Latin habits (such as picturing two distinctly different animal bodies under one head), and so forth, I have come to agree wholeheartedly with Panofsky that the work had been Jewish to the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Thereafter, it passed into the Latins’ ken, and our fifteenth century manuscript is probably a Latin production.

    While I do not know if I am old enough to be your grandmother, Nick, and I have no particular taste for raw eggs, I have been provenancing artefacts by the style and content of their imagery for a fair while.

    And I must say, it seems still to get verifiable results – the cocking mechanism on f.73v had not, I think, been recognised before. And it was a fellow archaeologist who drew my attention to it. Rightly, he should have the credit, but he refuses … the true Curse of the Voynich, again.

  331. Diane: it is one thing to have your own way of doing history, but quite another to assert (as I think you manifestly do here) that not only is your way the best possible way but that everyone else’s is just sub-undergraduate nonsense.

    You may think you’re building bridges with comments like these, but to just about everyone else I’m reasonably sure that it looks like you’re burning them. With a flamethrower in each hand.

  332. D.N. O'Donovan on December 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm said:

    It is clear that you still like the ideas about the manuscript which you put into book form nine years ago. I still like your codicological study, myself.

    Let me be clear about what you call “my way of doing history”.

    I finished my second degree in 1984 – with majors in the history of art, computer studies, ancient near eastern languages and literature, and in the archaeology of industry (of ‘made things’).

    My specialty – a mixture of training, experience and somewhat unexpected natural facility – turned out to be the provenancing of artefacts, often fragmentary, by reference to iconographic elements – also often fragmentary.

    From that perspective, my interest in this particular artefact is that it is filled with imagery whose origins and history remained unknown; all that was known is that it had probably turned up in a trunk in Rome and that it had spent some time in Bohemia.

    I did not think the object had enough known history for the problem to be an historical one, as such. Its imagery certainly did not resemble, or in the main belong to the Latin European tradition: so much was evident within the first few days.

    So for me, the issue was not one of constructing a plausible theory. it was the usual business of locating an object’s origins, describing the evolution of its imagery and finally locating its present version in place and time.

    It’s a provenancing problem – and its methods are not “mine” in the sense that my discoveries have been. It is unfortunate that you should pay so much attention to the one and none at all to the others. Unfortunate, I mean, for any hope that the study as a whole will advance during the next nine or ten years, as it has scarcely done in the past decade.

    I wish you luck in your new-format, and your cipher-cracking. I’m off for the hols.

  333. Diane: I think that your decision about what constitutes the “problem” is closely allied to the skills you think you have… which is exactly the same kind of knot that you are quick to point out in other people’s approaches. If only your approach was truly so original and dynamic as to sever this Gordian knot!

    But given that nobody’s is (not even yours), perhaps the right response is to be a little more honestly humbled by the difficulties that this extraordinarily frustrating artefact presents, rather than being bombastic about how our conclusions about it clearly prove the profundity and efficacy of our skills.

  334. bdid1dr on December 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm said:

    Nick, Whether ‘building bridges’ or ‘burning bridges’, Diane’s contributions to your discussion pages can be viewed as the result of much research and comparative dialogue. Occasionally, one does have to ‘beat one’s own drum’ so to speak. So, if any one of us (who contribute to your various fascinating ‘puzzles) is not able to create a blog which can be ‘replied’ to (because of constant attacks by hackers), what is a person to do?
    Perhaps Diane might be able to keep her posts more in-line with your discussions, if she were to keep her contributions short and relative to your post, and cite her references, so others can follow-up.
    I remember several years ago (when I was ‘duking it out’ with Elmar Vogt and Rich Santa Coloma, (and Diane) on Elmar’s page: We all sorta ‘threw up our hands”, and bid adieu, and proceeded in our different pursuits. Fun!

  335. bdid1dr on December 9, 2015 at 5:13 pm said:

    ps: I’m a fine one to talk, eh?

  336. boyfriend , Champollion,,. :-) on December 10, 2015 at 1:03 am said:

    Dear colleague Diana. D.
    Your constntly write. You have some education. So it is a bad fellow. I also have a very good education. And not to brag. Research Voynich. It takes more sense. I think it wants more confused. And it certainly can. I’ts also important to control the substitution. You keep writing about a crossbow. For us kids when they look at the picture. So even a small child says . This is a crossbow. It does have to be seen even by the blind. Also, I have to write. Large parchment map of the world does not ( not !!)
    There are many images. Wheels, no rosettes. ( there writes author). It needs to understand. And what is important, so it is important to read what is written there. When you are able to read what is written there. So you will know you are writing Jokes. I’m sorry. But the manuscript is beyond your capabilities.


  337. It’s very bad for the quality of this forum if so underrated is what writes Diana, which are much more valuable than rubbish boyfriend “Champollion”.

  338. D.N. O'Donovan on December 10, 2015 at 10:31 am said:

    You are perfectly right, I have fallen into bad habits in describing the map on f.86v as a world-map. I should of course say that it is a map of eastern traders’ routes and regions.

    A short, accurate and cogent criticism. I accept it with gratitude.

  339. Adam D. Morris on December 10, 2015 at 3:27 pm said:

    Diana —

    I have not talked with you in a long time, and I just noticed these comments on here. Would you be able to send me a line sometime? I am quite interested in your latest research, if you have some time.

  340. boyfriend , Champollion,,. :-) on December 10, 2015 at 5:04 pm said:

    Gregori Gregori. You ,,chlope,, one. I must once again raise eyebrows.


    Ps. You. Also write crap.

  341. boyfriend , Champollion,,. :-) on December 10, 2015 at 10:13 pm said:

    Lady Diane. Important, read what is written in the manuscript. Big parchment has multiple meanings. As you surely know. So Baroque unifies ( unites) everything. Everything is in one. Meaning a large parchment. It not that what you write.

    Meaning 3 top wheels. ( rosetes).
    1 left, – mine where Silver was mined. The mine belongs to the Rosenbergs. ( can be traced in the archive). To the righ ( rightward ). It is drawn. The lower half of the body. In order to see it. So you have rotate the image. The symbol is drawn there. A person stands on its mine.
    Omit the central round. ( middle wheel). A combined body. It is there to see. Cout ( suit) and lace. Then rotate. Right rosette. A connecting head. The right rosette is drawn castle. This is called Rosenberg. Rose Hill. The owner’s name Rosenberg. The castle was not much left. ( many wars). Today there is only a tower Jacobin. The rosette is also drawn fish. AAnd those of you waving, waving. He has a big smile. ( and teeth). One eye is done as an entrance to the castle. Owner named eye. Eye Rosenberg. ( Voko , Oko. Rožmberg). The symbol fish. Rosenberg cultivated fish. He founded many and many ponds.

    This is the meaning of the top row of images. Author manuscript was good. Read the text is very dificult. The author used a very complicated encryption.
    Michal V. understand. And why has the logo. Cat and mouse.
    Author manuscript with potential, the reader is playing cat and mouse. According to what is written on the cover letter. ( voynich letter Yale). Michal and his wife knew the key. The key is in fact written on the cover of the letter. It is the same as on the side of 116 MS.
    So you know the key. A language. And you can start reading the manucript. Describes Czech history.


  342. D.N. O'Donovan on December 11, 2015 at 11:55 am said:

    Apologies for the silence. I’m afraid your address and many others were lost in the bushfires.

    I can be reached at the email address in the sidebar at

  343. I propose three additional arguments.
    2. From the Sumerian myths known that God ENKI using Abgal- sages taught men Writing, irrigation, agriculture, Herbal Therapy.
    3. Many botanists see in Figures plant signs of hybrids and the site of inoculation. In the myth “Enki and Ninhursag” goddess mother actually engaged in of genetic engineering of plants and hybridization.
    4.You know that in a deserted place on the shore of the Caspian Sea on the wet sand met fresh lettering of the symbols of the manuscript? As though the author emerged from the water and returned in to the sea.

  344. Two more “tangible” arguments I can explain only by using the drawings.
    For this look at https://vk.com/id304788998 .
    What is it? Trash, accidental coincidence or regularity?

  345. On my page I published a new proof of the correctness of my method of decoding. What unites these nine pictures of plants? Again the accidental coincidence?

  346. hakan.drhakan2015@gmail.com on January 12, 2016 at 7:46 am said:

    Book of Revelation (John of Patmos) ;
    1-16, In his right hand he held seven stars….

    Voynich Manuscript page 68 r 3 ;
    The seven stars (Pleiades?) are attached to the right side of (face of moon?)

    Voynich page 68 r 3, may be referring to the Book of Revelation ?
    But, i can not see double-edged sword and face of moon does not look bright.

  347. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    From what I understand, Elizebeth Friedman and others have stated that the Voynich Manuscript is not a single substitution alphabetic cipher.

    Do you think there are still any reasons for believing that the VMS might be written in a single substitution alphabetic cipher?

    If not, if it is an alphabetic substitution cipher at all, it must have had an intermediate operation performed on the glyphs/letters before being written down. I believe Captain Currier said something to that effect.

    Are there any generally accepted ideas on what the intermediate operation might be?

    Is there a list of individual beliefs about what the operation might be?

    Is there any mathematical or statistical proof for such an operation?

    If it is not a substitution cipher of some sort, is there a list of other possible alternatives off things it might be (such as my codes and tables ideas)?

    I know you have a long list of people with theories (in my humble opinion missing at least one person). Is there any easy way to classify their ideas as to simple substitution cipher, complex substitution cipher or other? Can the classifications be further subdivided?

    Do any of the proponents of these ideas offer any mathematical, statistical or written proof that they might be on the right track similar to the results my Voynich Lite consistently gives for the most common 505 Voynich words, those found at least ten times each in the VMS and accounting for about one half of the words in the manuscript?

    If they don’t, or won’t or can’t, why do you think that is?

    It seems to me that you personally don’t find the Voynich Lite results significant. Is this supposition on my part correct? Do you even think they are real, consistent and correct results? (If you would like to comment, I’d prefer facts, reasons or complaints about the results which I have shown to be real and factual, not hearing your opinions about other things, please – or questions about other stuff you think you need answered or why your expectation of this or that other thing hasn’t yet been met.)

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  348. Don: the list of Voynich theories / theorists is at least a hundred theories short of a full asylumful… but writing them up is such a depressing task I tend to find myself reorganizing the contents of my sock drawer in preference. That, or really giving my teeth a good floss. For an hour or two.

    Lots of people still want Voynichese to have been written in a simple language, and what people want is what they get. Or at least, few people have gone home from the Voynich party disappointed. Of course, Voynichese isn’t a simple language, but given that isn’t how Dan Brown would write it, who really cares?

    There are no generally accepted ideas about what the intermediate operations (and I use the plural form most deliberately) could, should, would, must or might be. Back in 2006 I spent a chapter of Curse outlining a fair few of these, but I found that I had to get used to the faint ‘pffft’ sound of falling on deaf ears.

    I hope I’ve made it entirely clear to you before now that your Voynich Lite is an interesting take on Voynichese: but because it reduces one giant mystery into a different kind of quandary, it will continue to remain a hard sell for some time yet, I think. The equation goes like this: people want theories that not only can be tested, but that also make predictions about the subject – consistency with the data doesn’t necessarily make a given model interesting. Hence you seem to have concentrated on the testing part of this equation, but not so much on the prediction part: so from the outside, it as yet doesn’t look like much of a theory.

    Which is not to try to put you off (Heaven forfend such a thing!), but rather to get you to raise your game. 🙂

  349. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    In my attempt to show how to deconstruct the 505 most common words in the VMS into component parts similar to the idea of Professor Stolfi’s prefix-midfix-suffix ideas, I use 104 Group I codes and 33 other codes to deconstruct 505 words into component parts.

    The method seems to be successful 503 out of 505 times.

    I use the same method and the same sequence for each word and have explained each step.

    I have given written proof of my work and the results.

    I wonder what the chances are mathematically of being able to do that with any other method of understanding the ideas behind the Voynich words?

    The other two words could be successfully deconstructed also if I would add one additional code. Without adding the additional code, my success rate is still way over 99%.

    To me, that sounds significant.

    Do you not think my showing how the words can be constructed or deconstructed by adding or removing a limited number of codes in the same way, every time, is significant for understanding the VMS words? Just the fact that it can be done seems significant to me.

    I’m sorry if I seem argumentative. I’m only trying to understand your attitude. (I’m not being snide here, really – I’m truly puzzled).

    I didn’t deconstruct just a handful of words, cherry-picked because they fit the pattern.

    It was a whole lot more. They weren’t cherry-picked. They represent about half of the words in the VMS. That’s a pretty representative sample in my mind.

    If accurate and accepted, the results of Voynich Lite will probably blow a whole lot of the ideas of others about the construction of the Voynich Manuscript’s words out of the water, won’t they?

    I don’t know if anyone has checked my work to see if it is accurate and gives true results. (It’s like an open book test when all the answers are written in the back of the book.) It shouldn’t be too hard to check.

    I think the results of Voynich Lite show reality, not wishful thinking or skillful management of the glyphs to meet my own ideas or theory’s requirements.

    It’s hard to argue with reality.

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  350. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    Please remember that Voynich Lite is only a distillation of my much more encompassing ideas. It is only meant to work almost all the time for those 505 words, not because that is what I wanted, but because that is what is in the 505 Voynich words themselves and what my work has revealed.

    And all my idea is is a more refined version of Professor Stolfi’s idea. I just show that he was right.

    I only distilled my other ideas down into Voynich Lite and its results because I thought it would be easier to understand if I gave the proof along with the results for a truly representative but limited group of probably accurately spelled Voynich words, not one-time only words with smudges or unclear glyphs (that people might argue about).

    But it sure does make the resulting codes contained within the words hard to explain or understand if for those who don’t also adopt my other ideas.

    And those ideas almost give gibberish. Unless it is a personal herbal or recipe book of a doctor or master apothecary and not meant for any eyes but his/her own (as I envision). Then, perhaps, more meaning might be coaxed from it.

    Or maybe someone else will come up with a better reason for the words to be able to be divided up into coded sections so regularly. I wish her/him well.

    But the words can be divvied up according to the method, tables and sequence I use, almost each and every one in the VMS. And there are probably reasons for the few exceptions that I just haven’t figured out yet.

    I don’t hold much hope for scribal error unless it was done on purpose. I don’t think error is the reason for many anomalies. The VMS may have been penciled before inking – have you read anything about this possibility as being the reason for few erasures? I thought I detected a place or two where a glyph was not fully inked but don’t remember where – just a pencil stroke or something similar for each.

    How’s the telescope thing going?

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  351. Don: the word “model” is problematic because it gets used in two quite different senses: (1) as an expression of an abstract theory of behaviour that you then validate against experimental data (i.e. a theoretical model), and (2) as a reflected, condensed version of a body of (often pre-existing) data (i.e. as an empirical model).

    Your Voynich Lite is (without any shadow of a doubt) an empirical model, fitted closely to the Voynichese corpus. It has not a flicker of theory to it (and that’s OK): but you repeatedly compare it with theoretical models (such as Stolfi’s crust-mantle-core paradigm), which are trying to do something quite different and for utterly different reasons.

    By comparing Voynichese to Stolfi’s crust-mantle-core theoretical model, we learn a lot about how Voynichese breaks the kind of simple-minded rules linguists would like to impose upon it. Yet this is not for nothing: we genuinely learn from the process. For all its numerical shortcomings, crust-mantle-core has helped bring numerous issues implicit in Voynichese’s odd behaviour to the foreground in what I would consider a fruitful way: we are better off for Stolfi’s having tried crust-mantle-core out than if he had not proposed it.

    At the same time, this is emphatically not true of empirical models (such as Voynich Lite): their consistency with the data doesn’t bring us closer to the underlying features driving Voynichese. They do not help us learn about Voynichese.

    It comes down to this: unless they are extraordinarily parsimonious (and 130+ component parts to create 503 words in a 505-word dictionary is far from parsimonious), empirical models tell us far less than theoretical models, because we do not learn anything from trying them out. Ultimately, the “success metric” of a good model is not how numerically good a fit it provides, but how much we learn from it.

  352. Don: …but Stolfi’s crust-mantle-core wasn’t right, and that was largely the point of it – to demonstrate that Voynichese doesn’t follow any simple theoretical word-production / word-generation process by building a simple one and trying it out.

  353. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    I’ll give up after this one last try to bring you over to the Dark Side…

    On page 24 of Table X at:


    starts a somewhat alphabetized and ordered list of decodings of the 505 words according to my deconstruction ideas and my proposed solutions for each of the code meanings. These decodings are explained in the first 23 pages of Table X.

    I use each and every glyph as it appears in each of the 505 Voynich most common words.

    Please look down the list starting on page 24 for a few pages or all of the pages. Granted that some of the Group/Table I attributions have been changed to other herbs since the page was decoded, don’t the proposed meanings seem to show an amazing continuity?

    How can I do this?

    How do I use every glyph in the order shown in the VMS to do it?

    Does this list seem wrong or illogical for some major reason? Are the meanings totally unrelated to each other? Do you see any gaping holes in my proposed solution (or Voynich Lite)?

    Most of them are even common English medicinal herbs being used in fairly close approximations of the dosages I’ve been able to find being recommended.

    Don’t you wish you could do this sort of thing with the Voynich words?

    Remember, these are still the same 505 most common VMS words. Nothing’s changed.

    Oh! One thing has changed. I do show the proposed meanings for about half the words in the VMS. (I don’t fool around when I start showing proposed meanings, do I?)

    Now, I don’t expect anyone to make the huge jump from the perceived deconstruction idea to this much more uncertain proposed reading of the 505 words. But, the word meanings in the second part of Table X sure look reasonable and understandable and repeatable and consistent and all the other things one would expect from a successful decoding/translation, don’t they?

    They just don’t seem to make sentences, only recipes.

    Have you ever seen such loopy ideas about the VMS that held together on closer examination like mine seem to do?

    If you come over to the Dark Side soon, the name Nick Skywalker is still available. : )

    I have your lightsaber (really an old flashlight) ready for you.

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  354. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    I don’t know why you keep mentioning the crust-mantle-core idea over and over in reference to my ideas. I have not consciously mentioned it as the forerunner of my ideas. Why do you keep bringing it up?

    If you look at my submissions to you, I think you will notice I have usually said the prefix-midfix-suffix idea was the one I adopted and adapted. I didn’t much like the crust-mantle-core idea, either. I don’t know why you keep insisting I am likening anything to it – I’m not, and haven’t. Are you doing it on purpose?

    I think I’ve pretty much proven the prefix-midfix-suffix idea works, unless you have evidence to the contrary?

    The theory does seem to provably work, contrary to your only saying it doesn’t.

    It really works.

    I HAVE duplicated the “simple theoretical word-production / word-generation process” used by the author of the VMS and shown it works. That’s what Voynich Lite is a proof of. What part of it don’t you think works? The other 2 out of 505 words?

    That’s pretty nit-picky. Especially for something that may be explainable for those two words – just not yet because it hasn’t been worked out.

    How’s the telescope thing going?

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  355. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    The second part of Table X is listed below (for those who won’t look at others’ sites) . Listed are the proposed ingredient dosages, somewhat alphabetized by herb names found in the 505 most common Voynich words.

    The number of different herbs shown is the reason for 103 of the 137 codes needed to deconstruct the 505 most common words. The other 34 codes take care of everything else.

    One abbreviation is not yet ID’d, (1) grain (possibly some sort of speedwell?)

    [NickP: I removed 608 lines of stuff here that Don had cut-and-pasted from his previously linked site. 608 lines!]

    The first thing I noticed is how many of the most commonly used dosages seem to be for a small core group of herbs – ones that would have been found in any decent apothecary shop in Fifteenth Century England (or elsewhere on the continent, probably).

    I was surprised how many of the above herbs had quantities of both 1 and 2 grains and also about several showing the specific combination range of 1, 5 and 8 minims of maceration (often with other larger quantities in the range also) – and remember, this list only shows the most commonly used herbal ingredient dosages of the herbs shown.

    Also notice the seeming duplication of some dosages measured in tinctures caused by the way the VMS words are structured, some with understood (minims of tincture) or (tincture). This is also noted (predicted) elsewhere in Fumblydiddles, I think, or was at one time.

    Please remember these decodings of the words were done almost two years ago. Some of the individual codes of Table I herbs have changed attributions to other herbs since then. I think this is the main class of changes to these decodings that have needed to be made since then.

    Justification of how these words were decoded is found in the first part of Table X at my fumblydiddles.com site.

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  356. Don: there is precious little genuine Netiquette out there, but pasting 600+ lines of repetitive text into a comments box definitely sits on the wrong side of the line. You has already given a link to your “Table X”, so that was completely superfluous, and please don’t do it again.

    Firstly, your model: all the while you cannot tell the difference in category between empirical models (e.g. yours) and theoretical models (e.g. Stolfi’s), you will continue to waste your time, my time, and the time of anyone else unfortunate enough to be subscribed to updates to this page. At some point very soon my moderation will stop being so moderate, because you’re stretching my – normally highly elastic – patience.

    Secondly, your Table X: you propose that Voynichese is almost entirely formed of an artificial apothecaries’ language. You have decoded the assignments between individual letters and common medicinal herbs of the era based not on any existing text or tradition, but on the letters you yourself have assigned to Voynichese glyphs: and you have then interpreted those letters as the initial letter of English words a herbalist might plausibly use, e.g. EVA ‘yp’ ==> “hz” ==> “Hairy zizyphus”. (Though the earliest mention of zizyphus/ziziphus I found was from 1521 1502 so I suspect its herbal history is post-Columbine, while I’m not sure anyone apart from you has ever proposed that the phrase “hairy zizyphus” might be meaningful in some way).

    Your translation for line #1 of f2r runs (one expanded word per line):
    * [unknown word] (1) grain
    * hairy zizyphus stem / aerial parts / tincture 8 (minims)
    * avens maceration (1) minim
    * Roman sage maceration 8 (minims)
    * /
    * hairy zizyphus maceration (1) minim
    * woundwort (1) drachm

    But… do you not consider it somewhat improbable and strange that you translate the most common word in Voynichese – EVA ‘daiin’, 886 occurrences in the transcription you’re using – “1 minim’s measure of macerated avens” (i.e. geum urbanum)?

    While wood avens was indeed used in the 15th and 16th century to drive away evil spirits etc (even Paracelsus approved of it), if you add up all the instance counts of the words you claim to see its presence in (daiin 886, dar 338, dy 278, al 270, dal 264, dain 182, dol 115, dam 96, dor 62, d 36, dchy 29, aiir 23, ary 21, daiir 20, dl 20, dan 16, do 14, doiin 11) you find that it occurs at least 2681 times right through the Voynichese corpus (i.e. not just in the Herbal and Herbal B sections, but everywhere else as well), and doubtless many more times besides, if your decryptions are anything to go by.

    At the same time, you can see no word in Voynichese for ‘the’ or ‘and’: for you, therefore, the entire text is therefore just one long string of many thousands of English herbal remedies written in an ultra-compact artificial shorthand.

    Now that I have summarised your theory and given it the oxygen you so obviously craved for it, can you please stop posting about it?

  357. Dear Mr. Pelling,

    I am sorry about the 600 line rule or whatever it is. I didn’t know you had such constraints nor can I find them published on your site.

    I am an old man with no knowledge of Netiquette. Can you tell me where I can find these Netiquette rules you refer to, please?

    Since you have asked me not to further post about my theory, I cannot answer your questions. Nor will I attempt to post about my ideas in the future on your site.

    It is your site. You get to make the rules. You get to choose what you publish on your site.

    I wish you’d post the rules somewhere.so I (and maybe others) can comply without being admonished for screwing up.

    I obey your wishes and bow to your strictures.

    I’ll ask again – how’s the telescope thing coming? Since I was the one that sent you the image, I am interested in what you make of it.

    Thank you.

    Don of Tallahassee

  358. Don: ah, now you’re trying to post about not posting about your theory. Which is, as any fule kno, still posting about your theory. Your coat is in the cupboard by the door. Try not to wake the neighbours.

    The telescope thing is coming on slowly. I reckon it’ll cost me about £3000 to do enough ancillary research to be able to publish it for nothing. So I’m trying to do it slowly, so I don’t notice my family starving so quickly. 😉

  359. Nikolaj on February 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm said:

    Good day!
    My name is Nikolai.
    To a question about the key to the Voynich manuscript.
    Today, I have to add on this matter following.
    The manuscript was written no letters, and signs for the letters of the alphabet of one of the ancient languages. Moreover, in the text there are 2 more levels of encryption to virtually eliminate the possibility of computer-assisted translation, even after replacing the signs letters.
    I pick up the key by which the first section I was able to read the following words: hemp, hemp clothing; food, food (sheet of 20 numbering on the Internet); cleaned (intestines), knowledge may wish to drink a sugary drink (nectar), maturation (maturity), to consider, to think (sheet 107); drink; six; flourishing; growing; rich; peas; sweet drink nectar and others. It is only a short word, mark 2-3. To translate words consisting of more than 2.3 characters is necessary to know this ancient language.
    If you are interested, I am ready to send more detailed information, including scans of pages indicating the translated words.
    Sincerely, Nicholas.

  360. Dear all,
    Has anyone looked into Sukhwant Singh? I see he’s posted here.
    Curious about why no one comments about his work.

    I have been trying to find out more about him (search engine, hence here).

    I don’t think he’s a nut job. Far as I can tell, he’s one of the few that actually make sense. To me, as least. . .

    It takes some time to get past the verbosity and into the “meat” of the matter (yeah, I need to get out more) but he really seems plausible.

    He also has a fascinating take on the “Mystery of Oak Island”.

  361. Jamie: if I thought Sukhwant Singh’s claims had any significant merit to them, I would post about them. Unfortunately, the number of Voynich theories has recently expanded far beyond my abilities to blog about them, beyond saying “the probability that his claims are correct is significantly smaller than 1%”.

  362. @nickpelling
    Eat words much?

  363. Jamie: not on this occasion. 🙂

  364. Following is not a rhetorical question, but an honest one to which I have not yet found the answer.

    I wonder if any Indian MS would ever be written on parchment made of the skin of a young cow.

  365. Helmut Winkler on February 23, 2016 at 10:04 pm said:

    As far as I know, parchment was never used in India or for Indian mss., I have never seen one, but that is nothing I would bet on. Before the introduction of paper, birch bark and palm leaves were common writing materials, there are big collections in e.g. Berlin and München and I suppose in the other big European and U.S. collections as well. Cp. http://www.orientalthane.com/arts/news_2008_03_21.htm, as far as my limited knowlege goes, this paper seems more or less reliable.

  366. Diane on May 10, 2016 at 11:45 am said:

    Hi Nick,
    Looking at a page from an early fifteenth-century Latin manuscript recently (Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College MS 36/114) I got the shock of my Voynich-life.

    Heaven forfend, I seen unwittingly to have incubated a theory – if anyone could be bothered doing so, I’d be glad to have it removed.

    It goes like this: that the text of the Voynich manuscript is written in what should be Latin, but very bad Latin and badly-written in terms of Latin form and orthography – written by people who were superb copyists and scribes but for whom Latin was a foreign or very new language.

    It gets worse. But in my defense I will mention that Philip Neal has said that the text conforms in some ways to Latin, and that another Voynich researcher once said that the text’s ductus was less like writing than like “drawings of writing” – no that wasn’t Julian, and I cannot re-discover who said it.

    The ‘gets worse’ bit is that the theory envisages the bad-Latin text in the Voynich botanical section as being filled with scatterings of non-Latin words (in this situation, I’d posit one of the regional Spanish or Occitan dialects), and an underlying text in one of the more rotten Latin versions of Nicholas of Damascus’ book about plants, long but wrongly believed (e.g. by Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus, both of whom used it) to be by Aristotle.

    Bacon tells a nice story of working from his copy, lecturing to students who fell about laughing because he took one word as being transliterated from Arabic, when all the time it was colloquial Spanish – like his students.

    So there it is.

    If any of your readers would care to investigate, prove it impossible and so cure me of this first infection from theory-disease, I’d be immensely glad.

    I’ve posted a couple of comparative examples between the Cambridge ms and Beinecke MS 408, f.38v in a post called ‘An early 15thC copy of a 13thC text: Thomas of Cantimpre. Posted 9th May 2016.

  367. Diane: as I’m sure you know, what makes most Voynich theories rotten to their core is that they have no genuine supporting evidence beyond “What I tell you three times is true“.

    * What evidence can you point to that led you to suggest that the text underlying the Voynich’s botanical section (Herbal A? Herbal B? Pharma?) is in any way connected to or derived from “Nicholas of Damascus’ book about plants”?

    * What evidence can you point to that led you to suggest the text is “bad Latin” and/or scavenged “Spanish or Occitan dialects” beyond merely superficial scribal letter shaping similarities (which would almost certainly be true of almost all European scribes of that time writing text in any language or cipher)? Specifically, what Voynichese words can you point to that lead to that view?

  368. Diane on May 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm said:

    That’s the stuff!

  369. Diane on May 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm said:

    PS see remainder of ‘Tuscany Herbal’ posts. Already written. Interrupted by two latest, but the next is due to go up in a couple of days. By the end the germ of this theory-disease will be pretty obvious. It has to do with the raft of herbals produced in the Veneto, quality of their Latin, their sources, and a simultaneous influx of new settlers from the Occitan-speaking regions into the aforesaid region. Takes a while to set out: hence number of posts.

    Please continue with the cure, though. You know of my theory-allegry. 🙂

  370. Diane: OK (I suppose)… but then why “Nicholas of Damascus’ book about plants” rather than any of the 500+ other books on plants from that general time frame?

    And – apart from the presence of Occitan-like zodiac month-names, which seem to have been added in an ugly hand by a later owner – why must it have anything to do with Occitan?

  371. Diane on May 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm said:

    For a number of reasons, but I guess the first and shortest point is that it was a text used in Latin translation by both roger and albert, both of whom studied in Paris, and in Bacon’s case, the text was probably one of the Toledo school’s.

    Many other items involved but it’s taken me four of my essay-length blog-posts to present all of it, even in brief, so I hope you’ll excuse my not trying to summarise all of them here.

  372. Thomas F.Spande on May 14, 2016 at 7:21 pm said:

    Dear Diane, Nick, et al., I suspect I am not the first to try a vowel frequency analysis and am moving along the well worn path, cautioned against by BD. Here are the results for a folio by the looser writing scribe, f22v: In 16 lines, “o” occurs 54 times, “a” occurs 24 times (of which “amt” occurs 16 times; the linked “cc” occurs 29 times. The other forms of “cc” occur from 1 to 9 times.

    The tighter writing scribe on f24r: In 20 lines, vowel “o” occurs 71 times; “a” occurs 39 times, of which “amt” occurs 9 times and “ant” once; The linked “cc” occurs 24 times with other forms of c, comprising “c”, “cc” “linked cc” with a gallows bisecting them, and a linked “cc” under a diacritical, either “o” or “)” when grouped,, total 10-14 occurrences.

    The great predominance of “o” does not fit Latin, nor Italian (so my interest in Commissario Montalbano is no help there). Nor any other common language I have tested. For one brief moment I hoped Italian would fit the bill and maybe even provide an end letter that could be used to delineate words. However “a, e, and i” are more common in Italian than is “o”; For Latin, “e”>”a”roughly = “u”>> “o”. I have gone further East, looking at Tamil, Urdu, Sinhala, but none work so far. English is also a miss with “a” and “e” both more frequent than “o” but “e” and “o” are close. Armenian [I thought you’d never ask!] is rich in “a” but from what I can tell, “o” is a close second, referred to as “abundant”. I plan to study a few more folios of each scribe and try an assignment for the linked cc, (a tentative guess at the moment is “e”). If I am deep into a well worn path, will someone put me out of my misery!!. Cheers, Tom

  373. Tom: all credit to you for recognizing that accounting for ‘o’ is a bigger problem than almost everyone seems to realize. Ultimately, I suspect the letter ‘o’ is that rock that just about every linguistic account of Voynichese will find itself cracked upon.

  374. B Deveson on May 14, 2016 at 11:19 pm said:

    There are two questions that spring to mind regarding the Voynich manuscript. First, what other enciphered documents are known from the period of the VM, and, second, why were these documents enciphered?
    The only reasons that I can think of why documents were enciphered in the period of the VM are:
    1) to hide heretical religious material.
    2) To hide alchemical material such as transmutation. There were civil laws against transmutation in England between the reigns of Henry iv and Henty vi (ie. Within the period of the radiocarbon dating of the VM velum).
    3) To hide “secret” information such as trade secrets or other material.

    My apologies if these matters have been dealt with previously

  375. Byron: there are two known enciphered books of secrets from the fifteenth century, both made by Giovanni da Fontana, and both containing technical secrets. But the next book-length cipher we know about was the Rohonc Codex (apparently from the sixteenth century), which is certainly religious but may or may not be heretical (nobody knows). And alchemical textx are hard enough to understand in plaintext without being encrypted as well! Regardless, we don’t have a large enough sample to reliably infer anything from. 😐

    Oddly, I would predict that (proportionately) more fifteenth century letters were encrypted than twenty-first century emails. There’s a long line of papers called “Why Johnny [Still] [Still] Can’t Encrypt” that bemoan the continued low take-up of encryption. 🙂

  376. Thomas F.Spande on May 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm said:

    Nick, et al., Two key references on letter frequency, including vowels are: “Letter Frequency” in Wiki where a handy table is included with 14 languages are included. In none is “o” found to be the most common vowel. Another key reference is “Letter Frequency.org” where Russian pops up with “o” as the most common vowel. This is a fantastically curious site, with all kinds of oddnesses, like most common first letter, most common second, etc. and most common 2,3,4… letter words. For all who care about words and then some. By additional digging around, it looks like old Czech might fit the bill IF we combine the vowel with the companion having a diacritical mark. Then we have o+o’=8.7%; a+a’=8.4; i+i’=7.5 etc. Close but no cigar as “o” isn’t just the most common vowel in the VM but overwhelmingly so. About the date that the VM vellum was prepared, Jan Hus was reforming the language by discarding diacriticals and attempting to reform the RC church by making communion available for all. He was called in for a consult with church authorities who grabbed him and burned him at the stake. Thus endeth the lesson. Cheers, Tom

    ps. A goofy exercise in wasting time was the creation of “Gadsby” a novel where “e’ is not used, followed by the “Brown corpus”where all the omitted words of Gadsby. Then a and o frequencies are approximately the same at 12% This exercise is described in the deliberately misspelled ” prooffreader.com. Fun I guess if you have oiled all your door hinges and have alphabetized all your canned goods!

  377. Thomas F.Spande on May 16, 2016 at 4:37 am said:

    Dear all, The mother of word frequency tables is: cryptogram.org. BD will be delighted that it has a table for “Nahuatl” (“o” does not predominate, however). Each table samples over 10,000 sources and Czech data is slightly more favorable to “o” (now 9.4%) “e” and “a” come in at 6.2 % and 6.0 % respectively. Marshallese has a 12.9% occurrence of its favorite vowel: “o”. We stand ready for Faroese should the need arise. Modern Greek puts “o” at 12.2%, ahead of alpha at 11.7% . Interestingly (or I should say, interesting to linguists) is that the second most frequently occurring letter in Czech is “n”, so I will check out that inverted gamma that I think might be it.

    All for the moment, Cheers, Tom

  378. SirHubert on May 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm said:

    “But the next book-length cipher we know about was the Rohonc Codex (apparently from the sixteenth century), which is certainly religious but may or may not be heretical (nobody knows).”

    Even allowing for brevity, pretty much all of that’s questionable. I appreciate that you can’t be expected to go through all the ifs and buts and maybes, but the authenticity of the Rohonc Codex as a piece of sixteenth century (?) writing is highly questionable. Fontana’s work is a different matter entirely, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to bracket them together in this way.

    I mentioned this before when you discussed what is, chronologically speaking, the next example of an enciphered book here:


    so my apologies for repeating myself 🙁

  379. nickpelling on May 23, 2016 at 6:36 am said:

    SirHubert: well… as an historical artefact, there are numerous different opinions about the Rohonc Codex. But the only significant fact we have is that the Venetian paper it was written on dates to the 1530s. Which is why I said “apparently from the sixteenth century”, which I don’t really think should be hugely objectionable to anyone. As to the content, too, when I say that the images are “certainly religious”, I wouldn’t expect any major objections – drawings of Jesus et al would surely qualify. Yet as far as the Rohonc cipher / shorthand / language itself goes, you’re on much stronger ground: but this margin is far too small to host that level of debate.

    …unless you have access to a far more definitive and reliable source of information on the Rohonc Codex than I do?

  380. Thomas F. Spande on May 23, 2016 at 4:28 pm said:

    Dear all, I have come to the unhappy, but inescapable conclusion that the assumed vowel “o” is not a vowel at all. It has just too high an occurrence in the VM text to fit the use as a vowel in every language, new or old, that I have examined.

    Here’s my latest thinking: I invite disputation.

    The glyph “o” in the VM text is 1) a placeholder or null or 2) not a vowel but rather a CONSONANT.

    There is one language that I am aware of that fits: that language is Hangul, used in southern China and the Koreas, both North and South. In Hangul, “o” is a consonant and at the start of a syllable is a null, at the end of a word it is “ng” in the Romanized transliteration. If “ng”, it seems likely to me that it will be preceded by an “i” in the final Romanized or Latinized translation of the VM. I have looked at what VM glyph(s) precedes it, In most cases it is a linked “cc”, that may be an “i”. Actually Hangul was finalized in 1446 but since it is considered to have derived from Phags-pa script by most (but not all linguists), it could have been used in a prototype language to overlap with both Marco Polo’s trip and the Voynich scribes. It does incorporate “o” both as a null and as the consonant dipthong, “ng”. Incidentally Hangul is based upon yin/yang ideas where “_” is earth (yin) and “[” is heaven (yang) with the combination, as inverted ‘T”, is “o”. The key vowels are all “T”s,, facing four directions. Here the real vowel for “o” is a square box-like “o”.

    I need to complete another four folios to prove the huge frequency of “o” holds for both scribes. If this holds up, then I think we are led to the conclusion that the VM text is a mix of languages, one of which is Hangul. Hangul, incidentally uses “cc” for “tt” in a Romaized/Latinized transliteration.

    Another problem arises and that is what appears to be the linked “cc” separated with either a single-stemmed or double-stemmed gallows (*). At the moment I think it is not a separate glyph as proposed by some but rather a scribal abbreviation for “linked cc-*-linked cc” such as might be used in an English word like “liking”. The hybrid glyph also frequently precedes the Hangul “o”. The analysis I plan is what is the frequency of * within the linked “cc” compared with * by itself.

    Hats off to Nick for his hosting our posts on newer and greater server!!!
    Cheers, Tom

  381. SirHubert on May 23, 2016 at 5:32 pm said:

    Nick: no, that’s not the only significant fact. It is also a fact that there is no provenance for the Rohonc Codex earlier than 1838, and it’s also a fact that the Battyhany Library from which it allegedly came also contained blank sixteenth century codices. It is also the case that nineteenth century scientific opinion condemned the object as a forgery. Yes, I know that’s opinion, and I personally find Lang’s arguments for rehabilitating it fairly persuasive, but as things stand it’s a debatable object. Unlike the works by Fontana and van Heeck, and so I personally don’t think it can be included alongside them without qualification.

    I’ll also quote Lang directly: We do know that its illustrations concern mostly Christ’s life, crucifixion, and resurrection. However, we do not really know whether the content of the codex is actually religious.

    Sorry if I’m making an unnecessarily big deal of it all. I’m just trying to be accurate and helpful, believe it or not 🙂

  382. nickpelling on May 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm said:

    SirHubert: from where I’m sitting, the paper dating is indeed the only significant fact – the lack of provenance is an absence of a fact rather than a fact, and the presence of “blank sixteenth century codices” is a SantaColomaesque explanatory mechanism, i.e. very far from primary evidence. Look, Benedek Lang is a properly smart guy (there’s plenty to like in Unlocked Books etc etc), and as far as the Rohonc Codex goes, he has his reasons and his core argument: but all the same, I’m still seeing far more holes than actual socks.

    So my position remains that unless you happen to completely buy in to the whole constructed language decryption business (which I personally find a stretch), we’re very short of Rohoncian evidence indeed. 😐

  383. SirHubert on May 24, 2016 at 11:53 am said:

    Nick, I hate to disagree with you, but respectfully, no.

    It is a fact that there is no provenance before 1838. End of. It’s not an argument from silence, not least because I’m not making an argument from it, whatever others may have done. It’s just a fact.

    The Rohonc Codex can’t be identified in the 1770 Battyhany library catalogue (working from memory). Of course this doesn’t mean it’s fake. It just means that we can’t find it there.

    Neither does the fact that there were blank sixteenth century paper codices in the Battyhany library mean that the Rohonc Codex is necessarily a fake made in the nineteenth century using old paper. Of course it doesn’t. I don’t claim it did. But the fact that the library from which the thing allegedly came did contain blank codices which could have been used to make such a fake does make that more of a possibility.

    It’s not like the arguments that the Voynich might have been written on vellum which had been lying around randomly for 150 years. Yes, it theoretically might, but there is not a shred of evidence to support it. I agree with you completely about Santa Coloma and others in this respect.

    I agree about the constructed language bit though 🙂

    So I guess my point is: if you think this is an authentic sixteenth century ciphertext, can you please give some evidence as to why we should disregard what Hungarian scholars concluded at the time? If not, that’s fine – but just mention in passing that the Rohonc’s status remains controversial. That’s all I’m getting at.

    Anyway. I’m boring myself 🙂 Back to work…

  384. nickpelling on May 24, 2016 at 1:03 pm said:

    SirHubert: if absence of provenance before a certain date in the mid-nineteenth century was a major issue, I’d guess that half the things sold at auction as being pre-1800 would fail the same test miserably. A full provenance is a nice-to-have attribute, but its presence is in no practical way a necessary precondition for an object’s being genuinely old: just because the Voynich Manuscript’s external provenance seems not to extend beyond 1600 does not constitute supporting evidence that John Dee faked it etc (thank goodness), and I don’t see what would make the Rohonc Codex any exception to that rule.

    So while I’d agree that absence of pre-1838 provenance is unhelpful, it’s still very much an absence of a fact rather than a fact per se.

    As to whether or not I “think this is an authentic sixteenth century ciphertext”, that’s a very different question: my answer, for what it’s worth, is that I think the Rohonc Codex seems more like an improvised personal religious shorthand rather than an obviously cryptographic object or a quasi-patriotic fake. But that would take several large posts to express – and let’s face it, it took Lang a whole book. 🙂

    Finally: as the years have rolled by, my opinion of almost everything that gets written about unbroken codes and ciphers (whether by Hungarian scholars or not) has gradually lowered to the point where I regard the vast majority of it as sub-Wikipediaesque nonsense. So I’d say that the poverty of evidence makes the Rohonc Codex’s status not so much “controversial” as just “annoyingly vague”. 🙂

  385. Speaking of extra O’s.. you do know Finnish (and Scandinavian languages) have basically two? O and ö/ø/œ.

    Finnish, specifically, with the limited letter use, agglutinative structure, and strict vowel harmony rules.. can get extra strange. It’s not a part of the Indo-European language group, it’s been spoken probably since the last ice age.. although actually written Finnish has only existed since 1500s.

    In Finnish, sentences like “Kokko. Kokoo koko kokko” are perfectly sensible.. for native speakers. (Kokko (name). Construct the entire bonfire). Or another classic “hae lakkaa satamasta, kun lakkaa satamasta” (get varnish from the harbor, once it stops raining). Even if it looks like repetition, the words are in no way related. It’s just how it plays out sometimes.

    I’m obviously not saying the cleartext is Finnish, just that many of the “that’s impossible” claims about linguistic structure kinda seem odd when your brain is wired for Finnish. Just a thought.

  386. Alex Ul on August 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm said:

    Hi all. Here is my solution for VMS.
    The initial name of Voynich manuscript is the “Book of Dunstan”,
    authors – John Dee, Edward Kelly.
    Period of writing – 1583 -1587 (or 1588). Manuscript was written on old (probably previously used) parchment.
    Language: English (XVI century), modified English (imitation of X century)
    The description of coding method is published in pre-print depository:
    For the text of last manuscript page decoding (proof of authorship) see pages 56-73

  387. Nick,
    May I ask if it is, or might be, technically feasible to add a ‘search’ which will bring up results from the comments as well as (or independent of) the main posts?

    Trying to find an old conversation about the ‘hidden letters’ and one comment by SirHubert that I wanted to re-read prompts me to ask this again.

  388. nickpelling on August 26, 2016 at 6:57 am said:

    Diane: if you search Google with site:ciphermysteries.com as part of your search query, that should do the trick. 🙂

  389. Nick,
    Many thanks indeed.

  390. Marco Ponzi on September 1, 2016 at 2:15 pm said:

    In case this has not been suggested yet, Diane’s word from Cantimpre’s ms is “nichilominus” in line 9:
    “vermes reptantes nichilominus inde coapta”


  391. Marco: thanks very much for that, though I suspect anyone looking for any kind of consensus-based reading of f116v any time soon is perhaps being a tiny bit over-optimistic. 😉

  392. D.N. O'Donovan on September 1, 2016 at 6:01 pm said:

    Marco –
    Thanks for that. Perhaps you’d care to make the same comment under the post at voynichimagery, for the benefit of my readers.

    I refer so often to Nick’s book and this blog that I expect most will know it, but they may not see your comment here.

    The post is

    and if my spam-much is its usual hyperactive self, then do send comments as emails and I’ll repost in your name.

  393. Andrew Lohr on September 12, 2016 at 5:17 pm said:

    High function autism written down, so the language is unique to whoever wrote it?

  394. Andrew Lohr: no, sorry, the suggestion that the Voynich Manuscript was conceived and written by a single individual (whether autistic or not) seems to be inconsistent with the palaeography. Just so you know.

  395. Good day!
    My name is Nikolai.
    To a question about the key to the Voynich manuscript.
    Today, I have to add on this matter following.
    The manuscript was written no letters, and signs for the letters of the alphabet of one of the ancient languages. Moreover, in the text there are 2 more levels of encryption to virtually eliminate the possibility of computer-assisted translation, even after replacing the signs letters.
    I pick up the key by which the first section I was able to read the following words: hemp, hemp clothing; food, food (sheet of 20 numbering on the Internet); cleaned (intestines), knowledge may wish to drink a sugary drink (nectar), maturation (maturity), to consider, to think (sheet 107); drink; six; flourishing; growing; rich; peas; sweet drink nectar and others. It is only a short word, mark 2-3. To translate words consisting of more than 2.3 characters is necessary to know this ancient language.
    If you are interested, I am ready to send more detailed information, including scans of pages indicating the translated words.
    Sincerely, Nikolai.

  396. Neville Macaulife on October 27, 2016 at 9:29 pm said:

    Hi Nick, following our emails of earlier today, I am resubmitting my posting for your review, this time with the web addresses disguised. I saw your reply to Andrew Lohr, 9/12/16 (below), where you stated that the possibility of the VM author being autistic “seems to be inconsistent with the palaeography.” I’d really appreciate it if you could expand on that a little bit for me.
    All the theories and discourses as to the meaning of the Voynich manuscript are quagmired in differing degrees of complexity – and what happens when they are found insufficient? They are made even more complex. Is it possible that the true explanation for the production of the manuscript is so utterly simple that is has been overlooked? I am a newcomer to the VM, but I would like to offer the following explanation for consideration by those far more knowledgeable about it than myself:

    The Voynich manuscript is not a hoax, it’s not a secret language, it’s not a cipher, it’s not a code. None of the drawings represent real objects or bear any relationship whatsoever to the text, and It will never be translated because it has no meaning at all. If you go back in time and ask the author what the book is about, she will tell you, “I haven’t the slightest idea.” Ask her why she’s writing it, and you’ll get your answer, “Because the spirits told me to.”

    It’s automatic writing! Produced by an author and possible polyglot with a genius-level dose of the savant syndrome in the field of languages. Thus she is able to peacefully write and draw her book while offering no interference to the apparently slumbering aspects of her mind that formulate the strange characters of her “alphabet,” and string them into meaningless “words” that follow the basic rules of language composition. A field of which she has little or no consciousness knowledge.

    Here are some early clues I found when reviewing the various VM sites: There are almost no corrections (typical savant). The drawings are badly done. (Her savant skills are confined only to writing!) The changes in handwriting that have been observed in the VM might occur naturally for a savant as she expresses different aspects of herself. Note, for example, that savant musicians can play as many as 22 instruments (1). The folio and quire numbers are wrong, the binding’s a mess, and some of the bifolios may even be upside-down. (She doesn’t care about any of that – she only cares about writing her symbols – that’s her one big special thing.)

    Note, however, that that the writing of literature is not a normal savant skill. Thus the author is following directions from a supposed external source as she patiently constructs her book symbol by symbol. Other than the drawings, only the symbols matter to her. Thus there is no message and nothing to decipher.
    (1). Treffert DA (2009). “The savant syndrome: an extraordinary condition. A synopsis: past, present, future”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 364 (1522): 1351–7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677584/

    Note 1: So far I have only found two references to the idea that the author was autistic. In the first, Klaus Schmeh, writing for the Skeptical Enquirer, states,
    “Another theory, which I consider plausible, posits that the Voynich author was a mentally ill person (for example, someone suffering from autism); it is quite common for mentally ill people to create art. As far as I know, this hypothetical origin of the Voynich manuscript has never been researched by an expert.”
    Voynich Manuscript: The Book Nobody Can Read, Klaus Schmeh, SKEPTICAL INQUIRER Volume 35.1, January/February 2011. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_voynich_manuscript_the_book_nobody_can_read

    The second reference can be found at Voynich Theories – Cipher Mysteries. Here, Andrew Lohr makes a cryptic Comment dated 9/12/16.
    “High function autism written down, so the language is unique to whoever wrote it?”
    To which Nick Pelling, the site owner replies:
    “Andrew Lohr: no, sorry, the suggestion that the Voynich Manuscript was conceived and written by a single individual (whether autistic or not) seems to be inconsistent with the palaeography. Just so you know.”

    Note 2: I may have to revisit my assumption that the VM author was a lady because male savants outnumber females by 6:1 (1).

  397. D.N. O'Donovan on October 27, 2016 at 11:53 pm said:


    You are not alone in trying to relieve your bewilderment by inventing the figure of an “author” to whom may be ascribed such qualities and flaws as absolve the viewer of any responsibility for their inability to understand anything in this manuscript, but though a common means for being able to feel not-so-stupid, it is essentially just the grown-up’s version of “it’s-not-my-fault, because Dolly-did-it”.

    In 2009, Nick wrote:
    ““I believe that an essentially forensic approach is our only real hope of making progress.”

    Worth remembering.

  398. Neville Macaulife on October 28, 2016 at 6:41 pm said:

    Hi O”Donovanon,

    Thank you for your input regarding my ideas as to the origin of the VM. As I have said, I am a beginner in this and have much to learn. My theory is based on a working proposition that the VM is being over analyzed, and that this may have led to simple explanations for its origin being disregarded. If my ideas are convincingly falsified, then that will end my interest in the VM, because I am not a historian nor a cryptologist nor a linguist, and would have nothing more to contribute to the VM’s analysis.

    I do, however, believe I have shown that my theory is consistent with some of the data. I suppose that can be said for almost any theory, at least in the theorist’s own mind! However, It is my hope that I have shown that my thematic concept as to origin merits further examination.

    Thank you again for your interest.

  399. Gregory on October 29, 2016 at 7:49 am said:

    Neville, Diane interest is shallow and selective as the whim of a teenage girl – do not count on any concrete.

  400. SirHubert on October 29, 2016 at 9:02 am said:

    Hello Neville,

    Your post was addressed to Nick, but I hope you’ll forgive my commenting. One major difficulty with this idea is that it seems that at least two different writers were involved in producing the manuscript, so it’s hard to view it as one individual’s piece of automatic or writing.

  401. Neville: many people have proposed that the author of the Voynich may possibly have produced the manuscript as what one might call a “subconscious stream”, i.e. one where the manuscript’s text production follows rules and embodies internal logic the author was not consciously aware of. There are many different examples of this in the ‘psycho-linguistic’ literature, whether madness, religious glossolalia, or (supposedly) channelled past lives / spirits / aliens, such as found in the famous case of Hélène Smith.

    For the Voynich Manuscript, all these and more have been suggested as (as you suggest) hopefully simplifying explanations, with the idea being that in that case there would be no need for conscious logic or complicated rule-making apparatus or methodology to be wheeled in: the confounding demon of the unconscious would therefore more than suffice.

    Personally, I don’t buy into any of this for a second: and for a whole load of very specific reasons. For a start, Prescott Currier famously speculated that the Voynich Manuscript may have been written by as many as ten different scribes – though I think this number will probably prove to be a little high, it’s practically impossible to pull it to below two. And for two, I think there is solid evidence that copying errors pervade the text, something that wouldn’t obviously be the case if it was the work of a Lone Penman, let’s say.

    The main reason that these theories don’t work for me is that heavy reliance on conscious structuring that Voynichese appears to have. Not only rigid letter-to-letter adjacency rules, but also letter-positioning rules, page- / line- / paragraph-positioning rules, and indeed meta-rules (such as Neal keys, both horizontal and vertical). To me, these speak all very loudly (almost deafeningly so) of a consciously structured core language or cipher, one that was further consciously evolved.

    In short, Voynichese gives every sign to me of being hyperrational, not irrational: and so I struggle to understand theories about the manuscript’s language that start by writing off that rationality.

  402. Neville Macaulife on October 30, 2016 at 2:09 am said:

    Hello, SirHubert,

    Regarding at least the appearance of multiple authors, I didn’t put this in my theory, but I mentioned it to Nick at a later time. People who believe they are channeling, may believe they are channeling multiple entities. Oral channelers often change their voices to suit the age, sex, and general character of the different supposed entities.

    I think it reasonable to suppose that a language savant who believes he/she is channeling multiple entities may change their writing style in a similar way to suite the supposed character of the entities.

  403. Neville Macaulife on October 30, 2016 at 2:20 am said:


    Oh come now, I’m sure she’s as sweet as the sugar-plum fairy!


  404. Neville Macaulife on October 30, 2016 at 2:26 am said:


    Thank you for your review. I would like to give it some thought and respond at a later time.


  405. Neville
    More like umeboshi, I’d say. 🙂

  406. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on October 30, 2016 at 4:36 pm said:

    Hi expert. ( Word experts ). 🙂

    I can any expert. Me explain, why the manuscript drawn boat, which has a Jewish Star ? ( David Star ). 🙂 ( Expert – Zandbergen + Pelling).
    So show off. And show me what you slumbers. I’m curious.

  407. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on October 30, 2016 at 8:57 pm said:

    Hi expert . World expert. ( Renne + Nick ).

    Gentlemen, a very simple question. 🙂

    Why is the manuscript ( MS-408). Drawing ship. Carrying a Jewish star.
    Why ?? ( A ship carrying Jewish star ). Why ?? 🙂

    I think it would be union, should understand each studied expert.
    ( academic, linguist and cryptograpers ).

  408. Donald Vaughn on October 31, 2016 at 12:25 am said:

    What page has the ship with a Jewish Star?

  409. What is a “Jewish star” ?

  410. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on October 31, 2016 at 8:14 am said:

    Academic Diane.
    You do not know how it looks Jewish star ?
    Well, I’II write it. The character of the Jewish King David. 🙂

    They are two triangles. The highlight of each other. ( the highlight of the opposed ). Also, it has become Israel’s flag.

  411. Gregory on October 31, 2016 at 9:01 am said:

    Prof. I bet that this is about folio 11r.

  412. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on October 31, 2016 at 9:02 am said:

    Hi. Nick and Renne.
    He does not know ? 🙂
    Why is the Jewish star painted manuscript ?
    There are two options.
    First :
    Monk Nahuati Aztec collaborated with the Israeli Mossad.
    Second :
    The manuscript is written and encrypted = Cabalistic numerological gematria system.

    What is according to experts correctly ??

  413. Horváth András on October 31, 2016 at 2:41 pm said:

    Dear ladies and gentlemen!

    András Horváth (53) I’m from Hungary and I would like to announce to you that after 12 years of research work first and alone in the world managed to decipher the Voynich manuscript full text and graphics together.

    in book form edition of the publication, and deciphered the code works (copyright) looking for an investor.

    contact information: vms.code@gmail.com

  414. Horváth András: can you tell us what approach you used to solve the Voynich Manuscript’s mysteries?

  415. Neville Macaulife on October 31, 2016 at 8:42 pm said:


    I just found something that seems very interesting if the VM really contains coded information, and I’m wondering if you’re aware of it.

    A commenter on the VoynichImagery site has pointed out that the first written page (1v) of the VM looks for all the world like quotations with the quoted person’s name written neatly with right-hand justification. Unfortunately, there’s only five quotes – if such they are.

    The person running the site says he has no knowledge of anyone noting this before.

    In case it helps.

  416. Neville: the first page of the Voynich Manuscript is called “f1r” (‘r’ for ‘recto’); it has four left-justified paragraphs; the right-justified extra sections are called ‘titles’ (which is what John Grove called them well over a decade ago); and there are as many speculative explanations for what these ‘titles’ are as there are grains of sand in the Sahara. See: http://voynichms.tripod.com/Index.htm

  417. Neville Macaulife on November 1, 2016 at 1:44 am said:


    Thanks for the input. 1v was the notation provided by the Yale University, Benecke Rare Book site, where you can see every page in thumbnail and blow them up seemingly as much as you like.

  418. Neville: recto is the front side, verso is the reverse side, simple as that. The page with four paragraphs and right-justified additions at the end of them is f1r.

  419. Horváth András: though I’m happy to hear you talk about your Voynich theory, I’ve deleted the other four copies of this comment that you posted on Cipher Mysteries – a single thread should be plenty. 🙂

  420. Neville Macaulife on November 1, 2016 at 7:17 pm said:

    A response to Nick Pelling’s review (1), of my theory as to savant authorship of the Voynich manuscript, and some further suggestions.

    Nick expressed concerns that the need for such things as letter adjacency and positioning rules, and similar complex requirements, could not be accounted for by savant authorship. He wrote

    “To me these speak all very loudly (almost deafeningly so) of a consciously structured core language or cipher, one that was further consciously evolved . . . and so I struggle to understand how theories about the manuscript’s language can start by writing off that rationality.”

    Unfortunately, this is a slipup that escaped Nick’s editing pen, for it is not applicable to the matter. If the VM was written by a savant, then the core language was written with intelligence – and considerable intelligence at that, and likewise the structure was formed with rationality. The only quibble is that savants appear to do their work at a level beneath their conscious awareness. So while Nick makes a natural assumption that the action requires consciousness, we need only substitute the word intelligence, and we are both on the same page.

    As regards the ability or otherwise of a savant to develop either a real language-code, or a language-mimicking manuscript, we have all heard the legendary tales of what savants can accomplish, so I will present just two examples.

    Kim Peek read 12,000 books, taking about an hour for each. He was reliably reported to be able to recall their contents with considerable accuracy.

    Daniel Tammet speaks ten languages. He was challenged to learn one of them (Icelandic), in a week, and did so, according to the judgement of Icelandic referees.

    With this in mind, I cannot but believe that anyone with similar remarkable abilities would be more than capable of producing a language-mimicking manuscript, or a coded readable-manuscript similar to the VM. This in no way implies that my theory is correct of course, I wish only to show that it merits consideration. I am now researching savant abilities in the hope of finding further evidence for or against savant authorship.

    Nick was concerned that savant authorship was inconsistent with the current belief that the VM had anything from two to ten authors.

    My theory assumes a savant author who believed he was channeling an external source. People who believe they are channeling, may believe they are channeling multiple entities. Oral channelers often change their voices to suit the age, sex, and general character of the different supposed entities.

    I think it reasonable to suppose that a language savant who believes he is channeling multiple entities may, in like fashion, change his writing style to suite the supposed character of any given entity. The change could be both in the appearance of the writing as well as the style. Spread with a broad enough brush, this idea might conveniently cover just about any variations found in the VM, but see the last section for practical considerations.

    It should be noted that savants do not normally have literary skills. This is why I believe the driving force in the production of the VM may have been the author’s belief that he was channeling external entities. His only job was to write the symbols and draw the drawings, confident that the spirits would eventually explain everything.

    If the VM is decodable, then we need to clearly understand how it is possible that after one hundred years of strenuous effort, now bolstered by the ever-growing data-crunching capabilities of our computers, no one can make an uncontested claim to have transcribed one single word of the manuscript.

    Virtually all codes and unknown languages yield to code breaking eventually, given that there is sufficient material to work with (2). Consider the remarkable cracking of the Nazi enigma code, with its mind-wiping 10^114 possible combinations, also the Japanese purple code. Then remember it was all done without computers until the British purpose-built the first of the modern period.

    There is, perhaps is just one way that someone in the medieval period could produce a VM coded deeply enough to defy modern code-breaking capabilities, hire a language savant! That way, they don’t have to be channeling spooks.

    Other than that, It seems to me that it is time to take a closer look at the idea that the VM has not been translated because there is nothing to translate. If it was faked using templates, perhaps sufficient number crunching could reverse-engineer the VM and reveal the choices made. If it was produced in a more random way, known human idiosyncrasies in choice-making decisions have a certain predictive factor, however slight. No doubt attempts have already been made in these directions, and it’s beyond anything I have to offer.

    This, at least, is very simple. Ask the savants! Ask those who are professionally involved with the treatment and study of savants. Ask the families (with due delicacy, and probably via caregivers).

    Suitable savant candidates with skills in the right field might like to try their hand at producing something similar to the VM on a small scale, or discuss how they would go about doing so. If the savant theory is correct then their efforts might produce coding or writing patterns that are identifiably savantic, just as chess engines produce long-term move patterns that are identifiably different from those of human players. Any such distinctive savant writing or coding patterns could then be searched for in the VM to see if there is a match.

    On a simpler note, any savants who seem to have the necessary skills to produce a VM-type manuscript, could be asked to see if they can readily produce different writing styles, thus testing the idea that handwriting variations can explain the appearance of multiple VM authorship.

    I hope to reach out to people in the savant world to see if anyone would be interested in cooperating in this kind of a project. I’d be glad to hear from anyone who feels like mucking in on a Did The Savants Do It Third-Degree Shakedown, or who have special knowledge of, or experience with, savants.

    Let’s put a fresh set of wheels under the VM and see if new approaches such as this can finally resolve the mystery of the Big V.
    (1). Nick Pelling, nickpelling on Voynich Theories, October 29, 2016.

    (2). The Wikipedia article on Undeciphered Writing Systems lists the following eight items under the heading MEDIEVAL AND LATER SCRIPTS. Bypassing the VM, it seems the only item that one would think ought to have been translated but hasn’t, is the Tujia Script. This, in my opinion, shows how rare it is for an important writing system to escape translation, and must thus add to the suspicion that the VM has no real content.

    Alekanovo inscription. (Exists only on a small clay pot.)

    Issyk writing. (Exists only on a single cup.)

    Khitan scripts – Khitan. (The writing system of now extinct para-Mongolian people. Only ~50 samples of it seem to exist. Yet It is described as “not fully translated,” so there has been some success.)

    Tujia script. (An ancient form of the modern Tujia language spoken in south-central China. Exists in untranslated ancient books.)

    Singapore stone. (Exists only on a piece of sandstone.)

    Sanskrit. (Seems to be here because no written samples exist of an early form of the modern Sanskrit.)

    Rongorongo Rapa Nui. (aka Easter Island. Only a few samples exist. May not even be true writing.)

    Voynich manuscript. (Described as a possible hoax.)

  421. Neville Macaulife on November 1, 2016 at 7:21 pm said:


    Got you! Sorry to be so slow (re the numbering system).

  422. Neville: savants have looked at the Voynich Manuscript, and they can make no sense of it either. So I strongly suspect you’re wasting your time, sorry.

  423. Neville: I should also add that your cryptographic arguments don’t hold any water – the Enigma was only solvable because the Poles and the British knew exactly how the basic system worked. In the case of the Voynich Manuscript (which isn’t exactly a matter of life or death), we still don’t know how its basic system works: in which case it doesn’t matter how much computing power (or indeed eyeballs) you throw at it.

  424. Neville Macaulife on November 1, 2016 at 10:09 pm said:


    I’m familiar with the full history of the enigma decoding, but I believe all decoders get a break or find a weakness somewhere, it always seems to be a part of the game, so I didn’t think the enigma breaks worth mentioning. After all, they’d probably still be working on it today if they really had to tackle that 10^114 possible combinations with no other leads!

    I would appreciate it if you could provide me with a source for your comment on savants examining the VM. All my searches for savant connections came up blank except for the Skeptical Enquirer.

    I’d like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to present my ideas on your site. I thought of putting it in the ms, and perhaps I should have, because maybe you don’t get thanked very much for all your time and efforts . . ..

  425. Neville Macaulife on November 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm said:

    Nick, could I trouble you with one question, which I’m sure would be of interest to others?

    If I was to buy one book on the VM, your own being out of print, could you make a recommendation? I can, of course, find facsimiles of the pages anywhere, so I just want the best history and summation of theories.

  426. Neville: first off, my book “The Curse of the Voynich” is still very much in print, both at Amazon…


    …and at Compelling Press (where you can also get your copy signed by me, which is nice)…


    A decade on, what I think remains good about the book is that it is a well-formed (and sustained) art-historical argument that builds on contemporary sources and primary evidence wherever possible, and doesn’t seek to torture that evidence to get it to do its bidding. If only there were more books like it. 😐

    But “Curse” aside, the starting point for most people should still (even after all these years) be Mary D’Imperio’s (1978) “An Elegnt Enigma”, which is now freely downloadable courtesy of the NSA:


    For a more journalistic (but still basically OK) take on the Voynich, you might also consider Kennedy & Churchill’s (2006) “The Voynich Manuscript: The Mysterious Code That Has Defied Interpretation for Centuries”: there are a whole load of copies on bookfinder.com for under a fiver (including postage), if you look through the various versions on offer.

    All the same, the best current source for the history of the Voynich Manuscript is Rene Zandbergen’s http://www.voynich.nu/ site.

  427. Neville Macaulife on November 2, 2016 at 6:46 pm said:

    Nick, Thanks for such a detailed reply. I thought your book was out of print because you said something about it ‘Dropping to the bottom of the Voynich forest floor’, and I had an idea you were doing something new with it.

    By the way, you could check out my Stonehenge Starship there. You’ve got a great cover and I wondered if you did it yourself. (Compelling Press is a great name, by the way). I did my own cover in PS and SketchUp, but I’m still finding blood on the floor from the many times when it wasn’t coming out quite right.

    I don’t have too many fivers in the sunny state of California, but the free download sounds good. I hope to get to your book later.

  428. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 2, 2016 at 11:07 pm said:

    Nick and Renne.
    It is clear and obvious that you don’t know much manuscript. (408)
    When you do not know. That is is drawn ( picture) a Jewish star. And that is a mistake.
    Therefore, you are stationary for a long time. About twenty years.
    Think about your research.
    When you do not know why the manuscript ( draw) drawn a Jewish star, so you have no chance to succeed in research. Efforts have, bud it is a very little success.

  429. Az Bounouara on November 15, 2016 at 1:24 am said:

    hi Josef ,
    can you plz tell me what page is the jewish star ? i may have an answer for you . thank you . im doing a research which is more (logic) . thank you .

  430. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 15, 2016 at 10:10 am said:

    Hi ??? 🙂

    Jewish star . = . It is drawn on a large parchment. 🙂

  431. Az Bounouara on November 15, 2016 at 11:16 am said:

    Josef can help us and send the picture i will be grateful if u can show us where exactly . thank u .

  432. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 15, 2016 at 3:01 pm said:

    Ok. Az .
    Certainly help. Helping very much like all academics. 🙂
    Jewish star is drawn. In the circle ( rosettes ), which is at the bottom. middle.

    To make it easy to see. You need to Beinecke Library ( Ms – 408 ). A parchment ( picture ) to enlarge.
    And my blog.

  433. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 15, 2016 at 3:08 pm said:

    That circle (rosettes ) in drawn at a position of 11 hours. 🙂

  434. Az Bounouara on November 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm said:

    Jozef ,
    got it

  435. Az Bounouara on November 28, 2016 at 3:10 pm said:

    hi Josef ,
    i found the star , but it is not a jewish star it looks like other stars just mayb the ink a bit spread over and became like that ..

  436. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm said:

    hi Az. Ok.
    It is very good to see. When the stars really look. So you will see six-pointed. Star sits on top of ship. The ship is several characters. Dashes and dots.

    Two line mean number two ( 2 ).
    The dot is number one ( 1 ).
    ( 2 = b,r,k ). ( 1 = a,i,j,q,y )

    On the ship written word – Ra.
    The ship is carrying spelling. Jewish Star shows numerological system. The author of the manuscript shows you the way to write.
    Now try to think for ants.
    The ship carrying Ra. It’s very simple. I wonder which one you on a puzzle ( qviz) will. Who among you solve it ?

  437. Az Bounouara on November 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm said:

    Hi Josef ,
    what you mean is the author could be a jewish . but i donot think is hebrew or the book deals with no prophecy or religious matters . even we see the christian cross or the jewish stars or other symbols .. my questions for the reasearchers are:
    1- why got pages disappeared from the book?
    2- what are pages about?
    3-why Redolf 2 bought it very expensive ?
    4- why the author wrote it this why so noone can read it ?
    5- why the book contains events which differs from any other scientist book ?
    so many questions are involved here .
    the Voynich manuscript is like a small baby when he cries you do not know whether he wants to sleep or want milk or a toy…just need to do or give to keep him quiet . the book needs you more than you need it . , guys donot go so far away , hold the lost baby and take care of him first instead of wasting time looking for the parents …

  438. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm said:

    Hi Az. And ants.
    First, I return to my question. This is a ship and a Jewish star ( Ra ).

    Because the manuscript is written and encrypted in the Czech language. But I will try. We ship and a star. That means a few letters.

    Ship + Ra ( star ). You make one word. 🙂

    Shipra. !!
    ( I do not know English pronunciation. But when I use the Czech language. And I use substitution . Number 8 = p,f.)
    Czech language = šifra. English language = cipher.

    The author of the manuscript to you. Ships and Jewish star the encryption method and the method of registration. Encryption manuscript is therefore based on numerological system.
    Because I have translated hundreds of pages of manuscript, so I know. Because it’s well written. The author writes that uses Jewish numerolocical system.

    You ask, is the author of the Jew ? Of course. Even here at the time of the Middle Ages were a lot of Jews.
    You ask, them used Hebrew ? No. Hebrew not used It. Used the old Czech language. The manuscript describes Czech history.

    1,2. This is today hardly anyone finds out.
    3. Nowhere is it not proven that Rudolf II, bought manuscript 408.
    4. Manuscript not read it for everyone. The manuscript is not a religion nor science. It’s not even a herbarium. He describes the Czech history.

  439. Az Bounouara on November 30, 2016 at 1:40 am said:

    hi Jozef ,
    Im not a specialist in languages nor a cryptographer or codebreaker… just want to tell you if im not wrong : word (cipher) came from Arabic SIFER صفر which means number zero .later the word meaning became numbers ( chiffres in French ) like 0123456789 . decifer in french dechiffrer which has the same meaning of decode find the key numbers .. we are in front of a book that deals with script and illustrations ; if you translated the pages ,do the numerical system say something? say Czeck history ,will you construct a phrase and pronounce it ? some researchers found words but can not apply the same letters on other words and if so ,those words were not matched with the drawings . i appreciate your work and your findings are interesting . i hope Nick does not spare ys his views and sorry for my English …

  440. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 30, 2016 at 12:33 pm said:

    Hi Az.
    For us it is more encrypted books. The word ” Šifra ” = Cipher in the English language. The author of the manuscript uses cabalistic numerolog. system of numbers. Where each letter has a numeric value.
    Between the English language and Czech language it makes a big difference.
    Therefore, it is difficult to explain it to you. So I use the example. Image and letters ( characters ). It is important to know what the characters mean. This is the alphabet. What is important is the beginning of the manuscript where the author shows you. According to the notice period ( time ). And you will also find important names. etc.
    Then you find out what is written on other sites and you will get an overall picture. Then find out what it says on the last page of the manuscript and know the extent, that is the time. That is the history of manuscript which he writes. From to. The manuscript is written a very complicated and encrypted. As I also wrote. So the author of the manuscript, he plays with you like a cat with a mause. And your task is to find the author ( discover ).
    The key is written on several pages of the manuscript. That you saw him. So you have to read the manuscript.
    1/. The author uses deceptive characters.
    2/. For specified character. Must deliver several characters.
    3/. Shift letters. The beginning of the word, is not is where you see it.

    I’ll try to explain this on a large parchment.
    I will ask. You see the large parchment cats ? You see fish ? You see a human figure, holding in his hand a cat ?
    I could write to you and explain what the great parchment is and what is expressed. And I continue to know that you are seeing.
    Nick. and sorry for my Englich. And ant sorry for my English. ( Google translator ).

  441. Az Bounouara. on December 18, 2016 at 4:06 am said:


  442. Az Bounouara. on December 18, 2016 at 4:09 am said:

    contact me : azizasbo@gmail.com

  443. Az Bounouara. on December 18, 2016 at 4:10 am said:

    ‏hi Jozef ,
    ‏my theory is a bit different from yours . since i can read words and phrases from the voynich i can also apply alphabets on other words which is more reasonable than stephen partial decoding and have proofs with pictures and events from history . i think my theory will change some concepts . im doing research once i finich it i will reveal it . im keen to know about yours too . this a a video i lunched last year anyone want to know more can contact me : azizazbo@gmail.com

    the lost section in the Voynich manuscript (pages lost) pages contain venemous animales reptiles : snakes , scorpions , spiders and the most tremendous recipes which purposly removed for their easy understanding ….

  445. aziz azbo on March 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm said:

    anyone want to know about how to read Voynich manuscript plz let email address to receive first findings about this mysterious book .

  446. Kristina L. on April 13, 2017 at 6:17 am said:

    I don’t know what language the Voynich Manuscript may have been written in, but I believe that the “letters” represent sounds. (This is what I call a “soundscript”.)

  447. Nick, annoyances aside, do you hold the view that the condition of some of the nymphs is the result of another illustrative hand?

  448. Petebowes: my belief is that at least some (and possibly as many as all) of the nymph drawings were added in multiple stages or layers, but I don’t as yet have a view as to why this was the case, or how many people contributed to that. My hope is that one day a proper codicological analysis (so as to better understand the component layers) will be carried out so we can make genuine progress with this.

  449. When you say ‘added to’ do you mean in any particular aspect?

  450. Petebowes: plenty of different ways – the mysterious added breasts, the added crowns, the barrels, the overlaid water nymphs (in Q13), etc etc.

  451. Has anyone ever attempted to strip the nymphs (no humour intended) of their additions to see what they might have looked like in their original form? Not a hard ask these times, I’m sure.

  452. petebowes: lots of times, but without better imaging the answers will probably continue to elude us.


  453. So,, are we are looking at a possible misrepresentation of the author’s intentions?

  454. Petebowes: who knows? Until we can separate out the layers, we can’t reliably tell which is which: which is a good starting point only for unhelpful speculation.

  455. Who knows? I’ll settle for that.
    One last thing, do we know for certain that Rudolph II wasn’t able to have the manuscript understood before he gave it over to the Jesuits?

  456. Petebowes: we don’t know if Rudolf II ever had it (we have one letter claiming he did, but nothing else whatsoever) or what he did with it (though it seems certain that it was for a while owned by Rudolf’s Imperial Distiller) (who distilled water, not alcohol, as far as we can tell).

  457. Thanks for your time.

  458. Nick, old veteran, it looks like everyone agrees more than one hand contributed to the manuscript’s illustrations, does the same apply to whoever coloured them , in your opinion?

  459. Nikolaj on May 1, 2017 at 7:08 pm said:

    The Voynich manuscript is not written with letters and characters denoting letters of the alphabet one of the ancient languages. Moreover, in the text there are 2 levels of encryption. I picked up the key, which in the first section I could read the following words: hemp, wearing hemp; food, food (sheet 20 at the numbering on the Internet); to clean (gut), knowledge, perhaps the desire, to drink, sweet beverage (nectar), maturation (maturity), to consider, to believe (sheet 107); to drink; six; flourishing; increasing; intense; peas; sweet drink, nectar, etc. Is just the short words, 2-3 sign. To translate words with more than 2-3 characters requires knowledge of this ancient language. The fact that some signs correspond to two letters. Thus, for example, a word consisting of three characters can fit up to six letters of which three. In the end, you need six characters to define the semantic word of three letters. Of course, without knowledge of this language make it very difficult even with a dictionary.
    If you are interested, I am ready to send more detailed information, including scans of pages showing the translated words.

  460. Nick,
    May I register here, where Menno’s comment appears, an acknowledgement and apology for omitting to say in my own blog etc. that he mentioned St.Giustina (Justina) of Padua before I came to do so? I’ll add a note to the blog-posts etc. themselves, of course.

  461. Mark Knowles on July 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm said:

    It is amazing to think that there are so many distinct and different theories. I wonder if any 2 people have come with the same or a similar theory independently.

  462. Mark Knowles on July 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm said:

    Of course 2 people with the same theory can come under “great minds think alike” or “fools seldom differ”(though I’m not sure if that is applicable here”

  463. bdid1dr on July 7, 2017 at 11:45 pm said:

    Hey, folks: Rudolph II was not interested in the “zoo” (giraffe and horse). Nor was he particularly interested in any food item which required a lot of chewing. He was most interested in the works of art being produced during his lifetime. His favorite was his portrait (all of his favorite fruits and vegetables — including a ‘crown’) .

  464. Mark: people have reinvented Voynich theories countless times. The sight of one or both of them then furiously denouncing the other as a plagiarist is not much fun to watch. 🙁

  465. Hello.

    Maybe the pictures are there to distract you. Especially the women, aye. ^^

    This may sound crazy but how about this story:

    Maybe VMS is the transcription of a previously transcribed copy of encrypted text found at Temple Mount during the Crusades and kept by the Knights Templar (Templar from template) where the decryption method/device, urim and thurim, was separately safeguarded by the freemasons (Mason from Masorah) who kept charge of the secret to deciphering the template (template of solomon) that had been found at Temple Mount in Jerusalem; a template that at the time of the Crusades might have been earnestly believed by the Crusaders to be the original source text for the Bible which had been encrypted by the original writers via a one-way encryption as a security measure to prevent tampering/addition of new text to the source (as future leaders would only inherit the decryption key and lack the encryption) and also to provide future leaders a definitive means of verifying the fidelity of future transcriptions of the text with the original source. Or maybe its not a one-way encryption, I’m just supposing they were really good at counting.

    So maybe the Crusaders thought that being intended as a secret, it was important to keep their findings a secret to protect that secret (being idiots as they were). Subsequently, the order in charge of keeping the template were to be Templars while the order in charge of decryption and verificity, the urim, thurim and Masorah were to be the new Masons. Problem was that one day the Templars got caught with their pants down and their top officers got burnt at the stake all of a sudden before they could make the arrangements for their secret to be passed on ; with the surviving junior templar members having no idea what the whole order was about to begin with (except that it was secret and important) ; and so during the liquidation of Templar assets VMS was one of the more recently made Templar’s contingencies and which managed to escape detection with it being labelled under medicine instead of heresy. With research that looked original, and knowing the Templars had been to all sorts of places, the investigators might have reasoned that the encrypted text was just italian or something but definitely held valuable information they could use. Otherwise chances are they’d have burnt it just to be on the safe side along with all the other gobblydook they found; hence nothing else that might have looked like the text in VMS survived including the original encrypted templates. And also by virtue of its role, the Templars necessarily couldn’t produce more than one VMS or they run the risk of having them compared and found to be identical. Moreover it’s unlikely the Templars knew the method of encryption themselves anyway.

    Probably whoever transcribed the VMS had no idea what he was actually copying out, only that it was essential to get it very precisely correct (being the word of God and all). But the instructions given to him might have mentioned that the illustrations don’t matter nearly as much; they were only required to be made to look original (which the diligent scribe drew without understanding why, and so quite unwisely made EVERY picture and plant look original; had the scribe been the one to come up Ruth the ploy, there should have been a lot more subtlety and effort at making it look more believable. It is possible that the scribe may have been Jewish, in keeping with the biblical tradition; whoever drew the pictures was just coming up with stuff influenced by his own creativity and subconscious however it seems clear that he wasn’t used to drawing and certainly didn’t improve very much in all the time it took to put together the VMS; that along with the fact that pictures connect between pages give the impression that all the drawings were done in a single sitting with a slight sense of recklessness as if it represented someone with the understanding that he was allowed leeway to be creative.. something he wasn’t really good at. Some attempt is made to tie successive doodles together in some form of progressive order such as with green water turning blue. The scribe probably referenced, unimaginatively, existing illustrations of plants to come up with original ones be believed might have been believable to botanists for the fact. He added zodiac signs and familiar looking things as might appear in a modern academic work, probably because that was part of his instructions too. Ultimately while the pictures may have been poorly conceived, he may have seen his real job as copying out the text accurately; the poor planning of the page layout also suggests that the text and illustration were concieved separately and had a different focus with the transcriber not aware of the intention behind writing gobblydook around illustrations and accepting the resultant chaos as not really his business to care, he’s confused about the whole thing to begin with.) (had the scribe/artist (maybe even separate people) intended this what they were doing as a hoax, the VMS would probably have been much more deliberately assembled. I can only imagine that the finished product, VMS, had returned to the client not entirely how he had hoped. But it happens all the time doesn’t it, so he might just have lived with it.)

    After the liquidation of Templar assets, the VMS probably travelled discreetely between various experts who weren’t told its origin and who subsequently took their time trying to figure out what they were looking at wasn’t actually relevant to their field since nobody even knew cryptology was even a thing and were probably trying to translate a foreign language. Eventually it became forgotten that it was ever under suspicion of heresy and in moving from one dead man’s bookshelf to another eventually made its way to Rudolf ii.

    So yeah. Maybe the original language is biblical hebrew. Assuming the original text wasn’t a hoax that fooled the Crusaders of my story to begin with. Maybe Joseph of Arimathea wrote the original text. He’s probably good at counting, arithmetic etc. And buried it at Temple Mount expecting somebody to find it one day and link it to the Old Testament somehow. Maybe the Holy Grail was simply the original template for the Bible. Maybe it was an arithmetic system to read encrypted gobblydook. ah, Holy Grail was probably just a metaphor for the Bible. I mean to drink of it grants you immortality. So it’s probably just a cryptic way of saying if you read the Bible, get saved, you get to go to heaven? Or that sipping it’s wisdom makes you a good person somehow and you are remembeed for your good deeds for all time presumably. The grail being filled with drops of Jesus’s blood; well some bibles have their jesus text in red right. I basically see the blood of Christ like these were a compilation of his lifeworks. Like the phrase blood, sweat and tears. Basically his labours as a human rights campaigner, Biblical reformer and resistance leader that toppled an oppressive authoritarian regime under the Romans. Mm. Though I think Joseph probably just meant that he captured Christ’s dying words on his notepad and not literal blood in a literal cup. Basically that he was there at the very end, so has like a first hand account of Christ which became the original new Testament maybe. Like he has Christ’s last will and Testament and maybe came up with or understood the original enciphering methods somehow and so could write a new template. Anyway, it’s not likely that the VMS is the Holy Grail, but could be a copy of by a scribe who didn’t really know what he was transcribing. The stars on the left margin at the end of the book, some red. Maybe those indicate the drops of blood caught by Joseph? I. e. the last pearls of wisdom from the saviour during his final moments?? Well. Maybe a document of similar encryption to the VMS was instrumental in reinterpreting the Bible for the KJV authorised in 1604, of which somebody in England knew how to solve or at least had access to a decrypted text? if so then theres probably some trace of it that exists in some form or other in England – Glastonbury abbey or Templar location not yet thoroughly scoured. All this assuming the VMS has anything to do with anything religious at all. The only indicator it has any religious significance at all is the fact that it consciously avoids looking like anything religious. Pages of the book are missing and the cover has been changed. Maybe the last few pages of text were hastily added having been copied to pure text since the original pages they were on might have had religious symbols. I think there’s a good case for there being apparent miscommunication between the client and the scribe. Either this or it is simply that the scribe underestimated how many pages of dumb looking doodles he’d need to fit in all the text and after reaching the end of pages with pre-prepared illustrations (perhaps prepared by a separate person) just carried on like a fax machine regardless until he reached the end of his script. Maybe he was in a hurry/panicking. Maybe he was hiding out, fleeing persecution, and was afraid of getting caught any minute. Maybe the VMS author was a spy! Maybe the book was meant to be smuggled across borders by where if frisked it would look like n ordinary research journal written in a foreign language, of which the person carrying would pretend to be a foreigner. Maybe along the way to his destination he was murdered and had his belongings stolen and sold to a merchant. But what order or organisation would have used such advanced methods of encryption? If it was purposefully encrypted it must have been meant for somebody in he universe to read its content.. who? Why would anybody with the skill of concocting a devious hoax on this level only produce one book?? A single expression of his talent and ability and make nothing else like it?? And further: not be vain enough to take credit for such an elaborate hoax??

    (btw urim and thurim are the hebrew words in Yale’s crest. everyone looking at the manuscript in recent times would have seen the Yale insert at the start of the book. Maybe that’s part of the reason why at least some of us subconsciously think like there’s an obvious solution. just a mental association with something we read in the Bible in the past that we aren’t consciously thinking of.)

    Anyways, thabks for reading.

  466. Gab: if I said it sounded likely, it would be a lie. But thanks for posting anyway.

  467. Peter on July 17, 2017 at 11:45 am said:

    If we have ever been to the theories, I have also one, which has miraculously.
    This is the star map, where the “Taurus” is located.
    Under the “Taurus”, a string is added. From decent playing, I’ve come across something interesting.
    Translated to Google, I’ve come across the words, (Place of the Gods).
    I did not think of anything else.
    Afterwards I made a second comparison with the Pons translator.
    The result, (place of the wise).
    It is interesting when I take the 7 stars of Taurus. Since I get with Google search the …..Seven_Sages_of_Greece

    Looking for something I come to the ….

    On this attempt, I can imagine the names of the stars on the cards, dealing with figures of the Grichian mytology.

    But just, it’s just a theory.

  468. Peter on July 17, 2017 at 11:47 am said:

    Unfortunately it did not accept the direct link to Wiki.

  469. Peter: links get rejected because of spammers flooding blogs. If you want to include a link, replace the : and the final . with spaces, and I’ll reassemble the link when I moderate your comment. Easy! 🙂

  470. Peter on July 20, 2017 at 6:27 am said:

    Thanks Nick for the hint, I’ll remember it.
    If the people really want to know more can yes synonymous with Google search.

    Question: How is the translation of German-English with Google at all for English speakers? Is this acceptable?
    If I sometimes read the English text, it is not always like I think.

  471. Peter: Google Translate from German to English is normally OK enough, if your thoughts are clear in the first place. 🙂

  472. Peter on July 29, 2017 at 7:22 am said:

    Have not found any article about the zodiac signs, so I blotch it times here.

    I think the zodiac dragon (November) was drawn on purpose, and not because he did not know what a scorpion looks like.
    Introduction: The scorpion was very common in Northern Italy, and that to the southern alps. Why should not someone in Italy know what a scorpion looks like, whoever has him in the apartment. Unfortunately not in english wiki.

    For me it is another hint, especially to the question, whence comes the VM.

  473. Tom O'Neil on September 1, 2017 at 1:07 am said:


    Hi I’m Tom O’Neil

    I want to apologize for my manic behavior regarding the voynich manuscript. I’m investigating the underlying code of the VMS and still believe its Latin, but it uses some sort of algorithm which allows the letters to float. What I’m trying convey is that a vowel can shift and be a consonant in a different length word. What type of cipher would allow for longer words to change values of the same glyph for a latin letter?

  474. Tom: not really interested, sorry. 🙁

  475. john sanders on October 4, 2017 at 6:45 am said:

    Voynichers: Petr Chelcicky, circa. late 15th mid 16th cent. horticulturalist, pacifist, preacher and writer from the Chelcice region in Sth. Bohemia; An anti Papist Hussite Jesus freak who was characterised by his humanist, non aggression and communal co existence teachings, originally proposed by his mentor? Jan Huss. I found him thanks to our Misca, apparently on an SM related inquiry way out west in Riverland Victoria and to my minds eye he would seem to satisfy many of the Voynich author credentials. His formal education was said to have been a little on the lean side although he was a quick learner and got a reasonable handle on the classical languages of his time including rudimentary Latin. He seems to have been fairly prolific in his religious writings, taken presumably from the old Hebrew Torah testiment and whilst Wikipedia does not stipulate the specific language, we might hope that there is some that bares similarity to the VM script. There is a sample that appears Greek to me, as it well to an unqualified person; but anyhow take a squiz at the chap and either give him a run or else send him on his way

  476. john sanders on October 4, 2017 at 9:03 am said:

    Voynichers: I got his birth details wrong. Think he was born between 1375 & 1390? and died about 1450 or thereabouts which would be consistent with the velum carb. tests. Sorry about the glitch.

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